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18 Things Sober People Want You To Know

"It's hard, but so far so good."

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We asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us how going sober has improved their lives. Here's what they had to say.

1. It might give you some added clarity and focus in your life.

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"My mind is clearer and I mean business. I wake up ready to take pride in my appearance. I feel healthier and I have more stamina in the gym — it's making weight loss easier. I'm more confident at work and in relationships."

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2. And that can make it easier to take care of your physical health...

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"I lost over 60 pounds since I decided to take the sobriety track. I made a choice to change and that was the best choice I ever made."

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3. As well as your mental health...

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"I gave up alcohol unwillingly three years ago as part of treatment for bipolar disorder. At first I went along with it to show I was committed to my treatment and to practice discipline. Sometimes I miss the 'party fog' of being buzzed and the flavor of a good drink, but sobriety forces me to practice better mental health, and that's my top priority now."

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4. All of which can make you happier.

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"After many years of heavy drinking, I decided I was stopping this year. I can’t explain how much happier I am. My anxiety — a big reason I drank — is nearly non-existent. I’m not hungover at work or on the weekends, I’m saving money, I started losing weight from not drinking all those empty calories. I’m just more positive."

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5. It might allow you to face your recovery head on.

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"Not having to focus on surviving a hangover so frequently has made me instead have to sit with my feelings, which suck to be quite honest. But I am starting to gain new insight into my addict mindset. I have so much more energy to chase my recovery. I still feel like a crazy person, but I'm now more open to every avenue of recovery: I started attending more meetings and seeing a therapist. I'm even trying church, acupuncture, Buddhist meditation, and yoga to get in touch with my spirituality. It's hard, but so far so good."

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6. And it may even help you process some trauma or anxiety that you had previously been getting through with alcohol.

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"As a survivor of rape, I had utilized going out to bars and drinking as a coping mechanism. It became a nice little Band-Aid that kept me from having to face what happened. But after starting therapy, I slowly started to give up drinking as often. I switched out the bar for yoga and chose hot tea over wine at night. I started to process and face my trauma. I have become stronger in the process. It’s hard and I’m not perfect but it has become a great step in my healing process."

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7. It opens up time to pursue your passions...

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"I got sober 1.5 years ago after spending several years using alcohol to cope with my anxiety and depression. I naturally have social anxiety so of course getting a little drunk made me a more outgoing person. I chose to be sober once I found my passion with powerlifting. I cared more about my fitness goals than my insecurities and mental illness."

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8. Or get reacquainted with your hobbies.

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"I’ve been sober for a little over nine months. Recently, I’ve been rediscovering hobbies I had that I had forgotten about. I forgot that I loved going to the beach and that I loved volunteering and helping people."

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9. Getting sober might help you stay focused in school...

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"I just celebrated my 12th year sober and you want to know where I was? In a college classroom with three months left until I have my degree to be a drug and alcohol counselor."

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10. Or in your career...

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"I became a massage practitioner. Since then, I’ve just lost interest in drinking. Never really had a rock bottom moment; I just realized that I love my new job and I want to keep doing it for a long time and drinking the way I used to would screw all that up for me. I need to be present for my clients, I need to stay healthy for them."

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11. Or even help you figure out exactly where you'll truly thrive in this crazy, confusing life.

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"I got sober 14 months ago. Right now I’m waiting on my graduate school application for a social work program. I’ve realized that the easiest way for me to keep sober is to give myself to others. I’ll be giving up a good six-figure salary to make this change, but I’m so excited for what it'll bring, and what the next few years of my life will be like."

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12. For some, it means you won't have to keep your drinking a secret anymore.

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"I celebrated 10 years sober last October, and I’m absolutely certain that if I hadn’t done so, I wouldn’t have made it to the legal drinking age. I got sober because my friends asked me to. I no longer spent my days worrying about how I was going to get the next bottle of vodka, or sneaking it into school in water bottles, or ditching school because I was too shit-faced to drive to school, or stressed out that an adult would notice, or catch me, and consequences would ensue."

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15. And it makes remembering things a whole lot easier.

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"I’ve been sober for five years now, and amazing things have happened. I would say the main thing would be that I can actually remember my days. I remember the people I met, things I did, what I ate last week — things normal people don’t forget right away."

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16. Plus, you'll never have to worry about how you're getting home.

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"Now I don't ever have to worry about if I can't drive because I've had too much to drink, or if I'm going to have to call one of the three cabs in my town."

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17. It might give you a stronger appreciation for your family...

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"I started 'temporarily' going sober when I was pregnant with my daughter. But when I held her for the first time after a very long, difficult labor, I knew that she deserved far better than having an alcoholic for a mom. Since going sober nine years ago, I am the best mom I can be to a smart, witty, loving 8-year-old girl. When I drank, I tried to jump out ten-story windows because I thought I could fly. Now, I am truly soaring."

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18. And your true friends, who will respect that you don't need a drink to still have a good time with them.

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"Now that I don't drink I can see other people's character way more clearly. It helps keep the drama low in my life. I don't hang around with unhealthy or dangerous people anymore, in part because it's way easier to see everyone's intentions and true personalities."

—Azure Adams, Facebook

If you're struggling with alcohol, call 1-800-662-HELP.

The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment's 24-hour National Treatment Referral Hotline will be able to direct you to treatment services in your area.

Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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