is the condition of not having any measurable levels, or effects from, alcohol or other drugs that alter ones mood or behaviors. According to WHO "Lexicon of alcohol and drug terms..." sobriety
is continued abstinence from alcohol and psychoactive drug use. While from the point of view of combined medical and pshychological approach sobriety
is also defined as natural state of a human being, given to him or her at a birth and consisting of full independence from both consuming alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs, as well as from being subconsciously programmed for consuming these substances. In this case the term sobriety
is distinguished from certain psychologically conditioned states, named abstinence
, when a human being does not consume any drugs (abstains) however he or she has a strong or weaker desire to consume them. I.e. an abstainer is subconsciously programmed for consuming a drug, but for some reason does not do it (e.g. having no possibility for some reason, at a medical or legal concern). The word has more specific meanings within specific contexts, such as the culture of Alcoholics Anonymous
Alcoholics Anonymous is an international mutual aid movement which says its "primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety." Now claiming more than 2 million members, AA was founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith in Akron, Ohio...
and other 12 step programs, law enforcement, and some schools of psychology. In this case, sobriety
implies achieving "life balance," and some other conditions.
Sobriety in this context may refer to being immediately clear of any intoxicating substances, or simply the specific substance that is the concern of the specific 12 step program (alcohol, opiates, marijuana, tobacco). "Clean and sober" is a commonly used phrase, which refers to someone having an extended period of alcohol and other drug (AOD) sobriety, often a minimum of six months.
The 12 step program that Alcoholics Anonymous follow is shown below:
- We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol- that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Field sobriety tests are the main way in which law enforcment officers can test for sobriety in a suspected drunk driver. These tests are completely at the officer's discretion. These tests are known as the “standardized field sobriety tests”. Standardized tests that can be performed include:
- One-leg stand test
- Walk and turn test
- HGN (eye) test (horizontal gaze nystagmus test)
Non-standardized tests include:
- Romberg's test
Romberg's test or the Romberg maneuver is a test used by doctors in a neurological examination, and also as a test for drunken driving. The exam is based on the premise that a person requires at least two of the three following senses to maintain balanced while standing:Proprioception ; Vestibular...
- Finger-to-nose test
- Finger-count test
- Hand pat test
- ABC test
- Numbers backwards test
As with everything that involves human contact, these tests are not perfect and rely completely on the officer's discretion. There are many factors that can lead to an inaccurate test; these include weight issues, leg problems, and fatigue.