Savoring the Benefits of Sobriety

Posted on September 17, 2013

Take a moment and really enjoy sobriety

Stop and smell the rosesI’ve talked about an idea in meetings and implicitly in my last blog post. It’s an idea that has resonated with people, and I’ve been encouraged to post more explicitly about it. That is, as you get some time free of your drug of choice (DOC), take some time and really savor the benefits. This post could be thought of as sort of a counterpoint to my most recent post about everything seeming very busy as you build a sober life. Perhaps one way to think of this idea is “take time to stop and smell the roses.”

As people build time away from their drug of choice it’s not uncommon for the memories of the negatives—hangovers, isolation, detoxing, etc., to recede. Meanwhile, memories of what you perceived as enjoyable about your DOC seem to grow. Those good times start to seem better than they probably really were. You were more social, and not just brainlessly yapping. You were a better dancer, and not just making a spectacle of yourself. You were wise and witty, and not simply boorish. Of course these perceptions were all filtered through your brain which was under the influence of your DOC.

The CBA (Cost Benefit Analysis) can be a big help here. It brings everything back into a more accurate perspective when you can look at that quadrant on your CBA where you have listed the things that you hate about your DOC. It also forces you to ask yourself some probing questions about just how good were those “good times”— really?

I want to suggest another way to help weight the CBA towards addiction recovery and towards continuing to enhance your motivation to stay abstinent. As I said earlier, take some time and savor those moments and events that would be out of your reach if you were using.

For me, many times this is often something simple—the sun on my face, a car ride with the windows down and my favorite music turned up loud, or a walk to a local public garden where I just sit and notice things like the ripples in a pond. It can be something like enjoying an afternoon playing with your children. It can be the satisfaction of accomplishment like a clean house or a great home-cooked meal that would not have happened if you were using. It can be another step in your path towards a life of abstinence, like an evening with friends where you laugh and talk and stay sober.

Remind yourself of that list (on your CBA) of those things that you will enjoy when you don’t use. You probably have included some of the bigger benefits like regaining the trust of loved ones or holding down a job. You might not have thought to include some of the smaller benefits on the list, like playing fetch with your dog and laughing when she tries to get two tennis balls in her mouth at once. But small things do count, as well, and help to maintain your motivation.

Take a few minutes and enjoy the rewards of not using. I look for moments like this every day. So far, I have found no shortage of these moments.

About the author: Green-In-MI is a SMART Recovery Online Participant and Volunteer. He continues to build on his progress and enjoys endurance sports and gardening.

One thought on “Savoring the Benefits of Sobriety

  1. James F. Davis

    If you’re not taking the time to enjoy life – the small things and the big things – then you’re not really living. Part of being humble is the ability to find joy and contentment in seemingly small things, and your article touches on this perfectly. I wrote an article recently about addiction and recovery movies that I think ties in with this perfectly; entertainment is a big part of taking time to enjoy the life that sobriety has brought us: I’m wondering if you can help with one or two more movies that aren’t on this list? Any help would be great! Thank you and awesome blog, bookmarked. 😉 -James F. Davis

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