What’s the Difference Between Being Recovered, Being in Recovery, and Recovering?

It can often feel like you have a long road ahead of you when you’re planning on obtaining sobriety. Overcoming an addiction can often feel overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure how to get started. There are many different stages of the recovery process to be aware of to ensure you know what to expect.

Many people are confused by the different stages of the recovery process. Being in recovery, recovery, and being recovered are all different parts of sobriety. As you gain a greater understanding of each stage, it can allow you to get a clearer picture of what’s ahead and track the progress you make over time.

Being Recovered

Being recovered is what many people dream of when they’re struggling with an addiction and are entering a rehab facility. Being fully recovered is when you no longer struggle with addiction, and a true transformation has taken place. Substance abuse is no longer a daily part of the individual’s life, and they have regained control of themselves.

For some people, being recovered means they can return to some social settings or groups without the temptation of using drugs or alcohol. They no longer feel like they’re in a constant fight to maintain sobriety and are in a new season that allows them to experience true freedom.

Many people are fully recovered after they’ve completed an addiction treatment program, as well as spent time in AA or at a halfway house. These steps are often key to fully recovering and avoiding relapsing long-term.

Full recovery means being free of the desire to drink alcohol or use drugs. The individual’s willpower has become a lot stronger, and they’ve made certain decisions that have transformed their lives and have allowed them to achieve sobriety without relapsing every few months or years.

At this stage, the individual’s relationships may be restored. They may have a better marriage or have achieved success in their career. Without the obsession or distraction of addiction, it’s possible to contribute to different areas of their lives and return to managing different responsibilities.

Full recovery allows many people to regain the trust of their loved ones and colleagues. They can start to look forward to the future and understand how capable they are of overcoming challenges.

Being in Recovery

Being in recovery means that the individual has attained sobriety but is still in a fight. They’re not out of the woods yet and may think about their temptations daily. This is when there’s always the risk of relapsing, especially if there are still triggers.

This stage often means that the individual has made progress with their addiction but still has goals to meet. It’s important that therapy is still provided when you’re in the recovery process to ensure you can work closely with a professional and have accountability. This may include one-on-one therapy or participating in group meetings with similar individuals.

There’s also the risk of transferring an old addiction to a new one. Although some people may not return to drugs or alcohol, they can start to develop an addiction to gambling, shopping, or sex as they attempt to fill the void that their previous addiction filled.


Recovery is considered to be remission when the addiction may not yet be cured, but the individual is free of the symptoms of addictions. They no longer use drugs or alcohol to treat mental issues or conditions they’re suffering from and are finding other ways to cope with pain or trauma from the past.

Achieving recovery requires obtaining professional help to ensure you have the right tools to obtain sobriety. Most people who are in recovery have to work through the underlying causes of their drug or alcohol use and understand their triggers to begin working towards their goals.

Recovery also requires the support of family members and friends to develop the confidence and strength to detox and stop drug or alcohol use. Family therapy can be crucial in learning how to forgive and heal. Proper healing can help many people move on from their pain and no longer resort to using substances to cope with their pain.

Although recovery is not the final step of sobriety, it allows many people to see the light at the end of the tunnel as they work hard to regain their freedom.

If you want to learn more about our program, reach out to our counselors today. Our professionals are available 24/7 and are here to offer their assistance. Call us today at 844-639-8371.

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