Positive Changes You Can Experience After You Become Sober
If you or a loved one are thinking that you would like to live a sober life again, you may be apprehensive because it has been a long time since you lived that way. You must have heard that it isn’t easy to leave drugs or alcohol behind and overcome your addiction, but the hard work you will have to put into it is going to be well worth the effort. You will have challenges ahead of you, but they will not be insurmountable, and they will lead you toward a better life. In the end, you will have the privilege of experiencing the following benefits of sobriety.
You Will Be Healthy and Feel Better About Yourself
When you no longer have drugs running through your system, your body can function without anything getting in the way. For example, there won’t be anything that stops you from falling asleep, and you will be able to sleep without waking up several times. Your body will be able to obtain the restorative sleep that makes you feel rejuvenated in the morning. Better sleep will serve you throughout the day as well. When you sleep well, you will have more energy to carry out your duties throughout the day, and you will regain your motivation to exercise and engage in other healthy habits.
When you were using substances, you weren’t in the habit of eating three nutritious meals every day, but after you are sober, you can put your energy into this practice again. Also, when you are on substances, your eyes begin to look cloudy, but after you are sober, they will appear clear again. These changes will lead to increases in your confidence and self-esteem, and the people around you will see it as well.
When people are taking opioids, they often become malnourished, and if your drugs of choice are stimulants, you can lose a significant amount of weight. Alcohol causes the body to produce fewer red blood cells. When this occurs, the cells are not being metabolized, and they do not function as well. This causes abnormal heartbeats, reduced mental capacity, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, and fatigue.
Alcohol leads to damage to your white blood cells as well. It also reduces the number of white blood cells and reduces their ability to function. This can cause you to be vulnerable to serious infections, but after you are sober, your body will be able to function normally again.
Alcohol causes dehydration, and if this occurs over a long period of time, it can lead to urinary tract infections, kidney stones, or kidney failure. Dehydration also leads to an electrolyte imbalance that can cause you to experience seizures. The most serious complication of dehydration is low blood volume shock. This is when your blood volume is low, and it causes your blood pressure to drop along with the amount of oxygen in your system.
When you are sober, the damage described above will not occur, and you will feel a positive energy that will encourage you to remain in recovery. With this new positivity, you will be able to have sustainable, healthy relationships. Most importantly, you will become accustomed to healthy living habits, and you will not be able to imagine living as you lived when you were addicted to substances.
You Will Be Able to Rebuild Your Broken Relationships
When you have a substance use disorder, your familial and friendly relationships suffer. Your loved ones may have grown impatient with you while you were using substances. It could also be that you refused to maintain contact with them because they were not involved in substance use or judged you for using.
When you become sober, one of the most important things that you must do is rebuild the relationships that were neglected in the past. Wanting to have a relationship with your family members again is one of the most important motivators for remaining sober. Sobriety is what is going to help you open up doors that were closed to you in the past. After this occurs, many people find that they can have even better relationships than they had in the past because you are healthy.
At Granite Recovery Centers, we provide therapy for the entire family. Our Family Recovery Workshops are ongoing, and they address the needs of your family as well as your own. When you aren’t locked in a battle against substances, you can finally see how your family members are viewing the situation. As you learn how your family members feel about your substance use and what they are expecting from you, you and your family members will begin to have meaningful and thoughtful interactions.
Your Memory Will Improve
The long-term use of substances can lead to cognitive deficits in later years. Substances cause memory loss that occurs in the short term. These are known as “brownouts” and “blackouts.” Brownouts occur when you temporarily forget what happened during the time that you were drinking, and blackouts occur when you have no idea what transpired at the time that you were drinking. According to Dr. Mark Haut, people experiencing an alcohol use disorder eventually begin to experience short-term memory loss.
A study performed in Germany discovered that the brain reverts back to the place where it was before the substance use began within 14 days after you abstain. In addition to this, you will not experience any more brownouts or blackouts after you stop using your substance of choice. When you become sober, you are going to remember what you did the day before. Most importantly, you are going to remember when you have new experiences that do not involve alcohol.
You Will Have an Improved Physical Appearance
Substances can dramatically change your appearance. It is the result of not sleeping or eating as much as is necessary. Substance use also causes you to experience vitamin deficiencies and liver damage. One drastic example is of users of methamphetamine. Meth users experience what is known as “meth mouth,” and it begins with red, swollen gums and cavities that lead to bad breath. In the second stage, your teeth continue to decay, your gums begin to recede, and sores become visible on your lips. In the final stage of meth mouth, your teeth are so badly affected that they fall out. If they do not, they are in such bad shape that a dentist must remove them.
In this instance, there is extremely good news after you become sober. The body is stubborn, and it has an amazing capacity to recover. After you are sober, you begin to eat well and get a sufficient amount of sleep, exercise, and rest so that your appearance can return to what it once was.
Improved Mental Health
Substance use disorders and mental health disorders often coexist. This is known as “comorbidity,” and it means that someone is experiencing a substance use disorder and mental health disorder at the same time. When you are experiencing a mental health disorder, it is common for you to begin to consume substances with the intention of relieving symptoms of depression or anxiety.
At Granite Recovery Centers, we have a dual diagnosis treatment program that treats co-occurring disorders. You cannot treat your substance use disorder until you have addressed your mental health disorder because the mental health disorder may be contributing to the substance use disorder. When you begin to work with our psychiatrists, we will diagnose the mental health disorder and prescribe medication to treat it. You will also receive therapy and counseling that further addresses the difficulties you are having with your mental health disorder and your substance use disorder.
No More Negativity
The medical community states that addiction is a brain disease. Even so, some people refuse to accept this. According to Colleen L. Barry of the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Americans consider addiction to be a moral failing rather than a disease. This belief may be the reason that you have been depressed while you have been experiencing your addiction. This negativity also contributes to the anxiety and low self-esteem that you are experiencing, but after you are sober, you will no longer have any reason to have these feelings.
After you become sober, you don’t have to feel stigmatized by the addiction, and you can begin to live your best life. You will have the opportunity to become the person you have always wanted to be and live the life that you dreamed that you would live.
You Will Have More Money
Using substances costs a lot of money. The Obama Administration discovered that Americans spent $100 billion every year on substances from 2004 to 2014. The nature of the addiction means that every cent you can earn will be spent on substances, but when you are sober, you will no longer have this expense. The money that you earn will all go to supporting your family and yourself.
Sobriety means that you will have money to deposit into your emergency fund, savings accounts, and retirement accounts. Your job will become important to you again because you want to do well. You can realize your dreams, pay your mortgage, buy groceries, and have money left over to see a movie on a Saturday night.
Living in Reality
People take substances because they want to escape from reality. In the beginning, they use substances to escape the reality of their disappointments, and later, they want to escape their new reality. According to Dr. Stephen Diamond, sobriety is learning how to live in reality. Sobriety will mean that you are seeing yourself as you actually are, so you will need to take responsibility for the things that you have done so far. You will know that you are sober when you can see who you are, accept that reality, and then move on to become the person you have always wanted to be.
An Increased Amount of Self-esteem
One reason that people begin to take substances is because they want to feel something other than the negative feelings about themselves that they usually feel. This backfires because, when the addiction begins, it brings your self-esteem back down to the lowest level. Addiction may have led you to steal from family and friends so that you could support your habit, but this didn’t do anything but give your self-esteem another beating. You may even have begun to hate yourself for lying and deceiving your loved ones.