Mona1023, I'll take a stab at answering your question from my point of view, bearing in mind that there is no one definitive definition. I think it is when a user (of alcohol or drugs, it doesn't matter which or if both) abstains from all use of the substance but does not change the person who came into the program. That may be called sobriety but not recovery. Recovery depends on working to change oneself. That is, what personality defects, outside circumstances, etc caused the substance abuse in the first place. I think every recovering person I have heard speak during my 18 year journey in recovery has spoken of painful feeling that were self medicated with drugs and/or alcohol because there seemed no other way to escape them or survive them. Feelings like anger, self loathing, fear, poor self-esteem. loneliness. I know this certainly applied to me. But in recovery (in AA in my case although I used both alcohol and drugs) I learned many healthy tools for dealing with things I didn't want to feel without needing to pick up a drink or other unhealthy substance. Dry drunks don't drink but often still experience uncontrollable anger, fear, self-centeredness etc. They still usually keep secrets, have problems with relationships and with a healthy balanced self-image. So that's my two cents worth. If you have other questions, fire away.