The Health Benefits of Living a Truly Sober Lifestyle
No drinking + no smoking = a happier you
A few months ago, I met a man at the gym who was in the middle of a 30-day detox. Not only was he working out more and eating better, but he quit drinking alcohol and smoking cigars for the month. He didn’t quit drinking coffee or things like that, just alcohol and tobacco.
He explained to me how much better he had felt at the end of his 30-day detoxes in the past and that he aims to do this kind of detox at least twice a year. He didn’t have an addiction problem with drinking or smoking. He just enjoyed how his mind and body felt after being ‘truly sober’ for a while.
Truly sober means not partaking in any substance that could negatively impact your health, no matter the portion size. No small glasses of wine, occasional cigars, or even quick sips from your partner’s beer.
After thinking about what he told me, I gave my first 30-day detox a try. The only things I gave up were a few glasses of wine on weeknights and the occasional beer on Sundays. Nothing major so I didn’t expect much of a change.
However, when those 30 days were over, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that I wanted to live the rest of my life without touching alcohol again. I didn’t want to try the occasional cigar either. I was done with all of it.
That was back in July. Now, it’s October and I feel so amazing every day that I made a vow to live a truly sober lifestyle, forever.
My Mental Attitude Changed
You don’t realize how negative your everyday state of mind is until you go truly sober. After the first two weeks of my detox, I started to feel less pent up and more relaxed. I wasn’t working out any more than normal and my workdays were just as stressful as before, but I was able to handle it better.
Coping with the world around you is a task that takes time to master. Distracting yourself from the world with substances like alcohol and tobacco doesn’t teach your mind how to cope. Instead, these substances give your mind an easy way out of facing its problems.
At first, it was tough for me to cope with stressful days. In the first two weeks, I often found myself staring at the wine bottle in my fridge after I got off work. I was able to resist this temptation by meditating. Instead of sipping a glass of wine and scrolling on Twitter after work, I was sipping water and going on the Headspace app.
If you want to do a detox and keep finding yourself reaching for the wine bottle, try your hardest to substitute it for meditation. You’ll feel better after 30 minutes of meditating than you will after 30 minutes of sipping. I also found that reading an interesting book will have a similar effect.
Another way that being truly sober helped my mind is that it helped me think more clearly. I knew something was different when I found myself daydreaming in the middle of my workday. As bad as this sounds, I realized I hadn’t daydreamed like this since high school, before I drank alcohol. To me, this was a sign that my mind was thinking more freely than before.
I also viewed myself in a more positive light, called my mom more often just to chat and did more deep thinking than I had done in years. I’m not sure if all of this correlates to me being truly sober, but it’s the only major change I’ve made in my life so I think it’s not just a coincidence.
The Way My Body Felt Changed
Before my detox, I didn’t have many aches and pains. I like to think that I’m still on the younger side of life so besides the occasional soreness after a workout, I typically feel great. At least I thought I felt great until I stopped drinking and figured out how great I actually could feel.
Did you know that any kind of alcohol consumption can damage your organs, including your lungs? Even in small amounts, alcohol damages your body and forces it to repair itself. After giving up alcohol, I realized how much it actually impacted me.
In just one month, my breathing ascended from what I thought was normal to another level. I ran longer without being as tired, I could push myself harder in the gym and I snored less at night. That last one might pertain exclusively to me because I’m a big-time snorer due to congestion issues. My snoring decreased drastically because my lung function increased, which made the wifey very happy.
Besides my lungs, I felt so much better after every workout. Don’t get me wrong, my body was already feeling great after every workout but now it feels unreal. Not only does my body feel better, it feels better, longer.
Before being truly sober, I felt great for a few hours after a workout and then the feeling went away. Now, I feel better than great after every workout and that feeling always lasts until the next day.
I never knew how much better my body could feel until I gave it a chance to fully heal itself by letting go of alcohol.
The Way People Perceived Me Changed
One of the hardest parts about deciding to be truly sober is that friends who know you used to drink think that you stopped because you had a problem. They think you can’t just quit because you want to better your health, it has to be because you’re addicted or something of that nature.
When I go out with friends to catch up and alcohol is an option, I always get some awkward glares from across the table when I decline and opt for water. Sometimes they even ask if it’s something new I’m trying or if something is wrong. Other times, they just stare at me and think that I’m judging them for drinking.
At first, I wasn’t sure how this made me feel. I’ve come to accept it over the last few months and now I embrace it. I’m fine with being the only one in the group who isn’t drinking. I never judge anyone who does decide to drink or smoke, but it just isn’t for me anymore.
If people want to make assumptions about me because of that and think I’m some hardened rehab veteran then good. People who beat addictions are strong and even though I didn’t beat an addiction, if others want to think I did then I could care less.
Being truly sober all the time made me remember how much I love feeling great. I’m striving to feel the best I possibly can all the time, both mentally and physically.
If you’re on the fence about becoming truly sober, I suggest trying it for a 30-day stint. It could change your life more than you know.
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