Are you Sober if You’re on Suboxone?


Some people will question if a person can ever be considered sober if they are on suboxone or other medications to help with their addiction.  To answer this question it is important to define both sobriety and addiction.


The Oxford dictionary defines sobriety as “the state of being sober”, not too helpful.  The alternate definition, however, gives a little better definition, “the quality of being staid or solemn” and has the listed synonyms of seriousness and dignity.  Sobriety than is not an abstinence from substance but rather an abstinence from mind altering and abuse.  The use of suboxone, when under the treatment of a physician, is not abusing, or mind-altering.  Some physicians will even refer to suboxone as a “mind-correcting” substance.


Addiction is a chronic disease similar to asthma or diabetes.  It is not something that can be cured but with treatment can be managed.  

Understanding the definition of sobriety and accepting that addiction is a medical condition, one would have to agree that a person absolutely is sober when using suboxone under a physician’s care.  Your addiction is a medical condition that has to be treated.  If your doctor tells you that you need to treat the condition with suboxone, you need to treat the condition with suboxone.  Questioning a person’s sobriety when they are following a doctor’s advice can be reckless and irresponsible.  

Addiction is often a coexisting condition meaning it will be present along with other mental or physical issues. Attempting to self-medicate or compensate for these conditions can be the starting point of an addiction.  Treating these underlying conditions is vital to maintaining your sobriety.  The treatment of many of these coexisting conditions may also require the use of medication.  Remember if your doctor prescribes you a medication it means they feel that the benefits of the medication outweigh the negatives of taking them.  If you are honest with your doctors about your addiction they will avoid putting you in a position that could jeopardize your sobriety.  Treating your mental health with the same care you treat your physical will help give you the ability to avoid a relapse.


The Lakehouse Recovery Center offers 30, 60, and 90 day programs to men and women seeking to recover from drug and alcohol addiction. In addition to providing excellent clinical care, we offer both recovery and non-recovery activities. Our goal is to show clients how to have fun again, learning how to live in recovery without drugs and alcohol. For information, call us today: 877.762.3707


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