Published On: September 17, 20211202 words6.1 min read


Did you know that September is National Recovery Month? What does recovery mean to you? The world is so focused on Sober Spring that National Recovery is hardly known.

Sober Spring is about getting sober for the 30 days of September. For some people, this extends into October for another 31 days which can then become the 66-Day Challenge.  For others, 30 days is just too long a period to even think of ditching the booze.

What does recovery mean to you? Is Sober Spring your first step to recovery yet you have not even thought about being in recovery? And who says you need recovery anyway if you were just having a few glasses of wine every night?

Well, that is just it, isn’t it? What recovery means to you may be completely different from what recovery means to someone else. If we did a poll on Tribe Sober and asked every member to give their definition of recovery, we would get hundreds of unique definitions.

Questions About Recovery

  • Does recovery mean total abstinence from alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, you name it?
  • Does recovery only refer to substance abuse?
  • Does recovery cover that period after substance abuse when the user moves into a period “post abstinence” – the starting of a new life, growth, introspection and change on physical, emotional and spiritual levels?
  • Does recovery require clinical assistance – pills, counselling, rehab and therapy?

A study was done to clarify the meaning of recovery to people abstaining from substances and to the general public. According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, the misunderstanding of the meaning of recovery can hinder the development of tools to help those who want to quit.

Many people worldwide are “in recovery”. It is a pity that there is an enormous stigma attached to having been a drinker or a drug user. Drug and alcohol addicts can lose jobs, homes, families, and more if they do not recover. The mass media renders people in recovery as dysfunctional characters who have a problem.

The stigma tags people who drink, or who use drugs, as misfits or strange people you would not want to look in the eye. There is a sense of lack of self-control in the words like ‘dependence’, ‘abuse’, ‘addiction’, and even ‘recovery’. Does every ex-addict need pills to lift them up out of their melancholy states?

Dictionary Definition of Recovery

  • the process of becoming well again after an illness or injury
  • the process of becoming successful or normal again after problems
  • the process of getting something back
  • the process of getting something back that was lost or almost destroyed
  • the act or process of getting better, improvement.

Well, for me, recovery in terms of total abstinence, then moving into wellness, embraces all of these definitions. Recovery to me is a process.

And this process involves:

  • getting well again after a period of depending on alcohol
  • it is a process of becoming normal again after falling off the train tracks and losing direction in life
  • it is a process of getting back self-esteem, self-respect, and life in a safe natural space
  • it is regaining the direction that was lost, the self-belief and the love that was lost along the way
  • it is an act of self-improvement in terms of health, mental and emotional welfare.

What do YOU Think?

Do you think there is ever an endpoint in recovery? For many people, the endpoint is that day they can finally know in their hearts that they will never drink again. For me, I know that I will never drink again. BUT my self-improvement is lifelong, a process that is barely beginning.

I often ask myself why it feels as if I have so much baggage since turning 45? That was the time I hit perimenopause and my kids were only 3 and 6 years old and life was very busy and blurry. When I hit menopause, my mind when into a deep melancholic state and I stopped drinking.

The past 6 sober years have been hard work. The work of self-discovery is not for sissies! I had a family member tell me I was passive-aggressive and the tools I set up to cope with sobriety were ridiculed by other family members. But I have stood my ground and my self-belief has strengthened and I have decided to hang onto my tools and just stop worrying about what they all think.

Recovery for me is Never-Ending

I also think that every soul on the planet can be in recovery when they hit midlife. For we are all imperfect. I gave up wine. Others give up drugs or sugar. Some people give up partners and their parents. And it is because they must.

Giving up something and being abstinent is the first step. Being abstinent can last for a few days or weeks, months, or years. It feeds into the process of recovery. The National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) reports that abstinence comes before a person can live a normal life again.

There is that transitional period and then the person starts late recovery when they can grow as a person and find meaning in their lives. A transition phase can be anything from 18 to 36 months. Once a person is sober for 3 years can they then really talk about their new life of recovery and normality. Does one ever GET THERE?

National Recovery Month

The very fact that YOU are reading this article may well mean that you are in recovery. If so, why not explore the notion of what it means to YOU? Let’s look again at the annual National Recovery Month and what it means to millions of our people.

Their slogan is: Recovery is for Everyone: Every Person. Every Family. Every Community. Remember that substance abuse is a ripple effect: the individual who is addicted affects the family and the community.

National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) is a national observance held every September to promote and support new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, the emergence of a strong and proud recovery community, and the dedication of service providers and community members across the nation who make recovery in all its forms possible.

“Now in its 32nd year, Recovery Month celebrates the gains made by those in recovery, just as we celebrate improvements made by those who are managing other health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease.”

The highlight for me when reading this website is the great sense of connection it is aiming for and achieving. Janet Gourand, the founder of Tribe Sober, has always advocated that a sense of connection is an enormous requirement for recovery.

Finding your own tribe is a big stride on the path to abstinence and self-development. Tribe Sober is a wonderful platform for all people who want to stop drinking but who do not want to join the AA or an institution for help.

Going back to my question above: does recovery require clinical assistance of pills, rehab, institutional residence, and counselling? Or can does recovery take off with a connection between individuals and the will to change a life worth living?

Let me know. And let me know what recovery means to YOU!



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