In early addiction recovery you are probably still struggling to imagine what life will be like without your addiction. Living sober is new and awkward, but it is also incredibly rewarding. Whatever benefits you thought you gained from consuming drugs and alcohol will be put to shame as you discover that nothing compares to the benefits gained from living sober. Here are just 10 examples of the many ways sober living will make your life great. 10 Ways Living Sober Improves Your Life
1. Relationships improve.
Once you are sober you will be able to form and maintain healthier relationships. If you are a parent this is a huge area where living sober will positively affect your life and those around you. It may take some time to rebuild healthy relationships with your children, but you will no doubt be a more patient, present, and positive parent.
You will also become a better friend. You will have more time to devote to nurturing meaningful relationships, plus you will probably become more reliable and honest. As you get to know yourself in recovery you will know what kind of things interest you and will find friends who enjoy the same. Sober friendships are likely to be the most nurturing and fulfilling relationships you have ever had.
2. Your memory improves.
No more forgetting and missing out on important events, like your kids' birthdays. No more waking up full of shame and regret as you wonder what happened the night before. When you are living sober you get to remember everything. You are more aware of the finer details in life — like a stranger's smile, or a newly blossomed flower. Plus, becoming sober will give you the mental clarity to discover your personal passions and accomplish your goals.
3. You look better.
Once you stop poisoning your body with toxins, your complexion will inevitably look better. Blemishes clear, wrinkles lose some of their definition, and dark circles are minimized. Some people find that once they start living sober they look 10 years younger. But it is not a superficial benefit. When we look better, we inevitably feel better about ourselves. All the other benefits of a sober life will also have you smiling more — which definitely keeps you looking great.
4. You can maintain a healthy weight.
Many in recovery report initial weight regulation as a benefit to living sober. When you stop consuming empty alcohol calories, and participating in drunken binge-eating episodes, you naturally lose weight. If you were underweight due to a substance abuse disorder your weight is also likely to return to a healthier level once sober. This will help you feel better physically and reduce your risk for weight-related health complications.
5. You have more money.
Living sober will leave you with extra money that you otherwise spent on fuelling your alcohol or drug addiction. It is an automatic savings plan. With more money you can pay off debts, save for larger purchases, and invest in new hobbies. Instead of emptying your bank account regularly and having nothing to show for it you can now spend your money gaining meaningful experiences with people who truly love and care for you.
6. You have more time.
You probably did not realise exactly how much time you spent thinking about and consuming drugs and alcohol until you stopped. At first having all this extra time can be overwhelming and leave you not knowing what to do. However, it does not take long to realise there is a world of things to do once you are sober. You can use your time to do things like walking your dogs, visiting family and friends, learning something new, and getting more sleep — all of which turn out to be much more rewarding than getting drunk or high.
7. You have more energy.
Constantly feeling tired from sub-par sleep quality is a thing of the past. While at first sleep might be difficult as your body adjusts, once you are sober you will find that your sleep is of a higher quality and you get more of it. Plus, your body will not have to work so hard repairing the damage of drug and alcohol abuse, which frees up its available energy resources. Who does not wish they had more energy in a day? Sobriety will give it to you.
8. You have more fun.
Yes, you will have more fun living sober than intoxicated (even if it does not seem that way at first). With more time, money, and energy the possibilities for fun are endless and never involve a hangover. Your definition of fun will probably change for the better and eventually you will think to yourself “how did I ever think life like that was fun?” Once sober, you are able to play more, you will have a youthful radiance when your laughter is genuine, and you can enjoy the experience of daily life.
9. You gain respect.
When you are sober, you gain respect from others as they acknowledge your commitment to change. You leave a positive impression on people around you through volunteering and helping others. People look up to you and admire your sobriety. When you are sober you are able to follow through with commitments and people will begin to trust you again. Becoming sober is a great display of self-respect as you commit to discontinue the abuse of your body and mind — and when you respect yourself, people are more likely to respect you as well.
10. You feel good about yourself.
Feeling good about yourself is one of the best gifts sobriety will give you. First of all you can free yourself from the shame and guilt tied to your addictive behaviour. Each day you can be proud of yourself for making it another day in recovery. While increasing your self-esteem will still take some work and does not just magically happen once you enter recovery, living sober will contribute to healthy self-esteem in the long term.
Not convinced yet that life is better when you have got more energy, more time and a clear mind? Or when you get out of bed each day feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day ahead? Then go ahead and watch some of our alumni update stories to see how these real people's lives improved after leaving drug and alcohol rehab.
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