When you’re in the grip of alcohol or drugs, you might think being sober will be boring. Or even impossible. Depending on why you use drugs or alcohol, you might wonder how sobriety can compare.
But drug overdoses kill around 44,000 people every year. Being sober can literally be the difference between life and death. Are you wondering how it actually feels to be sober? Read on to learn more.
Feel in Control of Your Life
When addiction starts, you lose control of your life. Your days become a monotonous quest for the next drink or hit.
Enjoying vacations becomes tricky as you plan how to squeeze in your addiction. And holidays are awkward if you have to spend time with curious family members.
When you’re sober, those problems go away. Your addiction no longer controls how you spend your time.
No more worrying about scoring your next hit. Or having to hide the bottles. You can use that brain power for more useful challenges.
Be Sober and Proud of Yourself
Yes, there will be moments when you’ll feel bored. Social occasions can feel more painful because the temptations are always there.
But when you turn them down, you can feel proud of yourself. You’ve made a choice to be sober. Making that choice makes you incredibly powerful.
It goes back to the first point. Making these choices puts you back in control of your life.
What else could you choose to do with it?
Besides, those around you will be proud of you too. When you choose to be sober, you’re sending a message that you choose them not your fix.
That’s a great way to repair old relationships.
Get Rid of Worry
Addiction brings a lot of worries with it. You might worry about things like:
How can you hide the evidence from co-workers or friends?
- Where will you get your next drink?
- What do people really think of you?
- Is your wife/husband going to leave you?
- Will you lose your children?
- How can you scrape together the money for your next fix?
- What did you do during that blackout?
Being sober banishes those worries. You’ll get your memory back. So no more worrying about doing anything embarrassing.
You may still obsess about these things during your recovery. You can read more now about tricks to help stop this.
Enjoy Better Health
Maybe you started drinking to numb yourself to sleep. And being sober will be hard at first as you struggle to adjust.
But when you do, you’ll enjoy deeper, better quality sleep. You’ll feel more rested in the morning and ready to get going with a new day.
Your body will start to function the way it’s supposed to. You may swap alcohol or drugs for comfort food.
Even if you do, it’s a good opportunity to start a gym habit. Enjoy natural highs with exercise endorphins. Find a sport you enjoy and start doing it.
Not only that, but you’ll look better. Your hair, skin, and nails will all recover. Watch the years fall off you!
Expand Your Horizons
You’ll have more time available to do new things. Instead of losing time to blackouts, hangovers or binge sessions, you can take up new hobbies.
Maybe go to the gym. Take up running. Whatever you choose to do, you’ll enjoy a new approach to life. You won’t be deadening your senses with drugs or alcohol anymore.
So everything you direct your attention towards will become clearer, and sharper. It’s true, you won’t be able to yoga your way to sobriety. But these new hobbies, with new people in new places, will support your recovery.
You can reinvent yourself and escape any shame you might feel about your past. Or build yourself a support network of new friends who want to cheer you on. Choosing friends who will support your sobriety may be hard.
Get to Know Yourself
All of the things we’ve covered so far are vital to your sobriety. But we’re not going to sugar coat things and say it’ll be plain sailing all the time. It’s in this new space, not clouded by drugs or alcohol, that you’ll be able to get to know yourself.
And it might be months, or years since you knew who that was. You’ll have to confront aspects of yourself that you may don’t like. Or deal with things that you think you should change. This kind of work, often known as ‘shadow work’, can be difficult. It can also be painful.
But try to approach it with a sense of curiosity. And if you don’t like something you uncover, remember you can always work to change it. Who you are now isn’t who you always have to be. And seek support if it starts to get overwhelming.
It Can’t Rain All the Time
There’s a wonderful line in the film The Crow, when the superhero tells a young friend that “it can’t rain all the time”. He means that it won’t always be a miserable or difficult period.
It’s well worth remembering this as you work on your sobriety. You’ll be able to feel new emotions – such as sadness, or depression that you used to numb with substances.
While feeling them might seem a bad thing, being able to feel them at all is a positive step forward. It reminds you that you’re human and you’re alive. And negative feelings won’t last forever.
Being sober means you’re better equipped to deal with setbacks. You’re more clear-headed. And better able to process emotions instead of running away from them. Feeling emotions again means you get the enjoy all the natural highs of joy, hope, and optimism!
Now you’ve got a better idea of what it feels like to be sober. You’ll still have good days and bad days. The difference is that you get to choose which ones you want more of. With more control, you can design a life you want to get out of bed for.
As Trainspotting put it – Choose Life. And remember to head back over to check out our lifestyle section. You’ll find plenty of ideas for new things to enjoy now that you’re sober.