Being a sober woman comes with some large benefits that maybe you can’t see in your present moment. While you can appreciate some of the obvious positive changes that will occur, there are some smaller nuances that will surprise you. The initial elation of a life with no hangovers, no more chains that bind you, no more booze blues and no more addiction-related mistakes is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Once you treat your addiction, you’ll be in alignment to be the woman you were destined to be. This will make you a better partner, mother, or colleague.
There are at least eight reasons why being a sober woman will change your life in a positive way. We can think of many more, but we’re sure that you will find the following reasons to be very encouraging. This is an exciting new journey that you’re on, and so much about your life is about to change.
Right now, you may not realize how debilitating your hangovers are. You may wake up groggy every day and feel exhausted before your feet even hit the ground. More likely than not, you’ve probably gotten so used to these feelings that you don’t even think of them as being unusual anymore.
But when you make the choice to live as a sober woman, your mornings will take on a whole new feel. Just imagine it:
- No more throbbing headaches or overwhelming body aches all morning long.
- No more energy-draining fatigue and dizziness, which may make it nearly impossible to concentrate on even the simplest tasks.
- No more nausea, stomach pain, and overpowering thirst.
- No more increased sensitivity to light and sound making you feel like your senses are under assault for hours at a time.
Beyond just avoiding the physical toxicity that a night of drinking can have on a body, living as a sober woman will also dramatically improve the quality and consistency of your sleep as well. Not only will you avoid the nasty symptoms of a hangover, but you’ll also reap the health benefits of a good night’s sleep.
Sober women agree – sleeping sober is better each and every time.
Plus, you won’t have the dread of possibly doing something awful the night before. Instead, you’ll wake up feeling well rested, and ready to take on the day.
Addiction causes you to lose control of all aspects of your life. As a woman, you probably wear many hats. Being in control of your life helps to maintain the many responsibilities you have. Keeping track of obligations, preserving your composure in difficult situations, and finding the answers to problems are all necessary skills for a modern woman. When you’re not sober, that control starts to slip away. That can have some serious consequences in your life.
If you have kids, losing control of your life due to your addiction can cause them a lot of angst. You may lose respect at your workplace or drift apart from your partner. You could end up alienating friends and family members after saying something you don’t really mean. And if you have specific career goals or life aspirations, becoming a slave to your addiction can force you to put those ambitions on the backburner.
When you’re a sober woman though, you can make appointments and keep them. You say what you mean and mean what you say. Your life becomes more predictable by choice and you can actually honor your commitments. When it comes to the dreams and aspirations you’ve had for so long, now you have the self-discipline to actually achieve them.
Being a sober woman leaves you feeling fulfilled, centered, and in control.
And there are few things in life as empowering like that.
One of the most tragic parts of not being sober is losing out on precious moments in life. When you’re addicted to a substance of any kind, you won’t remember the details of important things that happen. The more you sink into your addiction, the more you become out of touch with people and experiences. When you’re drunk at a family function, for example, you lose out on the sweet things kids do. When you’re sober, you can really be in the moment and be present with loved ones.
Sadly, alcoholics tend to believe that their choice to drink doesn’t affect anyone else. They believe that it’s something they choose to do, and whatever happens, they will have to deal with the consequences. While there are consequences for choosing to drink, that choice does have a considerable impact on other people; namely, the alcoholic’s children.
Aside from missing time with their parents, the children of alcoholics often have to deal with a lot of other issues as well. They include:
- Being unable to figure out what a normal life looks like. These children don’t have a good example to look up to from their childhoods. They don’t know what a traditional family relationship looks like, and they may have never experienced harmony at home. As they grow up, they may not know how to act or what to say to others; especially when dealing with other families.
- Having serious trust issues. If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. These children grow up in homes that are no strangers to lies, secrets, and denial. All of that was the norm, and it’s all they know. Because of their history with broken promises, they may not know how to trust someone in the future.
- Judging themselves. Children of alcoholics often grow up feeling inadequate. They may constantly compare themselves to others and feel that they come up short in a lot of areas. As adults, they may always see themselves as different from other people. They may have low self-worth and self-esteem. It’s not uncommon for them to become isolated or extremely socially awkward.
