When it comes to overcoming addiction, there is a clear distinction between being sober and being in recovery. Sobriety is a state, while recovery is a process. It is not possible to maintain long-term sobriety without actively engaging in the recovery process. Sobriety is a choice we make every day, and recovery is the action through which we actively live that choice.
While we must choose both sobriety and recovery on a daily basis, we can have sobriety without living in recovery. The typical candidate for a sober living home is someone who has just completed a stay at an inpatient addiction treatment center. Many sober alcoholics who are not in recovery will experience a transfer of addictions that could involve a new addiction to food, sex, shopping, romantic relationships, etc. Recovery from addiction requires more than just abstaining from drugs and alcohol. It involves resolving the underlying issues that caused the addiction in the first place.
This requires commitment and a strong support system to move from early sobriety to recovery. Recovery is about more than just being clean and constantly fighting temptation. It's about building a life that will sustain us as we face life on our own terms. It's about finding meaning and purpose in life beyond just being sober.
The Discovering Alcoholic sums it up best: “Sobriety is a state. Recovery is a process. While the former may be imperative for the latter, the latter is ultimately the key to truly overcoming addiction and moving forward with a full and functional life. A person in recovery continually strives to resolve problems that caused alcohol or drug use to occur in the first place.”.