Being Clean & Sober Means We Are Free from the Consequences of Using.
The dread of having to look for more is gone. The headaches and the withdrawals are all over. The danger of being caught in active addiction is over. The chasing, manipulating and controlling – all parts of playing the game of addiction is now at an end. The likelihood of getting infections due to a myriad of reasons – needle-sharing, sexually transmitted illnesses and heart problems to name a few is over. While sober, we don’t ever have to do any of these risk-taking activities ever again. All that is left is peace and the truth of understanding how to live life on life’s terms. Everything that active addiction was; is now out of our lives forever so long as we do not resort back to using. Sobriety means freedom from all of this!
Our Feelings return.
We may have days when we’re feeling sad, anxious and angry; but at least we’re feeling again. With that, we also feel happiness and what’s more; over time, we can even deal with those difficult negative feelings and get even happier in the process. Feeling happy becomes a reality and we’re no longer looking for that “golden age” in the past to reminisce, but be content with our current reality.
Life truly becomes worth living.
We realize that our lives have so much more worth than we’ve ever given it. We engage with useful activities and realize that worth for ourselves, which in turn, builds on our own self-esteem. We volunteer in charitable works, find a hobby, go on adventures with friends and family in addition to finding a job that’s worthwhile and satisfying. In other words, we begin to see how we fit into the bigger picture of life.
We receive radiant health.
We prioritize our health because we know what it is like to abuse ourselves. We eat regularly, enriching ourselves with nutritional goodness. For those who have suffered from food addiction, we know how to discern in our food choices and the amounts that are ideal for consumption. In addition to that, we work out at the gym and or attend other physical activities like Yoga and Tai-Chi to radiate the wealth of health we have begun to cultivate in ourselves. We have enough sleep and regulate our body-clocks to be more inclined to daytime living. As a result of good health, we are less likely to be prone to illnesses and diseases that in the past attacked our low immunity. Most importantly, we don’t have to depend on substances or externals to feel good; we can regulate our own well-being through health and radiance.
We get Clear Headed – Solution Oriented.
We can think clearly and be in the solution rather than the problem. We become part of the answer out of suffering than a cause for it. We trust in our Higher power to come up with solutions for the diversity of problems and share that discovery with others in recovery.
We become part of a community and Free from Isolation.
We learn to be a part of humanity again. We become a sibling to our siblings, a parent to our children, a child to our parents and a friend to our friends. We restore our relationships with our loved ones and we learn to enjoy those relationships in the spirit of love, tolerance, mutual affection and intimacy. We also can communicate our inner needs and are not controlled by the machinations of interpersonal dilemmas. We are listened to as we listen to others. We learn to set up boundaries with toxic relationships and build on the ones that support our growth. At times, we are also fine with being on our own, but far from being lonely; we appreciate our own company and are free to express our gratitude in peaceful solitude. We are not part of the life dramas that go on in “normal living” but can sit and watch peaceably and choose the path we want to be included in or excluded from, while at the same time respecting the same decisions and choices other people make. In other words, we become free from codependent behavior, which has been causing so much pain in our past lives.
With no money wasted on purchasing drugs, alcohol, excessive food and people – we have enough money for ourselves to grow a sensible savings. If we have been dependent on a loved one for income and have been abusing that dependency, we can plan ways to detach financially and focus on building personal wealth from within. We retain employment rather than leave on the whim because we are more focused at work due to a recovery program. Furthermore, we can invest sensibly rather than being sold on marketing schemes that prey on the feeble-minded because of our sense of self and clarity as a result of recovery. In essence, we can generate and increase our wealth, which at first will serve for our own survival, but without addiction; God knows what heights can be achievable if the energy that was once used to score is channeled into productive, worthwhile pursuits.
Relaxed and at ease with things.
Due to positive coping mechanisms the ups and downs of life do not shift us around as it used to. We become focused, relaxed and funny individuals who are able to see the lighter side of life. We also have appreciation for the lighter side of life after having experienced all that darkness in our past.
With everyday there is Increasing Gratitude.
In active addiction, we became very jaded and spoilt. Even when the greatest things were to happen to us, gratitude was replaced by entitlement for more – there was very little room for appreciation. However, in recovery, we’ve learnt to even take breathing itself as something to be grateful for and become more appreciative of the simpler things in life, increasing the joy for living.
Mindfulness becomes Us.
We have become more aware of our own lives. The sensitivity for what is appropriate versus inappropriate for us to thrive has become far more acute. We have awakened to life as it stands. As we share this life with others, this heightened sense of awareness and sharp receptivity to reality has made others seek solutions from us due to the wisdom gained out of mindful living.
There’s time (for the first time) to do things.
Nocturnal living is gone. We don’t go to sleep when we see the sun rising and thus sleep the day away, we use our time wisely and find that we have enough time for just about everything we need it for. Furthermore, we’re not engrossed with the process of using that had taken up our entire time that we now have time for ourselves and our loved ones. The maddening balance between using and hiding, which ate up chunks of time has passed on leaving us serene to manage our time for sober pursuits.
Intimacy and Love comes back in an healthy manner.
In sobriety, we can say how we feel and be vulnerable with the people we love. We can express love in appropriate ways to our loved ones without any hidden agenda or unspiritual desire. People become human and lose the objectification that was once held in active addiction. This creates authenticity and growth in relationships. Love, which is a necessity for emotional survival is honed and nurtured. We become loving, loveable and caring human beings.
The ultimate goal - HAPPINESS
Ultimately what we get from being clean and sober is happiness. Life is worth living. We attain the love and nurture we need to grow. We become worthy human beings who belong in a comfortable society. Negativity leaves us and we live happy and content with ourselves.
As the tenth step of the twelve step fellowship puts it:
And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone-even addiction. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in addiction. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward addiction has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it; neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality—safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition. –(Big Book pp. 84-85)