- Are you struggling with alcohol?
- Are you questioning whether or not you’re an alcoholic?
- Are you wondering if you should quit drinking?
- Do you have to quit drinking?
Alcohol kills over 240 people every day, yet it’s scary as hell to quit for some people. It can be ridiculously hard, especially with alcohol.
Drinking alcohol is a big part of social life in the United States and the world all over. The hype is well deserved, but when drinking has become an addiction or is affecting your health, it’s definitely a good idea to quit drinking.
For some people, kicking back with a glass or two of wine is just so normal, and helps you get that warm, relaxed feeling, and that’s it.
For many others, one glass becomes many, one night out becomes every night, and drinking starts taking up major physical and mental space that becomes a focal point of your life.
The hardest part of the journey to clear-headedness and soberness is attempting sobriety in the first place, but yet, people can and do recover from alcoholism.
How Alcohol Addiction Works
Addiction lives in your brain circuitry, and if you’re addicted, it doesn’t mean you’re weak or bad at willpower.
Addictive substances like alcohol activate pleasure receptors in your brain, and the more often you switch on your pleasure pathways, the less pleasure you feel over time.
So, your brain will crave stronger and stronger stimuli, until your brain grows accustomed to the stimulus after so much repetition. Thus, over time you’re so used to it that you have to have your fix to function.
It’s pretty natural that alcohol probably isn’t the best thing for us, and it’s best to seriously look at the research. Many of these researches report or suggest that drinking in moderation equals 1 drink a day for women and 2 per day for men.
Effects Of Alcohol To Our Mind And Body
When you drink alcohol initially, it triggers the release of endorphins which are chemicals that produce feelings of pleasure. However, alcohol also does other things to you.
- A hangover is caused by several factors like dehydration, coupled with the fact that alcohol upsets your stomach lining and opens up blood vessels which lead to a greater chance of a headache, and less sleep after a night of drinking.
- Dulled senses,
- lack of coordination,
- slurred speech,
- blurry vision,
- poor balance,
- nausea, and
- Bad sleep.
Furthermore, the lowered inhibitions can lead to making dumb decisions such as smoking which is bad for your body as well. You can also do really dumb stuff like driving when you shouldn’t, which puts not only yourself at physical risk but others as well.
Long-term effects of alcohol on your body include:
- stomach ulcers,
- immune system deficiencies,
- nerve damage,
- liver disease,
- damage to the heart muscle,
- vitamin deficiencies and
- Other cardiovascular issues.
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, and when you drink alcohol, you may feel more social and talkative. Yes, it’s true that many people become more vocal and outgoing while drinking alcohol.
The depressive effects of alcohol can be seen when people drink too much and as a result, suffer from slurred speech. The pleasing feeling many people get when they drink alcohol is due to the effect it has on the dopamine site in the brain.
However, this is short-lived, and when someone continues to drink their short-term memory becomes impaired.
Drinking too much may lead to a “blackout” which is not being able to remember what happened. Thus, alcohol’s short-term effects on the mind are short-term memory impairment and blurry thinking.
Alcohol also loosens inhibitions and of course, there could be potential consequences of that.
There are long terms effects of alcohol to the brain, like developing deficits in brain functioning.
Long-term drinking can alter your brain’s hard-wired ability to think, which you may not be able to recover from even if you have stopped drinking.
In other words, it can cause permanent damage to your brain, and the brains of long-term drinkers can also diminish in size.
This is not meant to scare you, and it’s important to remember that not all of the alcohol’s effects on the mind, both short term and long term, are known. There are areas that are still being studied.
Benefits Of Quitting Drinking On Your Body And Mind
Here’re several ways your body and mind benefit when you decide not to consume alcohol:
- You will sleep better: alcohol is a depressant and makes you feel more tired in reality, but you don’t sleep as well with it in your system, but quitting will make you sleep better. When you quit drinking your body will rest better which not only improves your energy level but also your concentration, mood, and mental enactment.
- You’ll lose weight: Alcohol is full of empty calories that can only lead to gaining weight. One of my friends quit drinking and lost 12 pounds in 3 months.
- Your skin will look more radiant and better: Alcohol is a diuretic, and you urinate more when you drink on a regular basis. This causes you to be less hydrated. But when you quit drinking, you’ll be more hydrated and this shows up on your skin.
