The word “recover” means to regain something that you have lost. If recovery were described like one of those credit cards that gave people perks for using it, everyone would want to look into the benefits it offers. You get a lot more than a yearly rebate for being a member of the Recovery Card.
You Get Your Body Back
Alcohol has empty calories that inflate your daily intake and your body, so you may lose weight when you quit it. Alcohol calories invade your bloodstream like pure sugar and raise your insulin levels. This can trap your system in a sugar craving cycle as you replace healthy food with alcohol and it can lead to diabetes, according to positivehealthwellness.com.
Sugar spikes are dangerous to your liver and other organs, leaving you with an overtaxed body that feels tired all time, even after hours of intoxicated sleep. Being unconscious is not the same as healthy sleep. You may be out like a light, but not getting restorative rest because the toxins from alcohol are damaging your body instead of allowing your natural systems to restore it during sleep.
You Get Your Youth Back
While there is science to prove that alcohol causes damage to your body, it also shows that organs begin to recover as soon as alcohol intake decreases or stops entirely. At first, a person may feel cravings and withdrawal as their system adjusts. As they replace empty alcohol calories with healthy food, the body will get the elements it needs to repair what alcohol addiction has damaged.
After an initial adjustment, people will get real rest and feel energized instead of hung over when they wake. This repairs everything from skin to brain cells. Many people both feel and look younger because alcohol dehydrates the body and breaks down collagen, causing wrinkles and sags. Stopping it lets your skin bounce back so you may look younger.
You Get Your Brain Back
Dousing your brain with alcohol will make you forgetful and unfocused. You may have actually started drinking to forget about some difficulty in life, but you likely have discovered that alcohol doesn’t solve those problems — it just makes you less able to think of constructive ways to deal with them. And it adds a whole new set of problems like being unable to do your job, get along well with others, control your emotions or learn new skills. That’s not what you need when you are trying to work through difficulty.
As you reduce alcohol, your mental and spiritual health will improve. You will be able to problem solve and to figure out ways to cope with difficulties instead numbing yourself. You will discover real bravery in the face of fear instead of an artificial escape that doesn’t last, and often creates new problems. You will get in touch with your feelings instead of sedating them and learn how to work through them. You will be able to reach out to others in a positive way and find communities that can help you grow.
You Get Your Money Back
An alcohol addiction doesn’t just cost you physically and emotionally, it also hits your wallet. An alcohol habit can cost several hundred dollars per month to sustain. To that number you can add car repairs, towing, time off for sickness, extra medical expenses, late fees for forgotten bills and bad budgeting or buying decisions and even legal fees for DUI arrests. That’s a huge rebate for making a life change to sobriety. If it were a credit card, sobriety would be the gold card of life.
You will also get back large blocks of time that were spent supporting alcohol addiction and energy spent trying to hide your habit. Your day will be focused on productive activity instead of finding, drinking and recovering from alcohol. And, as they say, time is money.
You Get Control of Your Life Back
Just reducing the amount of toxic alcohol you consume will help your organs begin to fight their way back to health. Some experts recommend a gradual withdrawal to begin a journey to sobriety because of the intense withdrawal symptoms, and most, like dualdiagnosis.org, strongly advocate for medical supervision.
Although many programs insist on complete abstinence, other therapists advise people who want to try recovery to aim for smaller goals at first. When total abstinence is not something a person can imagine after years of being locked into addiction, cutting back gradually may be a way to begin. For some this method is not possible because one drink always leads to many more; for others it is a way to make a positive change that will lead to sobriety in the long run.
Recovery gives you back the choices that alcohol addiction takes away: The choice to direct your life, to have friends that aren’t just enablers, to control your own mind and body. Those are great reasons to become a gold card member of the recovery community.
By Pat Matuszak
Pat Matuszak is a writer for Foundations Recovery Network. Her background includes news journalism, magazine feature writing, editing for websites, fiction and nonfiction books. She is an author of adult, teen and children’s books. Find out more at her website, www.EditorialCoffee.com