It’s no secret that being sober has many benefits over living in active addiction. They include stable neurology, increased energy, ease of falling and staying asleep, improved skin, and, of course, the tremendous amount of time and money saving. There are also many lesser known, unexpected advantages of being sober that are often forgotten or go unrecognized. Here are some of them:
November 25, 2019
(Re)discover your personality Drinking alcohol can repress and cloud personality traits that help make us who we are. Individuals who enter long term sobriety after addiction often discover, or rediscover, who they are and their own personality traits. Having the ability to reset, to re-calibrate, and discover who you truly are is a great gift. Many folks find that they are shyer in sobriety than when they were drinking. For most individuals with alcohol addiction, it began in adolescents, before they were able to engage in self-discovery as an adult. This may mean that there is a large element of initial personal discovery that takes place. Being comfortable with who you are in your own skin is a key to happiness and contentment.
‘Alcohol anxiety’ is a thing of the past For folks living in active addiction, reality is that many days begin with the anxiety and fear of wondering what was said and done the night before. No alcohol means no hangovers, which is an obvious benefit, but it also means less emotional trauma from regret and less stress about blackouts or forgotten segments of time. Reliability is a common result of moving from alcohol addiction to sobriety. When alcohol is a driving factor in decision making, it results in being flaky and unreliable. This means that sobriety will improve friendships and relationships with family.
Improve relationships that matter It’s virtually impossible to achieve sobriety when your closest friends are alcoholics. Distancing yourself from negative influences in crucial in achieving sobriety. If there are friends that you only see when there is booze around, it’s time for a new social life. By replacing time you would have spent with them with quality time spent with your friends or family, the bonds with positive people will strengthen. This will make staying in long term recovery even easier, and you’ll feel much better emotionally, mentally, and physically. Rebuilding broken trust may take time, but now you’ll have the time to make it happen!
Realize the power of time The jury is still out on whether or not staying sober gets easier with time, but acclimating to a life of sobriety doesn’t happen instantly. Many triggers start to become less sensitive, alcohol stops taking over your mindset, and mental discipline continues to strengthen as time goes one. Although it may feel impossible at first, there is a level of distance that time can create.
Many people in active addiction don’t know how to tap into the joy outside of that substance. Hobbies, pass-times, and interests look different for everyone. Instead of getting hammered with drinking buddies, maybe the after work activity of choice becomes working out, running, rock climbing, or even playing board games. Whatever fuels your passion or encourages your creativity will work! Look for hobbies that you enjoy, even if that means adding a bit of adrenaline through bicycle racing, rock climbing, or something else. Breaking the vicious cycle of addiction should allow you to get past the “groundhog day” feeling of constant repetition.
You’re far from alone You aren’t the first person to overcome alcohol addiction or alcohol use disorder. A major benefit of long term sobriety is seeing all of the role models out there in the public eye. Johnny Cash was a great example of someone in long-term sobriety from alcohol. Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers is another. There are hundreds of public figures, and tens of thousands privately, you can look to for encouragement. Please know that you are in great company, surrounded by many others who want you experience all of the benefits of sobriety.
This article is based on content written originally by Dr. Bunmi Aboaba. Her original article featured in the Huffington Post can be read here: Completely Unexpected Benefits of Being Sober