Sometimes, the call to get sober comes from the outside. An accident, a loss or a wake-up call might compel you to see that the damage you’re doing is serious, and not just a matter of choice. But to many who take the first step towards realizing their addiction is a problem, the prospect of going sober – and staying sober – means the death of all that is fun. They see their new sober lifestyle as an amalgam of obligation and chastity – having to live just to stop hurting others, a punishment for their bad choices and mistakes.
This is extremely wrong. Sobriety is never a punishment. And neither is it something you should be doing strictly for others. When your addiction starts to grow into something terrible, and the consequences start to pile up, then it’s abundantly clear that you need to make a change. But that should be a change for yourself, for the better. And sobriety is that change. A sober lifestyle is neither boring nor painful, and in many ways it’s far more exciting, energizing and life-changing than addiction could ever be.
On its own, a sober lifestyle is nothing more than just you not taking drugs or alcohol. But delve deeper into what that affords you, and you’ll come to realize that there are countless benefits to living a sober lifestyle. Here are just a few that immediately come to mind.
Much More Time & Money
The first thing you might notice during a sober lifestyle is that you have a lot more time on your hands – and a lot more money. Addictions cost a tremendous amount of money and can often financially cripple entire households. The exact cost never really matters – people deep in an addiction will seek out whatever is available, from expensive high-quality prescription medication to the least reputable black tar on the streets.
When you’re leading a sober lifestyle, you can finally put that resourcefulness to the test in productive ways, seeking out work and finding ways to use your time to support yourself and your hobbies.
The Ability To Stay In Relationships
There is only room for one person in an addict’s life – themselves. Addiction is a disease that rewires your brain to be selfish – more than anything else, you are made to care about the next high. Breaking that mentality while using is nearly impossible and keeping up a believable façade becomes harder the longer you use. Eventually, it’s on your partner to choose to stay and support your recovery or leave to save themselves from emotional destruction.
One way or the other, there is no way relationships can last or be healthy if either or both people struggle with addiction. But with a sober lifestyle, you have the chance to try again – and be happier than any high in the world.
You Get To Look Much Better
Drug addiction not only causes your health to deteriorate through organ damage, but it can drastically alter and affect your physical appearance. This isn’t just a matter of hygiene – abusing drugs excessively will take years off your clock, worsen your complexion, and give you serious health issues that can change the way you look, from hypertension to diabetes and heart disease.
Drugs like methamphetamine are especially well-known for affecting your physical appearance, while many irreputable sources of heroin can be spiked with other more dangerous substances, damaging your immune system, and eliminating your appetite.
By abstaining from drugs, you will find your complexion return to normal, your health improves, you gain or lose weight, and find the time to care about your appearance much more, caring for your hair and skin and appearing healthy once again.
You Have More Energy With A Sober Lifestyle
Even though drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine can give you unnatural amounts of energy and motivation, these boosts are just temporary. Drug use over time will lead to a lack of proper rest, sometimes developing into full-blown insomnia. Beyond that, constant drug use wears your body down, decreasing your energy reserves, cutting into your appetite, and generally leaving your body frailer – even to the point of damaging your immune system and vital organs.
Some people develop lesions and suffer severe symptoms from common infections, while others become unhealthy through poor hygiene and malnutrition. Addiction can make us forget to take care of ourselves, and can disrupt our natural instincts towards restful sleep, good food and regular washing. This only becomes worse as the addiction progresses into cycles of withdrawal and relapse, where often, individuals develop co-dependent illnesses like anxiety and major depression.
You may not realize it, but even “casual” drug use cuts into your regular sleeping schedule and can rob you of a lot of energy. Going sober early will not only save you from a host of physical complications and months of serious rehab and recovery, but it will give you a boost of energy and make you realize just how lethargic you have been feeling.
A Consistent Scale
A lack of appetite or rapid weight gain are symptoms of certain drug use – for example, cocaine and prescription amphetamines, as well as methamphetamine and other stimulants will often cut into a person’s appetite, causing drastic weight loss and malnourishment. In fact, some dangerous crash diets go so far as to recommend illegal stimulants or “weight loss supplements” with stimulant ingredients as way to quickly and efficiently lose weight.
Alcoholism, on the other hand, can lead to several different health issues including rapid weight gain due to the excess of liquid calories being added to a person’s diet over the course of the day. Other drugs can also affect the body’s metabolism and appetite, causing your weight to spike or drop significantly.
By going clean, staying clean and nursing your sobriety, you gain a shot at a stable and healthy weight. Some turn from an addiction to drugs or alcohol to an addiction to food or develop eating disorders to cope with post-rehab stress. It is important to continue to address your stress after rehab and figure out better and healthier ways to cope with problems, rather than utilizing negative coping mechanisms and damaging your physical and emotional health in the process.
Beyond these benefits of a sober lifestyle, there are several others. For example: most cases of drug use and alcoholism lead to a steady decline in mental faculties, due to brain damage. Reversing this can take time, but you can improve your cognition in the long-term by staying sober. And of course, sobriety is about more than just enjoying better physical and mental health. It’s about your social health, as well. Through sobriety, you can have more fun than ever – it’s just a question of knowing where to look.