22 Mar The Physical, Mental, and Emotional Benefits of Getting Sober
Achieving sobriety is the ultimate goal for all addicts recovering from a dependency on drugs or alcohol. However, the road to long-term sobriety can be long and challenging. That’s why it’s important to understand the benefits of being clean and sober. When roadblocks appear on the path to recovery, it can be helpful to remember what you’re gaining by giving up alcohol and/or drugs.
The benefits of sobriety extend to all areas of your life and well-being. You will notice some changes immediately, while others will appear over time. The benefits of getting sober may look different for each person, but the physical, emotional, and mental benefits of a full recovery from substance addiction are life changing for all patients and serve as excellent motivation to continue moving forward on the journey to achieve lifelong sobriety.
Physical Benefits of Getting Sober
The most noticeable benefits of getting sober are often physical. Physical addiction impacts every area of the body and it is linked to a number of problems, including cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory conditions, liver damage, loss of muscle tone, seizures, vitamin deficiencies, and a weakened immune system. Most addicts will require medical treatment to safely detox from their substance addiction. These health problems, combined with the pain of withdrawal symptoms and overdoses, results in a shortened lifespan for addicts.
However, when you stop using, you can stop and sometimes even reverse the physical damage caused by mind-altering substances. As the drugs and alcohol leave your body, you will begin to enjoy better overall health and an extended lifespan in the long term. You will also experience other physical benefits.
- Improved Appearance – Some of the first positive changes that you’ll notice after you stop using are a more radiant complexion, brighter eyes, and clearer skin. When you stop putting toxins into your body, it will reward you within the first six months of sobriety with visible changes in your appearance that both you and the people around you will notice.
- Better Sleep – As you get sober, your body will have a chance to get back into a normal sleep cycle. Instead of going out at night to drink or use drugs, you can get to bed at a reasonable hour and get a good night’s sleep. Additionally, since substance abuse can interfere with your sleep, removing them from your system allows your body to restore its natural sleep and wake cycle.
- More Energy – Since better sleep is a benefit of sobriety, it makes sense that you will have more energy after you overcome a drug or alcohol dependency. There is also another reason why you experience increased energy levels when you stop using addictive substances. Alcohol and many drugs are known as depressants, which means that they make you feel more relaxed and more tired. When you stop taking depressants, you’ll find that you can do more during the day and stay awake longer.
- Healthier Eating Habits – When you remove addictive substances from your life, you begin to become more conscious of your health in other areas. When you drink to excess, you don’t make the best food choices and you will often gravitate towards greasy meals or fast food. In contrast, if you use certain drugs, you may not have much of an appetite at all. After you get sober, you’ll find that you have a more normal appetite. At the same time, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions about what you eat.
Emotional Benefits of Getting Sober
The physical benefits of sobriety are impressive, but the emotional benefits are equally noteworthy. Drug addiction has been shown to alter the brain’s circuitry and, even more frighteningly, gene expression. These changes impact human behavior and interfere with your ability to make voluntary decisions, which causes you to focus all of your time and energy on seeking out and using drugs or alcohol.
Many individuals who struggle with addiction also suffer from low self-esteem and low mood. However, patients who recover from a substance abuse problem see a vast improvement in their overall mental wellbeing and they often report feeling much happier. A number of factors play a role in this improvement in mood.
- Improved Relationships – When an individual abuses a substance, they tend to isolate themselves. Sadly, addiction alters the mind, and friends and loved ones begin to have less value compared to the high of drugs or alcohol. In some cases, family and friends may also distance themselves from a loved one with a substance abuse problem, as a protective measure or as a sign of disapproval. When you get and stay sober, you can start to restore positive relationships with friends and family. As an added benefit, these relationships will provide a support network to help you stay sober in the future.
- Higher Self-Esteem – Although addiction is not a sign of weakness of a character flaw, many individuals suffering from an addiction feel weak or ashamed of themselves. They feel like they should just be able to stop using drugs or alcohol, and they start to suffer from feelings of low self-worth. When patients are able to overcome an addiction, they report higher levels of self-esteem and a sense of pride. They also find that they feel better about themselves for eliminating the embarrassing and destructive behaviors that may have been tied to their substance abuse.
- Greater Awareness – Alcohol, and drugs make life feel hazy, which is part of the allure for some people. However, going through life in a haze is hardly living. It’s merely existing. When you get sober, you start to get more in touch with the world around you and yourself. Many patients report that they enjoy getting to know themselves again and learning who they are without drugs or alcohol in their life. They also state that they feel more present and aware in their daily lives, while other individuals claim that sobriety helped them get in touch with their spirituality and find a sense of peace.
