Abstinence vs Recovery

Abstinence and recovery from alcohol and drugs are commonly seen as similar things but they are very different. It is rarely possible for those previously addicted to alcohol or drugs to abstain from using, without recovery. There are huge differences between abstinence and addiction recovery.

Abstinence can be easily attained through a detox but detoxification is seldom successful at bringing about lasting and meaningful change. For example, those who abstain from a substance will continue to avoid it because it causes problems when used, some will miss the effects felt when they were intoxicated. Others will believe that willpower alone is enough to maintain abstinence and may drink again only if they are sure that the issues that were experienced before won’t resurface again.

Abstinence, in the context of addiction, refers to complete avoidance or abstinence from substances or behaviors that trigger addictive patterns. Simply put, it means not using drugs, alcohol or engaging in other addictive behaviors. Abstinence-based programs typically emphasise the elimination of substance use as the primary goal for successful recovery.

On the other hand, recovery encompasses a broader and more holistic approach to addiction treatment. Recovery focuses on the process of healing, personal growth and overall well-being. It involves addressing the physical, emotional and psychological aspects of addiction while seeking to improve one’s quality of life.

Throughout history, the addiction treatment field has seen different approaches to recovery. Abstinence-based models, rooted in programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), have been widely used since the 1930s. These programs rely on peer support, spiritual elements and the Twelve Steps to achieve and maintain sobriety.

In recent years, the concept of recovery has become more individualised and inclusive. The recovery community recognises that everyone’s path to recovery is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Recovery-oriented models take into account various factors such as cultural backgrounds, personal beliefs and different methods of support.

It is key to note that abstinence and recovery are not mutually exclusive. Many people in recovery choose to follow an abstinence-based approach, as it provides a clear framework for maintaining sobriety. However, some individuals engage in harm reduction strategies, striving to decrease the negative consequences of substance use rather than complete abstinence.

Ultimately, the terminology used by the addiction recovery community aims to highlight the different perspectives and approaches to addiction treatment. Whether you decide to pursue abstinence or focus on a broader recovery process depends on your needs, preferences and personal circumstances. Remember, it is essential to consult with professionals in the addiction field to find the best path for you.

Seeking treatment for addiction is a courageous step towards a healthier and happier life. By understanding the concepts of abstinence and recovery, you can gain insight into the available options and make choices that align with your goals and values.

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    Founded in 2008, WeDoRecover has evolved from an advisory service for addiction treatment into a comprehensive provider of care, following its 2019 merger with Changes Addiction Rehab in Johannesburg. Specialising in connecting patients to top-tier addiction treatment centers in the UK, South Africa and Thailand, WeDoRecover supports individuals globally, including those from the United Arab Emirates and Europe. Accepting both South African medical aid and international health insurance our organisation facilitates access to high-quality treatment for substance and alcohol use disorders, offering individualised care that addresses the physical, mental and social needs of patients.

    Our team, led by Gareth Carter, offers empathetic and professional support, guiding you through every step of the treatment process. Whether you're in South Africa or abroad, our acceptance of various insurance plans makes quality care accessible, providing a platform for lasting recovery and a healthier future.

    Inpatient Rehab

    Our rehab care is a good option if you are at risk of experiencing strong withdrawal symptoms when you try stop a substance. This rehab option would also be recommended if you have experienced recurrent relapses or if you have tried a less-intensive treatment without success.


    If you're committed to your sobriety but cannot take a break from your daily duties for an inpatient program. Outpatient rehab treatment might suit you well if you are looking for a less restricted format for addiction treatment or simply need help with mental health.


    Therapy can be good step towards healing and self-discovery. If you need support without disrupting your routine, therapy offers a flexible solution for anyone wishing to enhance their mental well-being or work through personal issues in a supportive, confidential environment.

    Mental Health

    Are you having persistent feelings of being swamped, sad or have sudden surges of anger or intense emotional outbursts? These are warning signs of unresolved trauma mental health. A simple assesment by a mental health expert could provide valuable insights into your recovery.

    Finding the right rehab close to you is simple with WeDoRecover. Our network includes the finest rehab centers, ensuring personalised, quality care for your recovery needs. Let Gareth Carter and our empathetic team help guide you to a center that feels right for you, offering expert care and support. Start your healing today by choosing a rehab that's not just close to you, but also that truly cares about your loved ones recovery.

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