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What does "clean and sober" really mean?

  1. profile image0
    wordscribe41posted 7 years ago

    Just wondering what everyone's thoughts are.  For me, just staying away from my primary drug of choice (alcohol for me) isn't being clean and sober.  For example, I've known addicts who still claim to be "sober" but smoke weed.  It's a slippery slope, no doubt.  In my mind, you cannot be clean and sober if you still drink or use substances EVER... Even if it's just once in a while.  Any thoughts?

    1. Hokey profile image60
      Hokeyposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      Sober means no drinking. Clean means no drinking or drugs.

               I am 100% clean!!!   big_smile

      1. profile image0
        wordscribe41posted 7 years ago in reply to this

        Hey, well that's something we agree on.  I'm just not so sure everyone else does.

        1. Hokey profile image60
          Hokeyposted 7 years ago in reply to this

          Those are people who just aren't ready.  neutral

            You know?

          1. profile image0
            wordscribe41posted 7 years ago in reply to this

            Definitely not ready.  To me it's a form of misrepresentation, actually.

      2. Rafini profile image86
        Rafiniposted 7 years ago in reply to this

        gotta agree with hokey

    2. Debra Ursino profile image62
      Debra Ursinoposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Clean and sober is a treatment term.  The same way 'drug of choice' is a medical term. Treatment centers feel the need to distinguish between alcohol and other drugs.  12-step recovery programs which offer a life free of all drugs, do not use the term.  AA uses the word sober (many try to say that means they make it okay to 'use drugs' as long as you don't drink.) This is not the case and not indicated in their literature.  And is a very narrow definition of the word. NA uses the word clean, as does all the literature, in an effort to minimize the confusion (or excuse, as the case may be) that alcohol is a drug, it just happens to be legal and socially acceptable.  There is a huge difference between 12 step recovery, treatment and the medical community.  In short, when those with an understanding say clean, they mean from ALL substances.  And those that say sober, mean that as well.  Then there are those who came to 12-step via treatment or medical recommendations and they think clean and sober is 12 step language.  Then there are those 'old-timers' who got clean in a time when NA meetings were scarce and AA quite prolific and the 'fitting in' led to a bastardization of language from both programs.  Of course, there will always be those who live in denial and don't drink and call themselves sober or conversely call themselves clean yet still drink, this is not indicative of recovery, but of the disease.  I get a chuckle when someone invites me for a drink and I choose not to go into my life story and simply say 'I don't drink" and they proceed to tell me they don't drink either, just a beer after work, or whatever...these are usually normies who have no idea what I'm talking about.

  2. profile image0
    wordscribe41posted 7 years ago

    I agree with you both.  I just keep running across people who claim to be "in recovery", but evidently their definition doesn't match up with mine.

  3. Laura Thykeson profile image79
    Laura Thykesonposted 7 years ago

    To be truly "clean and sober" it means no drugs OR alcohol. Period. You can be a recovering alcoholic and addict, a recovering addict and an alcoholic, and several different variations of those words, but to be truly "clean and sober" it's nothing-zip-nada-zilch, lol!

  4. profile image0
    lyricsingrayposted 7 years ago

    clean sober means living without any mood altering substances and living with the ability to cope and deal without altering your emotions and lastly these words represent a way of living including serenity and spiritual growth often, ultimately happiness and contentment.  The opposite being 'dry' like white knuckling while trying not to drink or get high.

    1. Laura Thykeson profile image79
      Laura Thykesonposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      Yea-what she said...lol!

    2. profile image0
      wordscribe41posted 7 years ago in reply to this

      All true.  And, being truly sober means cleaning your house.  Really digging deep and being able to be honest not only with yourself, but those around you.

    3. drej2522 profile image86
      drej2522posted 7 years ago in reply to this

      I very much agree here...In fact, there is no other way to put it! smile

    4. profile image0
      lyricsingrayposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      repeat

  5. profile image0
    lyricsingrayposted 7 years ago

    You cannot be clean and not sober

    nor

    sober but not clean

    abstinence of any mood altering chemicals / alcohol or drugs

    1. Hokey profile image60
      Hokeyposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      Hey Kimberly!! Talk to you tonight!!Going to a meeting. Was working on Hub

    2. Laura Thykeson profile image79
      Laura Thykesonposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      true for the "real" sober and clean, but addicts and alcoholics can be a sneaky bunch, lol!

      1. Laura Thykeson profile image79
        Laura Thykesonposted 7 years ago in reply to this

        by the way-I am in that club too, unfortunately. The seventies bled into the 2000's somehow...

        1. Madison22 profile image60
          Madison22posted 7 years ago in reply to this

          Hey, I'm in the club too. The 90"s took me down.  I agree with Hokey, 100%  How are you all doing tonight?