- Seeking approval from others. These children are always their own worst critics. They may judge themselves harshly because they don’t know how to give themselves a break. They often become people-pleasers. When someone isn’t happy with them, it crushes them. They may live in fear of criticism and avoid it at all costs.
- Suffering from anxiety and depression. When a child has an alcoholic parent, they may not know how to handle social situations at all; especially special occasions. They take themselves too seriously and are never really able to lighten up.
- Struggling with relationships. Intimate relationships may be extremely difficult for people with alcoholic parents. In addition to their trust issues, their lack of self-esteem may not allow them to open up to someone else. They may avoid getting close to another person because of their fear of emotional attachment.
- Being afraid of getting abandoned. There are some children of alcoholics who will find relationships, but they may not be healthy ones. These individuals are very likely to hang on to toxic relationships because they don’t want to be by themselves. They may also worry about never finding someone again because they’ve been abandoned in the past.
Being sober will bring life back to your body at a cellular level that will eventually shine through externally. If you’re addicted to alcohol, you’re in a constant state of dehydration which sucks the moisture from your largest organ, the skin. This causes your skin to look bland and muted.
Alcohol also robs the skin of vitamin A, which is an antioxidant that is essential for skin renewal, as well as other antioxidants. Many of these antioxidants protect the skin from sun damage (the natural nemesis of smooth and beautiful skin), wrinkles, splotches, free radicals, and the many maladies from harmful chemicals like cigarette smoke, which causes you to age far more quickly.
But it isn’t just the skin that’s affected either. When you’re under the influence, you’re likely to have bloodshot eyes from the low-quality sleep you’re getting. You’re more puffy and bloated than ever, and your hair becomes dull or greasy – either way, it’s not a great look.
Embracing a life of sobriety can do wonders for your waistline. There are a whopping 150 calories in a regular beer, 100 calories in a dry wine, and 60 calories a piece for each shot of 100 proof liquor.
To put those numbers into perspective, just three glasses of wine a night is the equivalent of eating two extra slices of cheese pizza. And when that becomes a nightly habit, those extra calories can really start to add up.
When you get clean, you’ll slowly begin to see the positive benefits that sobriety has on your appearance. Your hair becomes shiny again. You lose the bloating in your face and body, and your bloodshot eyes become pearly white. The longer that you stay sober, the more your body will heal itself.
Many addicts can attest that they once led meaningful lives before the addiction. If you’re able to go through the hurdles and obstacles needed to recover and get sober, you’ll likely find more meaning in your life. You’ll be stronger for your sobriety, and will find a new type of inspiration to draw upon.
Recover encourages you to find new meaning in your life. Whether you go to a treatment center or take part in an outpatient treatment program for women, you will pick up new tools to make the most out of your life’s purpose. Not only will you be sober but you will have a clearer vision on how you’d like your life to look and feel. There is only one place to go and that is forward.
Going to treatment will connect you with people who can help you rediscover your life’s purpose again. You may have walked away from many things that you loved years ago. For example, you may have wanted to:
- Get your GED or start working on a college degree.
- Open up a business of your own.
- Get married and start a family.
- Begin volunteering with an organization that you believe in.
- Spend more time with people you love.
- Become more involved in your church.
No matter what it is that you want to do, with the right support and tools, you can accomplish it. The sky is the limit.
Going to treatment is going to do so much for you besides getting you to stop drinking and stay sober. Your treatment team will also work with you on ways to help you avoid relapsing. This means recapturing what you used to love about life, setting some goals, and working on achieving them.
When you’re constantly drinking, you become numb to your emotions. Maybe, that’s what you wanted in the first place. It’s a well-known fact that an addiction to alcohol is often traced back to a need to numb negative emotions. The problem is, as you block out the bad feelings, you also block the good. The repressed emotions are still in you and affect you every time a certain trigger sets it off.
At this point, your emotions may be all over the place. Drinking may calm you down, but the truth is that its effects don’t last forever. You’re certainly not alone if this has been your experience.
Many doctors believe that alcoholism is really a disease of the emotions. One doctor states, “Everyone feels like this sometimes but alcohol-dependent people feel like this all the time. They stuff their feelings; take the edge off their emotions with alcohol…The plan is to get rid of the bad feelings, but of course, the good ones get smothered too.”
Part of getting sober will include dealing with the dark feelings that you’ve perhaps been trying to hide.
