This Guest Post is written by Trevor McDonald, a recovering addict and alcoholic who’s been clean and sober for over 5 years. With that perspective, he gives many answers to the question, Why should I be sober? Since his recovery began, he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help others who face the same struggles he did. He is also an outreach coordinator for Sober Nation.
I Believed the Myth – Sober Life = Boring Life
If you get all your life views from television and movies, you might think sober life is boring. At least, that’s what I thought. On TV, the people who were sober never had any fun. I never wanted to be “that guy.”
Maybe that’s why I always associated alcohol with fun. From the time I was 16, I would grab a beer or a bottle of vodka whenever it was time to kick back and let loose.
When someone on TV needs to let off some steam, what do they do? Most of the time, they drink. So we learn to do the same. But for some of us, these habits can lead down a dark and disturbing path.
When I Realized I Had a Problem with Alcohol
People like to ask when I realized my partying had turned to alcoholism. The truth is that I don’t exactly know, but it doesn’t matter. My drinking was always a problem. It’s really not healthy to think of alcohol as an escape or a source of fun.
It wasn’t until I got sober that I realized how far I had fallen.
I thought back to the days of my youth and remembered what it was like to have pure unadulterated fun – without the use of a crutch. I so wanted to feel that again.
It did take some time and work, but I finally got there. Now, I can say that I’m leaps and bounds happier than I ever was while I was drinking.
Here are 7 reasons why I’m happier living a sober life.
1. I have more energy
Between hangovers and lack of sleep, I was in a constant state of fatigue. In the morning, I would guzzle what felt like a gallon of coffee only to lose steam by about 2 p.m. More coffee was the only solution until I could have more alcohol.
I thought alcoholics drank all day, so I limited myself to drinking after 5 p.m. I was wrong about the time thing, but at least my unfounded beliefs kept me sober for a few hours.
After 5 p.m., I had to make up for lost time. That’s when I’d have a bottle or two of wine. And things only got worse from there. Somehow, the alcohol energized me until I drank so much that I’d just pass out. This was often in the wee hours of the night. Without fail, the alarm went off at 6 a.m. every morning, and I’d get up and do it again.
I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a truck, but I still did it all over again, and again.
When I finally got sober, I remembered what it was like to have energy. I was able to function during the day like a real person. It’s an amazing feeling!
2. My Appearance Improved
I think I’ve always been a little vain, so when I got into my late 20s and started noticing wrinkles, I became motivated.
Alcohol was bad for my skin and overall appearance. I knew this, but still when I looked in the mirror, I lied to myself, convincing myself that it was all part of the natural aging process. Some people have better genes than others. But deep down, I knew that alcohol was destroying my looks.
When I got sober, I realized the extent of the damage I was doing. I saw it in the mirror, but the real wake-up call came in the compliments I got from everyone around me.
3. I have more money
Even if you buy the cheapest booze, alcoholism is expensive. You know how marketers love to compare everything with the price of coffee? When you’re a recovering alcoholic, you start comparing things with the price of alcohol. Because that’s when you realize how much you’ve spent on alcohol for so long.
Now, I can take a vacation with the money I save from not buying alcohol every day.
4. I made room for fitness
I used to work out a bit in my hard partying days, but it was different. It was motivated by the thought that I had to do something to counter the effects of the alcohol. If I didn’t, I’d surely have a giant beer belly. I had one, don’t get me wrong, but I knew it would be worse.
But when I got sober, working out became about finding the best version of myself. I started pushing my limits and I loved seeing the results in the mirror.
5. I remember each moment
When I was drinking, I’d have a lot of blackouts. These were periods where I would wake up and not remember what I did the night before. There were moments of terror and embarrassment as I vaguely recalled acting like a fool.
But it wasn’t just the blackouts that were a problem. My memories of my sober moments were even fuzzy. It was as if my head was in a cloud.
When I got sober, I felt like I regained my lost mental abilities. I felt like I could keep up with life again.
6. My immune system is stronger
Alcohol depletes the body of hydration and nutrients that help strengthen your immune system. When I was drinking, I was always getting sick. I had this seemingly eternal cough that I would tell people was allergies, but I always wondered. When I stopped drinking, it went away and I haven’t had a cold since.
7. I’m comfortable in my own skin
Most importantly for me, I learned how to love myself when I stopped drinking. The distractions and crutches were gone, and I was able to work on my relationship with myself.
If you’re struggling now and thinking about getting sober, it’s time to take the next step. It may be time to connect with an alcoholism and rehabilitation facility that can help you through the process.
If you are wanting to check out a rehabilitation facility, TheHopeLine partners with Banyan Treatment Center
*The organization referenced in the author’s bio is not a partner of TheHopeLine.