The 10 Best Things about Recovery from Alcoholism
The working definition of recovery from mental disorders and/or substance use disorders, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is “A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” Recovery from alcoholism means a lot of different things to different people, but, the foundation is hope and the belief that challenges and unwanted conditions can be overcome.
The 10 best things about recovery from alcoholism are:
Many alcoholics are ambivalent about becoming abstinent let alone, staying abstinent. They ask themselves what they will do if they can’t enjoy a drink, now and then. How will they deal with their daily life stressors, of which alcohol brings on, despite them knowing it? They will use any number of defense mechanisms to keep drinking including:
- Assertions of personal freedoms
Once abstinence is achieved, however, the real work begins and those who push through the struggles toward personal growth and greatness (the only way to get to long-term sobriety) are the lucky ones. As the abstinence gets easier to maintain, so does their quality of life.
2.) Taking Better Care of Physical Health
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “Nearly 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making it the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.” In recovery, many of the ill effects from alcoholism can diminish over time and with appropriate treatments. Even if not completely, taking care of physical health more than before is one of the best things about recovery from alcoholism.
3.) Taking Better Care of Mental Health
Mental health problems and alcoholism go hand in hand. Stress, anxiety, and depression are big motivators to using alcohol which perpetuates a vicious cycle when brain mechanisms and stress regulators are altered or damaged, leading to higher rates of relapse despite years in recovery. Recovery from alcoholism can dispel some of the most common mental health problems exacerbated by alcohol abuse given time, appropriate mental health services, and personal changes.
4.) Becoming More Honest
An alcoholic in the throes of their addiction typically cares very little about their inner being, beliefs, values, honesty, or integrity and when these issues conflict with the truth of their alcoholic conditions, they’ll choose the alcohol to remedy what they feel is wrong with them. In recovery, an alcoholic knows this never works and that they have alternatives including people, sources, activities, and the cognitive and spiritual awareness to make better choices.
5.) The Ability to Endure Frustrations
The further along in their recovery from alcoholism, the more frustrations an alcoholic may have to endure to get to where they want to be in life, but, frustrations can be powerful motivators to making necessary changes. Nothing is worse than being complacent in recovery efforts, and the ability to endure frustrations using them to your benefit creates resilience. According to the SAMHSA “Resilience refers to an individual’s ability to cope with adversity and adapt to challenges or changes” and is an element of recovery you can’t afford to go without mastering.
6.) Restoring Broken Relationships
Renewing broken relationships within the immediate and extended family without having to hide away for shame or guilt, can bring back the happiness, trust, and open communications that have gone awry while abusing alcohol. Perhaps, nothing is more painful than hurting the people you love the most and in recovery from alcoholism, you get the chance to make amends. Whether they are redrawn to you and offer support or not, you get the relief of letting the past remain where it belongs and move forward to a better future.
7.) Building a Positive Support Network
One of the greatest of all things about recovery from alcoholism is the knowing you don’t have to go it alone. Building a positive support system with those who you can openly share the most common concerns of alcoholism and related issues can be enlightening. Engaging in support groups to encourage you in your sobriety is an effective principle to maintain abstinence and deal with daily life struggles. Group therapies, according to the NIDA, can “help people achieve and maintain abstinence and other healthy lifestyle behaviors over the course of a lifetime.”
8.) Taking Responsibility
Accountability for yourself a and living a better life that contributes to your betterment, society, and to your family is a big part of the recovery. Regaining self respect and finding integrity in taking responsibility for your thoughts, behaviors, and emotions is what will keep you in check when things that are out of your control elsewhere.
9.) Living a Self-Directed Life
Living a self-directed life free from alcohol means you can become self-sufficient, better able to provide for your children and family, and you know where your boundaries lie. Alcohol no longer has the dominion over you it once had and you can make those decisions that are best for you without having to give in to its destructive consequences.
10.) A Process of Growth
Continuously pursuing happiness, satisfaction, and a lifestyle changes are the best things about recovery from alcoholism. No longer limiting yourself to who you were before, growing through education, improvements in health and social functioning, and instilling hope through persistence is always a good thing.