Rewards of Sobriety in Addiction Recovery
Giving up any addiction is hard and giving up drinking can be especially hard!
We all enjoy those crazy late nights with friends hopping from bar to bar while indulging in neon colored drinks with those fancy straws.
You get to let loose, have fun, act indecently, say whatever you want and the cherry on top of this delicious dessert is that the events will all become a milky blur in your memory. It’s great!
It’s not surprising that alcoholics find it difficult to let their last bottle be their last.
Alcohol has jumbled up the wiring system of the brain such that sobriety is viewed as the absence of a substance it cannot do without.
That’s why when an alcoholic stops drinking withdrawal sets in. Your brain is telling your body that you need alcohol to survive.
And when you conquer this first hurdle in the road to recovery, your mind will begin to tell you that sobriety is boring or a waste of time. You will start to reminisce about the good old days and selectively leave out the metaphorical puke in your hair.
Here are some 12 rewards of sobriety to help you recognize how your life has changed for the better.
Abundance of Time
During your drinking days, hours would become days and days would become weeks without you even knowing!
You were so caught up in drinking yourself into a stupor or ensuring the next bottle was close at hand that time just flew by.
You were living from bottle to bottle, and everything that happened in between was just the credits to the movie that was your life.
The only achievement you could cough up to was drinking four bottles of beer straight and not getting dizzying.
Once you stopped drinking, it felt like you had just stepped off a 350 feet roller coaster ride. You regained your sense of time and started to make something of your life.
To create meaningful and lasting relationships with those who matter to you and mend the relationships that were slowly drowning in alcohol.
Most people take to the bottle to drown away their problems or because of the confidence boost that comes with imbibing.
Alcohol makes you lose the ability to logically process your thoughts such that you impulsively blurt out what you’re thinking or feeling. Your decisions are based on instant gratification and not rational thinking; leading to poor life choices.
The most unexpected reward of recovery is that you slowly begin to judge yourself less harshly. You start to love all those quirky perks about yourself that you previously found embarrassing or annoying. You feel confident enough to speak your mind without hiding behind the skirts of alcohol. You love life, and every day, your smile is more prominent, and your laughter louder.
Alcohol is expensive, and when your drinking from a bottle to bottle that expense is multiplied ten times over. Money that could be otherwise spent investing, going to school, or starting a business is spent on whatever beer is on tap.
Let’s not forget the various fast foods you order and the Uber rides to and from your favorite bar. Naturally, all that money you spent daily on your drinking sprees gets saved up when you get sober. You may even find you have enough money to pay off half your mortgage in a single installment!
Life is more vibrant when you’re sober.
Ever wondered why bars serve complimentary chips with their drinks? It’s because of the drunk munchies. Now, these guys are persistent. You feel as if there’s a big hole in your stomach that only fast foods can satisfy.
A late-night drinking spree quickly turns to early morning burgers, pizzas, and chips festival. And this cycle only repeats itself because you keep drinking.
It would be a miracle if your arteries don’t get calcified and your blood pressure doesn’t skyrocket. However, once you get sober, the munchies are no more. You have time to create healthy dishes or even consume reasonable amounts of fast foods.
The thing is, you stop eating as if your life depended on how fast you can get that last pizza slice in your mouth.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise; if you’re spending every waking moment either planning where you’ll get your next drink or sampling whatever alcohol holds your fancy, it takes a toll on your supply of energy.
The only sleep you’re getting is the alcohol-induced kind, which isn’t therapeutic.
Your brain cells shrink up to 30 percent of their original size when they don’t get time to recover from daily activities.
Think of it this way; you’re driving a car that’s continuously low on fuel. It won’t take long for its various parts to stop failing and not long after that; the engine will only be suitable as scrap metal.
Similarly, after drinking for several days without giving your body a break, your thoughts become hazy, groggy, and you get this body aches, you can’t explain that just won’t go away. That’s your body telling you it can’t do this anymore and you need to listen.
Without alcohol in your system, you get more prolonged periods of uninterrupted sleep, and every morning you wake up with the energy of a five-year-old who’s getting ready to go to Disney World. Your mind is refreshed, and you feel you can tackle anything life throws at you.
An alcoholic’s longest relationship is usually the one they have with alcohol.
Social graces such as logical thinking, proper judgment, and common courtesy are close to nonexistent.
The addicts have a knee jerk reaction to say or do whatever they want with no thought whatsoever to the consequences. Such irrational impulsiveness lays waste to any relationship that isn’t alcohol related.
Drinking insulates you from recognizing social cues and slows down the ability to process emotions. Such that, if your friend is trying to overburden themselves to you but your dopamine levels are high, sending signals that everything is just sunshine and roses. You come off as insensitive, and no one wants to be with someone who has no care about their feelings.
A sober mind is attuned to social cues and can instantly recognize emotions during communications. This is the fertile ground in which meaningful and more profound connections grow.
When you’re drinking, your idea of a good time is drinking from the early hours of the morning to late in the night.
What few people know is that alcohol ups the dopamine level in your brain such that to feel happy, you will need a higher level of the chemical.
Essentially, this is the root of all addictions. It starts off as you drowning your sorrow and ends with you just trying to feel even a smidgeon of joy.
Your brain can produce only a finite amount of dopamine at a time, and when this is coupled with the depressive properties of alcohol, you will find it hard to find joy at the bottom of a bottle.
Getting sober means readjusting the amount of the euphoria chemical required.
