Thursday December 13th 2018

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Why Get Sober? Top 10 Benefits of Being Drug and Alcohol-Free

ARTICLE OVERVIEW: This article reviews common consequences of addiction. Then, we take a look at some motivating reasons to quit drinking or using. Need inspiration? Dive in!


ESTIMATED READING TIME: 7 minutes.


TABLE OF CONTENTS


Consequences: Addiction Takes a Toll

People who drink or use pay heavily. Those of us who suffer from substance use disorders often have one or more accompanying medical issues. For me, alcohol and marijuana ate away at my immune system. And I was starting to have trouble sleeping.

You see, these issues can be psychological as well as physical. So not only do we inflict harm to our bodies….but addiction messes up our minds, too.

Addiction takes its toll on many aspect of your life. So, what are the possible risks and damages of prolonged alcohol and drug consumption? And, more importantly, what will you gain when you become substance free?

We take a look here. Then, we invite you to review your current priorities as you read. Give us a call if you want to make a change now. Hotline staff are waiting to talk with you confidentially. Finally, we invite your questions in the designated section at the end of the page. Please leave us a question in the comments section. I’ll try to get back with you personally and promptly!

Physical Consequences of Addiction

Usually, the first physical health issues caused by chronic alcohol or drug abuse include stress on the cardiovascular and respiratory system. However, substance abuse can lead to even more adverse physical effects, such as:
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Hepatitis B And C
  • HIV and AIDS
  • Lung Disease
  • Stroke

Psychological Consequences of Addiction

Drug or alcohol abuse and mental illness often co-exist. In some cases, mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, or schizophrenia may precede addiction; in other cases, drug abuse may trigger or exacerbate those mental disorders, particularly in people with specific vulnerabilities. Psychological side effects of addiction include:
  • Anxiety
  • Compulsion Issues
  • Confusion
  • Decreased pleasure in everyday life
  • Depression
  • Engagement in risky behaviors
  • Mood swings
  • Psychological turmoil

Financial Consequences of Addiction

Addiction drains your finances. The cost of obtaining substances can be in the range of thousands per week. In terms of lost wages, job opportunities, health costs, and relationship…the costs are even higher. On a broader level, society is also negatively affected by addiction, including the costs for:
  • Drug-related law enforcement efforts
  • Health care expenses
  • Lost productivity
  • Housing drug offenders in jails and prisons

Emotional Consequences of Addiction

As time passes, we begin to spend more time thinking, planning, obtaining, and using our drug-of-choice than anything else. Soon, anxiety may become a serious problem. Depression is another effect and can occur as a result of chemical depletion in the brain. Depression is usually made worse during the “crash” that follows a “high”.

Addiction often leaves people feeling:

  • Dissapointed in themselves
  • Easily irritable
  • Helpless
  • Low self-worth and self-esteem
  • Pessimistic
  • Stressed
  • Unloved and unloving

Relationship Consequences of Addiction

Our drinking and drug use has a clear effect on our relationships with family members, friends, and loved ones. When substance abuse reaches more critical and damaging stages, it can create emotional distance between you and your partner or family. If fights become violent, you should seriously consider asking for help.

When the substance use eventually becomes one of the main reasons for fighting or arguing, a vicious cycle begins in which substance use causes conflict, and the conflict leads to more substance use as a way of reducing tension. So, as conflicts about the substance use escalate – more drinking or drug use occurs, and so on.

Legal Consequences of Addiction

  • Arrest and probation records (make it difficult to find a job)
  • Being sentenced to jail
  • Community service requirements
  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Large fines you have to pay

10 Reasons to Be Sober! Drug and Alcohol FREE

#1: You’ll Avoid Arrest and Imprisonment.

Every time you buy or use drugs, you put yourself in danger. Possessing or distributing illegal drugs is a crime in all states of the U.S. Many government sources report that drug abuse violations have the highest number of arrests. But it’s not just illicit or Rx drugs.

Driving under the influence (DUI) should also raise your eyebrows. If you are driving drunk or high, a state attorney general will go after you. In these cases, it is not only about your life, but the lives of many others around you. Some of us need tangible motivation. In this case, the first reason to quit using is to avoid punishment.

#2: You Can Be Useful to Society.

It is really important to understand that YOUR well-being is one of the most significant acts for improving the world. When you get into treatment, you are not only helping yourself; you are also helping your spouse, children, friends, family, colleagues, and other people in your life. We are all connected. So, if you’re sick…others feel it.

Once you are substance free, you can contribute to other people’s well-being. You might consider helping a community center or volunteering as a motivational speaker in group sessions. So, the second reason to get sober is that you’ll become socially responsible. You’ll stop being a burden to society, and start contributing to it. Seek help and find a way to get sober today.

#3: You’ll Become Emotionally Independent.

There is no better way to feel satisfaction and happiness in life than through meeting responsibility head on. Finding pleasure in taking drugs, alcohol, overeating, or having too much sex…well, it’s for the emotionally stunted. Instead, emotional balance is built on the foundations of healthy patterns.

