Whatever reasons you have for quitting drinking (any reason is a good reason in our book), there is quite a long list of benefits that can come with sobriety.
There are the obvious short-term benefits, like waking up without a hangover, remembering your conversations from the night before, and generally being able to keep better track of your wallet, phone, keys, sunglasses, etc. But there are also massive benefits sobriety can have on your overall health: better mental health, improved sleep, and lowered risk for serious long-term health complications.
Here are the 5 surprising benefits of sobriety.
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1. Say goodbye to shame.
Often, alcohol creates a cycle of drinking, regretting our behavior, and then drinking again, and before we know it, shame becomes a familiar part of our routine. Sobriety is empowering—it helps us stay accountable for our words and actions, and it allows us to be present, to show up for ourselves and our loved ones, and be proud of who we are. When you say goodbye to the shame you feel in drinking, you say hello to a new sense of self.
2. Find community.
To quote Johann Hari, “The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection.” Learning how to live sober is not something that we have to do alone. Making authentic connections with folks on the same path, sharing our experiences, and learning from one another is one of the greatest gifts of getting sober. If you’re looking for a way to safely get connected with other folks who’ve quit drinking, check out our list of online recovery groups.
3. More opportunities.
For many of us, trying out an alcohol-free lifestyle leads to trying other new things. Once you’re able to accomplish the seemingly impossible feat of getting sober, you start to wonder what else you can do. We’ve seen so many different folks get sober, pursue their dreams, discover their passions, and even write books. A lot of us fear that stopping drinking will make us “boring.” But, if anything, it’s possible to become more of an interesting person in sobriety than when we were drinking. As time goes on, don’t be surprised if more and more opportunities present themselves to you in sobriety.
4. Change your story around your finances.
Many folks have used the clarity and insight they’ve gained from sobriety to heal their relationship with money. When we’re drinking, often our personal finances become something we associate with shame and stress, and money becomes a topic we’d rather avoid altogether. Although we can’t simply change our financial situation, we can reframe our beliefs and the stories we tell ourselves. And once we have a better understanding of our finances and how we approach money, we can make an action plan for the future.
5. Healthier relationships.
When you stop drinking, you gain the chance to heal your relationship with yourself, which makes it possible to repair and grow your relationships with others. It’s a common fear that giving up alcohol means having to give up your social life, but the truth is, being in recovery can make our relationships stronger and improve the quality of the time we spend with others. We can be present and show up for other people in an intentional way, plus we can be better friends, family members, partners, and coworkers by being more reliable, setting better boundaries, and being able to ask for help when we need it.
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This is by no means a complete list of all the benefits of being sober! Sobriety is personal—each person experiences it differently, and at their own pace. And the benefits grow and evolve as you do, so you might notice certain benefits at 30 days and then totally different positive outcomes a year later. But one thing we’ve heard over and over again (and have found to be true ourselves) is that being sober allows you to get to know and live authentically as your real self.