There are multiple benefits of quitting alcohol, and despite how tough it is getting sober, many continue down this path for their health, family and future. It is not a coincidence that people who have achieved long-term sobriety say that quitting alcohol or drugs was the hardest thing they have ever done. However, despite how tough it is to quit, many say that it is one of the biggest accomplishments of their lives.
Not only do they feel better, but they are also healthier. Alcohol use can lead to a long list of health problems but by putting the bottle down and getting sober, you can experience a number of benefits.
Benefits of Quitting Alcohol
If you are on the fence about quitting or reducing your alcohol consumption, it may be beneficial to look at all the positive physical, mental, and social effects associated with cutting drinking out of your life.
1. Healthier Body
Nearly everyone knows that using alcohol can be dangerous and have a number of harmful effects on the body. Some of the common short-term effects associated with alcohol use include injuries from falls and vehicle crashes, alcohol poisoning,
Along with these potential problems that someone drinking alcohol can deal with, there are many common long-term effects of drinking alcohol. Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of certain problems, including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Learning and memory problems
- Anxiety and more
However, by quitting alcohol, you can improve heart and cardiovascular health and overcome psychiatric problems such as depression or anxiety.
2. Sleep Better
While alcohol can help users fall asleep quicker, it actually has a negative effect on sleep quality. Drinking alcohol before bed is linked with less restorative sleep patterns and an interruption in the circadian rhythm. Alcohol use also blocks REM sleep. REM, or rapid-eye movement sleep, is considered the most restorative sleep. If you get less REM sleep, you are more likely to wake up feeling groggy and unfocused.
Alcohol can also lead to sleep issues for your partner as well. Not only can restlessness cause movement and tossing and turning which can keep your partner awake. Moreover, alcohol causes relaxation in the body, including the throat. This can make you more prone to snoring which can wake your partner, and even yourself, up.
Luckily, quitting alcohol can have lead to almost immediate benefits in your sleep cycle.
3. Reduce Chances Of Chronic Disease
There are several chronic diseases and illnesses that people who use alcohol have a higher chance of being affected by. One of the most prevalent is cancer. In fact, an estimated 3.5 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States were alcohol-related.
Alcohol is linked to a higher risk of getting six different types of cancer:
- Mouth and Throat Cancer
- Larynx Cancer
- Esophagus Cancer
- Colon Cancer
- Liver Cancer
- Breast Cancer
Along with cancer, alcohol has a strong correlation with liver disease, specifically liver cirrhosis. Liver cirrhosis is the most serious type of alcohol-related liver disease and about 10 to 20 percent of heavy drinkers develop the condition, generally after a decade or more of drinking. The disease can lead to bleeding in the esophagus, high blood pressure, behavioral changes, confusion, and more.
Despite the severity of the issue, research has shown that cirrhosis can be reversed, in fact, it may be the only viable solution to the problem.
4. Save Money
Alcohol is expensive. Keeping up with a habit of drinking alcohol can be very expensive. One article from the Huffington Post found just how expensive a drinking habit can be.
Drinking three drinks a day, five days a week can cost you about $150 a week if the drinks cost an average of $10. This equates to $650 a month or $7,800 a year on alcohol. This doesn’t include other costs such as tipping a bartender or the cost of an Uber or Lyft to get to and from your location.
Even if you drink a couple of drinks on the weekend it can still cost a couple of thousand dollars each year.
5. Learning New Activities
Drinking alcohol takes up a lot of time and can get in the way of your chances to learn a new ability or skill.
Unfortunately, a lot of people who quit alcohol and get sober struggle with identity issues as they realize that so much of their time was spent surrounded by alcohol. However, if you quit drinking, you can take all that time and put it toward something productive.
If you want to focus on your health, you can hit the gym or the treadmill and get to work. If you are looking to learn a new skill, you can try learning an instrument or a new language. There are tons of things you can do if you have the time and quitting drinking will give you that time.
At this point, you may understand that there are tons of benefits to quitting drinking but how do you go about doing that. Your next step should be to learn different techniques to help you commit to quitting alcohol.