Over time, your brain restores itself, and you only need the regular amount of dopamine to feel happy. The result is that normal activities such as camping, hiking, reading, or going to the movies became fun.
Your happiness is not limited to whatever brand is on the bar shelf. Now, the world is your oyster.
We have all seen the alcohol addicts’ before and after pictures. The not so pretty dried out faces with acne forming a road networking zigzagging from forehead to chin.
One of the earliest rewards of sobriety is the improvement in appearance.
Alcohol is broken down by the liver to release a chemical known as acetaldehyde. This product is what causes the skin to dry out and dehydrates other body tissues. Causing the skin to lose its elasticity; a 28-year-old alcoholic ends up looking like someone twice her age. Her skin is saggy, her eyes dull, and lifeless, and her hair has lost its vibrancy and volume.
The ensuing blackheads that follow are due to inflammation of blood capillaries. Other than a flushed face and red skin, enlarged capillaries also cause breakouts such as acne and whiteheads, which can quickly turn to lesions that lead to permanent scarring if left untreated.
Since alcohol causes your skin to develop more clogged pores, then sobriety should have an opposite effect. Your skin starts to regain its brighter complexion, and your eyes appear bright and full of life. Looking at you, no one would believe that just a couple of weeks ago, those same eyes were bloodshot red and blotchy!
Better Sex Life
It’s a common misconception that alcohol is an aphrodisiac. The truth is that over-drinking harms your sex life.
Studies have shown that alcohol causes erectile dysfunction, reduced sensitivity, and vaginal dryness. So your drinking is ruining your sex life. And given the effect of alcohol on your impulse control, you are less likely to engage in risky sexual behavior when you’re sober than drunk.
Additionally, the erratic mood swings of an alcoholic do not support the growth of a healthy, lasting sexual relationship.
With alcohol coursing through your veins, you quickly react in extreme ways to every trivial thing your partner does. And your relationship becomes peppered with numerous conflicts which destroy any chance at lasting happiness.
A sober you has better control over their emotions and will act out of reason and not as an emotional response to some real or imagined misdeed.
Improved Brain Performance
The most apparent immediate reward of sobriety is a better brain performance.
A lot of drinking leads to dizziness, confused mental state, and disorientation. The next morning other than a wicked a hangover, you also feel groggy, nauseous, and may even vomit.
All these effects point to the internal havoc alcohol is doing to your organs. The body is uniquely designed to heal itself after moderate damage, but the destruction binge drinking rouses can only be treated by complete sobriety.
Fortunately, once you stop drinking and start up a treatment plan, you can slowly heal and sometimes even recover if the damage was not too severe. Your brain will regain its regular brain performance once the brain cells heal.
The frontal lobe of the brain is most affected by alcohol abuses and may take years to recover their full functioning capacity.
As long as you have both feet in the sobriety bandwagon, the brain will be able to rewire vital neural pathways damaged by addiction, enhancing your productivity, improving memory as well as the ability to concentrate.
Long Term Rewards of Sobriety
Alcoholism, like any addiction, satisfies your short-term reward system such that you will always opt for the fastest way to gratification that warrants the least amount of effort.
This is not altogether bad, but it needs to balance out with your long-term goals. Failing that, your short term means of satisfaction will hinder you from working towards other long-term achievements, and one alcoholic stupor will blend into the next.
Without alcohol in the mix, you can break up your goals into small manageable steps and work towards achieving your desired outcome. It gives you a perspective on what you want to do with your life while at the same time satisfying the need for instant satisfaction.
Each step you take to achieve your desired goal helps you see how your actions play into the big picture.
You will see how alcohol has blinded you from seeing its impact on your tomorrow. How you have been living each day as if there was no tomorrow and no consequence. Your actions will be methodically thought, out, and your decision critically analyzed.
You won’t just be reacting or make poor impulsive choices. This sort of clarity is what will encourage you to continue moving forward in your road to long term recovery.
Getting sober may not be great, but its numerous rewards make it worth all the effort.
Don’t let your brain tell you otherwise!
If you need help with your recovery, you can get in touch with the Hotline at our Recovery Center where trained and experienced professionals are available to assist you in every way.
The staff at Chateau Recovery is always available to help you with all of your questions regarding addiction recovery and treatment. Call anytime.
Chateau Recovery Center
375 Rainbow Lane
Midway, UT 84049, USA
Phone: +1 435-654-1082
Please call our toll-free helpline which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is staffed by experienced and caring professionals who can answer your questions and help you navigate through the process of evaluating and securing a treatment program.
If you or someone you love has questions concerning the rehabilitation process, call our free helpline Phone: +1 888-971-2986 for more information. Calls are always confidential, private, and secure.
6 Great Things That Happened When I Quit Drinking Alcohol
Thinking about quitting drinking? It can be a bit daunting to think about and dedicate yourself to, depending on your current habits. It’s certainly worth considering, though. Think about anything else you’ve quit before, whether it’s donuts in the morning, coffee to get you buzzing, or you’re a former smoker. These things all have two things in common: quitting is hard to do, and it’s also very rewarding – often in surprising ways.
The Many Gifts of Recovery Why Sobriety Is Worth It
When you are the midst of addiction, recovery can be a frightening prospect. Not only does getting sober seem like an exhausting process, life without the escape of drugs and alcohol can seem bleak and empty. In reality, the benefits of sobriety are nearly endless and recovery is an opportunity to create a richer, more fulfilling life in which your true potential can be reached. Here is a sample of what you can look forward to when you embrace a life in recovery: