Sobriety is life-changing. Time and time again, we hear that a sober life is the greatest life our clients have ever known. If you are currently struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, however, sober living may not seem like greener grass on the other side. It may not look like that light at the end of the tunnel. Rather, it may look boring; it may feel scary; it may be intimidating. How will you live a life without substances by your side? How will you establish relationships, have fun, and be happy without your blanket of booze, blunts, and bennies?
There is no doubt that sobriety is a challenging goal, but the incredible benefits that come alongside it are unquestionably worth the effort. The benefits of a sober life far outweigh the challenges, and more significantly, far outweigh your old days of drinking and getting high. And we’re not just talking no more hangovers or embarrassing drunk texts. We’re talking about the lasting, meaningful, life-changing benefits of sobriety. Here are just a few:
1. By quitting drugs and alcohol, you will look/feel healthier and better about yourself.
Perhaps one of the most profound benefits of sobriety is the physiological difference you will feel without drugs or alcohol in your system. You will sleep more soundly, allowing the body to fully recharge and heal. You will discover newfound energy and motivation, putting it towards exercise and healthy habits. You will regain your appetite and desire to prepare balanced meals. Your skin, hair, and eyes will also clear and renew. And with these benefits come an invaluable boost in self-esteem and confidence. You will notice the difference, and others will too.
Fact is, drug abuse takes a significant toll on the body. Opiate abuse and addiction, for example, can lead to malnutrition and stimulants can lead to unhealthy weight loss. On the same token, alcoholism can lead to anemia and liver disease. Not to mention, addiction can also lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders, which often impair the mental and physical well-being of a user. But these are just the long-term effects. On the regular, substance abuse can lead to hangovers, excruciating withdrawal symptoms, and a weakened immune system. It can also dehydrate and deprive the body of essential vitamins and antioxidants.
A healthy, sober lifestyle encourages positivity in our minds. With newborn energy and confidence, long-term recovery becomes even more obtainable. Lasting relationships enter arm’s reach. Healthy living habits become routine, providing constant alternatives to drugs and ultimately preventing relapse.
2. You will also save a ton of money.
Drug and alcohol abuse, as you know, is expensive. Alcohol costs money, prescription pills cost money, drugs, in general, cost money. Especially when you build up a tolerance to drugs (increasing your dosage and continuously needing more of them), all those dollars add up. When battling an addiction, you tend to focus your energy working to acquire your substance of choice. In turn, you put less time and focus into your career and saving for the future.
One of the most notable benefits of sobriety is that you regain that desire and ability to put money away. You also regain that desire and ability to work hard and be accountable at your job. The best part is, you feel like the work you do is more meaningful than before; you no longer have to work for the drugs but instead work for yourself and your family. You can work towards a life. You can pay your rent, buy actual groceries, and still have fun money to go see a movie or grab coffee with friends.
3. Without a reliance on substances, you will be better able to build lasting relationships and get closer to family and friends.
More than likely, some of your relationships with friends and family members were damaged by your addiction. Addiction often has that effect, whether you were cut off from loved ones who tried to help or you yourself pushed loved ones away in the name of drugs.
It is not surprising, then, why repairing and rebuilding damaged relationships continues to be one of the strongest motivators for those in recovery. This may also be the case for you. By getting sober, you will find opportunities to reopen closed doors and restore bridges that have been broken over recent years. In addition, you may find that those reinstated relationships, without any influence of drugs or alcohol, are better than ever before.
Sobriety tends to improve interactions and connections with others. Without drugs or alcohol, you can approach relationships with a clear mind and healthy understanding of others – their feelings, expectations, and even social cues. In time, you will also open the gates to more genuine, meaningful, and long-term connections with the important people in your life.
4. You will learn to make new friends and establish a social life outside of drugs or alcohol.
On top of restoring relationships with old friends and family, sobriety will also provide you plenty of opportunities to make new friends. Whether you are in residential addiction treatment or outpatient rehab, whether you participate in 12-step meetings or support groups, even if you are just at the gym or playing in a sober sports league, you will find yourself surrounded by others who choose not to drink or use drugs.
Sober relationships will be a key factor in your recovery journey. They will show you that you do not need to drink to socialize and you do not need to be intoxicated to have fun. Not to mention, it is these sober friends that will also be some of your most accountable ones – the people that show up for plans, parties, and events; the people that will answer you when you call; the people that will support you when you are having a hard day.
5. You will truly start to live your life to its fullest, and remember the precious moments along the way.
Of the many benefits of sobriety, perhaps the most momentous and priceless one is this: you can build a meaningful life while living sober, a life full of great memories, experiences, and utmost potential. Sobriety allows you to access your life and take advantage of all it has to offer.
Drugs create distance between a user and his or her life. If you are reading, you likely know this firsthand. You may have had things or people in your life to make you happy, but in your using days, darkness constantly overpowered that potential for joy. You could not access the happiness you desired. You were not satisfied. You drank or used drugs in efforts to feel something, but most often it just pushed you farther away from those that were closest. Your days of using may have become hazy, as you struggled to remember the better times and blacked out the times that were worse. By losing these memories, you may have also lost sight of family and friends.
Sober living allows you to regain the positive aspects of your life, to access and experience them wholeheartedly. Without drugs or alcohol, you will begin to understand feelings of appreciation, love, support, joy, connection. You will create moments with loved ones, remember them, and hold them closely. You will shape a life that is worth living— a life that is mentally, psychologically, and physically positive.