What really happens when people get sober? For an active addict or alcoholic, it’s hard to envision life free from substances. For people considering rehab or treatment centers, life in sobriety seems like one big question mark. Here are ten ways life can change when living without drugs and alcohol.
1. There are no more hangovers.
This is a true miracle of sobriety...To wake up each day without a splitting headache, dehydration, an intense desire to drink or use, or the beginnings of withdrawals from your drug of choice. There is so much more to appreciate each day when being alive isn’t a struggle.
2. People start to trust you.
Once some time has passed and you are not drinking or using, you’ll notice that people treat you in a different way. It’s not because they have suddenly realized how super you are, it’s because in sobriety you learn how to be a trustworthy person. You do the things you say you’ll do and you show up where you’re supposed to be.
3. You will start to trust yourself.
Years of lying, manipulating, and rearranging the truth to hide addict behavior takes a toll on a person’s psyche. Not only do the people you care about begin to shut you out, you start to lose faith in yourself and your ability to be a ‘good’ person. Once you put down the booze or drugs, you regain some self-respect. It’s an interesting equation!
4. Your priorities will change.
In addiction, obviously drugs and alcohol are a main focus life. But beyond that, addicts and alcoholics are usually pretty dang selfish. Even if they don’t realize it. In sobriety a new way of seeing things begins to unfold. The material things that seemed so important start to fade in the background as helping others and living in a kind way begins to take precedence.
5. Emotions come to the surface.
In early recovery, anger, fear, grief, elation, joy, confusion all come swirling up to the top. Years of drug or alcohol abuse meant shoving down feelings inside. The first year of sobriety is often accompanied by a roller coaster of emotions. The great part of this? It passes, emotions are survived, and in sobriety it becomes clear that any feeling can be tolerated WITHOUT having to drink or use because of it.
6. You will do things you have been too scared to do in the past.
Living in sobriety means facing fears. In the past, people drank and used to not deal with people, places, things, that upset them. Sobriety means being able to face whatever scares you, having the tools to deal with it, and living through it...sober.
7. You’ll want to drink or use, and you won’t.
Addicts and alcoholics, by nature, can become obsessed with the idea of using or drinking again. It is VERY common experience that people living in sobriety are struck by the urge to use. The miraculous part of living a sober life and leaning on a recovery team? When those urges occur, if you’re working a program of recovery, you won’t drink or use. You’ll learn that despite what your brain tells you, you can survive sober.
8. You’ll build relationships with other addicts and alcoholics in recovery.
The common bond of addiction provides a powerful basis for friendship. It is a true gift of recovery to know others living a sober life who have had similar experiences of pain, shame, fear, and hopelessness because of addiction, and are now able to live life free from drugs and alcohol. To know that you are not alone in this disease is life saving.
9. Your friendships may change.
This can come to pass in two ways: Some friendships you have will vastly improve, and some friendships you have will slip away. Friends will start to believe in you again. They warm up again once they see you show up, answer calls, and not steal their money! These friendships will rekindle and bring you strength. And some friendships will peter out when you realize that the only thing you had in common with certain people was drinking or drugging. This is okay.
10. Unexpected things will come to pass.
When living sober, new opportunities await you at every turn, and you are now ready to meet them. When living a drunken, drugging life, you were unable to seize opportunities that came your way. Freed from the chains of addiction, life becomes a true adventure. Sometimes scary, sometimes boring, sometimes wildly exciting, but always, always, a life worth living.
If you or someone you love needs help finding sobriety, contact the Pat Moore Foundation today.