Sobriety: How to Live a Full Life in Recovery

This article was written by Nitara Osbourne and published by American Addiction Centers


Recovery may seem like a dream in the distant future for some. But the truth is, long-term recovery is a reality for many. And as much as alcohol misuse may seem to “choose” who it wants and the onus of the battle with alcoholism falls on the shoulders of the individual, it requires support from loved ones and professional treatment to reach long-term sobriety.

Joy Sutton, host of American Addiction Centers’ (AAC) Sober Thursdays, met with four current employees of the nationwide leader in addiction treatment.

Some of AAC’s compassionate team of medical professionals struggled with alcohol and/or drug misuse in the past themselves. And these now sober employees in long-term recovery provide their patients with care and empathy. They are proof that those facing an addiction have the potential to change their life and create one that is healthy and productive.

The fourth episode of Sober Thursday included the following panelists:

  • Michael Kimball, Outreach Coordinator.
  • Danielle Smith, Outreach Coordinator.
  • Nicole Wolf, Business Development.
  • And last but not least, Tyler Bell, Admissions Navigator.

The conversation in this episode focuses on the topic of “Sober and Social: How to Live a Full Life in Recovery.”

If you’re struggling with alcohol misuse, there are resources available to help. AAC offers inpatient and outpatient treatment services, as well as medical detox, in a compassionate environment under licensed medical professionals. If you’re battling with an addiction to alcohol, please reach out for help.

A Fulfilling Life in Recovery

According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), it states that the foundation of recovery is hope and that an individual’s recovery is created around their coping abilities, strengths, resources, inherent values, and talents.

Recovery is both holistic and is achieved through a variety of avenues for different individuals. No one particular person has exactly the same experience along their road to recovery, but once there, it can be a very fulfilling experience.

One of the reasons some people hesitate to go into treatment is that they don’t actually believe they can have a fulfilling life as a sober person.

Panelist and Outreach Coordinator at AAC, Danielle Smith, can relate. When she first thought about getting sober, she thought, “Can I be fun without alcohol?”

Danielle goes on to say, “We’re socialized to believe that events can’t happen without alcohol.” She follows this up with a mention of large sporting events, kids sporting events, and baby showers to illustrate her point. But now that she’s sober, “One of the most beautiful things is not only do I get to enjoy the event, I get to remember it and my true sparkle shines through better than I ever imagined it could.”

Michael Kimball, another outreach coordinator at AAC, chimes in. “I got sober at 22, so I didn’t really have a chance to access the bar scene… I was pretty fearful of how I would maintain sobriety and still have fun.”

Michael now celebrates six years sober. “… What I quickly learned was not only was I able to have a fun life, it was actually more fun because it forced me to do things that I was actually interested in doing and actually interested in pursuing.” Michael enjoys having new experiences, such as taking an art class or taking up martial arts. These are activities he may have never attempted to do had his focus remained on drinking.

The variety of avenues to get to sobriety vary. It may be inclusive of peer support, clinical treatment, self-care, medications, family support, faith-based approaches, or other approaches.

Nicole Wolfe, in business development, loves the question Can you have a true social life in recovery? Her response says it all: “We do the exact same things that everybody else does. We just don’t drink while we’re doing it,” she laughs. “So, it’s a lot of the same activities that everybody does, what everybody considers fun…”

And when it came to adjusting to one’s social circle, one of AAC’s admissions navigators, Tyler Bell, shared, “… the people that I was surrounding myself with in my addiction… they just were not a part of my history. So as far as adjusting, the people that I was associating with… it was more of just kind of creating a new community of people.”

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