Author: Justin Mckibben
Sobriety, that freedom from drugs and alcohol through the practice of learning, applying, and sharing new principles based on emotional, interpersonal, and spiritual growth provides the addict or alcoholic with gifts often beyond measure. Many of these gifts are common goals of the addict, and they remain hopeful to achieve them upon maintaining sobriety, but there are many gifts that are not so intended or expected. Some of us could not even begin to guess at the extent of the blessings we would receive by committing to a life of sobriety and actively working and contributing to a program of recovery.
However our lives have changed, and however our recovery has impacted the lives of others, gratitude is key. Once we are able to be truly grateful, we will notice even more than these 9 really random and unexpected perks of sobriety. After all, some of us could barely expect we would be able to give up drugs and drinking, so really ANYTHING is an amazing achievement.
- Sleeping better and having energy
Many people have said they never realized how bad their sleeping habits were, or how much energy they were throwing away drinking or using drugs until after an extended period of sobriety, when their body readjusted to life and a better diet and suddenly they find themselves sleeping deeper, feeling more rested and refreshed when they wake up. Some of us never looked forward to waking up at all, especially with a hang-over. Waking up early and excited for the day seems crazy!
- New found creativity
Many addicts and alcoholics actually assumed that we are more creative or inspired when we are under the influence. I know personally I would always want to get intoxicated if I thought I was going to be writing, doing any art, or just enjoying some of my favorite music. A part of me expected to lose my creative edge when I got sober, so it was a really random and unexpected perk for me to wake up in sobriety with more perspective and passion for my creative outlets. The gift of sobriety itself is truly a work of art.
- Noticed improvement in appearance
I mean seriously, who doesn’t look good as a drug addict or alcoholic? I know I thought I did. Well, when you’re this handsome it’s hard not to be ridiculously good looking, but I never suspected how much better looking I could be! A lot of people say that it was a shock to see how simple things like skin complexion and dental hygiene improve so drastically. Even our physicians will sometimes notice the change before we do. Who knew sober could look THIS good?!
- Higher education
For some drug addicts and alcoholics, going back to school was never even appealing, let alone possible. The last thing some addicts ever wanted to do was sign up to go to school, a lot of us quit school early because our drugs or drinking was more important to us. So when we make the decision to work a program of recovery and give up our old life-style, it may still not be our goal. But somehow some of us find ourselves hungry for knowledge again. A random perk of sobriety for a lot of addicts or alcoholics is finding themselves in college, or any form of higher education, while working toward a career that before never seemed possible.
- Less disputes in life
Addicts and alcoholics have a talent for finding trouble and starting fights. We get a little too faded and we want to be tough, or we just cause the kind of trouble that gets people upset with us more than usual. Some of us still have a habit of messing with people, and sobriety definitely doesn’t mean we all forget what it’s like to throw down, but a lot of times we are surprised to see that if we are actually working a program based on our principles, and applying things like love and acceptance to our relationships, we are involved in way less drama, for the most part.
- Traveling more
Vacation time seemed like an abstract concept for a lot of us before recovery. Some addicts and alcoholics got used to traveling before they every got clean and sober, but just never enjoyed it or went places they really wanted to go. A large number of people who have found sobriety in an active program of action say that they have gone places they never thought they would, even if that meant they just went a few states over, or across the globe for a visit. I know the only traveling I did in addiction was to a bar or a dealer.
- Better with money
A lot of addicts give up drinking or using drugs because they need to manage their money better, and they end up getting a lot of other unexpected gifts through that. For some people who never had a serious concern with money, or even those who did and never knew where it all went, it can be a really random reality to one day realize that in sobriety we are paying our own way more than ever, and have a little extra cash to splurge. I never suspected I would be able to pay the kind or rent I pay now, and still eat and have a life, and one day I realized I live comfortably with more bills in sobriety, opposed to being miserable on a cheaper budget in addiction.
- Ability to help others
Help was something many of us never considered we would find for ourselves. I know personally I arrived at treatment and attended meetings under the pretense that my life would never get better and no one could help me, but I was quickly shown otherwise and that expectation was quickly cut short. So imagine my absolute shock and awe when I was told that one of the most important parts of my sobriety would be to carry that message of hope and strength to others and help those in need. The look on my face, I bet was priceless. One of the most random gifts I got was the ability to help others, and see others around me overcome that mind-state of helplessness.
- Confidence in serenity
In active addiction a lot of us are plagued with anxiety, depression, and insecurities. Our past and our actions while using drugs or drinking has made us build a wall separating us from others, and we do our best to separate ourselves from our feelings. Now serenity and happiness may seem like one thing people would expect from sobriety, but personally I never could have predicted the life I got from my recovery from drugs and alcohol. There is a definite difference to me between being able to tolerate life, and being truly happy, to have fallen in love with being alive, and to genuinely be at peace. This is a confidence in serenity I only learned through spirituality.
I never thought I would ever be truly happy. I was chronically depressed, suicidal, and riddled with anxiety and panic attacks. Getting sober not only removed the obsession, but the anxiety and depression that came with it. A life in sobriety is a life of gifts beyond measure or limitation. Gifts that many times we overlook simply because they are so unexpected or under-rated, but the change in perspective makes it possible to appreciate even the small things.
The perks of sobriety can be endless, so many being indescribable or too many can be under-rated. Sobriety heals more than just the body, but also the mind, the spirit, the relationships, the future. So many abstract and unexpected blessings come from a healthy hunger for sobriety and growth combined with action and appreciation. One of the greatest gifts is a new perception, because through that, more will always be revealed. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135