What’s up y’all? I talked in my last two posts about how much life has improved over the past 8 months with the combination of my new job plus diagnosis and treatment of ADHD. While those are the major factors in my improvement, they are not the sole reasons that I have become more successful in my sober lifestyle. I have been thinking a lot about all of the variables that have come into play over the past 2.5 years of sobriety that have enabled me to get to this point. These are the top five areas in which I have seen the biggest improvements.
You can never really see the financial impact when you are a daily drinker. It becomes a normal part of your routine. No matter the frequency or type of addiction you’re facing, the financial impact it has on your everyday life adds up. It can result in thousands of dollars spent every year, trying to capture that fleeting sense of happiness.
You know what helps make me happy now? Money, to be honest. I don’t mean that in a Warren Buffet, “enough money to buy a small country” way, but in a freedom to do and buy the things I want sort of way. The thing about money that makes me a happier person is the opportunities it presents. I won’t dissect my budget here, but the highlights of some of the things I can now enjoy without the financial burden of daily drinking are:
- Travel and attending sporting events
- Technology & gadgets
- Adventure-filled date nights
- Premium coffee, tea, and non-alcoholic drinks
- Gym membership
- Savings & investments
Although these are all ways to open your wallet to spend your hard-earned dollars, they are also great avenues for improving yourself or enjoying your sober lifestyle.
Some of the most common and costly casualties of addiction are your relationships. Whether that’s with a spouse, partner, friend, family member, co-worker, or anything in between – substance abuse and addiction often drive a wedge between you and the ones you care about. In sobriety, the way you behave and treat other people really comes into focus.
It’s easy to lose track of how a healthy relationship works. Honesty, transparency, and realistic boundaries all go out the window when you’re enabling your addiction. Relationships of any variety are about giving and taking – but when your top priority is when you’ll get your next drink or fix, you can suddenly find yourself taking, and taking, and taking. For the people on the other side of this, it can feel overwhelming and alienating.
Sobriety is the first step in repairing the damage done in your relationships. It allows you to step back from your dependencies and re-evaluate what’s really important to those around you.
A Good Night’s Rest
Sleep is critical for your road to recovery. A well-rested mind is a calm and critical thinking mind. When you go to sleep intoxicated, your body is not in a proper sleep cycle and REM sleep is limited. Developing a nightly routine in your recovery is an important step in order to get the rest you need to take on the day successfully.
Let me be clear: sleep may be hard to come by when you’re breaking your addiction. A multitude of withdrawal symptoms can keep you from a good night’s sleep for days, weeks, or sometimes even months. But once that cloud cleared and my sleep cycle regulated, I found myself waking up with a clear head, and a lot of energy to start my day. This made me more productive, and I was suddenly able to focus more on developing my healthier habits.
Addiction comes in many different forms, and it has a lot of effects on your mind and body. Often, it can come with deep-seated depression and anxiety, and the road to recovery can pave a road for you in dealing with these issues in a healthy way. By kicking the addiction and working through the reasons and triggers for anxiety, your life will benefit in many ways. For me, I was able to get a grasp on the true reasons why I was anxious and depressed. I was able to take that knowledge and improve my outlook day over day. You’ll find confidence in yourself and the choices that you make. You’ll find that even on the days full of struggle and self-doubt, you can look back on those choices you’ve made and be proud of them.
This is the part that we’re all really here for. I can’t tell you what the meaning of life is, or how to find it. What I can tell you is that you may miss the signpost to your goals when you’re in the midst of addiction.
When you’ve gone through the steps, developed healthy habits, and found your new favorite hobbies, things really come into focus and you can start thinking long-term. You’re not fixated on where to get your next drink, but instead can start thinking about what you want to accomplish and the steps needed to get there. Whether it’s developing a career goal, finding a partner, finishing that half-completed bathroom in your house, or anything else – you’ve given yourself this amazing situation of being free. It does take time, but being able to carve out your own path in life is one of the most fulfilling and invigorating experiences of your recovery.
As I said, all of this develops over time but when you’re sober and enjoying the finer details of life, the days do add up quickly. Before you know it, you have some decent sobriety time under your belt and can see all the areas of improvement happening before you eyes. Time is so extremely valuable and now you can use it to your advantage instead of just drinking it away and getting lost in moments that accomplish nothing.
What benefits have you seen from a sober lifestyle? Whether mental, physical, fiscal, or fiction, I’d love to hear more! Share them in the comments below and be sure to follow me on social media. And please be sure to sign up for my newsletter to get updates and keep your eye out for the latest on what’s coming next for OWN Sobriety.