Making the decision to give up an addiction may seem like a simple act to those who have never struggled with the issue. The truth is that sobriety is a process that, for those who follow the path, will last a lifetime. The great news is that by enduring and eventually embracing the process, you will also have a life. Here are 10 reasons to get started.
1. Your friends and family will be happy to see and count on you again. If you are continually doing things that are self-indulgent or hurtful to those you love, they have no choice but to turn away from you.
2. You will like yourself better. Once you give up your habit, you will be able to look at yourself in the mirror and smile. You also won't be sick and tired of being sick and tired.
3. You will have more joy in experiencing a day rather than sleeping through it. When the demon has you in its grip, you have no life.
4. Your body and mind will feel awake and alive once again. One reason people continue to drink and use is because they physically experience the withdrawals of the substance and need to continue the addiction just to "feel normal."
5. You can now have honest, deep and lasting relationships. Addicts don't have relationships; they take hostages. Once you are sober, someone can choose to love you rather than choose to stay because they are afraid for you or of you.
6. You are now available to follow (and reach) your dreams. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself because you haven't achieved your goals, you will be able to take the necessary steps to get there.
7. You will make the world a tiny bit better. Just by being a little nicer, as well as extending a helping hand to others, (which will help you stay sober), you will make this world a better place.
8. Others can once again trust you. An added benefit is that you can also trust yourself again, because you have gotten through one of the most frightening things in life.
9. You will have more money. Many people who are addicted spend all their money on their drug of choice. Sober, you no longer have that extra expense and are capable of earning more.
10. You give yourself a life. Many people drink and use because they are afraid of dying. Others are afraid of living. And all addicts are afraid of stopping. Using drugs and alcohol doesn't make you less afraid; it just numbs you.
The only way to get even some of the goodies that this life has to offer is to meet life head on and on life's terms. Ask anyone who has done it, and they will probably tell you that their worst day sober was better than their best day high.
Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a marriage and family therapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of "Emotional Fitness for Intimacy."