Dealing with the psychological causes of addiction is a major part of any addiction treatment program. When you can begin to peel back the layers of emotions within you, you begin to heal. These emotions stop ruling your life and you can truly start moving forward. Once you can make amends with the negative emotions, you’re free to start feeling the positive emotions again.
Emotional instability associated with addiction often includes depression, anxiety or another mental illness in disguise. No one wants to hear that they are suffering from a mental illness, but unless it is treated, the symptoms will just persist. Many alcoholics suffer from what professionals refer to as co-occurring disorders. Women, in particular, are prone to self-medicating when their emotions seem beyond their control. Dual diagnosis treatment will treat both the addiction and the underlying mental health issues.
There are a lot of aspects of your health that go downhill when you’re not sober. You may feel lethargic and have no energy. Your sleeping and eating habits may be terrible, and you may not have the capacity to deal with negative feelings. Your body is giving you messages that you’re poisoning it and it’s had enough.
When you’re sober, you will get a better quality of sleep, so you’ll wake up feeling rejuvenated. Since your judgment will also be better when you’re sober, your eating habits will improve so you won’t experience the discomfort of constipation or diarrhea.
Your energy levels will rise so you’ll want to get involved in fun things again. This means that you may feel more up to participating in physical activities. You may find yourself hitting the gym more often or even going on hikes with friends. Your heart, mood, and waistline will benefit from the increase in exercise or physical activity.
As you get more active, your mental health condition will improve as well. Unchecked alcoholism can often lead to or aggravate mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders
The bottom line is this: when it comes to your health, the message is clear – sober is better.
Once you’re sober, one of your important steps to full recovery is to rekindle relationships. During your addiction, you probably made some errors in judgment because you weren’t clear or coherent. When you begin to reach out to people, you may be pleasantly surprised at the amount of compassion that your friends and family have for you. We all need each other and this part of being sober will allow you to see how loved and supported you truly are.
If you want to repair any strained or broken relationships, you need to approach cautiously. Remember, you may have severely hurt some people with your behaviors and actions while you weren’t intoxicated. You need to acknowledge that you may have done some extensive damage. Some people may not be keen on opening those old wounds, and you need to be respectful of their feelings.
Having said that, there are some steps you can take to repair relationships that are important to you.
- Reach out to the people you want to reconnect with. Don’t wait for them to make the first move, even if you believe they were in the wrong. It’s up to you to extend the olive branch to them. You might not be sure about how they will respond, but be prepared for either response. You can even consider sending an email or a letter instead of making a phone call or talking face to face if it makes you feel better. Let them know that you are getting help for your addiction and you’re trying to get your life back on track.
- Be honest and ask them for forgiveness. The fact that you have a problem with another person means that somewhere along the line, you were in the wrong. They may be expecting you to make excuses or deny that you were at fault. Be honest about what you were going through. Apologize for what happened and ask them to forgive you. You may be surprised to see how willing they are to do just that.
- Put the past in the past. Once you have asked for forgiveness – whether it was granted to you or not – put that event behind you. There is no need to bring it up to yourself or among your friends or family members any longer. It’s over, and nothing is going to change it. You need to move forward with the knowledge that you are now making better decisions.
- Stay in contact with them. Your reconciliation is not a one-time thing. In order for it to work, you must keep up your end of the relationship. It may take some time before they believe that you really have changed, and that’s OK. By calling them or texting them regularly, they will be able to see the change themselves.
- Stay in contact with them. Not everyone is going to welcome you back into their lives with open arms. That’s something that you should be prepared for. You need to give them the time they need. Also, it’s important to recognize the fact that they may never “come around.” That part is not your responsibility. Your job is to attempt to reconcile and ask for forgiveness.
Bonus Reasons for Being a Sober Woman
These are just a few of the reasons you should consider getting and staying sober. There are so many more, and we had to mention them to you; especially if you’re on the fence about getting help for your addiction.
Once you get sober, you will experience the following.
Alcohol increases your dopamine levels, and this is the chemical that is responsible for making people feel happy. The problem is that alcohol is a depressant, and it can lead to depression instead of making you feel good after some time has passed.
When you become a sober woman, alcohol will no longer be slowing down your brain function. This will allow the right amount of dopamine to communicate with your brain’s nerve cells. Overall, you will be a happier person.