How To Quit
There are a number of different self-help strategies and lifestyle changes you can make to encourage change and become dedicated to long-term sobriety. If you are looking to abstain from alcohol, try a few of these things:
Say “No” — If you are out with friends or new people there is a strong chance that there will be an opportunity to drink, you may even be offered one or someone just might put one in your hand. These are some of the most important moments of your sobriety: the moments where you say “No”. Saying “No” not only reinforces your commitment to staying sober to your friends and family, but it also reinforces it in your own mind as well. Saying “No” can be a cathartic experience. If you are able to do this and stay strong, you will likely be able to overcome the issue and achieve long-term sobriety.
Alternatives — If drinking has become a problem in your life, chances are that you spend a lot of your time using alcohol. Many times, people will turn to alcohol when they are bored and this is when it can become a problem. However, if you replace your downtime that you normally spend on drinking with a healthier alternative, it can help you avoid alcohol. Whether it is golf, basketball, or just jogging, getting yourself active is a great way to take advantage of your downtime and make it productive. You can also take this extra time to learn a new skill or ability. You can learn to play an instrument, a new language, or something else to help you pass time and do something stimulating. All of these are options, but if you are looking to relax you can always just read a book.
Avoid Triggers — You should learn what triggers your urge to drink. Finding out what these triggers are can help you avoid them in the future. For a lot of, people there are a number of obvious triggers such as being in a bar. Being around that environment, with drinks and people who have had drinks, it can be incredibly triggering for some people and lead to many urges to drink again. Meanwhile, there can be other more personal triggers for specific people. It is important to find out what these are so that you can avoid them in the future. Going through a cognitive-behavioral therapy class
Tell People — If you are making a big change, such as freeing yourself from alcohol, or another substance, it can be a good idea to tell close friends and family members. Not only will they now be aware of your decision and not encourage you to drink with them but, they will likely also be there for you if you need your help.
Understand Urges — While you should actively avoid triggers, you will still be subject to certain urges and cravings. These are almost unavoidable, anyone who stops drinking or using a substance that they once had a dependence on will likely experience these. While these can be powerful and have an intense effect on you, if you prepare for them it can help when they occur. There are a few things that you can do to help overcome an urge. For one, just reminding yourself what the feeling is and what it will pass in a few moments can be enough to overcome and cravings that you have.
Join A Support Group — Many people who try to quit drinking fall short because of a lack of support around them. Luckily, there are many support groups available to anyone trying to stop drinking. These groups will not only provide someone with encouragement, it provides solidarity. Surrounding yourself with people who have a similar goal as you, to quit drinking, can give you the strength and guidance you need to turn your goal into an achievement.
These are just a few tips to help someone who is trying to stop drinking, there are a number of other ways that someone can go about this process.
If your situation is severe, it may be best to reach out to a drug and alcohol treatment center near you to help overcome the problem. Not only will a drug and alcohol rehab center likely be more effective, but it will also be a safer option as well. Going to a facility that specializes in recovery is safer because it can help patients with the withdrawal process by putting them through a detox program.
The abrupt cessation of alcohol consumption produces a variety of withdrawal symptoms, all of which can cause significant illness and even death. Some of the common withdrawal symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal include tremors, anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, nausea, and more. However, more serious symptoms can also occur and affect about one in every ten patients. Some of the more harmful symptoms include rapid breathing and profuse sweating. Seizures also affect about five percent of untreated patients. Delirium tremens can also affect those going through withdrawals, and can even lead to death. The ultimate treatment goal for alcohol withdrawal is to control agitation, reduce the risk of seizures, and decrease the risk of mortality.
There is a long list of benefits associated with quitting alcohol however quitting can be hard. Many who achieve sobriety say it is one of the hardest things that they’ve done. But, if you remain committed and make a few lifestyle changes, you too can achieve sobriety and get back to a healthier, more productive life.
If the situation is severe enough, it may require the help of a Carmel drug and alcohol rehab facility, like Landmark Recovery. Landmark is dedicated to helping one million families over the next 100 years. If you would like to learn more about Landmark, please visit our website and reach out to our admissions staff today.