Everyone in substance abuse has their own reasons for beginning, and sustaining, the addictive behavior. Similarly, each addict has to find his or her own motivation for quitting. While being nagged at by someone else rarely results in sobriety, those who care about your health and safety often feel compelled to do it, anyway. They may bring up several different reasons why it is important that you recover from your addiction.
Depending on your particular approach toward life and the values which you hold most dear, one of these reasons to get sober may prove to be more motivating than the others. Whichever reason you can find to compel you toward getting sober, jump on that train.
Reason #1: Your Physical Health
There is something about human beings which makes it easy to consider ourselves invincible. Often, we ignore warnings until the point where they cease to become merely warnings, and progress into becoming our reality. In spite of our tendency to figure that such unfortunate consequences will not befall us, it is worth hearing repeated messages about the empirical evidence of health detriments that are related to prolonged substance abuse.
In addition to the ever-present danger of immediate death, there are a multitude of chronic conditions which can develop as a result of substance abuse. Depending on your drug of choice, these dangers can range from heart disease; cancer; tooth rot; infections; liver failure; and brain damage. Once activated, these difficulties will remain with you, even if you later choose to live a life of sobriety. Picture your life of sobriety. Now picture your life of sobriety with these conditions accompanying it.
The negative physical effects of substance abuse can also be more subtle. The dehydrating effects of many substances can result in headaches, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and fatigue. The lingering and after-effects of being drunk or high can leave your brain in a mental fog, unable to concentrate or process information properly. In no way is one in top physical condition following a binge or bender. In fact, it is said that we are taking days off of our life each time we use.
Reason #2: Your Relationships
Most substance abuse screening tools include a question about the opinions of others on your substance usage. Our lives do not exist in a bubble, and nor do our substance abuse behaviors. What we are doing to ourselves through addiction is also impacting our friends and family. We are not able to be our best selves for those we care about when we are high or drunk.
For those who have children in the home, there is the ever-present threat of losing them to social services. Even in the absence of outright abuse, being under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be considered to be a form of child neglect. It is often assumed – rightly or not – that a parent who is using substances is not able to properly supervise children or provide for their basic, daily, needs. It only takes the anonymous report of a teacher, neighbor, friend, or enemy, and social service workers can end up knocking on your door.
Marriages and other intimate partner arrangements also suffer when one or both parties are misusing substances. The time spent engaging in quality conversation and activity is reduced, and the tendency to argue increases. In the worst scenarios, the anger produced through a combination of substance abuse and arguing can end up being expressed through punches and kicks. The presence of partner neglect, frequent arguments, or physical abuse can eventually spell the end of the relationship.
Divorce proceedings in which substance abuse is alleged rarely go well for the party with the addiction.
The friends and neighbors of someone in addiction can also grow weary of providing support. There are only so many middle-of-the night phone calls that most friends are willing to take, and the neighbors can grow tired of hearing the fighting and late-night activities going on at your place. Eventually, the entire social support system of someone in addiction can break down, leaving the addict lonely and isolated.
Reason # 3: Your Productivity
Have you ever thought about how many hours of a day are lost to your addictive behaviors? When it comes to planning for, engaging in, and recovering from, chances are good that a majority of your time is spent in servitude to the substance. These are hours and days which could be better applied toward any number of fulfilling and productive activities.
Studies show that 49 billion dollars in days of work are lost to calling in sick with a hangover, and substance-related problems cost the economy more than 250 billion dollars, annually. Using these numbers as an incentive, take some time to calculate your own contribution to these statistics. Take a look at how much money you have lost to recovering, or at how many sick days you no longer have stored up for emergencies.
Even if you are one who manages to make it to work each day, in spite of addiction, chances are good that time is lost once you get back home. Drugs and alcohol impair the sleep cycle, meaning that it is likely that the next day is spent being groggy. The body will be craving good sleep, which can result in heading straight for the bed after work. Time spent in bed gaining that extra sleep means less time spent cooking, cleaning, working on a project, or spending time with family.
Closely related to the idea of current productivity is the eventuality of the future. Picture your life 10 years from now. Children will be older. Retirement age will be closer. These current years will not occur again. Your contributions toward the future that you want to live in are happening now. In order for your future hopes to materialize, it requires that certain steps be made in the today. Since it is today that you are reading this, this is the time for you to take such steps.
Find the help you need, undergo addiction treatment, and surround yourself with others who share the same goal of sobriety.