More than 20 million people in the United States have some type of substance use disorder. Unfortunately, many of them never get the help or support they need. Some never even find the motivation to change their lives.
When you’re deep in addiction, it’s hard to find the drive to stop. What will recovery do for you anyway? Is it worth the effort?
Recovery is challenging, but it’s more than worthwhile. We’re here to talk about some of the top health benefits of sobriety that you can look forward to when you’re ready to make that change. Read on to learn more.
1. Better Sleep
Do you feel tired even after you get a full night of sleep? Do you struggle to fall asleep at all? This might be due to your substance use.
Alcohol and drug abuse can cause sleep disruption. While it’s not uncommon for people to start using drugs or alcohol due to a lack of sleep, the sleep that results from the overuse of substances is rarely going to be a deep sleep.
For example, let’s talk about alcohol. Many people drink when they can’t sleep because alcohol is a sedative.
Alcohol will help you fall asleep in the first place, but it will also decrease the quality of your sleep, even if you only drink a small amount of it. That means that you may still wake up feeling tired, and you can spend all night tossing and turning.
This is also true for many other substances that can promote quick but restless sleep.
Once you stop using substances, your sleep will improve. It may take some time before you’re easily falling (and staying) asleep, but once you get there, you’ll see a huge improvement.
2. Better Eating Habits
Not everyone who abuses drugs or alcohol has bad eating habits, but it’s not uncommon for those two problems to intersect.
When someone experiences alcohol abuse, they already drink a lot of empty calories and (usually) sugar. Even without the alcohol, this isn’t great for your body.
When people use other drugs, they often lose the motivation to cook and eat healthy meals. Quick meals are easier and sometimes more affordable.
Substance use can also trigger food cravings. You’re more likely to crave sugary or salty foods when you’re under the influence. While that’s a non-issue from time to time, if you’re abusing drugs or alcohol, those cravings will be constant, and you’ll have a harder time maintaining a healthy diet.
3. Easier Weight Control
Speaking of your diet, by getting your drug and alcohol use under control, you’ll also have an easier time keeping your weight under control.
Not all people who abuse drugs or alcohol struggle with their weight, but it’s also not uncommon. This is partially due to the cravings we already mentioned. If you’re always eating “bad” food, you’re more likely to gain weight.
Alcohol in and of itself will cause you to gain weight. Even low-calorie alcohols are still full of empty calories, and while one or two drinks every now and again won’t hurt your waistline, constant alcohol use will.
Those empty calories just lead to weight gain.
Some people also become underweight as a result of drug use. They may not have the motivation or money to eat. Being underweight is also unhealthy.
It’s also harder to find the energy and motivation to exercise when you’re under the influence of any type of drug. While maintaining a healthy weight has far more to do with your diet than your exercise routine, both are important.
4. Improved Memory and Mental Clarity
Do you have nights, days, or even entire weeks that you don’t remember? This is a result of your drug or alcohol use. Long-term drug or alcohol use can and will lead to prolonged memory problems.
People who have experienced long-term substance addictions may also suffer from long-term memory problems, but their memories will also improve to some degree after they stop abusing their substances of choice.
Mental clarity and focus will also improve.
Often, when people have substance use disorders, they find themselves unable to focus throughout the day, even if they aren’t currently under the influence. They may be dealing with early symptoms of withdrawal, or they may just be too tired due to the lack of sleep that we mentioned before.
When you choose sobriety, you’ll regain the ability to focus. It may take time and therapy, but you’ll have an easier time staying on task.
5. Overall Better Mental Health
Unfortunately, too many people use substances to self-medicate their mental health struggles. While this may seem effective short-term, it will actually do more damage in the long run.
Alcohol and drug abuse is not a sustainable solution for poor mental health. Any drugs that are depressants will increase depression and anxiety levels. Drugs and alcohol also isolate people with addictions and separate them from their friends and family (which is not good for overall mental health).
Through therapy, NA meetings, and AA meetings, you can start to rebuild your community and find the core mental health issues you need to solve without the use of substances. It’s a long road, but it’s a worthwhile one.
6. Lowered Risk of Long-Term Health Issues
Drug and alcohol abuse can lead to serious long-term health problems. These include (but are not limited to):
- Heart disease
- Oral cancer
- Lung disease
- Liver cancer
- Colon cancer
Long-term health conditions can happen to anyone, but by using drugs and alcohol, you’re increasing your chances of developing them. The sooner you stop, the healthier you’ll be.
You Deserve the Benefits of Sobriety
We understand that reaching sobriety is a challenging journey, but it’s so worthwhile. The health benefits of sobriety will last you a lifetime, and they’re far more fulfilling than the fleeting “benefits” of being under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Are you ready to change your life? Check out our directory for resources. Whether you need Al-Anon support and Al-Anon meetings, AA meetings, or NA meetings, we can help you find them.
Call us at (888) 530-5096 for more information on meeting times and availability today. It’s time to make a change.