Ten Great Reasons to Get Sober This New Year
It is hard to believe that the new year is almost upon us. 2020 has been one heck of a rollercoaster and most of us are looking forward to starting the new year. Though we will be facing many of the same challenges of 2020 when the clock strikes midnight on January 1, there is always something inspiring about the start of a new year. For one thing, it is a great time to take a personal inventory of where we have been and where we want to go.
Unfortunately, for too many people, the events of 2020 have been a catalyst for substance abuse. As our lives were turned upside down, for many there was more reliance on drugs and alcohol to cope with the daily stressors of life during a pandemic.
Good news! 2021 can be a great year for anyone who is considering leaving their substance abuse behind. I know because I have been on both sides of addiction. There are many surprising benefits that come with the resolution to live a sober lifestyle. As someone who has lived a lifestyle of addiction as well as a lifestyle of recovery, I can honestly report that the benefits I describe are what I have experienced in my own life throughout my recovery.
1. Physical Health Benefits
It is no secret that substance abuse causes damage to the human body. Most people can hold up ok for a while, but the longer the addiction, the greater the damage. The decision to get sober is a decision to improve overall physical health. Once a person stops regularly ingesting various toxic substances, the body will be able to begin the process of healing. It is easier to get engaged and life is more fun with a body that feels good.
2. Emotional Stability
Just as addiction negatively impacts a person’s physical health, it wreaks havoc on a person's emotional well-being. I would argue that addiction probably impacts a person emotionally more than it does physically. This is because the nature of addiction puts a person in a constant state of rocking back and forth between the highs and lows of being drunk or high and then being hungover or going through withdrawals. When a person begins to live a life of recovery, emotions can finally start to level out. It will be difficult in the early stages, but over time a person will feel better and better and arrive to a vastly improved emotional state.
3. Mental Clarity
Mental fog comes with a lifestyle of addiction. Drugs and alcohol damage mental acuteness and well-being, leaving a person feeling foggy and forgetful. When a person quits substance abuse, they will often experience a mental clarity they have not felt in a long time. This is especially true when a person participates in a program that assists with the detoxification process.
4. Improved Finances
Addiction is a robber of many things, including money. An addict will spend any extra money to feed the addiction - it is the nature of the game. When a person is finally able to overcome addiction, they will notice that there is extra money in their wallet. There is more money for things that the recovering addict has not had in a long time. It is a great feeling to no longer be compelled to throw money away to sustain addiction. Even buying the smallest things can be a pleasure.
5. New Job Possibilities
Frequently a person in active addiction will remain in a less than ideal job position because it takes a negative drug test to get a better job. When a person stops using drugs and testing is no longer an issue, a whole new world of possibilities can open up. It is easier to be considered for job promotions when job performance is no longer negatively impacted by substance abuse. There is personal freedom to improve, rather than struggling to work over an addiction.
6. Improved Relationships
Bridges are burned and relationships ruined because of addiction. Addiction causes people to speak and behave in ways that most people do not care to be around. And honestly who can blame them? No one likes being lied to or stolen from. The longer an addict continues to act out with this behavior, the more likely important relationships will suffer. It will take work at the beginning of recovery to repair the damage caused by addiction but with genuine effort, persistence and time, real progress can be made on healing important relationships.
7. More Time for Life Goals
There is not much time to pursue life goals when an individual is caught in the cycle of active addiction. An addict spends a lot of time getting money to get high, getting drugs to get high, getting high, going through withdrawal, and then figuring ways to get more money to get high. It’s a pretty pathetic way to live and often a person’s life goals become casualties of this lifestyle. Once a person breaks out of this self-destructive cycle, they will be better equipped to finally pursue their dreams.
8. Improved Appearance
Drugs and alcohol can make a person look bad over time. A once pretty face can be sunken and have red patches. And how attractive is it to watch someone pick at scars? These are just a few ways that ugliness can emerge with substance abuse. Looking good might not be the most important reason to get sober, but it certainly is a motivating factor. Our appearance certainly plays a role in how we feel about ourselves. An overall improvement in appearance is one of the early benefits that a person will begin to experience as they start to get sober. A better appearance can help anyone feel better about themselves, which is an important aspect of learning to love and care for oneself.
9. The Opportunity for a More Fulfilling Life.
A life of addiction is not very fulfilling. Let’s be honest- there is nothing fulfilling about chasing that next high. If the best part of the day is the initial buzz after that first drink or hit and the rest of the time is spent thinking about or chasing that buzz, it is hard to find much enjoyment in living. Once a person can overcome addiction there is greater opportunity to find ways to make a life more meaningful and fulfilling.
10. Sobriety is the Greatest Gift you Can Give to Yourself.
I cannot over-state the gains of getting sober. Getting clean is the greatest thing a person in active addiction can do for their life. Amazing rewards are there to be had by anyone who decides to live a life of recovery. It will not always be easy, but it is surely a lot easier than living the lifestyle of addiction. A life of recovery is one that will have continued benefits throughout a person’s entire life in multiple areas.
If you are on the fence about getting sober, I would highly recommend giving it a shot and trying it out for yourself. You will probably be surprised at the resources that become available once you announce your decision.