Most people find sobriety terrifying. That’s because they have no idea what to expect or they believe the countless misconceptions that plague the media and the public about what addiction and sobriety are.
Before I got sober, I looked at sobriety like it was lame and boring. I thought it was only for people who had lost everything or had been to jail because their addiction had taken them to a deeper, darker extreme. I never considered sobriety for me. I incorrectly believed that my life would be over if I ever became sober. I’m so glad that I was wrong about that. Today I love living sober, and these are some of the reasons why.
1. I have a life beyond my addiction.
I was convinced that my life would be over when I got sober, but that wasn’t the case at all. I’ve been pleased to find that my life is more manageable, fun, enjoyable, and drama-free since quitting alcohol and drugs. In fact, I am able to do more now that I’m sober. Not only that, recovery has opened doors for me. I have a community of supportive sober friends at 12 step meetings and online through my blog. Writing has been an outlet for my emotions as well as a way to connect me with others with similar stories. I’ve even been lucky enough to obtain my full-time job because of my recovery.
2. I get to be present in every moment.
When I was drinking, I was just skating through life. There are countless trips, events, and get-togethers I don’t remember or important pieces of life that I forget ever happened, and it’s all because of alcohol. Living sober, I get to be present in every single moment of my life now, and that’s a beautiful thing. I’m grateful I can remember and take in every second.
3. Hangovers and the physical sickness that go along with them are no longer a part of my life.
I only ever thought about the joy that alcohol brought me in the moment while I was drinking it. I quickly forgot about how horrible it made me feel the day after. I had nasty hangovers that brought on nausea, splitting headaches, and cloudiness that lasted for hours on end. Today I am happy to say I never have to experience that physical discomfort ever again.
4. I can remember everything.
Blackouts were a big part of my drinking life, and there is nothing scarier than experiencing one. It’s terrifying to wake up and remember nothing from the night before, not what you did, not what you said, or who you were with. Knowing I never have to go through that anxiety again and I get to remember everything, is a gift.
5. Travel is more fulfilling.
I considered myself to be a world traveler when I drank, and I was, but I never really enjoyed it. I didn’t pay attention enough to even tell you what I saw or why I went where I did. I used to plan my trips around nightclubs and bar specials. Now that I’m sober, I get to plan my vacations around historical landmarks, excursions, and beautiful food. I take in the smell and the atmosphere of each place with clearer eyes.
6. I have real and authentic relationships.
I was notorious for having toxic relationships with men during my drinking days, but looking back I now know I also had toxic friendships. I surrounded myself with people who drank and used like I did, or who acted the way I wanted them to act or did something I wanted them to do. It was all about me. I’ve quickly learned in sobriety that relationships are a two-way street. Respect is mutual, and authenticity has become natural.
7. I no longer have to alter my consciousness to deal with life.
I believe one of the reasons I drank and used drugs was so that I would not have to deal with the burden of reality. The ins and outs of everyday life affected me too deeply. I wanted to be numb and ignore the bad, and that’s when I ended up drinking, which enabled me to ignore the good as well.
8. I have the coping mechanisms to thrive.
Coping was not something I could ever do. I didn’t know how and I don’t remember being taught. When alcohol became a staple in my life, it took over as my one and only coping mechanism. It worked until it didn’t anymore. Now that I’m sober, I’ve put the time and effort into learning new, healthy coping mechanisms that work.
9. I am healthier than I have ever been.
When I drank, I was sick with a head cold several times a month. I had stomach issues and throwing up was a regular part of drinking. Sleep was not a priority, and neither was eating. Sobriety has allowed me to learn about eating healthy, encouraged me to find an exercise program that works for me (CrossFit!), and my immune system is finally working for me again. I feel more rested, and I have higher energy levels than I did when I was drinking.
10. I am finally comfortable in my own skin.
For years, I felt like I was on an endless search for something to fill the emptiness inside of me. I felt different and uncomfortable in my own skin. I didn’t know what I was searching for, but the search finally ended on May 7, 2013. Since then, I’ve transformed into a person who is satisfied with just waking up every morning and being alive. I no longer feel like I constantly need something “more.” I have self-confidence and self-love, and I am able to accept life on life’s terms.
These reasons only scratch the surface of why I love living sober. My life is anything but boring today. I have a purpose, I am content, and I am able to thrive. That’s what it’s like to live in recovery for me, and it can be the same way for you.
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