If you are thinking about getting sober and seeking treatment at a rehab facility, you may be feeling overwhelmed or even afraid. Addiction treatment can be one of the most difficult and stressful things you ever do, and it can be hard to overcome your doubts about seeking help. However, there are many positive outcomes that are made possible by addiction treatment and long-term sobriety.
In the most difficult times, it’s important to remember the positive side of things. Attending treatment now means you’re working toward a better future, and a little bit of hope can help to keep you moving in the right direction. When things are getting tough, remember why you started in the first place. In addition, it can help to think about all the ways that sobriety can change your life for the better. Here are six benefits you can look forward to when you stop using alcohol or drugs.
1. You’ll Live Longer
If you stop drinking and taking drugs, you will be able to enjoy a longer life. Based on data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic users of alcohol can cut their life expectancy by an average of 30 years if they continue drinking. In addition, the increase in drug overdose deaths in the U.S. has contributed to a drop in life expectancy overall, according to the CDC.
The body and brain are designed to heal. Your physical health will start to recover when you abstain from substance use.
2. You’ll Feel Better
Along with living longer, you are going to feel better when you are sober. Many people with an active addiction have a hard time imagining living without drugs or alcohol, but once they get through the detox process and begin rehab, they find life can actually be enjoyable without substances.
When you stop using drugs and alcohol, you will start to feel better both physically and emotionally over time. Throughout the recovery process, you’ll learn new skills and coping strategies to handle emotions constructively. You might just find that life is better and more enjoyable without the substances you once depended on.
3. You’ll Improve Relationships
Many people living with an addiction end up damaging relationships. Fortunately, sobriety allows you to both repair and improve some of your most important relationships. You will learn to handle your own emotions, set healthy boundaries and form true connections with your loved ones.
Sobriety helps prevent you from saying things you don’t mean, acting in ways you normally wouldn’t and making poor decisions that negatively impact your relationships.
4. You’ll Look Healthier
Drugs and alcohol can affect your appearance in negative ways. You may not have even realized that your skin is drier, your hair is more brittle and you simply don’t look as healthy as you used to. One DailyMail writer discussed how giving up alcohol for just over a month transformed her complexion. While vanity may not be the best reason to get sober, the resulting change in your appearance is a nice added bonus.
5. You’ll Save Money
You may not be aware of much money you are spending on your addiction. Consider the total cost of drugs or alcohol, the irrational purchases, the misplaced money, the medical bills and the legal expenses getting yourself out of trouble.
When you choose to get sober, all of that money stays in your bank account. Suddenly, you can easily pay all of your monthly bills, save for retirement and even take a vacation or two. The cost of addiction treatment is always cheaper than the financial (as well as physical and mental) price you pay by continuing to use drugs or alcohol.
6. You’ll Still Have Fun!
It might be difficult to believe this from where you are sitting now, but recovery is actually a lot of fun. Programs like 12-step meetings are not gatherings of depressed and angry people. Instead, you are likely to find yourself surrounded by new friends who make you smile and are eager to get together for a variety of social activities.
Without the burden of addiction, you won’t be forced to plan your life around your next drink or dose. Because you won’t be dealing with the effects of substances or spending hours seeking out drugs or alcohol, you’ll have plenty of time to devote to new hobbies, activities and friends. With all the benefits to your mental and physical health, you’ll find it’s easier to work toward meeting new goals and improving yourself further.
Though sobriety usually feels impossible for people before they try, seeking treatment and ending substance use is life-changing for those who set themselves up to succeed. The first step is to commit to a reputable treatment program.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Fact Sheets – Alcohol Use and Your Health.” January 3, 2018. Accessed December 16, 2019.
Scutti, Susan. “Drug overdoses, suicides cause drop in 2017 US life expectancy; CDC director calls it a ‘wakeup call’.” CNN, December 17, 2018. Accessed December 16, 2019.
DailyMail. “Look what giving up drink for a month can do to your face.” September 17, 2013. Accessed December 16, 2019.