How caring about the climate helps my sobriety

How caring about the climate helps my sobriety

Personal well-being is directly tied to a sense of purpose, and sobriety empowers people daily to get more passionate about what life has to offer. For some, sobriety may be a delightful shock to the senses, helping you acknowledge the world around you with clarity, even if it means seeing how the climate crisis is impacting the planet.

During the journey, it’s crucial to replace poor habits with a spark of life and comforting activities — being Earth’s ally is one of the most motivational.

Here’s why taking action for the climate is an intentional and delicate choice foundational for many in their sobriety.

The link between sobriety and climate change

Let’s consider the elephant in the room with some empathy — climate change causes global eco-anxiety. Around 67% of young people said they were sad, afraid or anxious about climate change, reinforcing the importance of staying sober to help stabilise and avoid escalating these feelings. These feelings also lead to complacency — buying single-use plastic when you don’t need to or drying clothes in the machine when you could hang them to air dry.

It’s an opportunistic challenge for individuals in recovery to realise this and care about it despite everything. You are strong enough not to waver and prioritise the world’s condition with productivity. The world’s weight feels like it falls on you, yet caring about healing the planet increases resilience instead of chipping away at it.

The influence substances have is another reason to fight for the planet while sober. People have the power to change these systemic issues — individuals in recovery are not the reason for them. For example, Big Alcohol strips environments of healthy soil and water, harming biodiversity. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals strive to make the world better, and the alcohol industry negatively impacts 14 out of 17 objectives, including:

  • Good health and well-being
  • No hunger
  • Reduced inequalities
  • Climate action
  • Clean water and sanitation
  • No poverty

Sobriety and climate change advocacy go hand-in-hand. When you think about it, the world is trying to heal as much as anyone going through a sobriety journey.

The way climate action supports the journey

Whether you stand in a picket line, call representatives or go on a zero-waste adventure, every green choice is a welcome distraction and goalpost for sober individuals. Your efforts during sobriety and as a climate advocate reflect self-compassion-driven achievements, large and small. They add up.

1. It matches up with recovery principles

Climate action supports sobriety by providing fulfilment in every corner. It also perfectly lines up with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 10 guiding principles of recovery, which encompass these qualities: 

  • Hope
  • Person-driven
  • Many pathways
  • Holistic
  • Peer support
  • Relational
  • Culture
  • Addresses trauma
  • Strengths and responsibilities
  • Respect 

They all relate to meaningful climate allyship. It explains the importance of self-care alongside peer support despite obstacles during recovery and climate advocacy. The principles explore advocacy’s diverse paths while prioritising value-driven communication and respect.

2. It reinforces community-building

Committing to the planet brings you faith in humanity besides a supportive community that’s experiencing the burden together. Together, sober climate activists can set goals. You’re never alone, just like on a sobriety journey. Bonding over the shared climate grief is powerful and the best chance every nation has against climate change when reimagined for optimism and action.

3. Coping strategies change climate conversations

Climate change has the potential to become a more optimistic topic. Nobody is better than people on the path to recovery to teach the world how to be more resilient against negative climate conversations. It’s essential to reduce stress and find meaning in the fight, even if the results aren’t tangible.

You might think caring about the climate increases anxiety, but it has the opposite effect, even in younger demographics. It provides a sense of purpose and higher self-esteem in a world that many think is dying but is getting better every second. Advocates must discuss how they participate in eco-friendly activities that increase well-being, such as: 

  • Spending time in nature.
  • Participating in mindfulness activities like gardening or hiking.
  • Engaging in community service like picking up litter.
  • Volunteering at relevant nonprofits.
  • Supporting local eco-conscious businesses.
  • Being curious and reading more about the planet’s wonder.

The importance of resilience amid climate discourse

Spreading the love with your best coping strategies during your sobriety journey translates well for those struggling with climate change. It’s primarily important for those making drastic lifestyle changes to become greener.

Resilience is key for being gentle on yourself, whether you’re trying to educate yourself on the slow fashion industry or which animals are currently endangered and need donations.

Resilience is most important when talking with others. The more knowledge you have, the more we realise humanity is making positive change — and it’s worth celebrating. 

Sharing that with others can reframe climate change discourse into something more promising, especially when climate grief and eco-anxiety are pervasive. Like sobriety, focusing on what’s achievable and within your control is essential.

Being a sober environmental ally

Caring more about the climate can be a key part of many sobriety journeys worldwide. It increases confidence and redirects energy to life-changing impacts.

The communities that sobriety forms are necessary for creating balanced, intersectional conversations that lead to action instead of just imagination. Everything you have learned throughout your journey translates to meaningful climate activism for improving your well-being alongside the rest of humanity.

By Ava Roman

Ava Roman (she/her) is the Managing Editor of
Revivalist, a women’s lifestyle magazine that empowers women to live their most authentic life. When Ava is not writing you'll probably find her doing yoga or snuggled up with her cat and a good book.

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