With the New Year upon us, you may have taken time to evaluate your goals. What’s worth doing, and what isn’t? What will bring you the best year possible? Often, people work towards goals such as improving their health, strengthening relationships with loved ones, and obtaining financial security. Do you know what goal you can work on while simultaneously improving almost all aspects of your life? That’s right: quitting drinking.
What happens when you stop drinking? Below, you will find several impactful physical and mental reasons you might want to consider giving up alcohol in the new year.
When you quit drinking alcohol, you’re likely to enjoy more restorative sleep. Having more than a couple of drinks can dramatically disturb your sleep by causing negative effects, like:
- Preventing REM (rapid eye movement) sleep – Dreams occur in REM sleep, and it’s when you consolidate memories.
- Disrupting breathing by promoting snoring
- Causing frequent bathroom trips at night
When you quit alcohol, the before-mentioned issues are likely to clear us. And as a result of more restful sleep, you may feel more energized, mentally sharp, and motivated. Plus, sleep is essential for physical health. Getting enough sleep supports heart and brain health.
Better Overall Health
One of the most important benefits of quitting drinking is a healthier body. Drinking alcohol puts a strain on most of your vital organs. Liver disease is one of the biggest risk factors for alcoholics. Those who drink heavily and excessively are at risk of several health conditions, such as liver cirrhosis, heart disease, and several types of cancers. All of this sounds painful, but, more importantly, it’s dangerous. Over time, drinking can cause organs such as the liver, kidneys, and heart to shut down.
By quitting drinking, you’re stopping the damage that drinking in excess has on your body. Once you stop drinking, your liver gets a much-needed rest from having to process alcohol, which is a poison to it.
Giving up alcohol helps your memory to sharpen and your mind to become clearer. Alcohol depletes essential vitamins, such as vitamins B6 and A, which are essential for brain health, among other things. When you stop drinking alcohol, you also stop depleting these vitamins.
Plus, most people who drink excessively can note times their memory has “blacked out.” This happens because alcohol impairs the parts of the brain that are responsible for forming memories. Once a person quits drinking, these “blackouts” also go away!
More on How to Overcome Situations
- Looking for love, start inward
- The quest for change is real
- Advice for staying sober over the fourth
- Tips for a successful recovery: firsthand experience
A huge benefit to giving up alcohol is better skin. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it dehydrates your body. Your skin needs water to look and feel its best. When you quit drinking, you are able to rehydrate your body, and it shows in the appearance of your skin.
Many people who drink in excess also engage in binge eating when intoxicated. Foods that you binge on don’t tend to lead to healthy eating, so avoiding binges is another benefit to your skin and your overall health.
Improved Relationships with Loved Ones
Research has shown that, in general, drinking can have a detrimental effect on relationships. For instance, if drinking in excess happens frequently, friends and family often shoulder responsibilities like taking care of you when you’re sick or if you get in trouble. Plus, not everyone is on their best behavior while drinking. You may become angry or impulsive, which might have resulted in some friends or family pulling away over time.
When you stop drinking alcohol, you’re likely to see your relationships improve, and you’ll have the chance to build them even stronger.
Instead of spending money on alcohol at home and whenever you go out, think of the money you’ll save! Here’s an example: Let’s say you only have one or two drinks when you go out. Each drink costs $10. If you went out once a week for a month, you would be spending at least $40 a month on drinks. With those figures, quitting drinking saves you at least $480 per year, and that doesn’t include money you spend to stock your fridge with alcoholic drinks. Wouldn’t it feel great to see these coins added to your bank account? You could pay towards living expenses; student loans; or a fun vacation to the Caribbean, Mexico, or Europe.
If you find it hard to believe how much you’ll save, try quitting drinking for just one month and see the effect it has on your bank account.
Drinking alcohol often leads to weight gain. On the flip side, giving up alcohol may help you lose extra weight you may be carrying. Excessive alcohol intake has been proven to be linked with weight gain. Most alcoholic beverages have a high calorie count due to ingredients such as processed sugars. Even alcoholic beverages without added sugar can still cause weight gain. Alcoholic beverages are often referred to as “empty calories.” That’s because alcohol itself is high in calories, and it promotes hunger. Did you know consuming alcohol before or after meals can cause you to eat more calories? Over time, excessive alcohol consumption, as well as the overeating it can trigger, can ultimately lead to gaining more weight in the new year.
What Happens Immediately After You Stop Drinking?
Although there are many benefits to quitting drinking, you may experience some withdrawal effects right after cutting it out. These symptoms can last for a couple of days or up to a few weeks. Common withdrawal symptoms include:
- Depression, anxiety, and irritability
- Change of appetite
- Rapid heart rate
- Alcohol cravings
For some, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be life threatening. It can lead to seizures and a condition called delirium tremens (DTs). If DTs happen, it’s usually a couple days after your last drink. It can dangerously affect body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure and cause confusion and loss of consciousness.
Because of the possibility of symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, it might be necessary to detox from alcohol under medical supervision. In medical detox you’ll have 24/7 care and support to keep you safe and comfortable as you start your alcohol recovery journey.
Whether you drink in moderation or engage in binge drinking or heavy drinking, quitting alcohol can truly change your quality of life. The benefits are long-lasting and advantageous. Your brain, body, and those around you will notice the improvements. To learn more about alcohol addiction, as well as addiction treatment, click here.