Better skin, more energy, good night’s sleep, money-saving – these are all popular benefits of being sober. As wonderful as they all are, there’s actually several more advantages to sobriety that are often overlooked…and they’re some of the best ones!
Lucy Rocca, the founder of the incredible alcohol addiction and abuse support network Soberistas, joins me in this article to discuss her experiences of the amazing advantages of choosing a sober lifestyle.
You’ll discover new personality traits
Drinking alcohol can blind, and even repress, our true personality traits. One of the most incredible things about being sober is you’ll really discover who you are and where your true potential lies.
For Lucy, it was discovering she is more of an introvert than she initially imagined. “I’m a bit shier than I ever thought I was – particularly in big groups. It took me a few years to recalibrate I think, after quitting drinking. At first I became a bit of a hermit but gradually I’ve merged the best bits of the old Lucy with the best bits of the new version. And finally, aged 41, I think I’m ok – that’s a novelty still, actually thinking I’m ok. I think having a positive mental outlook on life has been the biggest change in me.”
This is one of life’s greatest gifts – to see yourself for who you really are. Many people discover they’re more reserved when they stop drinking. This in itself can be a wonderful attribute. It’s easy to understand why a lot of people realise they’re introvert as an adult, because the chances are we probably started drinking in our teenage years and never really got to know ourselves as adults.
Eliminating alcohol from the equation brings a fresh new perspective on ourselves as adult individuals. Some even discover they’re a natural extrovert and didn’t even need alcohol in the first place. It doesn’t matter if you learn that you’re a peaceful introvert, a charming extrovert or even a split balance – knowing yourself is one of the keys to happier, healthier life.
No more ‘alcohol anxiety’
Long gone are the days when you wake up worrying about what you said and did the night before. Instead, you get to wake up hangover-free and ready to enjoy your day. You might also find you’re far less likely to cancel on friends, skip the gym or shun work responsibilities.
Not only is sobriety great for your physical health, it can boost other aspects of your life such as your career, relationships, mental well being and so much more.
Strong relationships with the people who matter the most
When you first cut down on alcohol or quit altogether, you’re likely to distance yourself from those who seem to be the ‘bad influences’ in your life. I’m talking about friends you only hang out with in the pub – the type of people you only seem to spend time with if alcohol is involved.
Without the negative influences in your life – who are you left with? The people that truly love and care about you and like you for you! This is one of my favourite benefits of being sober – I know who I can trust and I know who’s going to be in my life all through the ups and downs!
And don’t forget all the new friends you’re going to make along the way – especially those also building a new sober lifestyle!
Time is a powerful thing
I won’t say being sober and staying sober gets easier over time, but time does seem to play a factor in successfully adjusting to a sober lifestyle. So one of the major perks of being sober is your mindset is more likely to change over time and your willpower could improve.
Lucy explained, “I do think it’s possible to rewrite your mental make-up, so things that once constituted a trigger for alcohol alter, your associations begin to change. For instance, if I’m stressed these days I go for a run, I never think “Oh, I’d kill for a drink right now!”. A sunny day makes me think about taking the kids somewhere for a lovely picnic, or going surfing, not getting trashed in a pub beer garden. Time does heal, I firmly believe that.”
There is such a thing, a ‘healthy hedonism’
You can have so much fun without drink – it seems crazy, right? Healthy hedonism is an especially rewarding benefit of sobriety if you’re noticing a shift in your mindset.
Healthy hedonism is different for everyone – you might be more active and take up some very interesting sports such as rock climbing to get that adrenaline pumping. Or you might find your creativity has rocketed through the roof and you spend days at a time painting, writing, playing guitar – anything that feeds your soul or gives you a natural high.
And that’s what healthy hedonism is all about. Pursuing activities that give you natural pleasure.
“For me, it’s running, surfing, skiing, trying new things, never stagnating, seeing life as a really exciting journey that I can now travel, totally unencumbered by alcohol or any other addiction,” said Lucy, “The world opened up to me when I stopped drinking, I haven’t looked back and wished I could still drink for many years. When I drank, I lived a dull life, it was Groundhog Day. Life sober is a really good life, I am a million times happier now than I ever was when I drank.”
You’re in good company
This is one of the most overlooked benefits of sobriety – there are so many amazing role models out there. I know becoming sober has its obstacles, but realising there are so many inspirational people out there is one of the best benefits of sobriety.
Lucy, although one of the best role models I know, also looks up to several people, “It’s got to be Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the late Johnny Cash. And all of the many inspiring, strong and amazing people who make up the Soberistas community – they inspire me every day!”
Dr Bunmi Aboaba
Link to original article: Completely Unexpected Benefits of Being Sober