A Life Changing Choice
Making the decision to abstain from alcohol is a life-changing choice. The process may be a difficult journey but the rewards of sobriety are limitless.
The Traditional 12 Rewards of Sobriety
Hope instead of desperation.
Faith instead of despair.
Courage instead of fear.
Peace of mind instead of confusion.
Self-respect instead of self-contempt.
Self-confidence instead of helplessness.
The respect of others instead of their pity and contempt.
A clean conscience instead of a sense of guilt.
Real friendships instead of loneliness.
A clean pattern of life instead of a purposeless existence.
The love and understanding of our families instead of their doubts and fears.
The freedom of a happy life instead of the bondage of an alcoholic obsession.
Originally by Ann C. (sober April 1, 1948) of Niles, Ohio and presented at the 1985 International Convention in Montreal, Canada
Self Respect and a Better You
As an individual who has suffered from addiction, the concept of self-respect is often confused. This could be for a number reasons but what's important to remember in recovery and getting back on track with your life free from addictions holding you down. A person going through Rehabilitation should have all their basic needs met before starting any new program or therapy session so that they can focus solely upon healing themselves without distractions.
Living with self-control is the key to a happy life. Without it, you will find yourself feeling bitterness and regret in your decisions which can lead down an unhealthy path toward addiction or worse.
Sobriety means you have to take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror. The way that we feel about ourselves directly affects what kind of life and personalty choices will be made, through self-exploration an individual can begin respecting themselves as well as their skills/ability with making decisions
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 a costly addiction. It can quickly drain your bank account and leave you without enough money to pay for necessary items. When fighting addiction, it's easy lose sight on all aspects of our lives: career choices, relationships, and savings accounts. You often spend a majority of time focusing solely upon obtaining substances at any cost - rather than taking care them first before worrying about anything else.
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.
Healthier Living and Routines
By living a clean, sober lifestyle you will have the opportunity to detoxify your body and work more efficiently without straining on any of its organs.
Imagine waking up every morning and knowing you will not experience any form of addiction. You can have a stable routine in your life without having to worry about being under the influence, or experiencing chaotic days.
It's important to establish a routine in your life. A healthy, mentally stable individual has one and it benefits them greatly--even when they are still alcoholic/addicted or trying recover from addiction! It can be difficult at first but stick with what works for you; eventually good habits will form if we persevere.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise; if you’re spending every waking moment either planning where you’ll get your next drink, 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 start failing,.
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.
It's hard to be a recovering addict and have your relationships with friends, family members or loved ones permanently damaged by addiction. Sometimes we cut ourselves off from those who try help because their presence reminds us too much about what can happen when drugs take over our lives.
Social graces such as logical thinking, proper judgment, and common courtesy often fall by the wayside.
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.
Alcohol ups the dopamine level in your brain such that to feel happy but over time, you 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.
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 their age. The skin is saggy, eyes dull, and lifeless, and 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 easy, but its numerous rewards make it worth all the effort. Don’t let your brain tell you otherwise!
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.