5 Things 2020 Has Taught us About Addiction & Sobriety


Sobriety vs. Abstinence

Sobriety vs. Abstinence, what is the difference? In the recovery community typically the word abstinence is used to describe a state in which one does not use drugs but does not actively engage in a recovery program. Conversely the word sobriety is typically used to describe an individual who is not only abstinent but actively engages in some sort of recovery program. The vast majority, if not all, experts in the field of addiction treatment agree that abstinence alone is nearly impossible to maintain. A recovery plan of some type is highly encouraged. One of the more tried and true classes of recovery programs are the 12 step programs. This includes Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Heroin Anonymous, and many other Anonymous programs.

Sobriety Without In-Person AA & NA Meetings

As we are all painfully aware at this point, Covid-19 has fundamentally changed the way we do things. The 12 step community was no exception. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) were shaken to their respective cores when the quarantine began. Capacity limits and bans on gatherings meant that AA and NA’s members would no longer be able to hold meetings. Meetings are a core tenant of a 12 step recovery program. Luckily people recovering from substance abuse disorders tend to be extremely resilient. True to form, we pivoted and found a work around. Meetings began being held on video conferencing software, primarily zoom. This allowed members to continue to get together for meetings without breaking quarantine rules. It was not an easy transition but “zoom meetings” continue to be a life saving resource for those who utilize it. What if AA or NA is not for you? Some of the more common questions we get from clients looking for an alternative recovery program are as follows:


●      How can I achieve sobriety without AA or NA?

●      How can I achieve sobriety without God?

●      How can I achieve sobriety without 12 steps?

●      How can I achieve sobriety without meetings?



While the 12 step programs  are perhaps the most popular and longest running recovery programs, we at Harbor Wellness and Recovery Center believe there are multiple pathways to recovery. No two people are the same, so no two recoveries will be exactly the same either. Our program is designed to introduce individuals to many different recovery programs and philosophies and then work with each individual to decipher which will be most effective for them. If you are interested in researching non-12 step recovery programs, please check out the links below.

Drinking & Drugging Really Doesn’t Change Anything

An unfortunate part of the substance abuse treatment industry is that not every client we treat will maintain long term sobriety on their first try. Addiction, Alcoholism, and Substance Abuse Disorder are chronic and relapsing diseases and therefore relapsing into old addictive behaviors can happen. After a relapse we typically will meet with the client and discuss what happened as well as implement an action plan to prevent further drinking and or drug use. An undeniable trend has presented itself amongst those who have relapsed. While the reasons for drinking or using vary greatly, the results are almost always the same. Drinking and Drugging did not improve their situation, it only allowed them a short and fleeting escape. In most cases the problems that led to the relapse in the first place were actually magnified instead of alleviated.


There is an old saying in the recovery community, it goes something like:


No matter how bad things get, a drink or drug will not make it better and only make it worse.


We believe that the pandemic has shown this quote to be more important than ever. If you are interested in more related quotes, check out our Sobriety & Recovery Quotes page.

Gin Distilleries Can Make Hand Sanitizer

Back in March 2020 when COVID-19 started to pick up speed and gain national attention an unforeseen issue came to the forefront. There was a massive shortage of hand sanitizer and manufacturers just couldn’t meet the new demand. An unlikely hero rose up to meet the challenge: Gin Distillers! For alcoholics, typically gin distillers are not necessarily considered the “good guys”. But in these unprecedented times that is exactly what they became.


I think there is a valuable lesson here. Everything has the potential to be positive and useful, it’s all about how you utilize it. While this may seem like a silly example, the lesson behind it can be extremely helpful to those in recovery and is definitely a new perspective.

Addicts & Alcoholics are Extremely Resilient!

As I mentioned above, people in recovery from alcoholism, addiction, or any type of substance use disorder tend to people some of the most resilient people around. 2020 was a brutal year filled with unprecedented situations, restrictions, and just general unrest. If you made it through 2020 with your recovery intact, Congratulations! If you did not, please do not give up.


If you have struggled with alcohol or drugs during this pandemic please reach out. We are here to help! We offer various services and levels of care to meet the needs of our clients. If you are in need of a service we do not provide we are happy to help connect you to that service. For more information please call 855-698-3554 or click here to submit an online inquiry if you prefer.