You may be really surprised by how much time you have once you stop drinking. Not only will you get that time back, but you also won’t need to spend time recovering from a hangover. A lot of alcoholics think about drinking all the time when they aren’t drinking. That’s even more time that you will get back if you get clean.
This is going to leave you with a lot of opportunities to try new things. Make sure to fill this new time with the things you enjoy, or maybe that you’ve always wanted to do.
Every alcoholic understands what it means to get the munchies. Munchies lead to ordering pizza at midnight, to having your designated driver go through the drive-thru or to raiding your kitchen for snacks.
Munchies will go away once you stop drinking. This will empower you to make better food choices for yourself. You may not completely become a health food nut, but you will notice some dietary changes. For instance, you’ll notice that you have more energy because you’re giving your body the fuel it needs instead of stuffing it with junk.
If you’re like most people who drink, you have no idea how much money you spend on alcohol. If you have the money, you probably just spend it on drinks. If you don’t’ have the money, you may even go to great lengths to get it to be sure you have alcohol on hand.
Once you stop drinking, you’ll save a lot of money, and not just on alcohol. You won’t be spending money on Ubers or cabs to get home after getting drunk at the bar. You also won’t be throwing your money away on fast food that you don’t really need.
3 Things to Expect During Your First 30 Days of Recovery
The first 30 days of recovery tend to be the most difficult. Many people will often relapse during this time because they can’t adjust to the changes that happen within their body. They may feel as if it’s pointless to try to recover. After all, addiction may be all that they know. They may not feel comfortable with any other way of living.
“40% to 60% of those who seek addiction treatment for alcoholism or drug addiction will relapse within one year.”
Preparing yourself for the hardships of recovery can actually help you succeed. If you know what to expect, you may be less likely to relapse and may feel more motivated to succeed. By being more aware of the issues that you may face, you may feel more prepared.
While each person will go through different experiences during recovery, there are some things that you can expect. Other than the expected withdrawal symptoms, let’s take a look at 3 of the things that you can expect during recovery below.
#1. Your Sensory System Will Feel Overloaded
Many recovering alcoholics and drug addicts can all agree on one thing: they experienced a sensory overload while they were recovering. This sensory overload is the most intense and overwhelming during the first 30 days of recovery. All senses can get overloaded. This includes your hearing, vision and your sense of smell, taste, and touch.
What does a sensory overload look like or feel like?
Well, you might find that the colors that you see every day seem a lot more vibrant and vivid. You may notice that the leaves outside your window seem like they’re too green to handle. You may even notice that even background chatter may seem unbearably loud and distracting.
The intensity of the sensory overload will vary from one individual to another. Some people may find that certain senses become bombarded with stimuli while others are more bearable.
How to Deal with Sensory Overload
When your senses are overloaded, you may feel overwhelmed. After all, this may not be the best time for you to have so much going on. To successfully recover, you need peace and quiet. Here are some tips on how you can deal with sensory overload:
- Identify the safe spaces in your area. This may be your room or a certain area of the library or a group meeting room that is quiet and comfortable. Many drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers will have designated safe spaces.
- Write your triggers down to identify what senses may be most problematic or overwhelming.
- Have conversations in separate rooms when you’re at a big gathering or when you’re out and about.
- Make a list or find something that will keep you distracted when your senses become overwhelmed. This may include playing with a fidget spinner or making a list of your chores and sticking to them.
- Get plenty of rest and sleep. If you want to recover as soon as possible, you’re going to need to get plenty of rest and sleep. This will help your brain heal.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, you can speak with one of our addiction specialists at any time. Our only goal is to help you achieve long-term recovery in a safe and comfortable manner.
#2. Intense Cravings Will Come Up from Time to Time
If you think that your cravings are bad now, they’re going to be exponentially worse while you’re trying to recover. Your brain is not going to like the neurochemical imbalance at all. It will try to signal to you that it needs you to either drink or use drugs again. In short, you’ll experience intense cravings from time to time. These cravings will be at their worst during the beginning of your recovery.
You may find yourself craving drugs or alcohol at all times of the day.
In general, the cravings will tend to dissipate with time. However, no one knows exactly when they’ll be gone for good. Some recovering addicts claim that they still experience intense cravings from time to time.
