How Getting Sober Has Greatly Improved My Health
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 really aware of just how much I was affecting myself. I have become aware of the fact that a healthy lifestyle in recovery is very important to me and vital to me living a successful life.
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 the unhealthy feelings that I had. 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 in order 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 healthily 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 in order 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 a number of 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 found that I no longer woke up in the morning with an upset stomach. My skin didn’t feel as tight and my head wasn’t pounding. I just sort of woke up,would get my coffee, and go about my day. I didn’t feel as worn down anymore and I had a lot more energy than I had in years. I also have started to exercise and do yoga, both of which 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 that I have noticed in others since I have been sober as well. When we get sober our skins starts to have its natural glow again and we look healthier because we are no longer overloading over body 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 light in them that I hadn’t seen in years. There is a gleam and luster to your eyes that you lose as soon as you start using. 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. I cannot tell you how many times since I have come home to Virginia that people compliment me and how good I look. It makes me uncomfortable most of the time although I have learned to just say thank you. I am always taken aback wondering did I really look that unhealthy, the answer is yes I did. I don’t have any pictures from that time but I know that I looked very sick.
Lastly, getting sober has allowed me to develop healthier 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 definitely made me feel better overall.
What I have experienced in my sobriety is healing on a deeper level though. It has been a spiritual healing. 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.
Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach
Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.