After military service, many individuals find themselves with invisible wounds of war and few healthy coping mechanisms. So instead, they often turn to alcohol or prescription medications as a means to get by. And while this is unfortunately a common story, the good news is that many of those same individuals eventually get to a place where they can enjoy being sober.
After years of addiction, it can be hard to remember what sobriety feels like, or even how to be sober. That’s what we’re here for. Being sober is an amazing experience, and we want to remind you that sobriety after military service is not just possible, but deeply rewarding.
What to Expect When You Are Sober
There are a lot of reasons why being sober is awesome, and we’re going to highlight some of the best sober things you can expect in your recovery. Remember, the great thing about sobriety is that it removes the worst parts of your addiction. So if the worst part of addiction for you is that it drives away your loved ones, you can expect sobriety to lead to healing connections and healthier relationships.
1. Better Sleep
For veterans, getting high-quality sleep is vital. Mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression can worsen with low-quality sleep or very little sleep, which can make individuals rely on drugs and alcohol even more. And according to the National Institute on Aging, getting a good night’s rest is especially important as people age, and it can affect areas like cognitive function, physical health, and even the immune system response that is so important during the coronavirus pandemic.
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Sleep is clearly important, and drugs and alcohol aren’t conducive to good rest. They can keep you up late at night, make you sleep during the day so you’re up at night, and they can just make it harder to fall asleep at the end of the day. And with so much of your health tied to sleep, being sober is one of the best ways to look out for your body after military service.
2. Improved Physical Fitness
Becoming sober isn’t just good for your brain; it’s also great for your body. When you regularly abuse drugs or alcohol, it becomes easy to give into cravings. Your decision-making is impaired, so you’re more likely to reach for the greasy option or order something unhealthy. So even if all getting sober means is less junk food, that’s still a big step forward in your physical well-being!
Fortunately, that’s not the only physical health boon that sobriety can grant. Being sober means you avoid the physical affects of drugs and alcohol, which can include worsened kidney function, brain damage, and a host of other health problems. So if you want to ensure your health for years to come, being sober is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
3. More Free Time
It’s hard to see when you’re in active addiction, but drugs and alcohol eat up a lot of time. There’s time you have to spend earning money to drink or get high, time spent trying to acquire your substance of choice, time drunk or high, and finally time recovering from substance abuse. Sounds exhausting, doesn’t it?
After you become sober, you’ll be amazed at how much time there is in a day. You’ll suddenly find that you have more time for hobbies, passion projects, and other constructive tasks that make you feel fulfilled without the need for an outside substance.
How to Become Sober
Sure, that all sounds great, but when you’re a veteran with a substance use disorder, getting from where you are to sobriety can feel impossible. But you should know that you can make this journey, and there are clear, simple steps that will help you go from point A to point B.
For most veterans, addiction recovery starts with drug and alcohol detox. Whether you’re trying to get sober from alcohol or drugs, this program will keep you safe and comfortable as your body detoxes from harmful substances. And with 24/7 medical supervision, you can start recovery confident that you’re safe from both withdrawals and relapse.
From there, you will want to transition into a residential rehab for veterans. With this programming, you’ll receive the usual treatment options of residential rehab, but with a unique twist that addresses veteran needs. This could include group counseling with other veterans or treatment for issues that veterans often face, like PTSD or military sexual trauma.
Finally, many veterans benefit from outpatient treatment options like intensive outpatient programming or partial hospitalization. With these programs, the focus is on taking what you learned in residential rehab and applying it in real life. You will live at home during this time, and the continued support can do a lot to ease that transition back into “real life” after rehab.
Remember, you are not the first veteran to develop a substance abuse problem, and you will not be the first one to achieve long-term recovery. Other military personnel have been where you are now, and just like them, you can follow the path toward recovery.
Would you like to learn more about our addiction treatment center for veterans? Feel free to call our admissions specialists at 888-838-6692 or ask your questions online. There are many advantages of being sober, and you deserve to enjoy them all. So take the first step of your recovery journey and let us help!