man in recovery

The Emotional Benefits of Sobriety

By Nicole Arzt is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in providing psychotherapy for individuals, families, and groups struggling with substance use disorders and psychiatric illnesses.

Sober Recovery Expert Author

man in recovery

It's no secret that sobriety can be downright life-changing for your physical health. Substance use takes an enormous toll on the bodyit's associated with everything from premature heart and cognitive issues to the risk of overdose and death.

However, the perks of sobriety extend beyond just your physical well-being. Sobriety can dramatically increase your emotional state as well.

In sobriety, you'll have the time, energy, and desire to focus on what brings you joy, meaning, and a sense of accomplishment.

Let's get into the top benefits.

Improved Relationships

When you're struggling with addiction, your relationships often take a backseat. It's no wonder spouses, children, and friends feel angry, dejected, and downright heartbroken over the situation.

It's essentially impossible to cultivate healthy dynamics when you're in the thick of your struggle. After all, you're spending a lot of time, energy, and money devoted to your preferred substances. This naturally takes away how much you can give and receive in relationships.

However, sobriety paves a beautiful path for meaningful relationships. You can actually stay present with your loved ones. You can practice gratitude for their role in your life. You can learn to give love freely and fiercely to those who deserve it.

Better Self-Esteem

Many people with addiction problems struggle with low self-esteem and self-worth. It's a vicious cycle. They feel guilty and ashamed over their actions, but they often continue using substances to conceal or escape that guilt and shame.

Getting sober is one of the hardest decisions you can make. Therefore, succeeding in your recovery is a massive boost for your self-esteem. You'll undoubtedly experience a sense of pride and accomplishment in achieving this herculean task!

Likewise, addiction often entails unwanted behaviors like manipulating, lying, or stealing to get your needs met. In sobriety, you learn and value the merit of being a person with integrity. If that's not good for your self-esteem, what is?

Focus On Growth, Health, and Happiness

Let's be honest. How much were you really focused on work or hobbies when actively using? Were you taking care of your finances? Were you even keeping the house cleaned?

Maybe you were "functioning." Or maybe, you were just "getting by." Either way, when addiction is at the forefront of your life, everything else tends to suffer in one way or another.

In sobriety, you'll have the time, energy, and desire to focus on what brings you joy, meaning, and a sense of accomplishment. Maybe you'll finally go back to school, or you'll actually take that leap and open that business. Perhaps you'll actually book that trip you've always talked about taking!

Better Mental Health

While substances can provide a numbing effect, it's a fallacy to believe that we can ever truly escape our problems. Unfortunately, with progressive substance use, you never deal with your issues.

In sobriety, you don't have a choice. You need to face the music when it starts playing. You need to manage life head-on.

While this can be challenging at the beginning (you're probably rusty!), it pays in dividends long-term. You will learn how to identify and utilize healthy coping skills to manage your distress. You will also learn how to be more present, flexible, and compassionate with yourself and others around you.

If you or someone you know is seeking help from addiction, please visit our directory of treatment centers or call 800-891-8171 to speak to a treatment specialist.

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