Sunday, September 13, 2015

Recovery Month: Explaining the differences between abstinence, sobriety and recovery

Abstinence, sobriety and recovery aren't interchangeable words. Abstinence is simply (or sometimes not so simply) compliance with not putting alcohol into the body. Sobriety is when it works and you begin to put it into play in your life. Recovery is when you reap the rewards of living a life contently with the fact that sobriety is a better thing to have than to lack. (Watch the episode on YouTube or read the entire article)

Think of sobriety being the first tee of the first hole on a golf course. It leads down a long fairway, sometimes you hit terrible shots, but you keep moving toward the first hole. The first hole is reaching recovery. You've snatched a victory from the bottle for now. Keep in mind that the round isn't over with the first hole… similar to the way you're not finished with recovery regardless of how great you played your sobriety. You can throw the whole round if you get cocky or start getting lazy after just one hole.

Abstinence… that's just the driving range. Some of us hit a few more balls on the range than others. Each one, though, could lead up to the first tee.

National Recovery Month celebrates the new life that begins with reaching that first green. Personally, I try to make every month a recovery month celebration. Beats going back to the driving range.

Two things to remember about sobriety and recovery. First, neither word is a synonym for boring or miserable. Second, they don't mean life is going to be perfect. It wasn't before, either. You know why they just write numbers on the golf score card? Because if you drew pictures, par sometimes wouldn't look so pretty and nobody would play on. Doesn't matter how you reach recovery, just that you take your swings at it. It works out fine. Don't need to take my word for it: Give sobriety a try and if it isn't better, I'm certain the liquor store – or the 19th hole – will still take your money and gladly allow you to return to the misery. If that's the case, hope to see you back on the driving range... and the first tee.

Visit for a replay of CBS Sports' Power Up Your Health featuring Scott Stevens.  Host Ed Forteau led a discussion on risky myths of about "healthy" drinking.  Lucy Pireel's "All That's Written" included a feature on Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud called "When alcohol doesn't work for you anymore."  Details on the third literary award for Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud also can be found on, plus the NEW book, Adding Fire to the Fuel, is now available. Download the FREE Alcohology app in the Google PlayStore today.