Sober lifestyle is not an easy thing to live with. Many alcoholics dream about a sober lifestyle, but every time they bump into obstacles that stop them from further recovery.
- Others who choose to consume alcohol frequently shame those who don’t.
- According to studies, choosing not to drink is just as common as deciding to do so.
- Nondrinkers might learn how to avoid being impacted by unfavorable expectations.
The term “on the wagon” originated from the Temperance Movement’s 19th-century practice of driving water wagons through cities to encourage people to drink water rather than visit saloons and pubs to drink alcohol. These wagons were typically used to spray dirt roads to cool the dust. People were urged to board the water cart and swear to consume water.
The expression has evolved to suggest that someone getting “on the wagon” is doing it because they have an alcohol dependency. In other words, persons who choose not to drink are frequently assumed to be either alcoholics or judgmental of others who do. Current data quickly refute this notion after a cursory examination.
Sober lifestyle vs. drinking – statistic.
According to scientific research, up to 40% of Americans over 18 do not drink. Men (63%) are more likely than women to drink alcohol (57 percent). Sixty-three percent of Americans aged 18 and older reported drinking alcohol in Gallup polls conducted on average over the previous two years, while 36 percent identified as “complete abstainers.”
It is evident that most individuals drink, whereas a significant portion does not. John Kelly, a Harvard addiction medicine professor who also serves as the director of the Recovery Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital, estimates that just 15 to 20 percent of drinkers are alcoholically addicted, which results in 140,000 deaths yearly in the United States. Kelly discovered that 22.3 million Americans, or more than 9% of individuals, are recovering from a substance use disorder. This indicates that the vast majority of persons who choose not to drink do so “voluntarily” rather than because their alcoholism has become severe enough to force them to abstain.
Deaths in the United States caused by excessive alcohol consumption
In the United States, excessive alcohol use claims more than 140,000 lives annually. Find out what you can do to help.
Between 2015 and 2019, excessive alcohol usage caused more than 140,000 annual deaths in the US, or more than 380 fatalities every day. These figures were obtained using a novel methodology from the CDC’s Alcohol-Related Disease Impact (ARDI) program. According to age, sex, and state, the ARDI application estimates the number of fatalities and years of potential life lost due to 58 conditions caused by alcohol. Analyze the impact that using this methodology would have on earlier ARDI estimations.
Overindulgence-related fatalities each year include:
- Reduced the average lifespan of those who passed away by 26 years, resulting in a loss of roughly 3.6 million years of potential life.
- Usually, males and adults 35 years of age or older.
- Were primarily brought about by the long-term health impacts of excessive drinking, including several cancers, liver diseases, and heart diseases.
- Caused early deaths. Over half of the years of potential life lost were due to deaths from binge drinking (caused by car accidents, poisonings with substances other than alcohol, and suicides).
- In the United States, excessive drinking is a primary cause of death that could have been avoided. In 2010, it cost the country $249 billion (the most recent year of data available).
Alcohol consumption amongst men in the USA
- Men (63%) are more likely than women (57%) in the United States to drink alcohol.
- Men drink approximately three times as much pure alcohol as women, with an average annual alcohol intake of 19 liters.
- Male alcohol users make beer, liquor, and wine their top three choices out of 54%, 28%, and 15%, respectively.
- A minimum of 28% of men said they avoid drinking.
- Alcohol use disorder, or AUD, is diagnosed in at least 7% of drinking men, or 9.2 million people .
- Men are also more likely than women to be arrested for DUI, according to statistics.
Alcohol consumption amongst women in the USA
- At 57%, there are fewer women alcohol consumers than men, making their average pure alcohol consumption per year amounts to only 6.7 liters.
- Unlike men, most women prefer wine (49%) as their alcoholic beverage to liquor (26%) and beer (23%).
- There are more female high school alcohol consumers (32%) than male high school students (26%).
- Around 38% of women consumers reportedly abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages.
- With 5.3 million or 4% of the female drinking population, women are also less likely to get diagnosed with AUD than men.