In the long run, drug-enhanced release of dopamine in the brain will have a negative effect on your life. Just ask anyone in recovery. Your brain will increase its tolerance for your drug, and you’ll need more to get high. Plus, you cannot rely on getting high in order to feel happy for long. Eventually, there’s a crash.

In recovery, you will need to learn how to face situations in life that bring you stress, anxiety, and depression. Ignoring these issues will not help you overcome or accept them. Instead, support groups and treatment providers will help you establish new healthy habits in your life and feel good without abusing drugs.

#4: You Can Realize Big Dreams.

Everyone wants to achieve something in life. We all have dreams that are based in an inner desire. Realizing those dreams is on the path of development. To illustrate, there is one golden rule that says: “Where your focus goes – energy flows”. Why continue to focus on your problems when you can start to manifest success?

We can invest time and money in our personal growth or we can waste them in taking drugs or drinking alcohol. Once we overcome our addiction we can focus on the things we want to achieve. Then, we can fulfill our desires step by step. I’m not joking here. This year, I realized a lifelong dream of writing a book. It was published by an academic publishing house! Check it out here: The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions.

Substance abuse can kill our dreams. But recovery can bring us back to life.

#5: You’ll Save Money By Eliminating Unnecessary Costs.

The use of drugs or alcohol is not only a tax on your health, but it is also a fine to your piggy bank. Think about the large portion of your monthly income that you spend on substances, and what else you’d rather do with that money in the long run.

For me, I just kept increasing my credit card debt. Once I cut out the spending, I was able to consolidate and budget. Gaining financial freedom from these unhealthy habits is one of the important benefits of being drug and/or alcohol free. Increasing your wealth will allow you to accomplish your goals even faster.

#6: You’ll Find True Friends.

Very often, we attract people that share the same interests as us. In moments when we use drugs or alcohol, we tend to attract losers. Or people who take pity on us.

By being sober, you can learn that responsibility and reliability are the foundations for real friendships. You can also meet new friends while in addiction recovery and they can have a real understanding of what you’re going through (which may only bring you closer). Not only that, but the ability to discriminate comes back; you’ll be better able to decide what “healthy” and “unhealthy” look like…and avoid painful relationships when you see them coming.

#7: You’ll Can Enjoy Career Growth.

Finding a better job or keeping up with tasks in your current work place is another advantage of being drug and alcohol free. When you’re under the influence, it can be more difficult for you to keep consistent and focused on what you do. For me, I would repeat tasks, or get lost in the middle of one. Especially when I came to work high.

Keeping yourself away from psychoactive drugs, on the other hand, can help you become a better employee. The characteristics you present to others will lead you to improve your career path in many ways. Maybe you’ll be offered a better salary or a new position. Or perhaps the value you hold in the company will increase. Whatever the effect, it will be positive. And you can grow!

#8: You’ll Be a Better Parent.

We just started writing a series on child welfare. So, I’m absolutely certain that quitting drinking makes you a better parent. Drugs increase aggressivity and decrease inhibition. Now, add a child.

Using around your kids is child abuse.

For parents, the most important benefit of being drug and alcohol free is becoming a better parent. Addiction can seriously affect families, and all relations in the family may be exposed to danger. You may neglect your responsibilities as a parent because getting high became more important.

In cases of legal battles over a childrens’ custody, people who use substances are prohibited to interact with their children until they become clean and sober. Once you’ve made a clean break, begin to talk with your children about how they feel, how your behavior influenced them, and affected their lives. Honest conversations can help you rebuild the relationship that has been broken. It will take time, but the only way forward is … forward.

#9: You’ll Overcome Physical Dependence.

None of us like to be a slave to anything in this world. But drug or alcohol dependence is a physiological state of adaptation to a substance that makes your drug-of-choice the master. When dependence is formed, the neurotransmitters in the brain which regulate our mood and behavior tweak out. So do the parts of our brains that supervise learning, memory, and cognition. But this can be reversed.

When your body becomes dependent on a substance, you will experience symptoms of withdrawal when regular use is lowered or discontinued. Detox is only temporary. And let’s face it. If you were man/woman enough to get high…you should be man/woman enough to go through withdrawal. Chins up!

Your physical health can be greatly improved when you get clean and get your brain function in balance again. As a result, you are free! You are no longer dependent – in any way – on something outside of your own creation. Sometimes, this is the one thought that can prevent a relapse!

#10: You’ll Get Perspective on Your Real Struggles

If you are reading this article, you may just be beginning to think about recovery. Know this: when you get clean and sober, you get insight. You realize that you’re the originator of your problems. When you own the maladaptive pattern as your own, it because MUCH, MUCH easier to change it.

Got a Question?

By cleaning your conscience, you can repair yourself. The past is nothing to regret. But the future is in your hands! If you want to change your mind and find motivation to get off drugs….give us a call. We’ll talk you through your treatment options and discuss what rehab requires.

Or, leave us a question!

Please share your opinions and questions regarding the benefits and the effects of being drug and alcohol free. We will try to respond personally and promptly to all legitimate inquiries.

Reference Sources: NIH: Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction
AAMFT: Substance Abuse and Intimate Relationships

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