The Health Benefits of Living a Truly Sober Lifestyle

A few months ago, I met a man at the gym who was in the middle of a 30-day detox. Not only did he exercise more and eat better, but he also stopped drinking and smoking cigars during the month. He didn’t stop drinking coffee or things like that, just alcohol and tobacco.

He explained to me how he had felt better at the end of his 30-day detox in the past and that he plans to do this type of detox at least twice a year.

He did not have a drinking or tobacco addiction problem. He liked the way his mind and body felt after being “really sober” for a while.

Truly sober means not taking any substances that could adversely affect your health, regardless of the serving size. Small glasses of wine, occasional cigars, or even quick sips of your partner’s beer are not allowed.

After thinking about what he told me, I tried my first 30-day detox. The only things I gave up were a few glasses of wine on weeknights and an occasional beer on Sundays. Nothing major, so I wasn’t expecting much change.

The Health Benefits of Living a Truly Sober Lifestyle©

However, when those 30 days were over, I had no doubt that I wanted to live the rest of my life without touching alcohol again. He also didn’t want to try occasional cigars. I’m done with all of this.

What changed?

My Mental Attitude Changed

You don’t realize how negative your daily state of mind is until you’re really sober. After the first two weeks of my detox, I started to feel less repressed and more relaxed. I didn’t exercise more than usual and my workdays were just as stressful as before, but I was able to handle it better.

Dealing with the world around you is a task that takes time to master. Distracting yourself from the world with substances like alcohol and tobacco does not teach your mind to deal with it. Instead, these substances give your mind an easy way to deal with your problems.

At first, it was difficult for me to deal with stressful days. In the first two weeks, I often found myself looking at the bottle of wine in my refrigerator after getting off work.

The Health Benefits of Living a Truly Sober Lifestyle©

I managed to resist this temptation by meditating. Instead of sipping wine and browsing Twitter after work,  I was sipping water and accessing the Headspace app.

If you want to do a detox and continue to pick up the bottle of wine, do your best to replace it with meditation. You will feel better after 30 minutes of meditation than after 30 minutes of sipping. I also found that reading an interesting book will have a similar effect.

The Way My Body Felt Changed

Before my detox, I didn’t have a lot of pain and suffering. I like to think that I’m still on the younger side of life, so other than the occasional pain after training, I generally feel great. At least I thought I was feeling great until I stopped drinking and found out how good I really could feel.

Did you know that any type of alcohol consumption can damage your organs, including your lungs? Even in small amounts, alcohol damages your body and forces it to repair itself. After quitting alcohol, I realized how much it had really impacted me.

In just one month, my breathing went from what I thought was normal to another level. I ran longer without getting as tired, managed to work harder in the gym, and snored less at night.

The Health Benefits of Living a Truly Sober Lifestyle©

That last one might pertain exclusively to me because I am a heavy snorer due to congestion problems. My snoring decreased drastically because my lung function increased, which made my wife very happy.

Besides my lungs, I felt so much better after every workout. Don’t get me wrong, my body was already great after every workout, but now it seems unreal. Not only does my body feel better, it feels better longer.

The Way People Perceived Me Changed

One of the hardest parts of deciding to be really sober is that friends who know you used to drink think you quit because you had a problem. They think you can’t stop just because you want to improve your health, it has to be because you’re addicted or something.

When I go out with friends to talk and alcohol is an option, I always get strange looks from the other side of the table when I decline and opt for water.

The Health Benefits of Living a Truly Sober Lifestyle©

Sometimes they even ask if it’s something new I’m trying or if something is wrong. Other times, they just look at me and think I’m judging them for drinking.

Being really sober all the time reminded me how much I love feeling good. I strive to feel the best I can at all times, both mentally and physically.

If you are in doubt about being really sober, I suggest you try it for a period of 30 days. This can change your life more than you think.