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Monday, December 6, 2021

Definition of Sobriety | Sober Meaning

definition of sobriety

Definition of Sobriety

The dictionary definition of sobriety is “the state of being sober,” and the dictionary definition of sober is “not drunk or affected by alcohol, free from alcoholism, not a habitual drinker; serious, staid, muted, solemn, and/or sensible.” Which is fine for covering all bases if your interest in sobriety is purely scholarly; but if you have personal investment in finding freedom from alcoholism (or any other addiction), sobriety is better understood as a mindset and a way of life.


Let’s take a closer look at the “sobriety” aspects listed above.


Not Drunk

Even the most alcohol-dependent achieve this particular state of sobriety on a regular basis, so it’s of limited use in determining when alcohol is a problem for any individual. While frequent “drunken” episodes are certainly reasonable cause to suspect addiction, many people who never seem drunk are nonetheless addicted. (See next point.) And even someone who isn’t strictly impaired may have consumed enough alcohol to adversely affect performance.


Not Affected by Alcohol

This form of “sobriety” sounds like a good thing, but often it’s a red flag. People with addiction, or alcohol abuse disorder, have built up physical tolerance for “normal” amounts of alcohol, so they are more able to consume large amounts without obvious effects.


Not a Habitual Drinker

Since “habitual” is a subjective term, this is a poor criterion for judging who is living in an overall state of sobriety and who isn’t. It’s a common myth that everyone with alcoholism drinks daily: in fact, there’s a subcategory of alcohol dependence characterized by drinking primarily on weekends. Almost any drinker who is embarrassed to share details, or can’t imagine skipping a regular drink for anything, has a toxic habit regardless of actual drinking patterns.


Serious, Staid, Muted, Solemn

Sadly, regardless of context, many people hear the same negative implications in all the above words: dull, colorless, no fun, less than happy, even living under a cloud of depression. Which is how too many people with addiction visualize a future of physical sobriety: however miserable their lives may be when centered around the bottle, they fear a bleak, comfortless future should they stop drinking. Even after detoxing and starting down the sobriety path, most people are troubled for months by yearnings to “go back to Egypt” when life gets stressful and memory sees only the comfortable parts of the old slavery. Escaping this temptation requires advance planning, strong accountability—and a positive understanding of how fulfilling life can be without drugs. In reality, sobriety is an amazing chance to find a happier, more vibrant life.



The least negatively viewed of the synonyms for emotional sobriety, this can still seem less than desirable to those who favor excitement and challenge. Common sense doesn’t have to be incompatible with adventure, though. Common sense—or wisdom—is what creates a focused mindset for accomplishment, and keeps a legitimate drive for achievement/challenge/fulfillment from degenerating into pointless striving for instant gratification. By far the best way to approach a healthy challenge is through a purposeful approach that uses your experience and natural gifts to benefit the larger world—a principle alluded to in the last of the classic 12 Steps: “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to [other] alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”


Sobriety: Free From Alcoholism

The key word is “free,” which properly has not only positive but proactive connotations. There’s far more to sobriety, and to freedom, than the absence of the undesirable: a long-term lifestyle of true sobriety comprises multiple active elements.

  • It means accepting your circumstances and making the best of them.
  • It means taking responsibility for your actions and your life.
  • It means cultivating and contributing to meaningful relationships with your family, your friends, and your God.
  • It means taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
  • It means discovering your purpose and working to achieve it through your goals, your vocation, and your relationships.
  • And it means becoming the best possible version of your uniquely created self, and living in faith that a clearheaded (sober) view of life includes confidence that things will work out for the best.


California Faith-Based Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Please contact Celebrate Hope to learn more about our faith-based addiction treatment program. Our team will help you break the cycle of addiction and discover the blessings of permanent sobriety. We rely on the teachings of Jesus Christ, along with evidence-based therapies to get individuals on the path of recovery.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

What is Wet Brain? Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

wet brain

You’re probably familiar with some of the most common health problems caused by ongoing alcohol misuse. These include cirrhosis of the liver and certain forms of cancer. However, there are other, lesser-known conditions catalyzed by a lifetime of heavy drinking. Learn the symptoms, causes, and treatments of wet brain, or Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.


