Signs Alcohol And Drugs Were Affecting My Health
It may sound like common sense to say that stopping the use of alcohol and drugs has greatly improved my health. Any doctor will tell you that drinking excessively or using drugs has adverse effects on the body. But when I was actively using, I wasn’t aware of just how much damage I was doing.
Unhealthy Lifestyle During Active Addiction
I could see that I was underweight, and I knew that I woke up most mornings feeling awful. 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 frightening. It was as if the drugs and alcohol were slowly sucking the life out of me. As I became frailer with each passing year, I made the adjustments necessary to continue on.
Adding to the problems was my eating disorder, which during my active addiction was completely out of control. I didn’t really know how to eat healthy or the proper amount, so my body was a wreck. This meant that once I got sober, I had a long way to go to feel better physically.
The Journey To Sobriety And Improved Health
When I did finally get sober, I didn’t start to feel better right away. Some people start feeling better, eating better, and sleeping better within a week of quitting drugs or alcohol. That was not the case with me. It took some time for my body to start to heal and I really felt horrible for the first month or so.
After time passed, I started to feel better. I began 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. 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 I struggled with this throughout much of my life. I remember it happened maybe a month and a half into treatment. 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 two 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.
Improved Physical Appearance And Healthier Habits From Sobriety
I also physically started to feel better. 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. Near the end of my addiction, my skin had a grey-ish look. My physical appearance deteriorated slowly over time, and I wasn’t really aware of the shape I was in until after I started to look and feel better. This is something else 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 they didn’t look dead anymore but had a lightness to them 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, 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 I put into my body. Eating healthier has given me more energy and allowed me to feel better overall.
The Connection Between Spiritual, Mental, and Physical Health
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, 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 can. I owe all of this to my finally getting sober.
In addition to taking better care of myself, reaching out for support has also been a crucial part of my journey to sobriety. I highly encourage anyone who is struggling with addiction to reach out to friends, family, or organizations such as AffinityOne by calling 855-808-5120. Talking about your struggles and seeking guidance from those who understand and support your journey can be incredibly helpful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Remember, you don't have to face this challenge alone. There is always help available for those who seek it.