What are the benefits of getting sober? Some would say that the only thing 12-step programs promise you is a day of sobriety. For anyone who has struggled to get sober or stay sober, being able to stay away from a drink or a drug for an entire day is no small feat. You might even say that being able to be sober is a miracle.
There are many benefits to getting sober besides the gift of sobriety itself. Some of these benefits may be things you’ve never considered. Sobriety can improve every aspect of your life. Once you are sober, you may be able to hold a job for the first time. Up until now, you may have had a pattern of destroying one job opportunity after another. Now that you’re sober, you can be responsible enough to get up on time for work and show up when you’re supposed to. Even if you’ve never had trouble holding a job, you may have done some embarrassing things at company get-togethers while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You don’t have to worry about doing those things any more.
You may be able to win back the respect of your family and friends. Active alcoholism and drug addiction often destroy relationships. Spouses or significant others struggle and suffer. Your children may stop talking to you about what is going on with them or look at you with contempt. Your friends may start to avoid you. But when you are committed to staying sober, people begin to want you around. Your loved ones start to trust you again and believe they can count on you. You don’t have to live in fear of things you do during a blackout. Most alcoholics and addicts have experienced the awful feeling of waking up in strange places with no memory of how they got there. This never has to happen to you again. Sobriety gives you the gift of being able to be aware of what is going on.
You can become physically healthier than you ever could while you were drinking and drugging. Years of drinking and drugging can do a number on your body, but once you’re sober, you will start to heal. You will look better and feel better than ever before. You can learn to take care of yourself. You may experience a new level of mental clarity. That perpetual sense of being in the middle of a thick fog will disappear. You will be able to participate in reality. You can experience the beauty of nature, including sights, sounds and smells. What a wonderful feeling it is just to know what’s going on at all times.
Some people find that the friends they make on their journey to sobriety are much more genuine than the “friends” they had while they were abusing alcohol or drugs. People who come into your life now aren’t only looking for a contact to a drug dealer or a free round of drinks. People see you as a human being, not a drunk or a junkie. You can experience your own self-respect. You can look in the mirror and like the person who is looking back at you. You can be proud of the efforts you are making to do the right thing. You are in the process of evolving into the best person you can be.
None of these benefits happen overnight. Most likely it took you a long time to cause damage to the different parts of your life, and it will take time to rebuild. But as your sober life starts to unfold, you may see that life is really good. You may even find it’s better than you ever expected. Most people who have been able to attain sobriety thanks to the 12 steps of AA or NA describe their life as “second to none.” You may experience one or more of the fringe benefits described here, or you may experience other benefits in your own life. In any case, your life sober on any given day will be better than your best day drunk. Don’t give up before the miracle.