One year. 12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days.
Do you think you will last this long without alcohol?
Giving up on alcohol is a huge step and it’s not easy, I tell you.
A survey shows that about 90% of people with alcoholism relapse within 4 years after treatment. So, staying even one year sober is not as easy as it seems.
When you had your first sip of alcohol, you felt ecstatic. You felt as if nothing can stop you from having more.
After all the night outs and fun drinking sessions, you’ve decided you had enough. What do you expect from your first year of being sober?
For one, it’s a long, hard, and tedious process but it’s always a good reminder to take one step at a time.
Here’s a rundown of the lessons you will learn from staying sober for a year.
1. You Aren’t Healed – Not Yet Completely Anyway
Everything becomes normal if you do it long enough. But, you need to understand one thing – relapse does happen.
Here’s what happens during a relapse.
Brain chemistry has something to do with addiction. Alcohol releases dopamine in the reward pathway of the brain. Dopamine regulates the brain’s pleasure and reward centers.
As a result, the brain of people addicted to alcohol rewire its priorities. It detects alcohol as vital for survival. When this happens, people who become sober may have cravings and it’s hard to suppress.
Sobriety is a lifelong battle. Being one year sober doesn’t mean you already have a solid, alcohol-free lifestyle. You may have cravings every now and then.
You can expect to face the same difficulties as everyone else. Temptations of drinking are everywhere. It takes a great deal of courage to say “no” and reach a year of sobriety.
You need to keep in mind the goal of sobriety. It’s not about escaping the deviations of life. It’s learning how to cope and deal with whatever is going on in your life.
2. People and Moments Are More Important Than the Booze
Long ago, you always thought that the most important thing during a get together is the booze you share with people.
You celebrate joyous occasions with alcohol. Now, even if you take the alcohol away, it’s still a celebration.
When you become sober, you realize that it’s not the alcohol that makes the party alive and happy. It’s the people you share the moment with.
You will become more grateful for the memories, the moment and the people you’re celebrating with more than the alcohol.
In fact, you realize that you get to cherish the moment more since you’re not tipsy or drunk to remember.
3. You’ll Have More Energy to Enjoy Life
When you don’t spend your nights drinking until you drop, you will have more time and energy to do the things you love.
You won’t spend your weekends lying in bed because of a hangover, or your weekend mornings feeling lazy to do something productive.
You will have more time to learn new hobbies, spend time with family, and know yourself.
4. Alcohol Does Not Help You Sleep Better, Sobriety Does
It is a common myth that drinking helps you sleep better. That’s wrong!
Drinking alcohol may actually disrupt your sleep cycle, which makes you feel more tired in the morning. You also get to experience hangover the next day, making you feel worse.
In fact, a new review shows that alcohol does not improve sleep quality. Though alcohol makes people sleep easier and faster, it cuts back on rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
When there is a disruption of the REM stage of sleep, it may cause poor concentration, daytime drowsiness, and weakness.
5. Becoming Physically Sober Should Be the Same as Emotionally-Sober
Sometimes, you drink to escape the struggles you face in life. As much as you want to become physically-sober, you need to fix yourself, too.
If you stop drinking but you make no effort to improve your life, you might just return to drinking again. So, physical sobriety is as important as emotional sobriety.
The problem is, you turned to alcohol for a reason. If you didn’t do anything to address that reason, chances are, you might easily relapse.
6. You’ll Regain Control Over Your Finances
One of the things you neglected during the high and drunk days of your life is your finances. You most likely ended up with debt because of it.
But, at one year sober, you’ll realize that you have the control over your money. You can now turn your debt-ridden free life around.
This means you’re less likely to misplace or forget to pay your bills. You’ll not overspend over drinks and night outs. You’ll have a sense of responsibility and accountability, compared to when you were always drinking.
You’ll also have more control over work. You’ll not arrive late for meetings. You’ll feel more energized, and this will help you perform better.
7. You Get to Strengthen Relationships
Alcohol can ruin relationships.
Did you know that 10% of children in the United States live with a parent with alcohol problems?
Alcohol can take a toll on your relationship with family and friends. Alcoholism wreaks havoc on the mind, body, and spirit. Families are torn apart by this habit.
If you’re married, it may ruin the marriage. If you’re a parent, the addiction becomes paramount that you neglect your responsibilities.
Being one year sober has many benefits for families. But, the most important one is being a better partner and parent.
8. You’re Healthier Being One Year Sober
When you’re drinking, you would spend many days feeling tired and like a crap. You eat loads of take away food and you’ll indulge in fattening, sugary treats.
You won’t have the energy to exercise or live a healthy lifestyle. But, being one year sober, you’ll learn more about healthy food. You will find vegetables, fruits, and other healthy choices appetizing.
Plus, you’re hydrated more now than when you were drinking. In a nutshell, you’re healthier and it shows on your physical appearance and energy levels.
Being One Year Sober Is Hard but Worth It
Being one year sober is hard but after all the difficulties, you’ll waste all the time and effort if you relapse. The best thing to do is take it slow; spend one day at a time. Focus on your goal and how much you want to stay sober.
Being healthy is a choice. And we can help when it comes to tips and tricks to a healthier lifestyle.
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