A common misconception that many drug and alcohol addicts will believe is that sobriety is not as much of an enjoyable life as what drugs and alcohol gives them. They’ll think their personality and their life will become boring, about as riveting as white bread. And if they find their world crashing all around them, they might think that maybe it doesn’t ever really get better.
But the truth is, if you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, life stopped being enjoyable a long time ago and not because the world is against you. Recovering over an addiction opens new vistas to a world you may not remember before addiction. Over the metaphorical mountain that is beating your addiction is real joy and none of the rewards are boring in the slightest.
In case you need another push to take life back into your own hands, here is a list of all the things recovery gives back to you that addiction took away:
1. Your Health
Let’s start with the obvious: coming clean will get your health back up. Chronic substance abuse comes with various side effects onto your health, ranging from cardiovascular disease to HIV/AIDS. Any drug that requires needle injection, like heroin, can lead to various infections and diseases, like hepatitis B and C. Brain damage and neural disconnects can occur as result of various substances, along with liver/kidney damage, lung disease, and malnutrition.
Taking action to quit your addiction can prevent chronic illnesses from completely developing. Some damage might be irreversible, but even one day from cutting your body from your vice is healthier than none. Going through recovery could mean getting over your insomnia, reaching a healthy weight again, building your immune system to be strong, and being more energetic. Your body deserves to live and breathe again. Though withdrawal symptoms might seem like a backwards step to regaining your health, once you get over that hurdle, you’ll only get stronger.
2. Job Stability, Mental Stability, All Sorts of Stability
Remember how keeping a stable job was a real struggle while you were trying to constantly have a fix/drink? Bosses tend to not like it when you call out from work all the time because you’re too high or still trying to get over your morning hangover.
Substance abuse eliminates work ethic and could lead to bad habits: coming into work late every morning, missing work shifts, not turning in assignments because your head isn’t “all there,” making several mistakes that you wouldn’t make if you were sober, etc. Like most substance abusers, upholding a job is a real struggle that puts them in trouble with their finances and careers.
Recovering from addiction will give you that work ethic again. Finding a purpose in going to work every morning will give you value, knowing that people can and will rely on you again. Having a schedule will give you clarity and better habits, like exercising and meditating. Not only will you have financial stability, but mental stability. It’s much easier to have a good perspective on the world when you play an active role in it.
3. Money! Remember Money?
When you’re battling a drug addiction, part of the fall-out is the overwhelming cost of drugs. People will steal, beg, and prostitute themselves just to buy their next fix. The numbers aren’t low, with scenarios as real as someone spending a $100-200 a day just to satisfy their urge. Even if you’re not partaking in hard substances, even managing a pot/alcohol lifestyle could reach over $400-500/month levels, and eventually the debts catch up to you.
Recovery will bring all that money back into your pocket to be used for valuable assets in your life. Imagine affording your rent or having food on the table every day. Drug money could translate into checking in at a rehab program and getting yourself back in order. Treat yourself.
4. Finding Joy in the Little Things
Part of recovery is teaching your brain how to enjoy life without getting high or drunk. It’s hard breaking certain social rituals, whether you can’t watch a movie if you’re not getting wasted or think a party event isn’t a real event without alcohol and/or drugs. People tell you to pick up a hobby, but it all looks dumb if you can’t get the rush you want. Boredom is what leads many people into addiction, but boredom only exists if you refuse to interact with the world.
You can find beauty all around if you look. There’s something more enjoyable to experiences if you can remember them, whether it’s dancing with friends and loved ones or traveling to a new place and trying new foods. Listening to stories and laughing or crying at the details people mention become more meaningful. Watching a movie and understanding the message it was trying to convey will speak to you and teach you. Breathing in the air as you do yoga in the morning will give you peace.
Witness what this world has to offer beyond the haze of addiction. You’ll love it.
Most substances tend to mute the user’s emotional response, turning every form of reaction into a bland “sameness.” Sure, maybe every once in a while you might succeed at reaching that perfect high and experiencing joy at levels reaching nirvana, but after those few hours is an agonizing period of feeling nothing. Everything is underwhelming, anticlimactic, and dull. Bit of a let-down, emotions.
Going through recovery puts your body through a detoxing process and in that process, all the chemical imbalances caused by substances start to return back to normal. In fact, some recovering addicts say that their emotions become overwhelmingly powerful. One moment you’re sobbing over a sad news story you heard on television and the next you’re laughing at the latest meme trend like it’s the funniest joke on the planet. That feeling of numbness will be gone. Emotions will feel real. You’ll be sad when things are sad, but you’ll also be happy when things are going well.
Recovery means knowing what accomplishment will feel like, and it’s feeling like a human.
Preserving your relationships while abusing drugs and/or alcohol can be difficult to nearly impossible for some. Too often will friends and family detach themselves from a substance abuser when things begin to get too rough and troubled, or an addict will push loved ones away as the addiction grows stronger and more of a priority in their mind. Addiction can ruin every meaningful relationship you have and leave you alone with no one to help you.
Taking your first steps to recovery means taking your first steps to gaining your relationships back. It means avoiding blame and opting for forgiveness on both yours and your loved ones’ ends. It means having a support circle who can help you through your addiction, meeting other recovering addicts through therapy who can tell you what the process is like and how to get through it, establishing bonds with your family as you return to it. For those with children, it could mean giving them a safer environment to live in or beginning the journey to be a part of their life again.
Once you begin to love yourself by regaining your health, getting your life in order, and mentally recuperating, your relationships will return. You are in charge of building a positive circle around you.
7. Better Sex
Now, while some people actively debate that drugs and alcohol can be used as aphrodisiacs for some mind-blowingly awesome sex, the fact is that it’s mostly a crapshoot when trying to use a substance to get you in the mood. Chronic abuse of drugs and alcohol, in fact, leads to sexual issues, such as: erectile dysfunction, lower to no sex drive, problems with ejaculations, and a higher chance of catching an STD.
Lowering your inhibitions with substances gives you the impression that you’re having better sex, but numbers show that more people struggle with getting erections or never reach orgasm or just have bad sex in general. Getting sober—having developed real emotions and relationships again—will allow you to make love with all your senses. Sex is generally better when you’re conscious, after all.
Recovery is a difficult journey, but the rewards could mean expressing love with your partner in a true, authentic and intimate setting. See the beauty in the love you have formed and in what you could create. Recovery means seeing your future as something bright—and that’s one hell of a thought during an orgasm. Wouldn’t that be a rush?