How sobriety changes your body
Leading a life of sobriety will always be difficult for any recovering addict. This is without the added challenge of your body going through various mental and physical changes when you first begin your recovery process. Substance recovery body changes are one of the critical roadblocks on the path to a long life of sobriety.
Not only does a recovering addict have to face several difficult mental choices, but they will also need to get their body back into a healthy state which requires a lot of determination. Once you have decided to live a life of sobriety, you need to prepare for your body and mental state to go through various physical and emotional phases.
The first two weeks of sobriety
When an individual no longer indulges in hazardous substances, the body can go through a transition period. Depending on the length of time, the frequency and dosage you have used will determine how your body may respond. The recovery process will be challenging on the body and mind. Ensuring you have a strong support system will always make the transition easier on you, you must research the right treatment program and create a healthy diet for yourself. Combined together, these factors will make you feel very positive about your entire sobriety process.
It takes roughly two weeks for an individual’s body to fully detox during drug and alcohol recovery. During this time, the body can go through a variety of transitions; the first common body changes are usually very intense and upsetting to deal with which may ultimately result in the addict relapsing due to the effect, these can include:
- Lack of energy throughout the entire day
- Decreased sexual drive
- Lack of appetite
- Feelings of depression and anxiety
The first two weeks will be the hardest on the body. The changes that your body and mind will be going through will be relatively internal rather than physical changes during this stage. This is the first step to your brain and body learning to function without relying on any toxic substances.
Each individual will respond differently within the first two weeks, some of the effects an addict will experience can be extremely intense. Whereas others may only feel a mild form of the effects. While it is unlikely, there is a possibility that the two-week period can last for a couple of months, with the slim chance of it lasting over a year. This is usually determined by how much alcohol consumption or drug abuse was carried out and for how many years.
Reaching sobriety will be a hard transition, not only for you but for your friends and family, this is why it is vital you research into treatment centers to ensure they offer bespoke plans to suit your specific needs. Here at Shoreline Sober Living, we know that going through recovery alone is problematic and unnecessary but it doesn’t have to be that way. Our comprehensive, structured sober living program includes peer accountability, a zero-tolerance drug policy, 12 step studies and more.
Health benefits of sobriety after the first month
There are many reasons to choose a life of sobriety; the adverse effects on the body and mind from long term heavy drinking and drug abuse can cause irreversible damage to vital organs. Below we discover the positive impact on the body and mind of leading a sober life.
Have you ever heard or have had someone tell you, you have an “alcoholic face?” This phrase is usually used to describe an individual whose skin has been harmed from the damaging toxins within the drugs and alcohol consumed. Sobriety will replenish the skin not only your face but your entire body; this can include:
- Hydrated, plump looking facial skin
- Reduced inflammation around the entire body
- Increased collagen levels can result in younger-looking skin around the entire body
- Decrease in redness and sensitivity
- Natural looking colour
- Decreased bags and discolour under the eyes
- Increased clarity in the eyes
Heavy consumption of alcohol or severe abuse of drugs has been linked to psoriasis and various inflammatory skin diseases. When you decide to live a life of sobriety, your body’s changes can leave you looking younger and healthier.
Improved sleeping pattern
When an individual is within the recovery stage sleep can be a challenge, withdrawal can often lead to a variety of adverse effects such as:
- The need to use the bathroom frequently
- Possible vomiting
The chemicals in these drugs result in intense cravings and addiction. When you decide to live a sober life, you are ultimately starving your brain, which will result in you having vivid dreams of relapsing. These dreams can leave an individual feeling frightened, making it difficult for them to fall back to sleep and resulting in insomnia. Once your brain gets used to not relying on toxic substances, your sleeping patterns will become regular, and your dreams won’t be about relapsing or the substances you used to take.
Your immune system will become more effective
Alcohol and drugs have been scientifically linked to several immune-related health effects. The toxic substances within alcohol and drugs prevent the body from creating enough white blood cells to fight off infections, germs and bacteria.
Living a life of sobriety will open your body up to living a life free of frequent illnesses such as:
- The flu
- Variety of colds
- Skin infections
- Throat infections
- Any chronic illnesses you may have been dealing with during your abusive stage
When an individual chooses a life of sobriety, your body’s general health will improve significantly. Your body will be able to absorb all the relevant nutrients it needs to function. With each passing year living a sober life, your immune system will become stronger and harder to infect.
The risk of cancer is significantly decreased
Within the report on Carcinogens, the National Toxicology Program of the US Department of Health and Human services list that consumption of alcoholic beverages has been shown to increase the risk of such cancers:
- Mouth cancer
- Pharynx cancer
- Larynx cancer
- Esophagus cancer
- Liver disease/ cancer
- Breast cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
While there are several factors we cannot control when it comes to cancer development, such as genetics, we can reduce the chances. Sobriety will positively change your body’s internal functions, allowing your vital organs to rid the body of all toxins and replenish with nutrients and result in weight loss, resulting in an overall general well-being improvement.
You will live longer
When you join the road to sobriety your body’s functions are overall much healthier, you will be able to live life to the fullest for a longer duration. The CDC (Centres of Disease Control and Prevention) have stated that heavy chronic alcohol users can have their lives shortened by an average of 29 years.
The health changes to your body after the first year
When you stick to a sober life, you will see many positive changes within your body and mind. You are likely to lose a minimum of 13 pounds of unnecessary fat that most likely would have been surrounding your vital organs. A contributing factor that would possibly lead to shortening your lifespan. The benefits are just the beginning of the road to sobriety. The longer you go without indulging in substance abuse, the more health improvements you will experience both physically and mentally. As the months and years go by, you will also see an improvement within your relationships with family and friends, work colleagues, your finances and more.
Drug and alcohol withdrawal can be one of the most challenging and stressful situations you will most likely deal with. It will not be an easy process, but once you reach the other side and can successfully live a life of sobriety, you will thank yourself for sticking to it – ensure you take pride in how far you have already come.
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