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How Getting Sober Has Greatly Improved My Health

October 19, 2022

It may sound like common sense to say that stopping abusing alcohol and drugs has greatly improved my health. Any doctor will tell you that drinking excessively or using drugs has extremely adverse effects on the body, but when I was actively using, I wasn’t aware of just how much I was affecting myself.

I could see that I was well underweight, and I knew that I woke up most mornings feeling awful, but I sort of got used to it after a while and began to normalize my unhealthy feelings. I also knew that comparatively speaking, not having drugs or alcohol in my system made me feel much worse, and I had all but forgotten what it felt like to actually have a sober mind and body.

I remember how run down I was by the time I finally entered treatment. I hadn’t really slept in years; mostly I just passed out at some point in the night. My skin was a dull grey color, and looking at pictures from that time period, there was a deadness to my eyes that is sort of frightening at this point. It was as if the drugs and alcohol were slowly sucking the life out of me, and as I became frailer with each passing year, I made the adjustments necessary to continue on.

Adding to the problems with my health was my eating disorder, which during my active addiction was completely out of control. I didn’t really know how to eat healthy or eat a healthy amount, so my body was a wreck because of this. This meant that once I got sober, I had a long way to go to feel better physically.

When I did finally get sober, I didn’t start to feel better right away. Some people have the experience where they remove the drugs and alcohol, and within a week they are feeling better, eating better, and sleeping better, but that was not the case with me. It took some time for my body to start to heal itself, and for about the first month, I really felt horrible.

After a little bit of time passed, I started to feel better. I began to be able to sleep through the night, and I noticed that I didn’t have as much trouble falling asleep. I wouldn’t just lay in bed tossing and turning as my mind raced uncontrollably, but I would actually be able to put my head on the pillow and fall asleep quickly. This was a very big deal for me because throughout most of my life, I struggled with this. I remember it happened maybe a month and a half into treatment when one morning I woke up and I didn’t remember falling asleep the night before. I didn’t remember struggling for sleep, and it really was a great feeling.

I also didn’t wake up several times through the night, and this has continued for the past 2 years. When I fall asleep, I usually stay asleep until my alarm goes off. This wasn’t always the case, and during my active addiction, I would usually get up at least once a night and then have trouble falling back to sleep.

I also physically started to feel better as well. I didn’t wake up in the morning with an upset stomach. My skin didn’t feel so tight, and my head wouldn’t be pounding. I would just sort of wake up, get my coffee, and go about my day. I didn’t feel as worn down anymore, and I started to have a lot more energy than I had in years. I started to exercise and do yoga, and both of these things added to my general feeling of wellness.

Something else that improved once I got sober was the way that I looked, in particular, my skin. Like I said, towards the end of my addiction, it had a greyish look to it. My physical appearance deteriorated slowly over time, and so I wasn’t really aware of the shape I was in until after I started to look and feel better. This is something else that I have noticed in others since I have been sober. When we get sober, our skin starts to have its natural glow again, and we look healthier because we are no longer overloading our bodies with harmful chemicals.

After a few months of being sober, I would look at myself in the mirror and see the glow of my skin. I would look at my eyes and notice that they didn’t look dead anymore but had a lightness to them that I hadn’t seen in years. As I started to feel better and take better care of myself, I started to look better as well, and that was a great feeling.

Lastly, getting sober has allowed me to develop healthy eating habits. I am not always perfect with this, as sometimes I get too busy with work and forget to eat lunch, but overall my eating habits have improved dramatically. I now have a gluten-free diet, which makes me feel great, and I am more cognizant of the things that I put into my body. Eating healthier has given me more energy and has made me feel better overall.

In the Big Book, it says that when we overcome the spiritual malady that ails us, we straighten out mentally and physically. This is what I have experienced in my sobriety. In those first early days of my recovery, I began to heal spiritually, which in turn allowed me to feel better mentally and physically as well. I now try to take better care of my body because it not only makes me feel better but it is also important for my continued sobriety. I am given only one body in this lifetime, and I intend to take the best care of it that I possibly can. I owe all of this to my finally getting sober.