- You are able to concentrate better, and your concentration levels can improve up to 18% according to several studies. Your work performance can go up by 17% after a month of not drinking any alcohol, and that is significant.
- Your immune system improves, making you less susceptible to serious infections like tuberculosis and pneumonia. Alcohol suppresses both the innate and the adaptive immune systems, and when you quit drinking, your body is much better at fighting off infections because the immune system is no longer suppressed.
- Your head will feel prepared and organized: alcohol can disrupt the way neurotransmitters work in our brain, and your neurotransmitters won’t work as well, especially if you’ve been a heavy drinker for a long time.
- Your muscles system will be enhanced: If you are someone who works out and enjoys staying in shape, your muscles could benefit if you quit drinking alcohol. Drowning your muscles in beer and wine only helps add empty calories and recent studies suggest that alcohol may decrease the production of human growth hormone which is a key part of muscle building and repair.
How To Quit Drinking For A Healthier Body And Mind
1. Sack Your Drinking Pals
Whether alcohol is a major part of your social life, or it’s just something you and the boys or girls do once in a while, it’s going to be hard. Step one is telling them that you simply cannot be around drinking for a while.
Subsequently, you should cut off anyone with whom all you did was drinks. I know it’s not easy, but that doesn’t make it unnecessary. This might be the firmest thing you do in choosing a life without alcohol.
True friends are an abundant resource, and having a strong social circle is purely a function of the effort you invest into it. That includes choosing to associate with people who are aligned with your purpose.
2. Change Your Attitude
It is already assumed that you see drinking as a problem. You need to change your attitude regarding your situation and don’t get mad at people when they try to help.
Don’t put yourself down because you have gone through a rough patch, but get in the right frame of mind by realizing that you are taking the right steps on the road to the reclamation of your body and mind.
When you approach the situation the right way you are going to ease the stress on yourself and make it much easier to reach your objectives.
3. Consider Why You Should Quit
In addition to the benefits of quitting drinking mentioned above, when we think about the long-term effects of drinking, such as cirrhosis of the liver, coupled with the short-term effects like the loss in time and cost of the alcohol, you realize you’re spending over $1500 a year on booze.
4. Get Help From Support Groups
Many people are not able to quit drinking on their own, and if you find yourself unable to quit drinking on your own, you might want to consider checking into a rehab facility or joining a support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
5. Eat A Healthier Diet To Help You Avoid Cravings
Stable blood sugar helps you make better decisions all day long, and when your blood sugar drops and you feel hungry; the brain starts yapping for food and anything else that crosses into its field of vision.
You should focus on high-quality fats that will keep you full for longer, and cutting out sugary and starchy foods. This prevents energy crashes that lead to cranky, impulsive behavior.
6. Practice Mindfulness
A few minutes of daily meditation raise your awareness, and also strengthen your brain’s pre-frontal cortex. Researchers have linked weaknesses in the pre-frontal cortex to addiction, but meditation is a way to increase your resilience that you can do anywhere. No equipment necessary.
7. Manage Your Stress
According to a study, when you’re stressed, it’s not easy to resist impulses, but when relaxed, exposure to alcohol cues had no effect on the desire for alcohol.
The study found that when people were stressed or in a bad mood, the alcohol-dependent study participants wanted a drink.
You can try Meditation, exercise, yoga, and breathing techniques to keep stress to a minimum
Things That Might Happen To Your Body When You Stop Drinking
You Might Crave Sugar
Sugar boosts levels of the chemical dopamine, which fuels feelings of pleasure, and alcohol does the same thing. So it’s very possible that when you give up one substance that causes happy-making chemicals to float around your brain, you’ll be more likely to reach for the other.
Your Mood Might Take A Hit
It’s important to understand that there will be times when you feel like you’re missing out, and people may feel agitated and restless when they stop drinking.
According to the National Cancer Institute, alcohol use has been related to an increased risk for cancers of the mouth, liver, colon, and rectum. However, multiple studies have shown moderate alcohol consumption may lower your odds of heart trouble.
It’s readily apparent how much alcohol is intertwined into our society, but like everything else in life that’s a choice and there are a lot of people who have made that choice not to drink.
If you decide that drinking isn’t for you, you are on your way to a healthier body and mind, in addition to saving money.