The idea of sobriety can be terrifying. One big reason people feel so afraid of sobriety is because of what they see in the media, pop culture and even from people they know on social media. There’s the sense that if you’re not using drugs or alcohol, somehow life is boring or uninteresting. There’s the misconception that if you’re sober, you aren’t fun, you won’t be able to enjoy your life to the fullest and you’ll have trouble forming relationships.
The idea of sobriety can feel boring or lame, and like it’s only an option for someone who’s hit rock bottom and had to become sober because they had no other choice.
That’s not the case and many people find tremendous value in their sobriety, even if they didn’t go to the darkest place some people with addictions do. In fact, more and more people are becoming “sober curious” as a way to have a healthier, more balanced life. Sober living isn’t just interesting; it’s fulfilling and vibrant. The benefits of being sober include real relationships and experiences that you might otherwise miss out on, along with many other good reasons to be sober.
There’s Life Beyond Addiction
When you’re sober, your life doesn’t end. In fact, many people feel that it’s just beginning. Life after addiction allows you to feel more in control of your activities and your relationships.
Everything in your life can feel more manageable without the effects of alcohol and drugs. A better life in recovery might include new relationships with other sober people, more opportunities to enjoy the things you love with a clear mind, and less of the drama and problems that can seem to follow you around when drugs and alcohol are involved.
Life after addiction might also mean you have more professional success and new creative outlets that you discover when drugs and alcohol aren’t occupying all of your time.
Joy of Memories and the Present Moment
We hear a lot about practicing mindfulness, not just in the recovery community but in mental health in general. Practicing mindfulness means that you’re focused on the present moment and enjoying it for all that it is, rather than thinking about the past or the future.
When you’re using drugs or alcohol, you can feel like you’re skating through life, but never really feeling or being in any of the moments. Living a drug-free life or an alcohol-free life means not only that you can be present, but that you’ll remember everything in your life in a clear-headed way.
You can take in every second, and not feel like your life is passing you by in a whirlwind of blurred memories.
No More Hangovers or Blackouts
There are many effects of using drugs or alcohol that go beyond feeling high or drunk. There are alcohol blackouts, meaning you don’t remember anything that happens. When you’re in recovery, you don’t have to think about the effects of hangovers or blackouts.
You can remember everything and not feel that sense of terror of waking up and not remembering what you said or did the previous night. You don’t have to try and wrack your brain to remember who you were with or what happened. You’re no longer waking up with that sinking feeling that something terrible might have happened the night before, but you can’t quite remember what. You don’t have to call or text the people you were with and try to piece together the previous night.
There are also hangover symptoms. Hangover effects can cause you to miss out on even more of your life because you’re sick or in bed and unable to do the things you love or interact with the people in your life that you care about. Hangover symptoms including nausea, vomiting, headaches and brain fog can last for days in some cases and can diminish your quality of day-to-day life.
Real and Authentic Relationships
When you’re misusing drugs or alcohol, your relationships may be built on substance use. You’re more likely to surround yourself with other people who also misuse substances, and that can mean you never really get to know people without the influence of these substances. Romantic relationships may also be built on the use of drugs or alcohol, and frequently become toxic.
Without the influence of substances, you have the opportunity to enjoy sober relationships while ending toxic relationships. You can form authentic relationships built on mutual respect, interests, and understanding rather than just who is willing or available to drink or use drugs with you.
Ability to Cope with Hardships
When people drink or use drugs, it frequently starts as a way to deal with hardships but becomes a primary coping mechanism. Things that happen in life may feel as if they’re too difficult to deal with without the effects of a substance. People may want to feel numb so they can overlook the bad things in their life. That often leads to being unable to see or enjoy the good as well.
A life in recovery gives you the unique opportunity to develop healthy coping mechanisms. These mechanisms will pave the way for overcoming hardship without relying on a substance. These healthy coping mechanisms are more sustainable than numbing pain or trying to drink away your past challenges.
Can Enjoy a Healthy Lifestyle
Substance misuse doesn’t just affect your mental health. It affects your physical health in almost every conceivable way. You may not exercise because you’d rather drink or you’re spending time nursing hangover symptoms. Your sleep patterns may be altered and you may not think about eating healthy when you’re under the influence. Substance misuse can also affect your immune system and your digestive system.
When you are in recovery, you can overcome the symptoms of addiction and instead have a healthy lifestyle. You can replace substance misuse with exercise and physical activity. The sober life can also give you the opportunity to think about nutrition as well. You’ll enjoy general health and wellness that you can’t necessarily achieve if you’re drinking or using drugs.
Feel Comfortable in Your Own Skin
For many people who don’t have healthy relationships with themselves, substance misuse can be a way to mask that discomfort. Then, they don’t have to learn how to love themselves because they’re covering their feelings rather than dealing with them. When you live a sober life, you can get to know yourself and feel comfortable in your own skin. Self-love and addiction are two things that can never go hand-in-hand.
Recovery allows you to get to know the real you and learn to love that person.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and are ready to live a sober life, contact The Recovery Village. One of our caring intake coordinators will be happy to discuss your specific situation and a comprehensive treatment plan to address both the addiction and any co-occurring mental health disorders.