Recovery is a chance to start over – a chance to create a life that is more fulfilling for you mentally, physically and spiritually. It’s an incredibly scary, intimidating process, because it’s an unforeseeable journey towards the future – yet with hard work and determination, there are some truly transformational outcomes that can come from it. Sobriety is a beautiful journey that comes with so many incredible benefits, yet there is still so much stigma surrounding it. Many people fear that they’ll “never have fun” or that they’ll be “boring” once they quit using substances – yet on the other side, people find that their discovery of themselves is worth much more than anything else.
Why We’re Scared of Sobriety
In addition to feeling absolutely terrified of losing all sense of enjoyment in life, there are many other reasons we tend to hold back from sobriety; in 2018, Holly Whitaker, a woman who has worked diligently in recovery for several years, explained that many of us fear sobriety because:
- We believe we may have a problem, but we’re not 100% certain
- We have a love/hate relationship with substances, and we’re not sure we want to completely lose that part of what we love
- We’re afraid of trying sobriety and failing – and we don’t want to feel like a failure
There’s no doubt that with sobriety comes change – and major changes at that. Sobriety means that we’re walking into the unknown, with our arms wide open – and we’re becoming vulnerable to whatever experiences come our way. It’s completely natural to feel nervous about embracing sobriety, but we have to remind ourselves that these are just fears – and fears alone can’t harm us. Perhaps learning more about the many wondrous aspects of sobriety would beg of us; if we pursued it full heartedly, what could our lives become?
Creating The Ultimate Sober Lifestyle
Sobriety may be different, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less fun. Meditation teacher Biet Simkin told Mind Body Green, a website that covers topics such as mindfulness, health, food, movement and beauty, that sobriety brings us closer to ourselves – and this self-awareness can only propel us in every aspect of life. He explained,
“Self-awareness and self-acceptance are the foundation of connection to self, others, and the invisible, numinous beauty of life. I have only been able to experience this true connection as a sober person.”
In addition to cultivating awareness and building our “sense of self” – through hobbies, volunteer work, career endeavors, and more – we can also begin filling our lives with elements that matter much more to our hearts. This could range from a variety of things, such as:
- Spending more time with our kids
- Getting to know our significant other on a more personal level
- Surrounding ourselves with friends who make us feel good about ourselves
- Engaging in lively conversations with people
- Traveling the world
- Having intimate moments with a loved one
Earlier this year, GQ interviewed amazing musicians – such as Steven Tyler, Julien Baker, Ben Harper, Jason Isbell, and Joe Walsh – who practice sobriety to find out how this lifestyle has influenced their music and their day-to-day life. Steven Tyler, the lead singer of Aerosmith, explained that with sobriety, his life has become so much better. He stated,
“I got a band that’s still together, the guys are alive, everyone’s healthy. We play better than we did 50 years ago.”
Steven Tyler has been sober for over 9 years now – and this lifestyle has connected him with so much more. It’s brought him closer to his kids, his pets, his girlfriend – and it’s made him much more appreciative about the things he has.
In a sense, sobriety means that you have the ability to find what matters to you. You get into the driver’s seat down the road of your own life, and while it may seem a bit nerve wracking to have so many possibilities for the future, it only means that there is greater potential for happiness as well.
What Research Says About Sobriety
In 2017, researchers conducted a study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment which sought to assess satisfaction amongst those who had been practicing sobriety over a period of 12 months. A total of 115 people were recruited, and researchers found that participants who maintained sobriety experienced a number of benefits, including:
- Greater satisfaction with life
- Improved executive functioning (such as with decision making, coordination, multi-tasking, attention span, etc.)
- Less psychological distress (such as through symptoms of depression, anxiety, etc.)
Not only does sober living give us the chance to create a life that’s meaningful for us, but it gives us a well-rounded sense of stability to our lives. Addiction brings chaos and uncertainty – whereas sobriety brings groundedness and balance.
If you’re ready to begin your journey towards healing and restoration, speak with a professional from the Burning Tree today. It’s never too late.
Burning Tree provides programs specializing in long-term residential treatment for clients with a history of drug and alcohol relapse. Our long-term approach and extensive aftercare programs help clients break the cycle of relapse. Contact us for more information or visit the websites of our three locations: Renewal Lodge, which offers a 30-60 day treatment program, Burning Tree Ranch, which offers year-long treatment, and Burning Tree West, which offers treatment for adults aged 18 to 29 and helps them transition to college.