- Reduction in Mental Health Issues – Alcohol and drugs can cause certain chemical imbalances and change brain circuitry, resulting in problems with your mood and emotions. As such, sobriety can help eliminate or reduce mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, restlessness, and phobias. If you still find that you’re struggling with your mental health as you work to get sober, the friendly and informative staff at Georgia Drug Detox can connect you with a mental health professional who can help you.
Mental Benefits of Getting Sober
Tied to the emotional benefits of sobriety are mental benefits. Many individuals started using mind-altering substances as a way to escape the frustrations and problems of daily life. As you recover from addiction, you will work with mental health professionals who will help you explore the roots of your addiction and provide you with an arsenal of coping strategies.
On your journey to sobriety, you will discover what caused your addiction in the first place and you will gain better coping skills to help you more effectively handle problems in the future. Instead of turning to the substances that took you down this road, you will turn to one of the coping strategies you have learned. Additionally, you will be able to identify and avoid situations that were triggers for your substance abuse, which is critical in helping you prevent a relapse. However, improved insight and coping skills are not the only mental benefits of sobriety.
- Improved Mental Clarity – The toxins in alcohol and drugs cloud your thinking and judgment. As these toxins leave your body and your life, you will find much greater mental clarity and acuity. You’ll notice that you can process information more quickly and effectively. Your memory will improve, so you’ll never have to wonder what happened the night or the day before. Additionally, hangovers and blackouts will become a thing of the past, allowing you to be more alert in your daily life.
- Greater Control – As an addict, you are not in control of your life. The substance is. As you go through the recovery process, you will start to notice that you have a greater sense of control over your life. You will be able to make your own decisions rather than letting your addiction dictate your life.
- More Organization – Forgetfulness and procrastination are common in the lives of many individuals who suffer from addiction. As you recover from an addiction, you’ll slowly be able to organize and remember more information than before. You may also find that procrastination no longer rules your life, as you develop the ability to stay on top of complex tasks that you would have forgotten or avoided completely in the past.
- Increased Creativity – Drugs and alcohol have a numbing effect on the mind, which takes a toll on mental and creative processes. After you get sober, you may notice that you feel more inspired and have a desire to explore different creative outlets.
Financial Benefits of Getting Sober
It is common for many individuals who suffer from an addiction to struggle with their finances. Paying for drugs and alcohol is very expensive, but individuals feel compelled to keep spending their money to feed their addiction. In fact, many people are so desperate to get their next fix that they have drained their finances to the point of bankruptcy.
Substance abuse impacts finances in another way as well. Since using alcohol or drugs is often the primary focus of the individual, they are less productive and responsible in other areas of life. As a result, many people lose their jobs and their income when they suffer from addiction.
When you begin the addiction recovery process, you will often start to notice an improvement in your financial situation.
- More Money – When your money is no longer going towards purchasing drugs or alcohol, you’ll be surprised by how much money you actually have. You can begin to meet your present financial obligations and even start saving for future expenses.
- Better Employment – Sobriety can open doors to better employment opportunities. It can also help you excel in your current position. Instead of focusing on what your addiction is telling you, you can focus on attaining your goals at work and in other areas of your life. You’ll also no longer have to worry about whether you can pass an employment-related drug test.
Seeing the Benefits of Sobriety
Keeping in mind the many benefits of sobriety is one of the best motivations to continue living a clean and sober life. It is important for you to take an honest look at the role addiction played in your life as well as how your life has improved after eliminating drugs and alcohol.
Some benefits of sobriety become apparent immediately, while others are noticeable after a longer period of time. Additionally, some benefits are only noticeable with help from keeping a journal. By recording your thoughts and experiences in a journal or diary, you can look back to see how far you have come to overcome an alcohol or drug addiction. This type of reflection can help you stay motivated when you face challenges in the recovery process.
The path to sobriety is not always straight. The recovery process has ups and downs, and it is not quick or easy. However, the benefits of sobriety far outweigh the struggles of overcoming drug or alcohol addiction. Sobriety improves every area of your life, allowing you to fully enjoy it and be the person you were always meant to be.
Long-term sobriety is possible with the right treatment program and support. Georgia Drug Detox provides a holistic approach to treating addiction. Our treatment centers, supportive and professional environment and professional staff are designed to help patients detox safely during their withdrawal symptoms and recover from all types of addiction.
If you, a friend, or a family member is suffering from addiction to illicit substances such as heroin, opiates, methadone, or prescription medications, Georgia Drug Detox can help. We provide a number of addiction treatment programs such as outpatient treatment or more intensive programs for all types of patients battling an active addiction. Our medical treatment and mental health recovery programs can help you take back your life. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment center as well as our approach to detox.