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For someone with alcohol use disorder (known simply as AUD, in doctor-speak), finding and maintaining a long-term, sustainable recovery from addiction is a truly mammoth challenge – a challenge that, if you can conquer it, will reward you by changing your life into something infinitely better.
Make no mistake – for every story of a successful, life-changing recovery, you’ll find several where it simply never happened, and many where it sadly had no chance of happening.
Constant relapse, incorrect feelings of personal shame and public stigma, a lack of support, an inability to find good treatment programs near to home, unescapable family or work commitments… Unfortunately, the list of reasons for this is endless.
Substance addiction treatment in the U.S. is seriously under-utilized.
The National Survey of Drug Use & Health, carried out in 2020, found that 28.3 million people (aged 12 years and over) were classified as needing treatment for AUD in the previous 12 month period.
However, of those, only a very small percentage felt they actually needed specialist treatment.
If you are thinking about finally getting sober and perhaps seeking treatment at an alcohol rehab facility, you may well be feeling a little overwhelmed… or even afraid.
For me, and this happened many years ago now, the prospect of never, ever drinking alcohol again in my entire life just seemed like an unattainable, unimaginable pipe dream.
I never thought it could one day be within my reach.
However, my alcoholism (and other substance abuse) was so out of control, so dangerous, and so literally life-threatening to me, it ended up not really being my personal choice (1). to undergo a medically-assisted detox, and then (2). to go into professional addiction treatment.
My friends simply took me there, once they had checked out all of the best detox centers in Phoenix. Threw me in the back of a car, and drove me right up to the front doorstep of their chosen detox center. I barely remember the journey.
My friends – who clearly still cared for me – saved my life that day. Mind you, they had to pretty much kidnap me to do it, as I would never have gone willingly.
Even though I had fought with them, stolen money from them, lied to them constantly, and been provocative and totally out-of-order most of the time, they still saved me, and what counted for my miserable, dysfunctional life back then.
Today, they are still my friends – each and every one of them. They’re also one of the main foundations of my recovery support network.
The clinician at the rehab later told me if I hadn’t made it into rehab that day, I may well have been gone in just a couple of short weeks. The forever kind of gone.
So when you feel a little overwhelmed and maybe a little afraid, please remember that your actions today to stop drinking and begin your recovery may very well save your own life.
Professional addiction treatment, and the long-term sobriety that can follow, will have a deeply positive and fundamental impact on all aspects of your life – your health, your relationships, and your experiences.
Let me explain how.
Here are your “6 Inspiring Ways Sobriety Can Make Your Life Infinitely Better.”
#1. Significantly Longer Life
If you stop drinking alcohol, and find recovery, you will enjoy a far longer life – a happier and a healthier one, at that.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S. states that chronic alcohol users will reduce their life expectancy by an average of 30 years if they continue to drink to such extreme levels.
In fact, the number of Americans who die from alcohol-related causes is nearly 100,000 every single year, and has been that high for many years.
However, by stopping drinking, your body and brain will begin to heal. Needless to say, a significantly longer life means significantly more time to share with your loved ones, family, and friends.
#2. Better, Stronger & More Honest Relationships
Many people living with alcohol addiction will eventually end up burning a lot of bridges, and damaging (or even permanently ruining) their relationships with the people they love.
However, sobriety provides the opportunity for you to make amends for your past behavior, and over time, prove to your loved ones that your days of alcohol abuse are now firmly behind you.
Sobriety allows you to learn how to handle your own emotions, to set healthy boundaries, and to form and develop honest and open connections with others.
#3. Finances Will Improve
One clear and obvious benefit from the cessation of your drinking will be plainly seen in your ever-improving bank balance. No alcoholic is fully aware of exactly how much money is being spent on their addiction – that is only realized once the drinking finally stops.
Consider all of these things – the total cost of the alcohol you drank, the irrational purchases you made when drunk, the misplaced or lost money, the potential medical bills and legal expenses that are inevitably incurred… The list goes on.
It certainly all adds up to one tidy sum – a tidy sum that it is no longer being spent.
And remember, the overall cost of alcohol addiction treatment is always cheaper than the financial, physical and mental price you pay by continuing to drink alcohol.
#4. Feel & Look Far Healthier
Along with living a longer life, you are going to feel much better and much healthier when you are finally sober. Many people with an alcohol addiction have a hard time imagining living without alcohol, just like I once did, but that’s not the case at all.
Over time, your physical and mental health will naturally improve.
The alcohol use will have numbed your physical senses, or even heightened them to the point of being uncomfortable to live with day-in and day-out. In time, these feelings do fade, and you’ll be happy to simply feel like “normal” once again.
Without the alcohol, people in sober recovery report clearer thoughts, and more vivid experiences. You will soon find out that life can actually be enjoyable and worth living without the constant alcohol use.
Additionally, it will quickly become apparent to others around you that you look far better, too – with a better complexion, better skin, and a more “with-it” appearance. Before long, this will become obvious to you, too.
#5. Sober Fun
Rest assured, life becomes more fun, too. Even recovery will have its fun, enjoyable and funny moments. For example, programs like 12-step meetings are not gatherings of depressed and angry people. Instead, you are likely to find yourself surrounded by new friends who make you smile and laugh, and who will want to involve you in a range of social activities.
Your life is no longer based around your next drink, meaning you’ll have plenty of time to devote to new hobbies, activities and friends.
#6. Personal Growth
A sober life, spent after years of alcohol abuse and chronic addiction, will create a tremendous amount of positive personal growth. Mentally and spiritually, you will be far stronger, far more creative, and far better to be around.
You’ll slowly realize you have personal goals now within your grasp. People in recovery are definitely more able, more prepared, and more motivated to do more of the things they’ve always wanted to do.
Whether these 6 ways sobriety can improve your life will have a profound effect on you or not, no one can say. Except you, of course. You have the power to do this, even though you may not believe that right now.
Believe me when I say that recovery from alcohol addiction is not only possible – it’s the best thing you could possibly do for yourself right now.
The first step is a simple one – find an alcohol rehab facility that can get you sober.
The rest is up to you.
Be well, stay safe, move forward and truly live your life.