      2. profile image0
        wordscribe41posted 7 years ago in reply to this

        Yes, indeed.  I've thought friends were really sober before only to find out they're still using.  It actually really pissed me off.  One, that I fell for the lies, but two, that I shared intimate details of my life and using days that were meant for sober ears only.  I once found out a sponsor of mine had been relapsing for a long time without telling me.  Oh, but she was only smoking pot.  Give me a break!

    3. profile image0
      lyricsingrayposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      repeat

  6. profile image0
    wordscribe41posted 7 years ago

    Hey, Madison.  Good to see you here.  The 80's bled into the 90's for me...  lol  I got sober in 1995.  100% sober.

    1. Madison22 profile image60
      Madison22posted 7 years ago in reply to this

      Great:)  2001

      1. profile image0
        wordscribe41posted 7 years ago in reply to this

        Congratulations, Madison.  smile

    2. Madison22 profile image60
      Madison22posted 7 years ago in reply to this

      How was your evening last night? I had a good laugh and now I am a member of 2 clubs. LoL

      1. profile image0
        wordscribe41posted 7 years ago in reply to this

        I had a good time last night, too.  It was nice to laugh in the end.  You'd better free up your calendar for these club activities. 

        Last night was, well, uneventful as usual.  wink

        Did you make the coffee or go to bed?

        1. Madison22 profile image60
          Madison22posted 7 years ago in reply to this

          I went to bed. Actually I read a little on resentments in the BB and on how for people like us it is the number one offender. I needed to read it, because I felt like I was beginning to build resentment toward him. I felt much better after reading. I usually go to 4 meetings a week, this week I only went once. So I have to get back on track.

  7. profile image0
    wordscribe41posted 7 years ago

    Good, Madison.  I will probably get a bunch of grief about this, but AA isn't my program of recovery.  I go to Women for Sobriety which suits me a lot more.  It's complicated, no doubt, but AA didn't work for me.  I relapsed numerous times before getting involved with my current support group.  It's a pretty active group here, so that helps. 

    I know AA helps a lot of people and I fully support it, however it just wasn't for me...

    1. Madison22 profile image60
      Madison22posted 7 years ago in reply to this

      The important thing is that we do not have to live that way anymore no matter what group helps up. You have some real good time under your belt, that is fantastic:)

    2. profile image0
      lyricsingrayposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      big_smile big_smile big_smile big_smile big_smile  big_smile big_smile

  8. thisisoli profile image60
    thisisoliposted 7 years ago

    Everyone has their own addictions, no one is truely clean and sober.

    Of course, different addictions have different affects on other people.

    1. profile image0
      wordscribe41posted 7 years ago in reply to this

      I see what you're saying, Oli.  My caffeine addiction has limited negative effects on my family.  smile  And, I will admit, I cannot live without my coffee.  No can do.

  9. profile image0
    wordscribe41posted 7 years ago

    Yes, and you've gotta "walk the walk" not just "talk the talk".

  10. donotfear profile image90
    donotfearposted 7 years ago

    Heck...clean and sober means being off of all mind inducing drugs including alcohol. I have nearly 12 years sobriety. Hooray!

  11. thisisoli profile image60
    thisisoliposted 7 years ago

    Addiction can be more than just a physical substance, certian rituals can produce endorphines, even prayer, others could be addicted to things like picking at spots.

    I had a friend who went off to university simply because he was so interested about human addictions and he could tell you a lot more fluently about it than I could!

  12. soni2006 profile image46
    soni2006posted 7 years ago

    Clean and sober means that a person is not under the influence of any type of addiction of drugs. In other words, clean and sober also means being free of toxins which you can become with the use of natural herbs, meditation, yoga, and physical exercise.

    1. profile image0
      lyricsingrayposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      you are extending clean and sober to recovery, tools to stay clean, but not clean and sober, two separate things, thanks big_smile

  13. profile image0
    lyricsingrayposted 7 years ago
  14. profile image0
    Pani Midnyte Odinposted 7 years ago

    I am 100% clean and sober. I don't do drugs and I don't drink alcohol.

    1. profile image0
      lyricsingrayposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      are you in recovery then? Respectfully.

      1. profile image0
        Pani Midnyte Odinposted 7 years ago in reply to this

        Been recovered/recovering for 2 years now smile

        1. profile image0
          lyricsingrayposted 7 years ago in reply to this

          so amazing, you rock girl

          me too off 24 iv coke and heroine abuse daily

          so proud of you    big_smile

          1. profile image0
            Pani Midnyte Odinposted 7 years ago in reply to this

            Pills, cocaine, heroine, alcohol, and sometimes meth for me. But it's been two years since I've done any of that crap and I swore to myself that I'd never touch it again.

