What is the Difference Between Clean and Sober?

The words “clean” and “sober” are used frequently by people who experience or work with addiction. However, addiction terminology can get confusing when first navigating this area of life. Continue reading to learn more about the steps of recovery and the difference between being clean and sober. 

Getting Clean

“Getting clean” is often the first step in someone’s journey to sobriety. The term “clean” refers to someone who is currently not consuming or is free of their substance(s) of choice. Someone is usually considered to be “clean” when their body has fully detoxed and is free of any and all of the chemical components of a substance or substances. It is possible for someone to be clean but not yet sober, as sobriety comes after someone has been clean for a decent amount of time.

Staying Sober

Once someone has gotten clean, they can continue to the next steps of sobriety. Getting clean is one accomplishment, but staying sober and working on yourself is the key to recovery. Unlike being clean, there is more to being sober than just physically avoiding your substance(s) of choice. Because substance abuse causes so much psychological change and damage to the brain, the journey to sobriety often includes therapy and working on yourself emotionally and mentally. The journey to sobriety can be a long process for many, and it is crucial not to give up on yourself. 

Recovery is a Process

It is important to remember that recovery from addiction is not a linear process. The road to recovery looks different for everyone, and you should not shame yourself for having a substance abuse disorder. Once you physically become clean of a substance, you must take steps to heal the psychological damage that addiction has caused to your life. The stages of recovery include healing damage to your body, mind, and social environment. Taking the time and care to build yourself back up and make amends with loved ones and the world around you will lead to a healthier life post-recovery. 

Addiction Treatment in Newark, DE

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, American Treatment Network can help on the journey to sobriety. We offer addiction treatment for alcohol and opioid abuse disorders and also provide mental health services. Our locations in Havertown, PA, Dover, DE, and Newark, DE, are fully equipped with a well-trained team to get you the help you need safely.


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