Addiction recovery is not an easy battle, and sometimes it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. While the rewards of sobriety can feel distant, it can be motivating to think of how your life will change once you find yourself on the other side of the struggle. Once you learn to manage substance use habits, you’ll find yourself well on your way toward living the type of life you know you deserve.

Once you’ve started treatment for addiction, the world begins to open up to exciting possibilities, things you couldn’t imagine yourself doing under the weight of addiction. The sober life will liberate you to feel a revived sense of enjoyment in both new and old activities. Here are 7 things you’ll relish more once you’re on the path to recovery.

1. Time with family and friends

Spending time with family and friends will change drastically once you are working towards recovery – you may not even feel like you’re spending time with the same people. The pressure and rockiness of relationships will subside as your loved ones can see that you’re serious about recovery. Previous feelings of shame or guilt around loved ones will be replaced with a sense of pride as you get further and further from substance use challenges. You’ll feel more and more comfortable, arguments will decrease and you’ll be able to do more together than ever before.

Previous acquaintances may have only stuck around as long as the drugs did, and now you won’t have to wonder if your friends have ulterior motives. Your community will change as your sobriety does, and those changes will be for the better.

2. Exercising

Using substances takes a big physical toll and likely made any occasion of exercise more painful than necessary. After leaving substances behind, you’re likely to find much more enjoyment in working out. Side effects of drugs and alcohol, like headaches, dehydration, muscle soreness and lack of coordination make exercise harder on your body. The mental clarity and increased energy you will feel without substances makes exercising not only less painful, but more fun!

3. Dating

Let’s face it: addiction is a major turn-off. People manage their substance use habits in different ways, but sharing about your usage leads to all kinds of assumptions about how you spend your money, how responsible you are and the longevity of a potential relationship. Yes, those judgements can be harsh, but it can’t be denied that relationships are made harder when substance use is involved.

Starting with a clean slate will give your dating life a major boost. The freedom to explore life with another person, uninhibited by drugs or alcohol, can be healing and can help you to rediscover who you were before substances took control.

4. Traveling

Traveling with drugs and alcohol is in most cases either illegal or dangerous. With a clarified mind, the memories of experiencing new places and cultures are more thrilling than any day clouded by drugs. Hike the Great Wall of China or skydive, snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef or go rock climbing. The world is at your fingertips when your hands aren’t holding onto an addiction.

5. Participate in games or sports

Activities that require a high amount of energy or focus are much more enjoyable sober. Watching sports will take on a new life when you can zone in on the game, and playing sports will feel worlds better when your mind and body are functioning at their best. Games, whether it’s a video game or chess, will be more engaging when you are mentally in control and have increased cognitive dexterity. You might even discover a gift you didn’t know you had!

6. Try new things

When addiction is sucking up your time and money, all of your hobbies are limited. Being sober opens a world of possibility and will reawaken your passion for life. Start with activities you enjoyed as a kid – tinkering with cars or watercolor painting. Branch out to new hobbies, meeting new people along the way that share in your interests.

7. Give back to the people who helped you

Achieving sobriety is no easy battle, and you should be applauded for your bravery. Your recovery has already impacted you and your circle of friends and family tremendously, but it doesn’t have to stop there. Using your story to help others can add a layer of meaning to your life and give your struggle a new perspective.

There are many ways to support those struggling with addiction, like volunteering as a sponsor. Many of those who have struggled with addiction also go on to seek education in mental health or addiction recovery and work in settings they once visited as patients. Use your story to inspire change on an individual or system-wide scale.

Life is so much more full when substances aren’t holding you back. If you’re looking to kick your drug or alcohol habits, Pyramid Walden is ready to help. We offer many treatment options for those struggling with addiction or mental health. Call (301) 997-1300 to set up an appointment today, and take concrete steps toward more enjoyable everyday activities.