Embarking on the journey to reach one year sober is a commendable goal that can profoundly transform your life. Whether you’re just starting your journey to sobriety or you’ve been on this path for a while, these valuable insights, practical tips, and essential resources can help you stay committed to a healthier and happier lifestyle.
What Does It Mean to Be Sober?
Sober living means abstaining from the use of alcohol and drugs. It’s making conscious choices to prioritize your physical and mental well-being over substance use, which can impair judgment and hinder well-being. It’s not simply about avoiding the occasional indulgence.
As far as an official sober definition, Merriam-Webster states:
- not intoxicated
- abstaining from drinking alcohol or taking intoxicating drugs: refraining from the use of addictive substances
- sparing in the use of food and drink
Living sober can bring about positive changes in many aspects of life, including relationships, career, and overall health. Choosing sobriety empowers you to assert control over your actions, creating genuine and meaningful connections with others. It takes commitment and dedication to maintain sobriety, but the benefits far outweigh the challenges.
How Long Does It Take to Sober Up?
Alcohol and other drugs impact people in different ways. The amount of time the effects last can vary by substance, the amount consumed, your age, your gender, and your use history.
The only true remedy for sobering up from alcohol is time. It can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours or longer for your body to process the alcohol out of your system from one serving of (5 oz of wine, 12 oz of beer, and 1.5 oz of distilled spirits). The more servings in the beverage, the more time you’ll need to sober up from that drink.
THC, the ingredient that causes the “high” you’re trying to get rid of when attempting to sober, can last for several hours after use, and it can show up in drug tests for weeks longer.
Stimulants, like cocaine, amphetamines, and methamphetamines, are drugs that increase activity in the central nervous system. The length of time you’ll feel the effects of stimulants can depend on how much you used and your tolerance, which can vary from person to person. Time is the only way to sober up from a substance, however, and stimulants can take several hours or even several days to fully clear your system.
The effects of opioids can be short lived or long lasting, depending on the type of drug used, how it was consumed, and if you took it with other substances. It also depends on your own tolerance. It can take several hours for the effects of opioids to wear off.
Can you consider yourself sober and occasionally drink or take drugs?
The answer to this question isn’t a simple yes or no. It really depends on the individual and their level of addiction. A heavy drinker may be able to occasionally have a drink or other substance without relapsing, while others cannot. If you’ve been diagnosed with a substance use disorder and have practiced abstaining, even one drink or drug can break your sobriety. If you can’t control your substance use, you’re better off remaining abstinent at all times.
The Advantages of Sobriety
There are many advantages of quitting drinking and drugs as you commit to sober living. When you stop using alcohol or drugs, even for a short period of time, the negative consequences that accompany their use are likely to subside. You may experience:
- Reduced risk of cancer and heart attack
- Better focus and memory
- Better processing of insulin
- Weight loss
- Improved liver function
- Better sleep
- Lowered blood pressure
- Improved mental state
- Improved relationship
- Improved financial status
What Happens to Your Physical and Mental Health in Sobriety?
When you choose sobriety, you set out on a journey of holistic healing. Physically, your body undergoes transformative changes. Your liver, once burdened by the effects of alcohol, gets a chance to regenerate, leading to improved overall health. Your immune system strengthens, making you more resilient to illnesses. The increase in energy levels is remarkable, allowing you to engage more actively in life.
Mentally, the fog of substance abuse lifts, and you experience improved cognitive function. For example, a 2019 study found that quitting drinking can lead to significant improvements in mental health, especially for women. Furthermore, after years of abstinence, the mental well-being of the former drinkers was nearly equivalent to people who never drank at all. Your concentration sharpens and emotional stability becomes more consistent.
How to Set Goals in Sobriety
For many people, getting and staying sober is hard. Setting and achieving goals in sobriety is a crucial aspect of maintaining a lasting, positive lifestyle change. Here are some tips to help you set attainable goals on your journey to one year sober:
- Start Small: Begin with short-term goals that are realistic and manageable. This could include attending support group meetings regularly or engaging in a new, healthy activity.
- Be Specific: Clearly define your goals and write them down. Aim for your goal to be specific enough to answer who, what, when, where, and how. The more detailed you can be, the less chance you have of missing your goal.
- Make Goals Measurable: When you attach a specific number to your goal, you’ll feel a greater sense of accomplishment when you’ve fulfilled it. Instead intending to “stay sober,” make it more concreate by saying “complete three months without any substance use.
- Make Goals Achievable: To make it to 1 year sober, your goals need to be realistic and attainable, especially for those in recovery. Setbacks can feel detrimental, which can lead to unhealthy decision-making.
- Adapt and Adjust: Be flexible and willing to adjust your goals as needed. Personal growth often comes with a change in perspective, and your goals should evolve with you.
Tips for Reaching One Year Sober in 2024
Reaching the one-year milestone in sobriety is a significant achievement that requires ongoing dedication and persistence. Here are some additional tips to help you stay on track:
- Educate Yourself: Knowledge is a powerful tool in sobriety. Learn about the benefits of sobriety, the science behind addiction, and the potential consequences of relapse. Understanding the impact of your choices reinforces your commitment.
- Build a Support System: Surround yourself with individuals who understand and support your journey. Whether it’s friends, family, or members of a support group, a strong support system can make a substantial difference. Also, you can try searching online for inspirational sobriety quotes and experiences of others going through the same thing.
- Establish Healthy Habits: Sobriety is not just about abstaining from substances; it’s about adopting a healthier lifestyle. Replace old habits with new, positive routines. This could involve regular exercise, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep.
- Stay Active: Physical activity is not only beneficial for your body but also for your mental health. Engaging in regular exercise releases endorphins, promoting a sense of well-being and reducing stress.
- Practice Mindfulness and Meditation: Incorporate mindfulness and meditation into your daily routine. These practices can help you stay present, manage stress, and cultivate inner peace.
- Celebrate Milestones: Acknowledge and celebrate your achievements along the way. Whether it’s one week, one month, or six months, each milestone is a testament to your commitment and deserves recognition. Sobriety gifts, purchased for yourself or from others, are a great reminder of your progress and motivation to keep moving forward.
Who Can Help Me Get Sober?
If you find yourself struggling with staying sober and need professional help, a proactive step towards recovery is to seek assistance from an addiction treatment center.
What Is Addiction Treatment Like?
Like treatment for other chronic diseases such as heart disease or asthma, addiction treatment is not a cure, but a way of managing the condition. Addiction treatment enables people to counteract the addiction’s disruptive effects on their brain and behavior, and regain control of their lives.
Because addiction can affect so many aspects of a person’s life, treatment should address the needs of the whole person to be successful. You and your counselor should choose from a menu of services that meet the specific medical, mental, social, occupational, family, and legal needs to help in recovery.
Addiction Treatment Options at Aliya Health
Aliya Health Group offers a selection of evidence-based and holistic approaches, so clients can find what best supports their individual recovery journey. This involves personalized and comprehensive strategies that address the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of addiction.
The treatment process typically starts with a thorough assessment to tailor a program to your specific needs. Evidence-based therapies, counseling sessions, and support groups are integral components of the treatment plan. Together, we focus on providing a supportive environment where you can explore the root causes of your addiction and develop effective coping mechanisms.
Achieving one year sober in 2024 is an empowering and life-changing goal. By understanding the depth of sobriety, prioritizing your physical and mental health, setting realistic goals, and seeking support when needed, you can navigate this transformative journey successfully. Contact Aliya today and let us help you take the first step.
If you or a loved one are thinking of seeking treatment for addiction to alcohol but have questions, call us at 888-965-3085 or contact us here.