Sobriety and recovery are often thought of as interchangeable terms–but this is not the case. While sobriety is an essential part of recovery, there is much more to recovery than getting sober. For a sex addict, sobriety primarily refers to abstaining from sexually addictive behaviors. Certainly this is an essential part of overcoming addiction–ceasing acting out.
Recovery, however, entails a broader and deeper understanding of healing than does sobriety. It refers to the process of becoming healthy or healthier in all areas of life–physical, emotional, spiritual, mental. Sex addiction is not created in a vacuum. It is an attempt to soothe, medicate, escape from hurts, wounds, brokenness in one or more of those areas.
Recovery involves examining those areas in one’s life where there is hurt, damage, loss and working through those issues which caused the addict to seek relief through sexual means. This kind of work can best be done with the help of others and not done solo.
Focusing only on sobriety and neglecting recovery can lead to frustration and increased risk of relapsing. But committing oneself to recovery can bring greater wholeness and peace.