By Sandy Baker
Is it good to be sober?
The answer to that question seems easy enough for someone not battling addiction. For those who face this daily challenge, it seems “easier” to just drown away the world’s troubles. Every person struggling with alcohol or drug addiction needs a go-to list.
It’s important to note that the journey to sobriety may come with challenges, and it’s normal to experience ups and downs along the way. However, the benefits of sobriety often far outweigh the challenges, and many individuals find that the positive changes in their lives make the effort and commitment to sobriety well worth it.
This list outlines why it is so important and valuable to get and stay sober. Only you can create that list – it defines what’s so valuable to you that it is worth the hard work and effort to put down the drink and walk away from the drugs.
What’s on Your List of Reasons?
Write down a list of your reasons to get sober. This information can ultimately give you the help you need in your most vulnerable state. Ask yourself what matters to you most. Define what it means to you to be sober – does it mean a job, family, and friends? Does it mean that you are working towards and achieving goals? No matter what your thoughts are right now about getting and staying sober, take a moment to recognize the good things about it. If you need a bit of help, consider these reasons.
#1: Being Healthy Feels Good
Substance abuse can negatively impact physical appearance, causing skin issues, weight loss, dental problems, and more. Sobriety can lead to a healthier, more vibrant appearance. Getting and staying sober can be a catalyst to help you to change other areas of your life, including your overall physical health. Just getting sober does not automatically lead to health, but it can give you the ability to eat better, sleep better, and get more exercise. That, ultimately, leads to a healthier version of yourself. And, you feel it.
#2: It Creates Positive Self-Esteem
Achieving and maintaining sobriety can have a profound positive impact on self-esteem. That helps to create a more positive view of the world, and creates a boost to your self-esteem. When you are using, you may feel worthless and not good to anyone. That changes when you get sober. To regain your self-esteem, you need to get sober.
#3: You Want to Stop the Pain
Addiction can indeed be very challenging and painful to deal with. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to go through it alone. The cravings and the body aches can be powerful reasons to keep using – after all, it seems to take those pains away. However, when you are sober, and you’ve gone through detox, you’ll feel even less pain. More so, once you work through detox, the pain doesn’t come back. That’s a big reason to get and stay sober for many men and women. It hurts too much to use again.
#4: It’s Less Expensive
Addiction has a significant financial, emotional, and personal costs associated with ongoing misuse of substances compared to the investment in addiction treatment and rehabilitation. The cost of recovery can be high, but it is less expensive than keeping up a daily habit of alcohol and drugs. Those funds can go towards buying healthy food, providing shelter for you and your family, and meeting other obligations. How much do you spend on drugs and alcohol? What could those funds go towards otherwise?
#5: It Lets You Be the Parent You Want to Be
Drug and alcohol addiction can have profound and far-reaching impacts on families. The effects are complex and can affect every member of the family unit, leading to emotional, psychological, financial, and interpersonal challenges. Even if you believe you can maintain a good relationship with your child and ensure he or she is safe, you can do a much better job when you turn to a professional and get sober. When you are sober, you can make better decisions for your family. You are able to be the best version of yourself possible. And, you are working to instill good habits in your loved one as well. Children of sober parents are more likely to learn healthy ways of dealing with stress, disappointment, and difficult emotions, setting them up for better mental health in the long run. For many people, being a good parent is the best reason for being sober.
#6: You Can Stop Feeling Embarrassed
Feeling embarrassed is a common and understandable emotion for individuals who have struggled with addiction. Addiction can lead to behaviors that individuals may later regret or feel ashamed of, contributing to feelings of embarrassment. Even those who use drugs and alcohol on an extensive level will find themselves battling embarrassment on a routine basis. From falling down stairs to explaining why you stole money from a friend, all of those awkward, painful moments are wiped away once you get sober. You no longer need to make excuses for yourself. You no longer need to feel overwhelmed with what you did or did not do. And, you can feel more confident about the decisions you make.
#7: You Enjoy Little Things Again
A person addicted to drugs and alcohol has only one thing on his or her mind. That’s because the chemicals within these substances change the brain’s structure, forcing it to focus on getting more drugs or alcohol. All you can think about is that addiction. After recovering from substance use disorder, learning to enjoy the little things in life can be a rewarding and important aspect of your journey. Embracing these small pleasures can contribute to your overall well-being, happiness, and sense of fulfillment.
#8: Relationships with Family and Friends
Addiction can profoundly impact relationships with family and friends in various ways. The challenges posed by addiction can strain communication, trust, and emotional connections, often leading to significant disruptions in these relationships. Those who stood by you and remain loyal to you, even when you were at your worst, are perhaps the most important people to keep in your life. If you need another reason to get sober, think about what you owe to them and about all of the hard work they did to help you to get to this point. Do you want to thank them in a meaningful way? If so, work hard to stay sober.
#9: Freedom Is at Your Doorstep
One of the key reasons to transform your life through getting sober is as simple as this: You finally gain the freedom to be who you wish to be and do what you desire. Recovery is a journey that often involves breaking free from the constraints of substance abuse, negative thought patterns, and unhealthy behaviors. Imagine what you could do if you did not have to think about drugs and alcohol. Many people find that this not only brings them freedom in their actions, thoughts, and decisions, but also a higher level of inner peace.
#10: Positive Impact on Future Generations
Breaking the cycle of addiction can positively influence children and future generations by demonstrating healthy behaviors and coping mechanisms. Substance abuse and addiction can be passed down through generations, often due to learned behaviors and environmental factors. By choosing sobriety, individuals interrupt this cycle and prevent their children from inheriting the same struggles. Substance abuse can lead to unpredictable and unsafe situations for children. Sobriety reduces the risk of exposing children to traumatic events, ensuring a safer upbringing.
#11: You’re Worth It
It’s that simple. You are worth it. You are worth it to yourself, your family, your friends, and to any superior being you believe in. You are worth the hard work recovery takes. “You’re worth it” is a reminder to prioritize oneself, practice self-compassion, and pursue a fulfilling and meaningful life.