So, what can you do to keep the cravings at bay? Check out these following 5 tips:
- Get medical detox services. Prescription medications can restore balance to your body. Drug detox services can help ease psychological withdrawal symptoms, like cravings, so you have an easier time during recovery. Vivitrol services are often used to curb opioid and alcohol cravings.
- Boost the neurochemicals in your body naturally by exercising. Just 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week can make a huge difference. Naturally, most addiction specialists will recommend that you take part in more physical activity.
- Eat healthy and nutritious meals. Most addiction treatment centers offer nutritional therapy. Not only will you eat healthy and delicious meals prepared by an on-site chef, but you’ll also learn about the types of foods that you should be eating.
- Become more aware of your feelings with mindfulness or meditation. Surprisingly, being mindful about your emotions and thoughts can make a huge difference.
- Staying hydrated. Remember to drink lots of water and fluid while recovering.
#3. You May Have Intense Mood Swings
One second you’re elated and the next you’re depressed. While recovering, many women claim that they don’t feel as if they have a good handle on their emotions. This is absolutely normal.
Mood swings are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain and body. Those who are recovering from addiction will have major fluctuations in their neurochemical levels. This means that you expect to experience some major mood swings. You may feel irritable, depressed or even angry while recovering.
The best way to keep a lid on your emotions is to be aware of the fact that you’ll have mood swings. Make sure that you don’t make any rash decisions during this time, and try to understand that you’re putting your body through a tremendously stressful situation.
Your mood swings may not only be from a chemical imbalance in your brain. You may have used drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. Without these substances, your underlying mental health conditions may begin to show. This is why many people will use this time to determine whether they have an underlying co-occurring mental health disorder. If they do, they’re going to need dual diagnosis treatment.
Another important thing to consider is that you may also feel like your mind is foggy or hazy. This is absolutely normal as well.
The Importance of Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Many people don’t realize how important dual diagnosis treatment is. If you don’t treat the underlying mental health disorders, you’re only going to suffer. The co-occurring mental health issue may cause a natural fluctuation of chemicals in your brain. For example, if you’re depressed, you may not produce enough dopamine or serotonin.
Dual diagnosis treatment recognizes that you are already dealing with unnatural fluctuations regardless of whether you have an addiction or not. Medications, counseling and behavioral therapy will help you normalize your brain chemistry levels and learn how to deal with any mental issues that you may be struggling with. This will help you learn how to lead a healthy and happy lifestyle, so you don’t turn back to alcohol or drugs in the future.
How Long Will It Take for You to Recover
Unfortunately, addiction is not “curable”. It is only treatable. This means that you may never be free from your vices. Even if you go through an alcohol or drug rehab program, you may end up relapsing years down the road. Or, you may still experience intense cravings that you need to talk yourself out of. Recovery takes a lifetime.
With that said, most residential or inpatient treatment programs typically take 28 to 90 days to complete. Inpatient care will include medical detox services. After completing an inpatient treatment program, most recovering addicts will be free from most of their withdrawal symptoms.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re ready to take on the world. These women are still in very vulnerable positions, which is why most addiction experts recommend transitioning into an outpatient program or a sober living arrangement.
The length of time that it takes an individual to recover will also depend on the length of their abuse, the types of substances that were consumed, their biological makeup and more. Some women will naturally have better luck at recovery than others.
Get Sober with Help from Women’s Recovery
Getting sober will change everything in your life as you discover who you really are. As alcohol created an alternate personality, you will let that reckless side of you go. You will find the true pleasures in life that won’t damage or hurt your mind, body, and soul. You won’t drunk dial ex-boyfriends, cause harm to yourself or your loved ones, or feel ashamed to be you any longer.
Please keep in mind that it is not a good idea to stop drinking on your own. Doing so could result in complications from alcohol withdrawal that may even become life-threatening. The right kind of treatment can help you avoid delirium tremens or other issues.
Women’s Recovery is an outpatient drug and alcohol addiction treatment center in Denver. We are dedicated to helping each woman who walks through our door to get the help that they need. We offer 100% customized addiction treatment programs and plans for all types of addictions, and our addiction experts are always available to answer any questions or concerns that you may have. Our goal desire is to help you get sober.