            Just wanted to take this opportunity to tell you, Lyrics, that your hubs are often an inspiration for me. Sometimes, when I feel weak, I read your articles and they help me to gain strength. So I just wanted to thank you.

  15. shape_shifter profile image60
    shape_shifterposted 6 years ago

    I truly believe this entirely depends on the individual... Alcoholism isn't the sickness... addictive behavior is... that being said, an idividual with a problem in this area will never really be "clean" until he or she deals with this mental trap. They will continue to abuse whatever they are using in an effort to fill that hole... It makes no difference whatsoever if they are sober... in the end, this state of being will consume them if left to their own devices, be it food, sex, stealing, adrenaline rushes, etc... Granted, just getting off of the harsh effects of mind altering substances is a great start, but that's all it is! Substitution will continue. This is why so many people relapse. It's not so much that the particular substance was so great for them. I've seen people blow all their money replacing drugs with work out supplements in an effort to get well, but not change one bit upstairs! There are also cases of individuals who don't have this addictive issue, and don't have a problem with moderation. If this is truly the case, then I say they ARE sober and clean, even if they occasionally do whatever they do. The difference is in honesty with one's self. If you are an addict, you will know it. I, myself, completely lack the ability to do anything in moderation, therefore I must abstain... It's that simple. I just wrote a hub on this basic subject... check it out...

  16. Mighty Mom profile image90
    Mighty Momposted 6 years ago

    You raise a good point shape_shifter. Once an addictive personality always an addictive personality! That's why recovery is so important. If you simply substitute primary addition to your drug of choice(alcohol or drugs) for another (gambling, shopping, internet, etc.) then you are NOT clean and sober, are you?

    Where do cigarettes, coffee and sugar fit into all this? It's damned hard to quit a drug or alcohol habit that took you to your knees. Kicking it is essentially to go against your mental and physical nature. It's a friggin' miracle!
    So if you continue to smoke cigarettes (many do), it's not good, but hopefully when you feel strong enough you will stop those, too.
    As to coffee and sugar -- there's a good reason they serve coffee and candy at AA meetings.
    WE ARE NOT SAINTS! It's progress, not perfection.
    And besides, aside from spilling scalding coffee on your lap, I've never heard of anyone getting arrested for driving under the influence of coffee -- or ice cream or pie, either!

    Glad to see so many wonderful hubbers in the sobriety club.
    3/25/04 is my date, and I'm sticking to it! MM

    1. shape_shifter profile image60
      shape_shifterposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Right on... That's a great point too... The "progress" aspect. I heard it put best, "You don't get cleaned up to take a bath... It's a process. All you have to concern yourself with is being on the path..."

  17. Imelleda profile image80
    Imelledaposted 6 years ago

    A friend professed to be sober, and he did stop drinking, but still smoked up, and indulged in any number of other self-destructive behaviors. He said he would never go to a meeting under the influence, though. Big deal! All that meant was that he ended up missing a whole lot of meetings.

    1. fits3x100 profile image61
      fits3x100posted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Nothing to numb me. In short refusal to be numbed. 6 months in I was amazed to discover that my life was still full of really tough consequences from all the years of abuse. I mentioned this to an old timer and I remember his response now 20 years later. "Know what sober means Son?" "Son/Of/A/Bi-ch/Everything's/Real ! hehehe...

  18. Lisa HW profile image84
    Lisa HWposted 6 years ago

    I guess I've most recently assumed it means "clean - no drugs or alcohol in someone's system; and "sober" - sober.

    When I saw this thread, though, I remembered that when I was a kid I was under the impression "clean and sober" may have related to someone who may have gone out, gotten drunk, come home, and maybe passed out without changing clothes or washing up.  So, it seemed to me that "clean and sober" may have started out to mean someone who has taken a shower, changed clothes, and is no longer drunk (from, maybe, a weekend binge, for example).   I may be wrong, but I think I used to hear that on tv (maybe the Andy Griffith show, with Otis, who would go on a bender and then show up all fresh, dressed up, and combed -  "clean and sober".  (Not that anyone is looking for speculation about the possible history and evolution of that phrase.  lol  )

  19. Jennifer Bart profile image61
    Jennifer Bartposted 3 years ago

    For me clean and sober means learning how to live life, because drugs and alcohol are just a symptom of a much deeper issue. In my opinion for a true addict to be clean and sober he or she needs to work a 12 step program daily because drugs and alcohol were only the surface of the problem. You can be off drugs and yet still remain in an unhealthy mindset. So to me clean and sober is more of a state of mind rather than just not using the drug of choice.

 
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