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The Gifts of Sobriety

 

Gifts of SobrietyThere are many reasons to get sober and recover from addiction.  All of us hear them in the meetings from the AA promises and from people with more time than us.  They provide us with motivation and incentive to strive towards recovery.

Here are some of the most common benefits that you can keep in mind and use as inspiration when you struggle through sobriety and all the hardships you may face in life to come:

  1. Life: This is the most important reason to get sober and the biggest benefit you will experience when doing so.  For many of us, when making the decision to get sober, it really was a life or death decision.  Continuing in our addiction would often lead to death and remembering this helps many in striving forwards through the recovery process.
  2. Health: Drinking and drugs can cause serious health risks.  Even if we may not have died from our addictions our quality of life could have been seriously diminished from the drugs themselves or from the irresponsible and dangerous behaviors we exhibit on drugs and alcohol.  Brain damage, physical injuries, and other side effects are entirely possible from our addictions and can completely ruin our lives.  Being sober frees us from worry of what might happen to our bodies and minds due to our risky lifestyles.  We actually feel better on a daily basis in sobriety.  No longer are we constantly tired or feeling sick and hung-over from the night before.  The horrible burden of feeling sick all the time can and will be lifted from us if we choose to remain clean and sober.
  3. Freedom: We are all truly trapped in our disease.  Sobriety gives us the freedom to do whatever we want that would not be in any way possible when using and drinking.  Even such simple small things like going to the movies, playing sports, or having a hobby is a drastic change and improvement in our lives.  In our addictions all of this was taken from us and our only hobbies were using and drinking until we passed out.
  4. Responsibility: Responsibility sounds scary in our usage and early sobriety.  It is not nearly as scary as we think it is going to.  Responsibility simply means being in control of our own selves and doing what is expected of us.  Going to the grocery store was a big achievement that required some serious planning when high.  Now small tasks and chores can be accomplished ‘spur of the moment’ and don’t seem so strenuous as before.
  5. Self-Respect: I don’t know about other people but I certainly never respected the person I was during my years of usage.  I was doing things that went completely against my moral beliefs but I ‘needed’ drugs.  Doing things I normally never would is something a lot of people can relate to.  In sobriety we no longer have to do these things.  We can take a look at who we are without the influence of drugs and alcohol and actually come to like and respect that person we see in the mirror.
  6. Clarity of mind: In our disease we were not in control of our own thinking and actions.  Through sobriety we start to regain this control and can think clearly and act in healthier ways because of it.  It is something that many are not used to but something that is needed for recovery from the disease of addiction.  We are no longer rattled by the small barriers in life and are able to act upon what stands before us without a hit or a drink.
  7. Awareness: In our addictions we our oblivious to the world around us.  It is like a veil that has blinded us to the beauty and happenings in daily life.  In sobriety we can take pleasure from the awareness of small things, such as a building or a bird in flight.  Focus, concentration, and retaining information are usually impossible when drunk or high.  Awareness of our environment is lost when drunk and high and regained when sober.
  8. Relationships: In use many of us find that we were isolated from our families and friends.  True, we usually made new friends; however these were normally the unhealthy friends we needed to avoid in sobriety.  With sobriety, we find that we can re-forge relationships with our families and friends.  These relationships can bring meaning to our lives.  Also in sobriety we can meet hundreds, if not thousands, of like-minded people and create a new network of relationships and support structures for our lives.  These relationships we make in sobriety are founded on something much deeper and more profound than a common interest in drinking or using.  They are based on the actual connections we make with others.
  9. Feelings: Feelings are something we used to fear and strive to blot out through our drug and alcohol use.  Feelings used to be something uncomfortable and to be avoided at all cost.  In sobriety we learn how to manage our emotions and feelings, finding that, in fact, they are not to be avoided at all.  True, not all feelings are positive; however, being able to feel real happiness that is not chemically-induced is worth the difficulty of having to sit with some discomfort once in a while.

10. Opportunities: In addiction the opportunities we are given are constricted and limited to the bare minimum life has to offer us.  In sobriety, we can follow any path we choose, and what employer or college wants to take a using drug addict?  In contrast, when sober, you have the opportunity to go wherever you want and do whatever it takes to achieve your goals.

These are just some of the benefits we all receive through sobriety, and there are many more out there to strive for.  The common thread of all these benefits is that, as alcoholics and addicts, we must maintain our sobriety for them to become obtainable to us.

 

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Filed under: Addiction, Life, Recovery · Tags: AA, Addiction, Alcoholics Anonymous, alcoholism, drug addiction, drug use, drugs and alcohol, Recovery, sober, sobriety, substance abuse