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What Does Freedom Mean in Sobriety?

Hans Christian Andersen famously wrote, “Living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” When we were in a state of active addiction, we were merely living. We had no purpose or reason in our lives aside from the next drink or drugs, and we certainly had no freedom. As we enter into a life of sobriety, we are give one of the greatest gifts of all– we are able to live freely, untethered by the chains of addiction.

The main text of Alcoholics Anonymous, known as the “Big Book”, explains in the forward to the second edition: “Yet it is our great hope that all those who have as yet found no answer may begin to find one in the pages of this book and will presently join us on the high road to a new freedom.” Yet, what does this “freedom” refer to? Certainly one aspect of the freedom we achieve is no longer being tied down by drugs.

Physical dependence is painful. No matter how much we want to be free of drugs and alcohol, our addiction reaches a point where we are unable to stop, no matter how hard we try. Drugs and alcohol change the brain in such a way that to stop would mean to enter into a painful state of withdrawal. Often, we are no longer feeling euphoria from drugs. Instead, we are using them to stave off the pain of withdrawal symptoms. One of the great freedoms of sobriety is no longer having the insatiable drive for intoxication. We can go anywhere without needing to worry about where our next drink or drug will come from.

However, the freedom of sobriety is more than just freedom from alcohol and drugs. We reach a point where we are free of fear, hopelessness, embarrassment, and self-will. Thucydides, the ancient Athenian historian and general, wrote, “The secret to happiness is freedom… and the secret to freedom is courage.” When we gain the courage to enter into treatment and overcome addiction and alcoholism, we receive the gift of freedom. From the freedom we receive as a result of recovery, we also achieve a new sense of happiness and serenity that we may have never thought possible.

Resilient House, a treatment facility located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, offers a breathtaking setting where where clients can safely explore issues and trauma that may have contributed to the onset of the addiction and work toward a full life of recovery and long-term sobriety. Resilient House offers a full continuum of care, including detoxification, residential treatment, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient treatment, and alumni support. For more information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431