For me, the program of Alcoholics Anonymous was foundational for my maturity. The distinction of this program, with any other form of recovery, is that it helps to develop character, and a spiritual life, and those are the given solution for addiction.

This is a very different definition of sobriety than simply being dry, free of substances.

Now, without a doubt, there’s great opportunity in removing mind-altering substances from a lifestyle, as every substance simply adds a filter to our perceptions and interpretations. Sometimes that’s a positive, as we’re finding with psychedelic treatments of trauma and mental illness.

For those that come to a place of questioning the impact of substances in their lives, there’s a tremendous potential in spending the time without that substance, to do significant work in character and emotional development.

For those willing to do the work of recovery through the 12 steps, then there’s a chance to adopt a Guide for Living, a lifestyle of service where we can confidently live a spiritual life knowing we’re acting with good character.

Note: This in no way implies that those who do not use the 12 step program are of good or bad character; each person gets to practice self honesty, and there are many ways to live a good life.