Perspective is important in life. Perspective gives us a better reason to appreciate the things we have and let go of the things we don’t have. If anything gives us perspective, then it is hardship. And one of the greatest hardships is fighting against your own will to achieve a healthier, normal life. Addiction is a terrible disease, but it can give you some much needed perspective that you won’t find anywhere else – especially on matters of sobriety.
Many people take their sobriety for granted. But if you’ve ever been addicted, then you know how bad it can get – the blackouts, the pain, the lack of memory, the financial and emotional loss, the relationships you break along the way, the people you hurt without meaning to. For a while, you might pretend to believe that it’s something you’re only doing to yourself, but when someone gets addicted, a whole group of individuals are heavily affected.
But an important part of staying clean is realizing that it’s about so much more than preventing bad things from happening. This isn’t a punishment, and you don’t have to impose a penance on yourself. If you approach sobriety with this sort of attitude, then you will not get very far. Guilt and shame will only bring the addiction back harder than ever – and that will only make those feelings even worse.
The first step to realizing what lies beyond sobriety, is forgiveness. You’ll have to turn the other cheek to your own wrongdoings and apologize to everyone you’ve hurt – including yourself. When you’re confident that you’re ready to start being okay with who you are in your own skin, you’ll begin to realize that sobriety is a second chance at really living life – and living it in a way you can enjoy it.
Sobriety Means More Than Abstinence
Buzzkills. Boring. Lame. There are a dozen terms used to describe people who live life on the straight edge – and they’re all wrong. Not using drugs or drinking does not make life uninteresting, and if you need to supplement your life with drugs to experience anything exciting or out of the ordinary, then exactly what does that say about how you’re living your life?
Life itself is dangerous. It’s exciting. It’s risky. Every second we spend on this planet; an immeasurable number of things is going on. People are born and pass away, and change is constant. It never sleeps. Once you open your eyes to the possibilities right in front of you and realize that life is as exciting as you make it, you’ll never need another drop to feel entertained or excited.
Of course, getting there takes a while to get used to. Sobriety in and of itself is something to get used to right after addiction, but there’s so much more out there to see, experience, and remember.
Seeing Life In A Whole New Way
The first thing you’ll notice when going sober is that your head is a lot clearer. Alcohol and drugs affect your brain, and not just through addiction. Excessive drug use can and will lead to brain damage, effectively reducing your cognitive abilities – slowing down your thinking, your problem solving, and your ability to make decisions and observations, not to mention your memory.
In time, all that can come back to you – it’ll take longer for some than for others based on how bad the damage is, how healthy you are, and what your lifestyle is like, but skipping out on booze and drugs is a great start. With that newfound clarity comes the ability to think and be yourself again – and stay consistent in your decision-making, not orienting yourself after the next high, but towards any other motivations and priorities that you might have, such as your passions, your family, and your goals.
Skipping The Hangover
Another thing that makes sobriety great is the distinct lack of hangovers. No more waking up at completely nonsensical hours in the day, feeling like roadkill, with an insane headache and no recollection of the last six hours you spent conscious.
Every time you black out, you take a chance of not waking up again. By staying sober, you can give your body and your brain time to actively heal, and not feel the abuse of your drug use.
Making New Relationships
Relationships are practically impossible while addicted. Addiction is inherently self-serving, and if you’re struggling with it, you can’t give anyone else the time and attention they need to feel loved and cared for.
Healthy relationships are built on a foundation of giving – both partners give each other fully, dedicating time and putting effort into making the relationship work. Healthy relationships focus on common interests and iron out differences, settling disputes through compromise.
It’s not easy to make a relationship work while sober and in full possession of your faculties. It’s impossible while addicted.
Living In A Healthier, Happier Body
Drug use eats away at you, literally. Addiction will diminish your health, either through malnutrition or through the physical effects of the drugs you’re taking. We all know that alcohol causes liver damage, and that excessive smoking leads to lung cancer – but there’s more. Stimulants like cocaine cause a heavy strain on the heart, while opiates can lead to brain damage and even paralysis through accidental overdose. Alcohol also kills brain cells and is a general carcinogen.
A healthy lifestyle is integral to a solid recovery. You can’t just give up drugs, you’ll have to completely rethink the way you eat and move. At first, the transition will be jarring. But as your taste buds adjust and your digestive tract heals, you’ll come to fall in love with healthy eating. Old junk foods will begin to taste too sweet and too salty, and you’ll catch the nuances in foods you might have hated in the past or found too bland.
You might even find some love for exercise, depending on how you go about it. You don’t have to run your behind off on a treadmill if you prefer boxing, or dancing. And there are more ways than one to go about eating a healthy diet. After a rocky start, taking care of yourself a little will turn into countless benefits – you’ll feel younger, look better, sleep better, breathe better, and even think happier thoughts.
No More Lies
But perhaps the greatest part about sobriety is that you can vow to put the lies behind you – and turn over a new leaf of total honesty. Lying becomes a necessity early on in addiction, especially as you begin to lie to yourself about where you’re going with your habits and tendencies.
But the second you decide to do something about it, you set yourself on a path towards clearing up those lies, coming clean, and working hard to re-establish a bond of trust with those you care about the most – and with yourself. And that feeling is priceless.