Alcohol is a literal toxin that wreaks slow – but very certain – destruction on our bodies every time we consume it. Naturally, giving it up is sure to bring a heap of benefits (or at least, prevent things from getting worse). While we may logically understand that giving up alcohol is good for us and our overall health, it can be difficult to find motivation to get sober in such a generic assurance like “It’s better for you”. That’s why we’re diving into 9 practical benefits of quitting alcohol that affect your day-to-day life. From improved work performance to a spicier sex life, these can help you find a concrete reason to feel and look your alcohol-free best and put down the bottle once and for all.
You’ll Look Younger
Alcohol is very dehydrating and our skin often ends up paying the price. Dry skin is more prone to developing wrinkles – a surefire way to add a few more years to your face. Alcohol also causes reduced collagen levels which results in looking dull, flat, and saggy; a far cry from the bright and plump skin we associate with a youthful glow. When you give up drinking, the elasticity of your skin will gradually restore itself which will give you firmer, healthier-looking skin.
You’ll Sleep Better
Whether you’re a night owl or a morning person, no one can argue how great it feels to get a good night’s rest. Alcohol can rob you of this pleasure, however, and prevent you from getting proper shut-eye. Drinking can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle, which can make it difficult to both fall asleep and to stay asleep. Not only will this probably cause you to be groggier and grumpier throughout your day, but your body will likely feel the pain from this too. When alcohol interrupts your sleep it cuts into your body’s valuable self-repair time which can leave you feeling more run down. Giving up alcohol allows your natural sleep rhythms to reset which puts you on the path to better mental and physical health.
You’ll Lose Weight
No matter your drink of choice – beer, wine, cocktails, or straight shots of hard liquor – alcohol of any type is a sugary caloric bomb that can sneakily pack on the pounds. Alcohol can also seriously mess up your metabolism and reduce your fat-burning capability which can also contribute to weight gain. The last whammy: drinking can cause you to eat more (one study showed people eat about 30% more when they consume alcohol), effectively nailing the coffin on your waistline. Those problems disappear when you quit alcohol, though, and you might find yourself losing a few pounds without trying. While it’s not guaranteed that all the weight will magically come off once you quit, alcohol won’t be able to sabotage your weight loss efforts any longer.
You’ll Perform Better At Work
Ongoing alcohol abuse can heavily interfere with cognitive function, memory, and even decision-making – all of which are crucial functions for optimal work performance. This occurs in part because heavy drinking can cause a part of the brain called the hippocampus, to physically shrink. It can also impair your critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as your ability to pay attention. This is why you may have heard about alcoholism interfering with a drinker’s professional life and more often than not ending up costing them their job (although this may not always be the case with high-functioning alcoholics). Giving up drinking can help reverse alcohol’s assault on cognitive function improving performance as well as a person’s ability to hold a job.
You’ll Be In a Better Mood
Many people turn to alcohol to alleviate their mood or distract themselves after a bad day, but drinking can actually make it worse. Extended or heavy alcohol abuse can cause a disruption in dopamine and serotonin levels, two important mood-elevating neurotransmitters. This is a result of the onset of alcohol addiction where your brain no longer emits those chemicals when it normally would. The consequence of which can mean losing the capability to feel positive emotions without a drink. Over time, this can contribute to the development or worsening of mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, or even schizophrenia. Fortunately, these changes aren’t permanent and there’s a good chance that your brain chemistry will return to normal once you quit drinking.
You’ll Be A Better Friend
Trying to balance life demands and other people’s schedules makes maintaining friendships challenging enough, and alcohol can make it even harder. First, there’s the most obvious aspect of time. If you’re constantly out drinking, passing out, or nursing a hangover, that’s a lot of time that you’re losing on hanging out with friends. Additionally, since alcohol can affect your mental and cognitive capacities, you may find it harder to be emotionally present when you’re together. It can also leave you with a shorter temper, which can result in more arguments than normal.
Your Sex Life Might Improve
Heavy drinking is well known to contribute to erectile dysfunction, but both men and women can find their sex life take a dive because of alcohol abuse. A combination of psychological and physical side effects can decrease sexual desire (libido), and make it difficult to orgasm. Alcohol interferes with blood flow, making it difficult for the blood to get where it needs to go. While lackluster bedroom performance can be caused by a number of issues other than alcohol, giving up alcohol is an easy way to bring the spark back to your relationships.
You’ll Save a Lot of Money
If there’s one thing we can all get behind, it’s keeping more of the green stuff in our wallets. Among the most tangible benefits of quitting alcohol are the financial ones. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend approximately 1% of their annual income on alcohol which is about $565 a year. Binge drinkers, heavy drinkers, and alcoholics are likely to spend much (much) more.
There are also a lot of indirect costs associated with boozing up. If you tend to go out to drink, you’re likely paying for parking (either a meter or valet), tipping bartenders and servers, possibly going out to eat afterward, or paying for a ridesharing service to avoid drinking and driving. Staying home might be less expensive, but if you’re stocking up on alcoholic beverages to access at your leisure, that can still do some damage to your monthly budget.
You’ll Live Longer
Perhaps the single most important benefit of quitting alcohol is that you’ll increase your life expectancy (and it’ll be of better quality too). One study found that heavy drinkers can expect to lose 1 to 2 years off their life while chronic alcoholics can expect to lose at least 4 to 5 years. However, this does not take into account the development of life-threatening health complications. Heart failure, liver failure, and kidney failure are just a few of the terminal possibilities that can significantly shorten their life expectancy. On the contrary, giving up alcohol has shown to greatly reduce those health risks in just a few short months.
Ready To Quit Drinking? We Can Help
We’re confronted with temptation every day: choosing a cheeseburger over a salad, going to bed early versus watching our sixth “just one more” episode, or deciding between going to the gym when we could be sitting at home in our PJs. Even when we’re faced with hundreds of reasons to choose a better-for-us option, it can be difficult to make that change. But as the saying goes: Better late than never. You’re never too old or too far gone to make a positive change and give up drinking. Your body, your mental health, and your friends will thank you for it, so take the first step today and contact us to see how you can get started.