Thinking About Giving Up Alcohol? Here’s What to Expect
A certain percentage of people that consume alcohol on a regular basis never develop alcoholism. This is sometimes a frustrating fact for individuals in recovery from substance abuse and addiction. However, just because a person can drink alcohol without getting addicted does not mean it’s a healthy lifestyle choice.
Consistent alcohol consumption leads to a myriad of mental and physical health issues that growing populations of Americans have decided are not worth it. Stepping off the proverbial booze cruise, either permanently or temporarily, results in a host of health and lifestyle boosts that will improve anyone’s day-to-day life.
Here Are 7 Positive Benefits to an Alcohol-Free Lifestyle
1. Better Mental Health – it’s important to remember that while a glass of wine, a cocktail or a few beers at the end day might relieve stress, alcohol is a depressant. Drinking regularly can lead to depression, and if a person is already dealing with depression, alcohol might only make it worse.
2. Weight Loss – most people realize that the extra calories from alcohol make it harder to lose weight, but even more devious is that drinking reduces the body’s levels of leptin, a hormone responsible for making us feel full. That’s why most people, even after just a few drinks, will eat more than normal.
3. Save Money – as a wine connoisseur, lets say that you and your partner, together, consume one $15 bottle of wine a day. The numbers quickly add up: that’s $105 a week, $450 a month and $5,475 a year, or enough for a lovely little getaway vacation. If a bottle a day is conservative for your palate, doubling the numbers will pay for several getaways.
4. Better Sleep – no doubt about it, an evening nightcap makes people sleepy, and they do in fact fall asleep faster, but that’s where any benefit, if there is one, ends. While alcohol gets people to sleep quicker, it reduces REM sleep, which is important for proper rest, during the first part of the night. Then as alcohol breaks down in the body, it interrupts the sleep process in the second part of the night, causing shallow sleep and multiple wake-ups that result in a blurry and tired day after.
5. Become More Productive – it’s only natural that getting better sleep, which allows the brain to clear waste while the body regenerates cells, leads to more energy, greater creativity and better problem solving that will have you enjoying those activities you didn’t seem to have time for while drinking with friends at the bar. Hangover-free days can also make everyone more productive at work.
6. Have Fewer Regrets – one of the reasons people enjoy drinking is because they feel less inhibited, which can be fun in the right setting. However, inhibition isn’t always a bad thing, especially when it keeps us from putting our foot in our mouths, sticking our nose where it doesn’t belong or using the copier at the office party in an inappropriate fashion.
7. Gain a Stronger Sense of Self – it’s not uncommon for alcohol to be people’s go-to social crutch. A few drinks might make it easier to meet new people or talk to individuals who intimidate us or make us think we seem less boring to others. In addition to all the above benefits, cutting out alcohol forces us to be exactly who we are in every real world situation. That can be scary at first, but in the end, it leads to confidence and the understanding that the “real us” is capable, interesting and successful.
There’s probably at least one thing from the list above that almost everyone could benefit from, maybe two or three. Saving money and losing weight are two of the most popular we’ve heard, and while giving up alcohol might sound difficult for some, over time, the positives can add up, making it all worthwhile in the end.
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