7 Surprising Benefits of Sobriety
When you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, you sometimes don’t realize all the areas of your life that are negatively affected. Depending on how long you’ve struggled with a substance use disorder, you may have grown accustomed to unfulfilling aspects of your life. You may never make the connection to addiction until after getting sober.
Sobriety is not an easy road to navigate, but it is an achievable one! Whether through online community support groups, inpatient or outpatient treatment programs, or traditional groups, such as AA, sober life is entirely within your reach.
When you achieve sobriety, many benefits may seem obvious, and some benefits you never knew.
1. Sex Drive and Function
Let’s talk about sex. Many people believe that alcohol consumption can improve their sex lives. Men have reported feeling more confident after getting boozy, and some women report lower inhibitions and feeling more sexual after a few drinks.
Drinking alcohol in moderation can make us feel more relaxed, but too much drinking and overindulging can reduce your sex sizzle. Cutting back or quitting alcohol can help improve your libido and improve your sex life. But how?
Studies show that alcohol can hurt your sex life in many ways, including dulling your physical senses. For guys, too much alcohol can cause sexual performance issues, such as erectile dysfunction (ED) and even a loss of libido, otherwise known as sex drive.
Also, overindulging in alcohol can play a role in premature climax for men, and women can have a more difficult time achieving orgasm if overly intoxicated. If you need the motivation to cut back on drinking or stop altogether, consider your sex life. Being sober can increase libido and could aid in bringing your sexual experiences to the next level.
Many report a robust, satisfying sex life among the most excellent benefits of sobriety.
2. Mental Health
Addiction can negatively affect your life, and mental health issues are strongly linked to substance abuse. Although, in some cases, it can be difficult to know which came first in an individual — mental health issues or substance abuse behavior. Addiction and substance abuse can be contributing factors to mental health conditions.
Substance abuse can cause changes in the brain in the same areas linked to some mental health disorders. After all, alcohol is a depressant, and alcohol addiction can worsen existing mental health issues and create a lifestyle that leads to depression and anxiety. Substance abuse can also be a cause of mood swings.
Conversely, sober living has a positive domino effect on your life. An alcohol-free life can lead to better sleep, higher self-esteem, and better overall health and wellness. All of these factors contribute to better mental health.
Mental health can affect virtually every aspect of your life, including your social life. Leaving an alcohol use disorder behind can help you achieve better mental health, which positively impacts your energy levels and productivity.
3. Improved Physical Health
When you stop drinking alcohol, you enjoy improved physical health in many ways.
Reduce Risk Factors for Disease
Heavy alcohol consumption can cause health conditions, such as high blood pressure, and sober life can improve this important metric, along with others. Quitting drinking can decrease your risk factors for many health issues, such as liver disease and cancer.
Weight loss can also be an indirect benefit, as some people report losing weight due to decreasing the extra calorie intake from heavy drinking. Others say late-night eating after a night of substance abuse was the norm, and sobriety has helped them eat healthier and achieve a healthy weight.
Motivation To Exercise
With improved energy, many people in addiction recovery finally get the motivation to embark on an exercise routine. Working out in the gym or finding other ways to get physical activity increases dopamine and creates a feel-good effect. Exercise can also help decrease cravings from drug addiction and alcohol abuse.
We improve our immune system when we’re in good overall physical condition. Many people report getting sick less often when they get sober.
Countless physical benefits are associated with stopping a substance abuse disorder, and improved physical health is one of the many benefits of a sober life.
4. Clarity and Focus
When the sun comes up, and the effects from substance abuse wear off, no one can deny that a hangover makes you feel less than optimal. The morning after a night of binge drinking or other substance abuse can cause dehydration in the body, withdrawal symptoms, and leave you in a haze.
When you stop drinking, you may have more clarity and focus than you’ve had in a long time. Getting sober improves your focus not just in the short term, but you can benefit from improved focus on your longer-term goals.
Without the weight of addiction on your shoulders, you can begin to focus or refocus on personal and professional goals — instead of drugs and alcohol.
Because substance abuse disorders can affect sleep patterns, stopping substance abuse can indirectly improve your focus by getting the recommended amount of nightly shut-eye. When you have consistent sleep and are sans hangover, you benefit by having a new level of clarity and improved focus.
5. Financial Benefits of Sobriety
Substance abuse can be a serious drain on your bank account. Depending on the level of drug addiction, or alcohol use disorder, it can cause financial hardship, including an inability to pay your bills, a disruptive work history, or all-around poor money management.
