So often when we talk about addiction, we state all of the negative reasons to quit drinking or using. We talk about how drugs and alcohol contribute to an early death, cause poor health, destroy relationships, or have a number of other negative consequences. What we don’t often talk about are the positive results of recovery and the incredible benefits it provides. In this article, we discuss five amazing ways that life improves when we get clean and sober, heal, and recover from the addictions that have overtaken us.
Being physically healthy helps us become emotionally healthy
What we put into our bodies and our physical activity level greatly affects our emotional state. Especially in the last decade, research has shown a strong connection between our physical health and mental health. Some mental issues resolve completely when a correct balance of diet and exercise is achieved. By simply removing substances, eating healthy foods, and getting good sleep and exercise, we can greatly reduce our fatigue, depression, and even anxiety. We’ll have more energy and a more positive outlook on life. It will also make it that much easier to address emotional traumas and other mental health issues.
Being present for those we love
Our addictions turn our focuses inward. We remove ourselves from our loved ones as we turn to drugs or alcohol. This damages our relationships and keeps us from spending quality time with those we love. Sometimes, we even hurt those we love while we’re struggling with our addiction. When we get clean and sober and achieve quality recovery, we can focus more of our time on building our relationships and loving our friends and family. We can connect with our children, spouses, nephews, and nieces and enjoy their love and affection.
Healing from our emotional traumas
It is probably no surprise that most, if not all of us with addictions have suffered significant emotional traumas leading up to our drinking or using. We sought out these substances to dull the pain from those experiences and they always creep back up to haunt us when the high starts to fade. However, continually numbing our minds to dull the pain only delays the inevitable. Emotional traumas are like an internal festering wound, worsening with time. Eventually, they will build up to the point that we can’t sustain them any longer, and they must be treated.
However, once we get clean and sober and can face those emotional traumas, we can finally be released from the demons that have held us captive for so long. We can be released from the bonds of emotional trauma and be healed stronger than ever before. It is this path that leads to ultimate joy and fulfillment in life; one that can’t even be described, it can only be experienced. True healing can’t happen in addiction, it's only when the substances are removed that emotional traumas can be overcome.
Rebuilding our relationships and gaining respect
Shame and guilt are so very common as we’re deep in our addictions. Much of that comes from society’s negative view of those with drug or alcohol addictions. We may experience other negative feelings as a result of the hurt and pain we know we’ve caused our loved ones. Conversely, society has a much higher view of those who have overcome addiction. Much respect is due to those who get clean and sober and have found quality long-term recovery. Its a difficult thing to achieve! But once the drugs and alcohol are gone, we can begin rebuilding relationships with our loved ones, creating new relationships, and seeking forgiveness. Those who have accomplished it describe amazing feelings of love, acceptance, and respect. We work our way into an entirely new way of life that we couldn’t have imagined before.
Improving our financial status
It is incredibly common for us to lose our jobs in the midst of our addictions. Our on-the-job performance is often poor, we make a lot of mistakes, and often miss a lot of work. We fail to achieve promotions or raises. Sometimes we’re so disabled by our addiction that we can’t work at all. Overcoming addiction means that we have the mental and emotional power to seek out the careers and positions that fulfill us in life. It means that we have the capacity for the personal growth we need to succeed – and excel in our careers. We’re no longer scrounging, selling, or stealing to feed our habits, but we’re managing money wisely and saving for the nice things we want in life. And in recovery, we can achieve the things we’ve wanted for years, but never imagined we would deserve!
Successful recovery means we can achieve the life of our dreams
Imagine if we put the same effort into personal growth and healing that we put into our addictions. What if we were to take the same willpower we had to get high and applied it to learning a trade and excelling in a career? Or healing from our traumas and rebuilding our relationships? That is exactly what happens when we find recovery! Having never experienced life like that, it seems unobtainable to us. But those are the promises of recovery outlined in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, on pages 83-84 in chapter 6. Millions of people have experienced this for themselves through their own recovery, and every individual can achieve them.
Addiction Treatment Centers such as Miracles In Action exist to help individuals get clean and sober, and these promises, for just this reason. Miracles in Action is staffed with people who have been through the pain of addiction and overcome the grief, guilt, shame, and emotional traumas that accompanied it. We seek to help others overcome their pain in the exact same way.