The road to recovery is difficult and uncomfortable. From the physical discomfort to the lack of hope. Being trapped in addiction can seem scary and overwhelming.

The road to recovery is a long and difficult one. But, “nothing worth having comes easy,”. That is especially true for addiction recovery. Substance abuse addictions affect almost every part of someone’s life. But, all the negative effects can be reversed through hard work and strict abstinence.

It doesn’t take long for those effects to begin to manifest. After one year of abstinence, addicts have reported positive changes in their lives.

Physical Health

Substance abuse addictions affect physical health. Adverse side effects vary depending on the substance and duration of the addiction. But, there are also secondary side effects, like a decline in hygiene, and difficulty sleeping. Someone who abstained for one year would likely improve in these ways:

Better oral hygiene and the health benefits it brings. Their teeth would be less yellow, their gums are less black. As they recommit to taking better care of themselves, their mouths will look and feel better.

Normal weight. Addiction often causes weight loss or weight gain. They regain control of their weight as they abstain from the substances.
Better hygiene. They’ll shower more, use deodorant, keep their hair trimmed, and even dress better. Addicts often either don’t think about their physical appearance.  So, as they begin to abstain from using, they will start to look as good as they feel.

Mental Health

Mental health problems often go with substance abuse disorders. The point of most substances is to alter people’s minds. Drugs have negative side-effects, including an increase in suicidal thoughts. Risk of depression is also a negative side-effect. Someone who has gone through addiction recovery for one year would:

  • Have far fewer suicidal thoughts
  • Be able to think more clearly
  • Overcome the depression that their substance abuse caused
  • Be able to think more clearly

Social Health

Substances cause their abusers to withdraw from people. The interactions they do have are tainted by their agitated state and irritability. Antisocial behaviors and their unpleasant personalities often cause abusers to damage their relationships. Someone who has gone through addiction recovery for one year would:
  • Enjoy spending time with people again
  • Be less irritable, argumentative, and aggressive
  • Be more willing to discuss their feelings
  • Have an increased desire to establish and maintain healthy relationships
  • Occupational Health

Most people who suffer from addictions have difficulty finding or keeping a job. Addicts behavior make it difficult for them to appeal to employers. Many addicts cannot abstain for eight hours at a time, making it impossible for them to hold a full-time job. Others resort to stealing money from their workplace which gets them fired. Someone who has gone through addiction recovery for one year would:

  • Be able to think, act, and speak clearly
  • Be less likely to steal things from their employer
  • Be more motivated to find and keep a job
  • Work harder and for longer periods of time

Spiritual Health

Substance abuse addictions almost always adversely affect people’s spirituality. Most people, in an attempt to feel less guilty, decide to stop believing in a higher power. Others become cynical and begin only to believe in themselves. Other people stop going to their respective churches out of a desire to not be judged. Spiritual problems almost always go with addictions. Someone who has gone through addiction recovery for one year would:
  • Regain their belief in a higher power, whatever it may be
  • Work toward improving their relationship with their higher power
  • Hold themselves accountable for their actions
  • Seek forgiveness from their higher power, themselves, and others

While addictions do affect people’s lives, they can be overcome. Even people with no hope have overcome their addictions and rebuilt their lives. Addiction recovery is a long-term process and requires long-term treatment. But it is possible—and worth it.