6 Ways Life Gets Better After You Stop Drinking
What is Your Life Like After Alcohol Addiction?
Alcohol is sometimes associated with a party lifestyle, however, a healthier, happier life awaits you after recovery from alcohol addiction.
According to 2018 research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, over 26% of U.S. residents over age 18 report binge drinking in the past month, while 14.4 million adults over age 18 have an alcohol abuse disorder.
But despite its popularity, there are many reasons to believe that life is better without alcohol.
From your relationships to your pocketbook, the positive effects of sobriety result in abundant life improvements for you and your loved ones.
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Understanding Life After Alcohol Addiction
Although some studies suggesting some health benefits of red wine, at the end of the day, alcohol impacts your body as a poison.
While alcohol can trigger your body’s release of dopamine, which is a “feel good” chemical, it is ultimately a central nervous system depressant that can cause long-term damage to internal organs.
Alcohol is also a diuretic that dehydrates the body, resulting in some of the classic hangover symptoms, such as headaches, but it can also cause long-term tissue damage and even impaired cognitive function.
However, many of these negative effects begin to reverse almost immediately after quitting alcohol, and a variety of life improvements begin to take their place.
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Effects of Quitting Alcohol
The following are six key benefits to an alcohol-free life that should help inspire you on your recovery journey.
Quitting drinking can result in dramatic improvements in health.
A sober lifestyle is shown to lower blood pressure, reduce fat levels and body weight, create clearer skin and eyes, lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of stroke, and reduce the probability of developing several cancers, including liver cancer, breast cancer, esophageal cancer, colon cancer, rectal cancer, and more.
Quitting alcohol also improves energy levels and cardiovascular health, resulting in you becoming a stronger and more vibrant person.
Sleep is the time when our body recharges physically and emotionally from the day.
When we sleep, our body repairs our tissue and muscles, processes our memories, removes waste from our cells, and releases hormones that help regulate our mood and appetite during the day.
But while a “nightcap” can help you feel more sleepy, alcohol actually interferes with the body getting quality sleep, by interrupting your circadian rhythm, blocking REM sleep, and aggravating breathing problems.
The result? Lack of quality sleep can lower your immune system, impair cognitive function, encourage overeating, decrease sociability, and even make you less attractive.
The good news? The quality of your sleep will begin to improve almost immediately after alcohol leaves your system.
Improved Sexual Health
Alcohol is known to reduce sexual inhibition, but it also impacts sexual performance.
Sexual function issues can result from intoxication, even if alcoholism has not set in. In the long term, alcohol use can impair male and female fertility, decrease libido, cause hormonal changes, increase high-risk sexual behavior, and subsequent relationship issues.
When you quit drinking, these negative effects begin to reverse, hormonal balance improves, and the likelihood of high risk or nonconsensual sexual encounters decreases.
It is possible that some friends who continue to drink heavily may distance themselves from those who seek sobriety, however, many relationships improve when drinking stops.
Furthermore, this improvement is felt by both parties in the relationships.
This is because individuals who drink excessively often struggle to express their emotions while under the influence of alcohol. Sadness may come out as anger, or conversations may be avoided entirely in favor of intoxication.
But when you stop consuming alcohol, it can become much easier to talk about your needs, as well as be a supportive friend, partner, parent, and coworker you want to be.
Many people who drink heavily report living in a “haze.”
Alcohol is a depressant and slows down the central nervous system, which is why it can lead to a calm, more confident sensation. It also slows down the neurotransmitter GABA, which can slow reaction time.
It also slows down the parts of the brain that coordinate balance, processing of new information, and memory. Alcohol impairs sleep quality, which also affects grogginess and information processing.
As a result, those who drink heavily are often not able to entirely understand and respond to their surroundings, leading to a feeling of “fogginess.”
But when you stop drinking, sleep quality improves, thinking begins to clear and decision making may improve as well.
It is important to note that, depending on the severity of the cognitive issues, some effects may linger even after detoxification and treatment, but many positive changes in energy and focus will be noticed right away.
An average bottle of wine can cost roughly $16, with a “good” bottle of wine costing $40 or more. An average bottle of whiskey can cost $20, with a nicer bottle setting you back over $50.
A night out costs roughly $80 to $100, including multiple drinks and food. Even a 12-pack of Bud Light can cost over $10, with many Americans consuming at least 1-2 drinks per day.
At the end of the year, a regular drinking habit can amount to thousands of dollars spent on alcohol – and this does not include the cost of a night out.
Indirect costs of drinking can also include taxi and Uber fares, impulse buys, and even legal or medical consequences, such as a citation or severe injury.
However, the moment you stop drinking is the moment you stop spending money on alcohol, potentially saving you money in the long run.
Mental Illness and Life After Alcohol Addiction
While mental illness can be a precursor to alcohol abuse, alcohol use can also have mental health consequences.
Excessive alcohol consumption can result in anxiety, mood changes, memory loss, reasoning issues, depression, feelings of hopelessness, loss of motivation, and worsening of mental health issues, such as bipolar disorder and suicidal ideation.
Unfortunately, because of the serious biochemical effects of alcoholism, some of these mental health consequences can remain for months or years after treatment.
However, the body is designed to heal, and hormone and brain chemical levels usually do return to normal with time.
Additionally, with the help of a clinical treatment team, you may receive prescriptions that can help counter the impact of depression and chemical imbalances as you work through your recovery. This clinical support can give you the strength needed to persist with your treatment and begin to feel like yourself again.
Treatment for Quitting Alcohol
It may be tempting to think you can quit alcohol “cold turkey.” But alcohol addiction is not about will power. Alcoholism is a disease and requires effective treatment to manage its symptoms and the underlying cause.
And Resurgence Behavioral Health can help.
During alcohol treatment, you will learn to develop healthy coping skills, improved emotional management, and strategies to help with forming, and maintaining, positive relationships. Life after alcohol addiction is a beautiful thing.
Evidence-based treatment programs include:
- Inpatient Alcohol Rehabilitation
- Medical Detox
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- 12-step programs
- Nutrition Therapy
- Non- 12-step and holistic rehab options
- Long-term rehabilitation arrangements
Additionally, you will work with a caring team to develop a treatment plan for your recovery. This plan will consist of meaningful, measurable goals for your recovery, that will help you replace unhealthy thoughts and behaviors with affirming alternatives.
Quitting alcohol is tough, but you are tougher. And with professional help, you can live a happy, fulfilling life free from alcohol.
Do you want treatment but are worried about how you can pay for it?
We have a team of financial professionals who provide free insurance verification. We will work with you to determine how to move forward with the treatment in a way that works for you and your financial situation.
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How to Get Help
Everyone recovers at their own pace, and just as no two people are the same, no two recovery stories are the same.
At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we respect your individuality and will ensure the availability of the time and attention you need to achieve health, wellness, and sobriety.
From medically-assisted detoxification to counseling to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, we have responsive, evidence-based programs to support your recovery.
Today is the day that you will discover the possibilities that an alcohol-free life can offer, and we are waiting to hear from you.
Call Resurgence Behavioral Health at 855-458-0050 to schedule an appointment and let your recovery begin.