Chances are if you’ve ever considered getting sober, there’s a reason. Whether it be because of poor health, bad behavior or repercussions of drinking, there’s a way to make the thought of sobriety a reality. And what better time to start than a brand new year?
While I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions, I still have to admit that there’s just something about having an entire year lying ahead of you and knowing it could be the year that changes your life for the better. It’s refreshing, hope-inspiring and maybe even a little bit frightening.
So why wait? Make 2016 the year you stop thinking about sobriety and start acting on it. Here are 11 reasons why.
1. There’s no time like the present. Seriously. It’s so easy to say, “Tomorrow. Tomorrow is when I will start.” But then, before you know it, a year of tomorrows has passed you by. I used to be guilty of this mindset when it came to cutting down on drinking. But, eventually I made one of those “tomorrows” into today, and I have never regretted it for a moment. A year from now you will be so happy you started today.
2. A new year is a good excuse for a lifestyle change. This way, when people ask why you’re not drinking, you can tell them it was time for a lifestyle change. Additionally, many people even participate in “dry January,” so you won’t be alone in going without alcohol. People like resolutions, and admire people who stick to theirs. Chances are they will hassle you less about your sobriety if they know you are serious and have a reason for the change.
3. You’ll remember every special event and holiday from an entire year. If you have a drinking problem, it’s probable that you’ve blacked out from excessively celebrating a holiday or any other event. Instead of having blurred, partially there memories, you can have full, intact ones. You’ll remember who you talked to, what you said, what you did.
4. Rather than continue to ruin relationships, you can spend the year working to repair them. Drinking can take a toll on relationships – a toll that becomes more and more irreparable the longer you continue to drink. However, when you show you are serious about sobriety and try to make amends with people, you’d be surprised how many are willing to offer you another chance. Building relationships up is a lot more gratifying and stress-free than tearing them down.
5. You’ll have a year free of hangovers. One of the best parts of being sober is that I haven’t had a hangover in two and a half years. Instead, I wake up clearheaded with the choice to make the day a productive one. You don’t realize how limiting and debilitating hangovers are until you no longer have them.
6. If you stop today, you’ll add years to your life. A study published in EuropeanPsychiatry found that alcoholism shortens the life span by about 7.6 years. The longer you drink, the more time you take off your life. If you stop drinking, you stop taking time off your lifespan. It’s that simple.
7. Your health will improve, and this time next year you will look like a different person. It’s easy to ignore the toll that alcohol takes on the body. But as soon as you stop drinking, your body will thank you. You will feel less bloated, the coloring of your skin will improve, you won’t wake up with countless bruises, and you may even lose weight. Alcohol in excess wreaks havoc on the body and you’ll likely notice changes in yourself within a few weeks of stopping.
8. You will be able to save more money. Just think how much you spend on alcoholic beverages and how much you spend under the influence. Now think how much you would have at the end of the year if you were to set that money aside and save it instead. Chances are, you’d have a couple hundred dollars, if not more.
9. You will be able to commit to things and make plans. No more worrying about having a hangover or being drunk. If you stop now, you can confidently make plans for weeks, even months out. Life is much more predictable when you’re sober, and that’s not a bad thing. People will appreciate your ability to commit to things, and hopefully your ability to follow through with those commitments.
10. The rest of your potential will be able to shine through. Drinking overshadows so much in life, especially other passions, talent and potential. For example, I barely wrote when I was drinking, or if I did, it was drunk ramblings that made no sense in the morning. Now, since I got sober, writing is almost all I do. It’s so freeing to be able to follow your hopes and goals without wondering if alcohol abuse will put a damper on them.
11. Your life will be easier. If none of these other reasons resonate with you, let this one. It’s like the saying, “I’d rather go through life sober, believing I am an alcoholic, than go through life drunk, trying to convince myself that I am not.” When you come to terms with who and what you are, life has the tendency to fall into place more quickly. It just becomes easier to go through day-to-day actions. A calm, easy life trumps a difficult, unpredictable one any day.