- Recent surveys have shown a significant increase in the alcohol consumption of women, slightly closing the gap between the two genders.
Why it isn’t easy to maintain a sober lifestyle
People who decide to maintain a sober lifestyle and not drink do so, by a ratio of more than 2 to 1, for reasons other than quitting an addiction. The majority of abstainers just decide not to drink.
The predictions usually made about abstainers by drinkers become more attractive, given the free decision made by individuals who do not drink, frequently motivated by a desire to maximize wellness. What is the point of portraying folks who are only aiming for greater well-being as weak or having a history of problem drinking? Why do drinkers sometimes feel uncomfortable when others turn their glass upside down and decline an invitation to join them? Why do drinkers encourage others to partake in their behavior? Are they putting up a defense against assumed (or predicted) criticism?
Economic pressure to drink is a wildly obscene justification. Sometimes the tax collectors for the government and the alcohol business work together to promote drinking. The Japanese National Tax Agency is now holding a “Sake Viva” competition to find the best strategies for persuading young individuals to consume more alcoholic beverages. Young Japanese are revolting against their country’s traditional drinking culture following two years of alcohol restriction in restaurants due to the COVID pandemic.
In 2020, Japan’s tax collection from alcohol tax was 1.7 percent, down from 3 percent in 2011 and 5 percent in 1980. (In contrast, alcohol taxes only contribute 0.2% of total government revenue in the United States.) In the government’s push to encourage young adults to drink more, it doesn’t appear that anyone has assessed the health cost savings from Japan’s dropping alcohol usage.
In the former Soviet Union, there was economic pressure to promote alcohol use to raise tax income in response to Mikhail Gorbachev’s sharp decline in alcohol output (1985-6). Sales of alcohol, which had contributed 33 percent of the nation’s GDP, decreased by 80 percent. The popularity of Gorbachev suffered a severe blow from which he never recovered, and the Soviet Union quickly broke up. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia experienced a significant increase in alcohol production and consumption, which had severe adverse health effects.
Because the requirement for alcohol tax income coincides with attempts made by the alcohol, bar, and restaurant industries to boost sales and improve profits, I’ve included these examples of government initiatives to promote drinking instead of a sober lifestyle. Many drinkers are reinforced in their belief that
- drinking is normal, and abstention is abnormal,
- unglamorous, and
- an undesirable personality trait by the pervasive advertising of commercial interests.
After going through postpartum depression, my niece started a strict workout regimen. She started pushing herself in Spartan obstacle course events as she got stronger physically and mentally so she could give her all in these reenactments of basic army training. Her diet was revised. As her diet improved, she became aware of how drinking affected her exercise and cut it out.
She is physically and emotionally healthier than ever while maintaining a sober lifestyle. She is one of the 40% of people who decide to drink to live healthier lives. What does she have to apologize for regarding her choice to stop drinking?
How to maintain a sober lifestyle?
While becoming sober is difficult, maintaining sobriety is just as difficult, if not more so. You could revert to old, harmful habits as a result of a variety of life events. Many people who battle addiction find it challenging to refrain from using drugs or alcohol around the holidays, while others can struggle after running into an old buddy.
If you’re having trouble maintaining a sober lifestyle, it’s crucial not to feel like a failure. Long-term success frequently involves several shortcomings. It would be best if you kept moving forward on your path to a sober lifestyle.
If you’re having trouble keeping sober, check out these suggestions.
Consider Your Mental Health First
Your mental health may significantly impact your addiction. Even though you know you shouldn’t, it can make you keep using it. In either case, co-occurring mental illness and drug or alcohol addiction are typical. Over 20 million adults in the US suffered from a drug use problem in 2014. Of those, about 8 million also had coexisting mental illness and a substance addiction disease.
Suppose you don’t take care of your mental health before, during, or after achieving sobriety. In that case, you can anticipate that you will not be able to maintain a sober lifestyle, and your addiction will recur throughout your lifetime.
Going to a mental health treatment facility for assistance with maintaining a sober lifestyle could involve caring for your mental health and a substance addiction disorder at the same time. It’s crucial to seek the aid of a healthcare provider and a substance abuse specialist to choose the best mental health treatment for you.
