Many individuals think of sobriety with only consideration to its dictionary meaning, “the act of not drinking”. This dictionary definition, although enough for people who are not in recovery, is nowhere near enough to span the actual scope and depth of the word and its meaning to those in recovery.
As a recovering addict or alcoholic, sobriety means so much more than not drinking. What it means is likely to change depending on you, where you are in your recovery journey and your motivation. Sobriety is a somewhat complicated and multi-faceted concept, which revolves around you and how you live your life.
Sobriety is the continued abstinence from alcohol and other psychoactive drugs. It involves finding peace with and within yourself, finding peace with life itself and its accompanying ups and downs; developing the discipline to remain sober. Fully understanding this and the motives behind it can be valuable in helping you build your sobriety.
There is no doubt that sobriety itself is a challenging goal, but the remarkable benefits that accompany it make it worth the effort. There are lasting, meaningful, life-changing benefits that come with sobriety.
Six Benefits of Sobriety
1. Sobriety Saves You Money
The benefits of quitting drug use or alcohol consumption are not just restricted to physical wellness, but sobriety also offers financial benefits. Any drug or alcohol addict knows that the cost of drugs or alcohol can add up. When an individual drinks daily, the expenditure on the habit can add up very quickly over time. This accumulation of cost also affects those who use drugs regularly. Anyone who drinks or uses drugs regularly will be shocked at the enormous amount of money they spend on them.
People that were once addicts to alcohol or drugs find out that their wallets are fatter when they quit. You will also regain the ability and desire to work hard and be accountable at your job. You can even start to feel like the work you do is more meaningful compared to the past; and that you no longer work for the drugs or alcohol, but for yourself and loved ones. Getting sober puts money back into your pocket, and can improve your savings.
2. You Can Easily Connect with People When You Are Sober
Addiction to the use of drugs or alcohol consumption can make you isolated. This condition can come with the feeling of guilt, shame and being alone. You appear to people around you as insensitive in many cases, while communicating with them when you’re drunk/high. Addiction often blinds addicts to the fact that there are people in the world who love them and want to connect with them.
A huge benefit of not being high on alcohol or drugs is that it prompts people to embrace real connections with those around them. All individuals need and crave good personal human connections and sobriety aids in that. Besides restoring relationships with families and old friends, sobriety will avail you the opportunity to make new friends. Sobriety improves connections and interactions with others. Sobriety can open up all kinds of doors, which could be physical, emotional, or even financial; which might not exist otherwise.
Sober relationships are a significant cog in your recovery journey, and you will see that you do not need drugs to socialize, nor do you require intoxication or highness to have fun. When sober, you can easily pick up on someone’s problem and can have a meaningful conversation with people.
3. Sobriety Makes You Look and Feel Healthier
The abuse of drugs and alcohol takes a significant toll on the body. For example, the abuse of opiate can result in malnutrition and abuse of stimulants can lead to loss of weight. On the same note, alcohol addiction can lead to liver disease and anemia. Addiction is also capable of leading to anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders, which will impair the physical and psychological well-being of the addict. Substance abuse can lead to painful withdrawal symptoms, hangovers, and a weakened immune system. It can deprive the body of essential antioxidants and vitamins.
Being sober implies that you are no longer poisoning your body and brain. A mind’s positivity is encouraged with a healthy, sober lifestyle. There is a psychological difference you’ll feel when you are without alcohol or drugs in your system. Your sleep will be sound, giving enough room for the body to heal and recharge, and your mind will be invigorated. Your appetite will become normal and the desire to prepare balanced meals will arise; since you will have the time, energy and the learning capacity to try out new recipes. Your eyes, skin health, and hair will be renewed. There will be a discovery of newfound energy and motivation, making you exercise and maintain healthier habits. These benefits will come with a boost in confidence and self-esteem and will be very noticeable to others. At the very least, a sober individual reaps the benefit of living a better and longer life.
4. Sobriety Gives You the Chance to Right the Wrongs of the Past
We’ve all done things we regret, but people who are hard on alcohol or drugs do the most regrettable things. A great benefit of being sober is it provides the chance to apologize and make up for those wrong deeds.
Quitting your addiction to alcohol or drugs is in itself a tangible proof that you are taking needed steps towards becoming a better person. That is what people around you will see! As long as you stay sober, some people around you will accept your apology and grant you forgiveness.
An essential part of the 12-Steps of recovery (as given by Alcohol Anonymous) is making amends. Step 8 says addicts are required to make a list of people they’ve harmed or wronged. Step 9 requires them to make amends with the people written down on their prepared list.
Members of the 12-Step Program are made to know the difference between apologizing and making amends. Making amends is not always limited to mere words. It requires actions in some cases. For instance, when an alcoholic has stolen money or crashed someone else’s car, he/she is supposed to make compensation to the person for the damage he/she has done. Even if the payments can’t be made in full, making amends is about taking steps to fix the relationship.
Sobriety helps people to a fresh start. If there are deeds in the past that haunts you, it’s hard to face the future. Sobriety grants people the opportunity to right their wrong deeds, then start over.
5. Sobriety Enhances Decision Making
As an addict, the ability to process rational thoughts is limited; your brain acts mainly on impulses and the need for immediate gratification, bringing about poor judgment. Addicts’ minds have been programmed to not think about tomorrow; they are consequently living only for today. In a sober state, you can zoom out and think about what you’re doing or what you will prefer to be doing more. As a sober person, you will not just react to hateful words uttered by someone, but instead pause, absorb, comprehend and respond.
You become capable of setting long-term goals when sober. When you’re able to set long-term goals, and won’t be acting on impulse but deeply processed thoughts. Long term goals are gratifying and there is a way they help maintain ethics and habits. Being sober produces a better flow of ideas and dedication, instead of impulsive autopilot behavior that comes with being an addict. Sobriety gives you the ability to make life decisions that are objectively right for you. Sobriety can give you the chance to make your dreams come true, as you would be making better decisions towards the achievement of your life’s goals and dreams.
6. Sobriety Brings About a Happier Life
It’s a fact that alcohol and drugs ups the dopamine in your brain, which in turn communicates pleasure or happiness. The truth is that there is a finite amount of dopamine that they can produce before the depressant properties of alcohol and drugs kick in. These depressant properties can continue to increase, thereby leaving you depressed instead of feeling happy and relaxed.
When you decide to be sober, a wide range of options that trigger happiness open up to you. You won’t depend on the consumption of alcohol or getting high on drugs to stay happy. You can decide to go hiking, camping, read a book and so on.
Being sober means that nothing is slowing down your brain function, and the appropriate amount of dopamine is communicating with your brain’s nerve cells. This generally results in a happier and healthier lifestyle.
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