Many people begin experimenting with alcohol in their youth. What begins as an occasional night out on the town turns into a regular drink after work, which eventually may result in using alcohol to alleviate stress, get through the day, or just pass the time. As the pandemic comes to a close and Americans reconsider their substance use, we’d like to discuss the various benefits of quitting alcohol.
You’ll Feel Better: Mentally and Physically
Regular alcohol consumption is correlated with mental and physical health concerns. For example, if you drink heavily, you’re at a higher risk for stomach ulcers, liver disease, heart problems, and certain types of cancers. Most of this can be attributed to the fact that alcohol is hard on your body. To process it, your liver, heart, and brain are sent into overdrive. When you quit drinking, your body is free to tend to other natural processes. This can result in higher energy, increased ability to focus, and improved mental clarity.
There is also a significant relationship between addiction and co-occurring mental health problems like anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. Drinking can actually worsen the symptoms of these illnesses. Achieving long-term recovery provides a motivating path to improved mental health.
You Can Sleep Through the Night
Some people have a drink before bed because they believe it will help them to sleep. In reality, the opposite is true. While alcohol may serve as a depressant, it also interferes with the body’s sleep-wake cycles. This makes it more difficult to stay asleep throughout the night, or even to fall asleep in the first place. Drinking heavily before going to bed can also increase the likelihood of snoring or sleep apnea later in life. The longer you abstain from alcohol, the more your sleep hygiene will improve.
Quitting Alcohol Gives You a Stronger Immune System
Any type of substance abuse impacts your body’s ability to defend itself from germs and bacteria. That’s why many people diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder frequently find themselves battling the common cold, flus, and pneumonia. Giving up alcohol provides an opportunity for the body to repair itself and allocate resources to the production of body-defending white blood cells.
Your Body Will Benefit from More Nutrients
A lot of people who drink heavily tend to choose alcohol over healthy, nutritious meals. This results in a deficiency of several types of nutrients, including protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals. Alcohol itself also interferes with your body’s ability to digest, store, utilize, and excrete nutrients. This may eventually lead to malnutrition. As you replace alcoholic beverages with healthier choices, you’ll eventually restore your body’s balance and improve your relationship with food.
You’ll Be Less Likely to Get into Accidents
Safety is one of the most underrated benefits of quitting alcohol. Drinking is associated with many serious trauma injuries and deaths due to sudden events like car crashes, fatal falls, and drownings. Individuals who choose sobriety also gain the added benefits of impulse control, safer driving, and better decision-making abilities.
You Might Lose Some Weight
Alcohol is packed with calories – a beer has about 150, while a glass of wine has 120 on average. It’s easy for those who drink often to consume hundreds or thousands of empty calories from these beverages. Additionally, alcohol increases your appetite and impulsivity, resulting in unintentional and unhealthy food binges. When you get sober, you may find yourself dropping a few pounds as a result of one lifestyle change.
Quitting Alcohol Can Improve Your Relationships
Drinking can turn many of us into people our loved ones don’t recognize. Heavy drinking can lead to disagreements, arguments, and even violence within the home. It can also cause individuals to isolate themselves from friends and family. Recovery opens the door to forgiveness and improved communication with the people in your life.
Sobriety Clears Your Mind
Dependency on alcohol – or any substance – impacts your ability to form new memories and recall old ones. Alcohol abuse can also negatively affect your perception, motor skills, and social skills. When you quit, your mind can clear, which makes room for better cognitive functioning in the long run.
You’ll Have Time to Do What You Love
Addiction is the ultimate distraction. Over time, the process of finding, using, and recovering from alcohol can take over your entire day. Even when you are not actively drinking, you may be thinking about the next time you will be able to. This diverts precious time from once-loved hobbies, like playing musical instruments, painting pictures, or exercising. Quitting helps you to find “lost time” and reallocate it to the things you love to do.
Need Help Quitting Alcohol?
Alcohol use disorder is challenging to overcome; in fact, attempting to manage withdrawal on your own can be life-threatening. At Lakeside-Milam, we help you to recover for life. Our proven approach provides the structure and evidence-based care necessary for lasting sobriety. Contact our admissions team to learn more about our inpatient and outpatient treatment options.