Improve Your Bonds with Family and Friends
The importance of family engagement in alcohol dependence therapy cannot be overstated. Family dynamics may occasionally play a role in your drinking or drug use. Other times, if your family is actively involved in your recovery process and sober lifestyle, they could be able to prevent you from stumbling.
However, ensuring that those closest to you aren’t secretly enabling you is crucial. This may necessitate family therapy. You may feel more at ease bringing up concerns you might not ordinarily want to discuss in counseling. Your family members may support you in staying sober and clean as you face your challenges.
Friends are essential, too! However, if you lack friends and don’t have any family members you feel comfortable confiding in, you should consider joining support groups. You can make new friends who are going through the same things you are and learn more about how to avoid relapsing.
Emphasize Strong Relationships
While your recovery may depend on your ties with family and friends, the nature of those connections matters, it doesn’t matter if you have a drug dealer friend you’ve known for years or an unsupportive parent; it’s crucial to quit connections that aren’t working for you.
Block them on social media, delete their contacts from your phone, and stay away from their hangout spots. You should never feel bad for ending relationships that don’t make you feel good or don’t support your recovery. Just let them know you need space if you think you owe them an explanation.
Discover How to Have Fun by Yourself
If your daily life is empty, relapsing is much simpler. Finding new methods to keep active in life is a necessary aspect of staying clean, even if your life used to revolve around drinking or doing drugs.
You can do lots of enjoyable activities to get your mind off drugs and alcohol, but having a job can help you distract yourself from your addiction and keep you active. The secret is to figure out how to have fun on your own so that you aren’t reliant on others to keep you occupied. Several suggestions are:
- Observe a museum
- Look at the stars in a suitable location.
- Learn a new instrument on your own
- Discover a new language.
- Embark on a nature walk
- Attend a class
- Have a spa day
- Adopt a hobby
- Study books.
Find Strategies to Handle Being Thrown Off Your Schedule
Creating a schedule is usually a part of relapse prevention strategies. Routines are crucial for alcohol addiction treatment because a chaotic or unorganized existence may tempt you to relapse into old patterns instead of maintaining a sober lifestyle. Schedule calls with family members, get up at roughly the same time each day, go to bed around the same time each night, and take a bath or a shower to decompress each evening.
Establishing a routine that works for you and researching coping mechanisms in case your plans change is critical. Reaching out to your family, attending an AA meeting, or strengthening your meditation routine can help you manage if you are behind schedule due to the holidays or the loss of a job.
Be Prepared for the Recurrence of Your Old Triggers.
You need to be prepared to deal with past triggers because you will encounter them and know what to do if you fall off your plan.
For instance, having a prepared response can be helpful if coworkers ask you to have a drink after work. If you run into someone from your drug-using days, you might call them or take up a new interest. You can also feel like a child again after seeing a family member. Planning can help you stay sober in this way.
Consider professional help to be able to maintain a sober lifestyle.
If you have already decided to stop drinking and maintain a sober lifestyle, consider Esperal implant treatment. While in this treatment, you cannot drink, and a sober lifestyle becomes your only choice.
Alcohol recovery treatment in Philadelphia.
If you are living in Philadelphia, the best place to get medical help and maintain a sober lifestyle is Philadelphia Addiction Center.
The medical doctor and hypnotherapist, Victor Tsan, lead the center.
One of the most well-liked treatment techniques for alcoholics who overuse alcohol is esperal implantation (also known as “filing”). This approach has already demonstrated its good qualities by offering highly effective addiction therapy throughout the years.
The disulfiram-based unique medical preparation serves as the foundation. The active ingredient, 1500 milligrams in each capsule, acts for almost five years. Esperal is inserted into the soft tissues of the shoulder, under the scapula, or into the buttock. It should only be taken in conjunction with an alcoholic’s future rehabilitation, such as AA, 12 steps, rehab centers, etc.; otherwise, there is an excellent likelihood of a breakdown.