Though it may seem straightforward, the term sobriety is actually somewhat controversial in the field of addiction treatment. For some people, sobriety has a very narrow definition and refers to complete abstinence from all substances considered to be addictive, though this typically excludes both nicotine and caffeine. Many members of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) define sobriety in this way, for example.
However, some people support a more flexible definition of sobriety, suggesting moderate substance use, when it does not interfere with function, may be part of sobriety. Addiction expert Stanton Peele is one individual who has suggested defining sobriety as complete abstinence from all substance use may be dangerous because it leads to an all-or-nothing approach that might effectively prevent individuals from considering alternative ways to be sober. He also believes sobriety should be about more than just the absence of substances and should include a purposeful and meaningful life.
The Challenges of Maintaining Sobriety:
Maintaining a sober state can be difficult for many people who have previously abused substances for a number of reasons. Relapse, or the return to substance use following a period of abstinence, is common—an estimated 60% of people who receive substance abuse treatment relapse within a year.
In the early stages of sobriety, an individual may experience uncomfortable or even painful withdrawal symptoms along with the physical craving to use their substance of choice. Anxiety, fear, and sadness are not uncommon emotional experiences in early recovery, especially for people who were using substances as a way to cope with difficult emotions. People in early recovery may also feel isolated and lonely if they choose to no longer spend time with friends who are actively using.
One of the most tragic parts of not being sober is losing out on precious moments in life. When you’re addicted to a substance of any kind, you won’t remember the details of important things that happen. The more you sink into your addiction, the more you become out of touch with people and experiences. When you’re drunk at a family function, for example, you lose out on the sweet things kids do. When you’re sober, you can really be in the moment and be present with loved ones.
The “The Gateway Advantage” is a platform that can provide you a great change to deal with all the life problems and the challenges that come in the way of maintaining positivity and sobriety in one’s life. For moving ahead in life is much important for an individual’s soul.
“Life is about moving on, accepting changes and looking forward to what makes you stronger and more complete.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Benefits of staying Sober:
Being sober will bring life back to your body at a cellular level that will eventually shine through externally. If you’re addicted to alcohol, you’re in a constant state of dehydration which sucks the moisture from your largest organ, the skin. This causes your skin to look bland and muted.
Much of our social behaviors involve the use of substances in one form or another. Even if you’re not an addict, living a sober lifestyle can seem like a difficult feat.However, once you give up drinking or drugs, your life will change for the better in a multitude of ways. Whether you’re an addict or you are simply looking to improve your health, here are 14 reasons sobriety makes your life healthier, more fulfilling, and more fun. Being a sober person comes with some large benefits that maybe you can’t see in your present moment. While you can appreciate some of the obvious positive changes that will occur, there are some smaller nuances that will surprise you. The initial elation of a life with no hangovers, no more chains that bind you, no more booze blues and no more addiction-related mistakes is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Once you treat your addiction, you’ll be in alignment to be the person you were destined to be.
Here are some benefits of staying sober.
Your life becomes less chaotic: You don’t have to live in constant turmoil anymore because you’re not worried about getting money, getting drugs or alcohol, and then lying or manipulating to cover up your behaviors. You finally get a chance to sit still and relax.
You feel healthier: Substance abuse has profound effects on the body. In sobriety, you aren’t putting toxic chemicals in your body, so you will actually have more energy and feel more alert and focused! Not to mention the fact that your internal organs get to take a break from working overtime to process the drugs and alcohol.
You look better: Do you have sunken in cheeks, red patches, or bad acne? Good news – in sobriety, your skin actually improves! Without nasty, toxic chemicals in your body, your complexion will improve tremendously and you will gain weight back to your face, making you look beautiful and healthy again!
Your memory improves: We all have nights we don’t remember while in addiction, but shortly after detox, your memory will rapidly begin to improve. No more worrying about what you did last night – your memory will become sharp and as good as new!
Your mental health improves: Sleep, diet, and overall health are directly correlated with the status of your mental health. As your lifestyle improves, you will find your emotions more stable and manageable. You will find yourself having less mood swings along with increased happiness.
You worry less: When you are sober and doing the right thing, the worry of getting in trouble with others or getting caught by the cops disappears. You’re sober, you have a job, you are being honest with others, you have a roof over your head, you aren’t worried about going into withdrawals – what’s there to worry about anymore?
You form deep connections with others: Friendships made in sobriety are like no other. These friends understand exactly what you are going through because they have been there too. They will love and support you unconditionally. There is something about friendships in recovery that is magical.
You grow spiritually: Spiritual growth consists of removing obsolete or negative habits and thoughts from your life. Mindful meditation is a great way to grow spiritually because it relaxes your mind and aids in coping with feelings of anxiety and stress. It is a free, easy to do activity that promotes healing and spiritual growth by connecting your mind, body, and spirit.
You find your purpose in life: There is somebody out there who is hopeless and feels like they cannot stay sober. You may not know it at the time, but your story is the only story they will hear. Your experience, strength, and hope, is going to help somebody stay sober. You have the ability to change lives.
You learn to love yourself: By staying healthy, having new experiences, building relationships, and helping others, you will begin to truly love yourself. You will treat your body and mind with a gentle respect, as you have been blessed with a new, sober life. For many of us, we have spent too much time hating ourselves. Being able to love who we are, for all of our imperfections, is nothing short of a miraculous gift in sobriety.
I John Bonavia, work with primary care providers in situations where good health care involved paying attention not only to physical health, but also to habits, behaviors and emotions. If your primary care provider, for any reason, is concerned that any of these things alone or in combination are impacting your health or functioning, they can call me in as a consultant.
“No single treatment works for everyone, so find someone who thinks broadly about you, your lifestyle, and your goals.”
The “The Gateway Advantage” can also provide support, challenge distorted thoughts that impede sobriety, help individuals identify their triggers, and assist people in exploring any underlying trauma that may have factored into their turning to substances to cope. Here I can provide a great help to an individual to learn more effective and less dangerous ways of coping with emotions so they do not continue to lean on substances to deal with the stressors of life.
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