10 Ways Your Body Will Thank You For Getting Sober
Published: 04/11/2022 | Author: Olivia Pennelle
The benefits of getting sober far exceed a life without hangovers. Your body will experience a whole host of benefits. From losing weight to improving anxiety, your body (and mind) will thank you.
Recovery can introduce a range of life-changing opportunities. To me, whole-body wellness is one of recovery’s greatest gifts.
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My Sober Story
When I first got sober, I was over 300 pounds. I constantly felt bloated and hungover. I couldn’t walk far without losing my breath. I was always looking for the next place to sit down.
Other than going to meetings and lying on the couch, I didn’t have the energy to do anything. My blood work was pretty shocking, too. My liver was scarred from my alcohol addiction.
I had high cholesterol and was anemic. My doctor told me in no uncertain terms that I needed to make some lifestyle changes — pronto.
Thankfully, I did. Within eight weeks, my liver had recovered. My function tests were within normal limits. And I had even lost a bit of weight.
I didn’t feel so bloated all the time. Striding past a place to sit or two, I began moving further without losing my breath.
In many ways, those few small health improvements spurred me to stay in recovery.
I thought to myself, “If I can achieve that in just eight weeks, what would five years in recovery look like?”
After some time, I found out — but more about me later.
10 Body Benefits of Getting Sober
Let’s look at 10 ways your body will thank you for getting sober.
Benefit #1: Your Sleep Improves
Alcohol-induced sleep isn’t good quality sleep. In fact, alcohol negatively impacts your circadian rhythm. Early in recovery, you may find that sobriety disrupts your sleep. However, soon, you’ll experience quality, restful sleep.
Nothing beat the good sleep I began to have after the first few weeks in recovery. I had forgotten what being well-rested felt like. Soon, I was full of energy and didn’t drag myself through the day.
Benefit #2: You Lose Weight
Depending on your drug of choice, you may’ve gained weight in active addiction. If you drank alcohol, which is full of calories, you probably gained weight. If you used drugs, you may’ve become increasingly lethargic or ate a lot of junk food. Once sober, you’re likely to make healthier choices.
Also, many sober people start working out again in early recovery. Not only does exercise help you lose weight, but it also produces endorphins (or the feel-good brain chemicals). For many, exercise helped them feel good physically and mentally.
In recovery, I continued to make healthy choices by exercising more and eating more nutritious food. I lost 60 pounds by my second year of sobriety, and my fitness level soared!
Stopping drinking or using drugs can help your body to reset. You’re also likely to make healthier choices once sober.
Benefit #3: Your Heart Says “Thank You”
Alcohol and other drugs significantly impact your body’s organs, especially the heart. Substances put an undue strain on the heart, making it less efficient. Many substances can even cause heart disease.
Getting sober, however, is a great step towards improving your heart health.
Benefit #4: You Have More Energy
Poor quality sleep, lack of nutrients, and the mental health problems associated with addiction all cause low energy. Sobriety, improved sleep, and a better mental state can give you more energy. With all the newfound time and energy of sobriety, you may begin exploring new hobbies. I know I did!
Benefit #5: Your Immunity Improves
Alcohol and other drugs deplete the nutrients you might otherwise absorb in food. You’re then more prone to illness, like colds and flu. In active addiction, I suffered from colds regularly.
I also formed painful abscesses that led me to the ER several times a year. In sobriety, however, I get fewer colds and haven’t been to the hospital once.
Benefit #6: Your Mind Gets Healthier
Drugs and alcohol drastically impact your mental health. Addiction can cause anxiety, depression, and even schizophrenia. Recovery helps to even out brain chemistry over time. Soon, you may begin to feel less anxious or depressed.
Addiction wreaks havoc on your brain chemistry. After some time in recovery, your endorphins and dopamine levels have a better chance to start functioning normally.
In recovery, you’re also more likely to seek professional help to manage your mental health. I suffered from severe depression and anxiety during my addiction. When I got sober, my mental health gradually improved.
With medication and recovery, I haven’t struggled with my mental health as I did in active addiction.
Benefit #7: Your Skin Improves
Alcohol and other drugs can cause noticeable skin damage. You may get bags under the eyes, have broken capillaries, and break out in acne. In recovery, you’re more likely to form a skincare routine, eat more nutritious food, and drink significantly more water — all of which improve skin health.
Benefit #8: Your Relationships Improve
This is a physical, mental, and emotional benefit. Recovery helps us to heal broken relationships and be more expressive to those we love. Social and romantic connections can really improve and deepen when formed in sobriety.
Benefit #9: Your Self-Esteem and Confidence Will Grow
Sustaining sobriety is a massive achievement. Over time, your success in recovery can improve your self-esteem and confidence regarding other facets of life. When we take such a big step like getting sober, it can spur us to approach new (and sometimes hard) things more confidently.
Sustaining sobriety is an accomplishment. Success in recovery can be a springboard to succeed in other aspects of life.
Benefit #10: You Continue to Improve
Sobriety is a big step to improving health. As we take inventory, we may find motivation (and confidence) to stop other harmful habits. This could be smoking, gambling, eating unhealthy food, or other habits.
I quit smoking around the 18-month mark. It took some time in recovery, but by that point, I’d been smoking for 20 years and felt terrible. I had regular chest infections, and my asthma was pretty bad. Yet, I was still smoking over 20 cigarettes a day.
When I got sober, I became aware of what I wanted in life, which included better health — in all forms.
Thankfully, I had the support of my recovery friends. My doctor also helped me quit — finally and for good. That was eight years ago, and I’m proud to report I haven’t smoked since.
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The Results of Getting Sober
Revisiting my journey, I did not necessarily know the benefits I’d receive early in my recovery. Only glimpses. But soon, I lost a significant amount of weight, my overall health improved, and I gained the confidence to gradually take on bigger and bigger challenges.
I began getting better-paying jobs and finally paid off my debts. I even moved to a new area to go back to school and pursue my dream career.
Recovery really does improve your overall well-being. And when you feel well, you have the confidence and self-esteem to set and achieve your goals.
Call 800-483-2193(Who Answers?) today to speak with a specialist who can talk with you about treatment options.
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