Alcoholic Definition

First, it’s important to understand how medical professionals define alcohol use disorder. A person with this condition does not know when they should stop drinking. They also lack the ability to quit long-term, even if their alcohol use causes problems at work or at home.


Symptoms of alcoholism include:

  • Drinking when it is inappropriate or dangerous
  • Becoming unable to regulate the amount of alcohol consumed
  • Stashing alcohol in various places (to be consumed in secret)
  • Feeling irritable, nauseated, or shaky when unable to drink
  • Developing a tolerance

An estimated 15 million American adults have an alcohol problem – that’s over 6% of the population. Each year, the World Health Organization estimates that 3.3 million global deaths occur as a result of alcohol use. A number of these individuals probably suffer from wet brain.


Wet Brain

Wet brain is a shorthand for Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Sometimes, it’s referred to as Korsakoff’s psychosis or alcohol-related dementia. It occurs when someone drinks for a long time and develops a vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency. As a result, various structures of the brain are damaged, including the hypothalamus and the thalamus. This means that individuals with this condition are at risk of memory problems and lifelong brain damage.


People with drinking problems experience wet brain because alcohol prevents the body from properly absorbing vitamin B1, also called thiamine. Thiamine is a coenzyme that is crucial to the function of the brain’s metabolism. Without it, the body’s levels of acetate, citrate, acetylcholine, and alpha-keto-glutarate are dramatically lowered. That causes metabolic imbalances, which catalyze neurological complications and cell death.


A vitamin B1 deficiency results in two concurrent pathologies that combine as one syndrome: Wernicke encephalopathy and Korsakoff syndrome.


Wernicke Encephalopathy

This degenerative brain disorder is characterized by low blood pressure, hypothermia, vision problems, and even going into a coma. The three hallmark symptoms to look out for include:

  • Ophthalmoplegia – Paralysis of muscles around or within the eye,
  • Ataxia – Losing control of one’s movements, resulting in a stagger or tremors, and
  • Confusion – Delirium and disorientation.

If your loved one begins to complain about feeling mentally muddled, if you notice that they have developed tremors, or if they exhibit abnormal eye movements, they may have entered this first phase of wet brain syndrome. An estimated 90% of individuals with Wernicke encephalopathy will go on to develop Korsakoff syndrome.


Korsakoff Syndrome

The other half of wet brain is Korsakoff syndrome, which can be very upsetting for sufferers and their families. Its symptoms are:

  • Memory problems – Memory loss and inability to remember new things,
  • Hallucinations – Seeing and hearing things that are not there, and
  • Changes in mental acuity – Inventing events when they cannot remember, becoming disoriented and confused, and exhibiting changes in personality.

Family members usually pick up on this stage of wet brain after years of seeing their loved one abuse alcohol. For example, a parent may become easily frustrated and difficult, while also making up stories or lying. However, the alcoholic may not even realize that they have these symptoms.


The psychotic aspect of this condition is called Korsakoff psychosis, which is a type of dementia characterized by amnesia, changed behavior, and hallucinations.


Treating Wet Brain

If caught early enough, it is possible to reverse the effects of wet brain. However, if left untreated, symptoms often persist to the point of disability. This is why doctors refer to Wernicke-Korsakoff as a “potentially reversible” condition. The two steps to recovering from this disorder are:

  • Seeking appropriate medical care for thiamine supplementation (usually high doses provided intravenously), and
  • Addressing the person’s underlying alcohol use disorder.

Abstaining from alcohol is a critical component of stopping the progression of wet brain. For those who have been drinking heavily enough to develop this condition, this is not something that should be attempted without support. Alcohol detox can be painful and potentially life-threatening. This is why it is recommended that people seek rehabilitation in a supervised setting.


Celebrate Hope provides a Biblically rooted, Christ-centered approach to healing. From our homey facility in Orange County, our staff provides a compassionate and restorative environment for those in need of treatment. We offer medical detox, residential and outpatient services, gender-specific programs, and long-term care. To learn more about Celebrate Hope, we invite you to contact our admissions team. They will be happy to answer any questions you may have about treatment for alcohol use disorder, wet brain, and more.

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