People use substances for a wide variety of reasons, but unlike the many addicts you often see on television, those reasons are rarely just to ‘feel good’. Most addicts suffer from stress, overwork, chronic pain, trauma, abuse or sexual abuse, boredom, mental disorders, PTSD, and a wide range of other mental and physical problems. Substances are more than a way to get high, they’re often an escape, and it can be difficult to choose to leave that escape behind.
Unfortunately, most substances harm more than they help. For example, while it’s common to begin using substances to get away from stress in your day to day life, the substances then go on to cause more stress. No matter how much of your substance you take, and how much it affects your life, there are strong and convincing reasons to get clean and sober. Even as a high functioning addict, your addiction still affects your life, your relationships, and your health.
Hopefully, these 10 good reasons to get clean and sober will inspire you to get help.
1. Your Health – Any kind of addiction is very damaging to your health. Alcoholics suffer from liver damage, gastrointestinal damage, and strain on the heart, which can increase the lifelong risks of heart and liver failure. Opioid addicts suffer from similar issues, with a strong increased risk of heart failure. Drugs and alcohol cause your weight to fluctuate, damage your liver and your intestines, and most likely cause you to neglect your health and nutrition. As a result, 30-50% of all addicts suffer from eating disorders and nutrient deficiencies, which affect your health in other ways. The longer you remain addicted, the worse your health problems will become, and the more difficult it will be to recover.
2. Your Mental Health – Drugs and alcohol have disastrous consequences on the health of the brain and therefore of your mind. Most addictive substances work by influencing the reward center in the brain, flooding the system with serotonin or dopamine, both of which are crucial to mental stability and health. As the brain adjusts to the constant highs of serotonin, it begins to produce less, which means that you will feel down and sad or depressed when not using. The process of addiction also necessitates a series of rapid highs and lows, where you feel on top of the world one moment with your substance, and at the bottom of it the next without it. Getting clean and sober will remove this from your life, so that your brain can begin to heal. Like with purely physical health problems, the longer you use or drink, the worse these problems become.
3. Your Relationships – If you are addicted, your primary focus will remain on your substance. This can cause you to lose close relationships, alienate your friends, and if you are a parent, will cause your child or children to suffer. If you have strong relationships, maintaining them and working for the benefit of your loved ones can be a powerful reason to get clean and sober. Having an addict as a friend or family member is damaging, especially to children, who later go on to suffer increased risks of substance abuse themselves. If you love people, your substance abuse is hurting them.
4. Finances – Maintaining an addiction is expensive, even if you are addicted to alcohol which is the most affordable and legal addiction you can have. Addictions also cause you to make reckless decisions, may cause you to lose your job, may cause you to miss rent or mortgage payments, and will certainly affect your ability to spend carefully. Getting clean and sober will help you to make better financial choices, so that you can maintain your home, provide for your family if applicable, and save for the future.
5. Knowing Who You Are – Addictions greatly affect the ego. In men, they change the ego so that the substance supports the sense of self. In women, substances often replace the ego, or the sense of self. This means that if you are addicted to a substance, you don’t truly know yourself and you are not who you were before you were addicted. Getting clean can help you to get to know yourself, and to get the real you back.
6. Free Yourself – Addiction is perceived as shameful, damaging to the self-esteem, and it can be difficult to let yourself down by continuing to use. However, even if you feel no shame over your addiction and do not want to stop, you are still trapped by physical addiction and chemical dependence. Addiction means that if you run out of your substance, you will be forced to get more, or you will go into withdrawal. In the case of alcohol and benzodiazepines, these symptoms can be life threatening. By getting help, you can free yourself of this ‘ball and chain’, so that you can live your life without having to tie yourself to somewhere you can get a substance.
7. Follow Your Dreams – If you are addicted, you are putting a substance before everything else in your life. This means that you are not focusing on your goals, you are not achieving at work or in school, and you are not following your dreams. Getting clean and sober will allow you to focus on what you want so that you can make your life what you want it to be.
8. Finding Peace – The rapid series of highs and lows induced by substance use disorders of any kind engender stress, anxiety, and often paranoia. Therefore, you likely live in a state of constant unrest, until you have your substance. If you get clean, you can get your life and your peace back.
9. Your Future – Addiction hurts every aspect of your future, from your health to your career to your ability to plan for your retirement. No matter what you want from your future, you likely will not get there without getting clean.
10. Being Happy – Happiness might seem like a pipe dream, something you will never achieve, but there is happiness to be found in working towards your future. While you won’t be happy right away when you chose to quit, quitting gives you the opportunity to build a life for yourself where you develop meaningful relationships, where you work towards your goals, and where your body and your brain are in an optimal state of health.
Getting clean and sober will help you to get healthier, to live longer, be happier, and to improve your financial future. If you are addicted to a substance, there is help. A rehabilitation center can help you to detox safely so that you can get rid of chemical dependence. They can also help you to address your mental addiction, with new habits, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Good luck getting clean and sober.
If you or your loved one is suffering from addiction to drugs or alcohol addiction, it’s crucial that you seek professional help. Please call us at Lighthouse Treatment Center today. At any time we are happy to provide a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced treatment advisors. Contact us today to discuss your situation in confidence.