Changes to Expect After One Year Without Alcohol

Changes to Expect After One Year Without Alcohol

Published on January 30, 2020 by First Responder Wellness

For those with an addiction to alcohol, quitting drinking can be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of their life. While there is a vast array of benefits that come with quitting, it can be challenging to envision a sober future in the early days of recovery.

For this reason, many people choose to take their sobriety one day at a time. However, it can be helpful and motivating to learn from others who are further along in the recovery journey. Through them, you can gain a better idea of what changes to expect as a result of a sober lifestyle.

One year of sobriety is a huge deal for those in recovery, and your life as a sober person will no doubt look quite different from your experience in active addiction. Here are several ways you can expect your life to change after one year without alcohol.  

Physical Changes

Alcohol abuse physically harms your body in several ways, including weight gain and the accumulation of excess belly fat. After one year without alcohol, you may find that you lose weight without even trying. Many people with alcohol addictions pack on excess pounds due to the high-calorie content of alcoholic beverages and poor food choices that accompany them.

Additionally, it is incredibly challenging to stick to a regular exercise regimen during active alcohol addiction. After one year without alcohol, you will have had the time and energy to stay active and workout regularly. This leads to improved overall health and positive changes to your physical appearance.

Alcohol use can also affect your skin, causing you to look tired and older than you are. Newly sober people may start receiving compliments about looking young, fresh, and well-rested. In reality, your skin has finally been allowed to rehydrate and repair the damage caused by the dehydrating and toxic effects of alcohol.

Many people with alcohol dependencies will also develop sleep issues. After years of alcohol abuse, some individuals forget that their sleep patterns were normal, and instead begin to believe that they need alcohol to fight insomnia.

Quitting alcohol can restore your natural sleep cycle and allow you to experience high quality sleep that rejuvenates your body and mind.

Mental Health Changes

Poor mental health and alcohol addiction often go hand in hand, with each exacerbating the other. Unfortunately, to the drinker, it may seem as if alcohol is the answer to managing existing mental health symptoms such as anxiety and depression.

Quitting alcohol may have adverse psychological effects during the early days of withdrawal. If you stick with sobriety, however, you’ll enjoy a more chemically balanced brain. In time, it gets easier to manage anxiety and depression and promote overall mental wellness.

Additionally, abstaining from alcohol for an entire year will improve mental clarity and cognitive function. You’ll become a better decision-maker and perform to your highest potential at work.

Of course, for those who believe they may have a mental health disorder, it is vital to receive a professional assessment. A mental health professional can help you find alternative ways to manage symptoms that arise without alcohol. In some cases, a dual diagnosis can help individuals work towards recovery while addressing both issues.

Some people will need additional treatment for their mental health. In contrast, others will find that their symptoms disappear entirely without alcohol. Either way, quitting drinking always improves your long-term psychological wellbeing.

Relationship Changes

There’s no denying that addictions make it difficult to be fully present for the people in your life. You may not realize how much your drinking has affected your relationships until you have quit for a significant amount of time.

After a year of sobriety, you will have the necessary perspective to rebuild broken relationships by being honest and present for your loved ones. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to make new connections with people who support your sober lifestyle.

You will be able to build those relationships on a genuine representation of who you are, rather than perpetuating false friendships. You may also find that you are forced to let some relationships fall by the wayside. This includes toxic intimate relationships and friendships built on alcohol use. Going through these changes can be difficult.

After a year of sobriety, however, you may find that you have successfully let go of relationships that jeopardize your recovery. Instead, you can strengthen new and existing relationships so that your connections and interactions with others have become more fulfilling than ever.

Whether you are new to addiction recovery, or well into your recovery journey, reaching out to a professional treatment program can help. These programs can provide you with resources to help you create a life of health and happiness.  

The First Responders Treatment Program at Simple Recovery uses trauma-informed strategies to cater to the unique needs of law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, and other first responders with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental illnesses. We recognize that first responders encounter job-specific barriers and obstacles that come with the culture of their careers. Existing stigmas may make seeking help for addiction and mental health issues especially tricky.

Addiction does not have to mean the end of your career. Nor do you have to resign yourself to a lifetime of struggling with your health and relationships. At Simple Recovery, we take a holistic approach to treatment and addressing the underlying causes of addiction. This approach makes it possible for first responders to regain control of every aspect of their wellbeing.

First responders dedicate their lives to protecting their community. At Simple Recovery’s First Responder Treatment Program, we dedicate our time to helping these compassionate individuals find a path to lasting sobriety and mental wellness.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, call us now at 888-743-0490