For an addict, letting go of alcohol means finding freedom. This substance has had such a hold on you, controlling your every move and thought. The good news is that this means sobriety can offer truly exciting possibilities to change your life for the better.
An alcohol-free life will give you new time, energy, awareness, and improved health that you can work toward living a healthy life. Here are some ways you can directly benefit from sobriety, and make its freedom work to help you choose the best life possible.
New awareness of self and surroundings
Alcohol affects the brain as a depressive drug, impairing the brain's ability to process information and making it more difficult for nerve cells to interact with each other. Under the influence of alcohol, your ability to receive information from the senses is significantly slowed down.
By contrast, sobriety gives you a profound new sense of clarity, and a sense that everything is being felt with a sense of heightened sensitivity, whether smells, sights, or emotions. Without the hazy feeling of alcohol affecting your brain, everything comes at you with astonishing clarity.
Having a successful recovery means learning how to take all of it in, and be truly in touch with your thoughts and feelings, learning how to manage and control of them. Rather than repress your true feelings, honor them and let them speak, and think about how you can deal with them directly.
New abilities to manage life
The ways that alcohol influences your thought processes can also have a profound impact on your behavior. Especially at high levels, alcohol can lead to radical changes in personality. Many people engage in risky activities they wouldn't otherwise, because they are less able to become aware of the consequences of their actions. Some people may even become violent or otherwise have difficulty controlling their emotions. The life of an alcoholic often feels out of control, unpredictable, and disorganized.
With sobriety, you are, in a sense, getting your life back, no longer surrendering control to unpredictable brain chemistry. This enables you to live with more intentionality, to be better equipped to plan for the future, and to make and keep commitments. Some people worry that a life of sobriety is going to be friendless or joyless, but in actuality, an alcohol free life can be full of fruitful friendships and enjoyable experiences, which you can appreciate all the more because you will be truly alive to them.
Even a non-addicted social drinker may have moments where alcohol disturbs sleep, dehydrates, and creates the pain of a hangover. Heavy habitual drinking can further weaken the immune system, put you at risk for heart disease, or destroy your liver, making you very vulnerable to sickness.
Although quitting drinking can create a temporary hard period of withdraw, this detoxification process usually lasts only 2-4 days, after which your body goes to work healing itself. Slowly, the negative consequences will reverse themselves. Research suggests that a chronic drinker has an average lifespan 10-20 years shorter than a non-alcoholic.
You can help further this process along by pursuing recovery holistically, setting good habits of regular sleep, exercise, and healthy eating that can dramatically increase your body's ability to function. You may find a dramatic increase in energy, which you can use to develop new passions and skills, leading a more full life.
For these reasons, and more, living without alcohol can dramatically improve your life. It may seem like an overwhelming adjustment, but by getting help from others, and taking things one day at a time, you can slowly move into a life with more freedom and possibilities than you ever thought possible.