Difference Between Abstinence and Recovery (With Table)

Addiction is now commonly recognized as a chronic disease that destroys both lives and health. Addiction’s effects spread throughout whole social groupings, which is how it pervades and persists in our society. When it comes to de-addiction, the phrases abstinence and recovery are frequently utilized. It’s a common misconception that they’re both just ways to stop using drugs. They are, however, broad notions that encompass a wide range of rehabilitation issues.

Abstinence vs Recovery

The main difference between Abstinence and Recovery is that many people mistakenly believe that abstinence and recovery are synonymous. Abstinence is defined as the cessation of alcoholic habits in order to repair the physical body. However, recovery occurs when all areas of one’s spiritual, mental, and bodily beings are treated in order to return to a normal state of mind, strength, and mind in order to live a life with honesty.

Abstinence vs Recovery

Abstinence is defined as refraining from engaging in a certain pleasure. It is the act of quitting drugs and alcohol on an individual basis. People might seek treatment by enrolling in a detox program. Relapse, on the other hand, is still extremely prevalent. This is because abstinence simply focuses on removing the substance from one’s system, rather than addressing the root causes of addiction.

Recovery is the process of changing an addicted person’s lifestyle and behaviors. It is a technique that emphasizes entire well-being rather than simply physical well-being. Therapy and other therapies address the fundamental reasons for addiction. This helps to treat the root of the problem, making relapses rare.

Comparison Table Between Abstinence and Recovery

Parameters of ComparisonAbstinenceRecovery
DefinitionAbstinence refers to the act of refraining from engaging in something, most commonly drugs or alcohol. As a result, someone who refrains from consuming alcohol (or other mind-altering drugs) is said to be abstinent.A return to a normal condition of mind, health, or vigor is referred to as recovery. Achieve long-term sobriety, requires encouragement, motivation, and support.
RouteEither you’ve completely quit or you haven’t.a rich, and satisfying existence without the need for or use of alcohol or drugs
NeedPeople who are abstaining from alcohol or drugs tend to avoid social situations.People in recovery receive all of the help they require from others.
RecurrenceIt’s more probable that the person may recurrence.It is less probable that the individual will recurrence.
HealingThe physical body is the only part of the body that can be healed.Physically, psychologically, and spiritually, a person recovers.

What is Abstinence?

Abstinence is a self-imposed prohibition on engaging in bodily acts that are widely perceived as pleasurable. It is a voluntary act that a person undertakes in order to live a sober life. Abstinence, unlike suppression, has positive effects on a person’s health. However, if the underlying causes of the addiction are not addressed, the individual is at risk of relapsing.

Because of the detrimental impacts that drugs and alcohol have on people, most people prefer to do so. He may, however, be compelled to get sober as a result of his removal from the drug environment. They will be unable to obtain medications as a result of this. As a result, they have no choice except to get sober.

The longer a person is drug-free, the stronger his need for them becomes. The incubation effect is the name for this phenomenon. If a person has a severe case of substance addiction, such as opium, it might have serious health effects. Going cold turkey in these situations is extremely harmful. As a result, medical assistance and treatment is always the best option, as love and support are crucial in de-addiction.

What is Recovery?

Returning to a normal condition of bodily well-being, mental clarity, or strength is what recovery entails. Using recovery in your non-indulgence will help you understand why you drank and how you can avoid becoming drunk or high in the long term. Furthermore, there is a spiritual side of well-being that is much more beneficial. Rather than dwelling on the past, the individual has the potential to build a new future.

Several therapy and treatment methods are used in the healing process. Unlike abstinence, which entails a person isolating himself, rehabilitation entails enlisting the help of others. As a result, the process is done in groups. Rehabilitation centers are an excellent illustration of this, as they provide medical and human assistance to patients.

Only until a person is entirely devoted to bettering their life will the procedure work. This necessitates a lot of determination, motivation, and support from others. Long-term sobriety can only be obtained in this way. Relapse is unlikely since the fundamental cause of the addiction is addressed throughout treatment.

Main Differences Between Abstinence and Recovery

  1. Recovery entails going to therapy and receiving assistance for total well-being, whereas abstinence merely entails ceasing addictive activities and being sober.
  2. Abstinence increases the likelihood of recurrence, but recovery reduces the likelihood of relapse.
  3. Recovery emphasizes physical, emotional, and spiritual healing, whereas abstinence emphasizes bodily healing.
  4. Abstinence is a self-imposed prohibition on indulging in drugs and alcohol, whereas recovery is a full shift in an addicted person’s lifestyle and behavior.
  5. Recovery entails assistance and contact with others, whereas, abstinence entails isolation and avoiding relationships with others.


Millions of individuals worldwide are affected by drug and alcohol misuse. It takes a lot of strength, effort, and inspiration to get out of this circumstance. De-addiction entails both abstinence and healing. It’s critical to understand the differences, especially if a loved one is attempting long-term recovery.

One important distinction between the two is that abstinence is solely concerned with bodily healing, whereas recovery is concerned with an addict’s total well-being. The fundamental reasons for the addiction are rarely a source of concern in sobriety. As a result, relapse is fairly prevalent. Recovery, on the other hand, entails a variety of therapies and treatments that target the root of the problem and reduce the likelihood of relapse.


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01688638008403787