Why Everything in Life is More Enjoyable After Addiction Ends

Happy friends on the beach

I used to have this idea in my head that no matter what I did, substances always enhanced the experience. If I was going to the beach or fishing on a boat, cold beer was a necessity. Same with golfing or the pool or just about any leisure activity regardless of time or day.

Camping trips and anything outdoors would certainly be more fun if I had some mushrooms handy. I even convinced myself that weed made playing basketball more enjoyable as I huffed and puffed my way up and down the court. Dating? I’m so much more fun with a little liquid courage. Concerts and music festivals? Give me all the above. Even though I can’t remember listening to one song, that band was incredible. Once I traded my alcoholism for a painkiller addiction, I knew those made everything more tolerable. Especially movies, because struggling to keep my eyes open during the show enhanced the picture.

This idea of mine was so prevalent in my thought processing I don’t ever recall stopping to wonder what these things would be like if substances were taken out of the equation. What taking a stroll on the beach and feeling the sand on my toes as the water hit my feet would be like, experiencing the thrill of a big fish on the line without my attention on the next beer or feeling the exhaustion from intoxication. What a camping trip would be like enjoying nature and the companionship of friends and family without the sole focus being on the effects of a drug. What sports would be like with all my abilities and cognitive functions giving me the best opportunity to succeed at whatever I was playing. What dating would be like being myself and not trying to be somebody I’m not under the influence. What a concert would be like soaking in the music and appreciating the artistry on display and the story being told within the lyrics. What a movie would be like in which I could feel the magic of a dark theater and a bright screen while being pulled into the picture, laughing or crying by the story being told by the actors on screen.

There was also a time when I did think about what life would be like without substances before I gave myself a chance to experience it for myself. Long ago I finally did come to the realization that being an alcoholic or addict wasn’t much fun anymore. My body didn’t bounce back the way it once did, and my life was constantly being derailed by substance abuse, going nowhere fast. For years I was hung up on the unfairness of it all. How could I live and enjoy life without drinking or smoking weed or taking drugs? I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I felt like my life was, for all intents and purposes, over. The party was over, the fun was over. I was now going to have to white knuckle this stupid thing called sobriety and wouldn’t be able to truly enjoy anything ever again.

It’s incredible how much one man’s perspective can change. Little did I know that when I did clean my life up and leave addiction behind for good that my life wasn’t over. Nothing was ending. It was just beginning. There isn’t one aspect of my life today that isn’t immensely more enjoyable clean and sober than it was under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

I’m not going to pretend this happened overnight because that would be a lie. I had to get help and handle my addiction before this became possible. However, the fact that everything about my life is more enjoyable now than it was is a fact I do not deny. Not only is everything far more enjoyable, but I get to appreciate and experience all of this without the baggage that weighed me down everywhere I went as an addict. If you or someone you know is struggling, reach out and find this experience for yourself. A life worth living is waiting for you, just go find it.



Justin has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over 1 year. Justin earned his Bachelors's Degree in Finance from Florida State University. Having been an addict himself, he brings real-world experience to the table when helping addicts and their families, while also offering a first-person perspective to the current drug crisis. Justin is passionate about educating the public about what’s currently going on in our society, and thankfully, offers practical solutions.