“If you resolve to give up smoking, drinking and loving,
you don’t actually live longer; it just seems longer.”
– Clement Freud, British politician, writer and celebrity chef
For many people, giving up the old devil’s brew isn’t going to feature high up on their bucket list. Just kidding. It’s not even going to be on their original draft list of “1,001 Things To Do Before My Glass Runs Dry.” And it’ll never get on. Ever.
Each to their own.
However, there are a minority of people who reside on this planet who have actually done such an insane thing, and are continuing their teetotal lives blissfully and fully aware that the day they finally showed alcohol the door, their lives changed for the better. Not only is their bucket list actually having things ticked off it, they feel and look better while they’re out enjoying themselves with every item on it; for example, #53 – Hang gliding over Mom’s house.
Seriously, if you’ve never considered what life could be like alcohol-free, this article is going to surprise you, possibly motivate you, and, with a little fortitude, get you re-writing your own bucket list from scratch.
In fact, quitting alcohol has a myriad of positives about it, and certainly way too many to describe here. That’s why the article is entitled, “3 Positive Changes You Experience When You Quit Drinking.” However, even just these three should be enough for you to start seriously contemplating if your life wouldn’t be that much better, that much more meaningful, if you showed alcohol the door today.
So, consider this… Alcohol-free, you’re so much healthier. Physically, mentally, and financially.
Did you know that there are an estimated 15 million adults in the U.S. that suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use & Health? That’s about 6.2% of the population caught in the downward spiral of alcohol addiction. Chances are, you know someone who is an alcoholic, an extended family member, a friend or a work colleague, even though you don’t know exactly how bad their drinking is.
For this 6.2%, the only safe way for them to become alcohol-free is to undergo an alcohol detox, in a professional setting and medically-supervised. Yes, alcohol abuse, if severe enough, can be fatal should you decide to simply go “cold turkey” on your own.
Hopefully, your current alcohol consumption may not warrant such a step, and, when stopping is prepared for and done correctly, you’ll start to notice the physical health benefits very quickly. Apart from a natural improvement in your general health, and being kinder to your internal organs, becoming alcohol-free has the following particular benefits:
● Sleep: You’ll sleep so much better, waking more refreshed and rested than before
● Nutrition: You’ll naturally eat less and eat more healthily
● Weight Loss: If you’re carrying a few extra pounds, such as the notorious beer belly, this will gradually disappear (alcohol is jam-packed with useless, empty calories)
● Skin: Your skin will lose its redness and dryness, becoming more hydrated and more youthful-looking, and
● Cancer Risk: According to the National Cancer Institute, alcohol increases the risk of mouth, liver, colon and rectum cancer
The human brain is a wonderful natural machine that balances chemicals and thought processes perfectly, unless we introduce other chemicals that can tip that balance. Alcohol, amongst other things, is a depressant when all said and done, and when it is introduced into the brain, it can have a number of damaging effects:
● Brain Structure & Chemistry: Prolonged alcohol use eventually starts to have a negative impact upon the brain, regardless of the initial feeling of relaxation, and, in time, will actually alter the structure of the brain and its ability to produce the right amount of dopamine, our “happy chemical.”
● Anxiety & Stress: Long used by many for the self-medication of anxiety and stress, prolonged alcohol use will eventually increase, as opposed to decrease, the levels of these.
● Depression: Regular heavy drinking leads to depression, by reducing the amount of serotonin being produced, the essential chemical that regulates our mood. The heavy drinking may have been a response to a period of depression, and now it’s just a vicious cycle.
● Memory & Concentration: Alcohol, as we all know, can impair the recollection of certain events, but it doesn’t end with memory loss. Heavy drinking can also affect our ability to concentrate fully and think clearly, even when there is no alcohol being drunk.
In terms of mental health, becoming alcohol-free will reverse these damaging effects in most cases, and the new teetotaler will soon learn to relax naturally, will have a sharper, clearer mind, will enjoy a more stable and happier mood, and will not have to suffer mental disorders such as depression and anxiety.
With the previously described physical and mental health benefits of becoming alcohol-free, wouldn’t it be righteous and proper if your wallet or purse seemed a little wider than normal, a little heavier maybe, and had a few more pictures of one President Franklin residing in it?
Do not fear. As naturally as those health benefits will happen by becoming alcohol-free, a healthier set of personal finances is another of the rewards on offer.
Consider this… if you, on average, drank 3 times a week, had 3 drinks every time at about $5 each, you’d be spending nearly $200 every single month, and that adds up to a sizeable $2,340 every year (or nearly 24 Ben Franklins).
You can see exactly how much your drinking is really costing you by checking out the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism’s online alcohol spending calculator.
Now, does that all start to put things into a little more perspective for you? By quitting drinking, these 3 positive changes to your physical, mental and financial health will simply come to you, just as long as you have the willpower to go for the club soda, every time.
Have you quit drinking recently? Tell us how you have benefited from the experience. Are currently deciding whether to go for it or not? Please feel free to leave a comment below to share with others. As the Nike ad says – Just Do It.