After getting sober, many people are amazed when they look back at how a substance use disorder impacted their financial situation. Many drug addicts and alcoholics have an unhealthy relationship with money, and once they enter sober life, they often find their money problems lessen or disappear.
Social drinking can become a financial liability when it becomes a strong habit. For some, being social and feeling accepted at the bar means buying rounds of drinks. Getting sober can be a financial game-changer if you have a habit of springing for brews, cocktails, or shots at your favorite drinking haunt.
If everyone knows your name when you walk into the bar, you’ve likely dropped some serious cash on drinking. Likewise, with drug addiction, you may have wondered in the past where your money went at the end of the month. Getting sober means shifting habits, including financial accountability.
A life of addiction can mean paying for drugs or alcohol instead of important expenses, such as house repairs or healthcare. Those in addiction recovery often talk about taking more pride in things they’ve worked hard for, such as a house, car, or savings account.
The benefits of sobriety can keep more of your hard-earned money in your wallet and improve your overall financial situation and outlook. Having a handle on your finances can help to make you feel self-confident by regaining control over your financial life and future.
6. Improved Relationships
The absolute best and most important relationship that sobriety brings is an improved relationship with yourself. When you feel good about yourself, you trust yourself and can keep commitments you’ve made to yourself.
Sticking to a goal to be sober shows you care about yourself enough to be sober. It can also help you to forgive yourself for past mistakes and begin a journey of self-love. To acknowledge milestones on a sobriety journey, some people in addiction recovery begin self-care routines for the first time in their lives.
Sobriety improves your relationship with yourself and those closest to you.
Improves Partner Relationships
Sober life can have a major positive impact on your relationship with your partner. For example, addiction can ruin an otherwise great marriage or be a deal-breaker for the greatest relationship you’ve ever known.
Choosing a sober life could dramatically improve your relationship with your partner in ways you didn’t even realize. Relationships are built around trust, and your partner learns to trust you when you keep commitments to them.
On the flip side, sobriety can open your eyes to a toxic relationship with a partner. For some, saying no to substance abuse helps them say no to abusive or toxic relationships.
A life of sobriety means you’re better equipped to bring your best self — and your true self — to partner relationships. It also can make way for new, healthy relationships.
Sobriety and Patience With Loved Ones
People often find that with sober living, they have better patience with others — and themselves. Although during a period of initial detox or withdrawal symptoms, this may not be the case at first, sobriety takes time; know that better days are ahead.
When someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, they can get fixated on getting a high or taking the edge off with their substance of choice. They can experience withdrawal or get easily agitated until, for example, they’ve got a drink in hand.
Addictions have five stages of recovery, and over time, sobriety can help you feel less anxious and, as a result, more patient and understanding.
Sobriety Improves Relationships With Family and Friends
People who have embraced sober life often report healthier relationships with family members, friends, and loved ones. Getting sober can have a positive impact, directly and indirectly, on the people in your life.
Sobriety can also help you find the courage to mend broken relationships or provide steady ground to start new, healthy relationships and friendships.
7. Peace and Recovery From Addiction
Addiction recovery can bring new-found peace to people who have stopped their substance abuse. This peace can come about for several reasons. For some, getting sober is about being honest with themselves and others around them for the first time in a long time.
Due to the ripple effect of substance abuse, people in addiction recovery can feel a new level of peace, seeing and feeling all areas of their life starting to improve after quitting their addiction. Some in addiction recovery find it helpful to engage in meditation to quiet the mind, help with cravings, and remind themselves to live in the present moment.
For others, treatment for addiction uncovers an undiagnosed mental health condition, referred to as a co-occurring disorder. Once sober, they stop self-medicating, uncover the root causes of their addiction, and get the help they need.
When you get sober, this can generate an overall sense of well-being and peace.
When you’re in the throes of addiction, you often don’t realize all of the ways — big and small — that alcohol affects your life. When you get sober, there are many benefits, including some surprising ones.
Get Help Today
Getting sober in isolation is a challenging path, with high rates of relapse, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Don’t suffer alone — join over 150,000 people at Sober Sidekick, an app that provides community support in your pocket.
Just download the Sober Sidekick app today, and when you need a little support (or a lot), just reach for your phone, so you can start your journey to sobriety and enjoy the many benefits of sobriety as soon as possible.