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Here is the full sentence:

You’re from Orinda, your father’s in commercial real estate and your mother’s 10 years sober.

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According to my careful calculations, I've been sober for 48 years, drunk for around five. –  Carl Brannen Apr 20 '11 at 0:45

3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Hasn't had a (alcoholic) drink for ten years - presumably was an alcoholic and is now clean.

In the context presumably intended as a slur on the sort of person whose parents sell real estate and are recovering alcholics!

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Speaking on the context of the sentence, I read it as more of a commentary on the town of Orinda and the types of people that live there. –  Scott Mitchell Apr 19 '11 at 23:33
    
Sober can also refer to being intoxicant-free in a more general sense (such as drug-free). Though I do agree that "drug-free" is more common in that context, I have seen sober refer to non-alcoholic intoxicants. –  msanford Apr 20 '11 at 4:14

To be "10 years sober" means that the person has not used alcohol for 10 years.

You can also say, "I've been clean for 10 years" to mean you haven't used drugs in 10 years.

People often use the two terms together, "clean and sober for 10 years."

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In the reported sentence sober means "not affected by alcohol; not drunk."

Other meanings of sober are:

  • serious, sensible, and solemn: a sober view of life
  • free from alcoholism; not habitually drinking alcohol
  • muted in color: a sober gray suit
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