We entered into 2021 undergoing major changes whether we chose to or not. Between a global pandemic and enormous social justice movements, this year did not allow us to sit in complacency.
Rather than fight the changes happening in our country, why not jump on the momentum to fuel a personal change that will better your life?
Alcoholism takes the lives of 95,000 Americans every year. It negatively impacts the lives of many more.
Make sobriety your exciting personal change for 2021. Read on to learn about the 5 major benefits of being sober.
1. Physical Health
Death sits at the forefront of health concerns for alcoholics. But, many ailments come with drinking as well.
When you drink, your liver breaks alcohol in your blood into water and CO2 in a process called oxidation. This detoxifies your blood so that it does not poison you.
Heavy drinkers overwork the liver. This leads to diseases like fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, and alcoholic hepatitis.
Drinking alcohol long-term also weakens the heart muscle. This makes pumping blood difficult and leads to heart disease.
You also run the risk for pancreatitis, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. A current risk to think about when drinking is that alcohol weakens the immune system, increasing your risk for contracting illnesses like COVID-19.
2. Mental Health
Alcoholism takes a serious toll on your mental health. Learning how to be sober can feel difficult at times, but remember that alcohol creates turmoil and not sobriety.
Though alcohol acts as a sedative on your nervous system causing you to fall asleep, it does not bring on quality sleep that makes you feel rested. It messes with brain waves, resulting in more sleep disturbances and shorter sleep times.
Lack of sleep can lead to and exacerbate anxiety and depression. On top of the sleep messing with your head, alcohol also creates chemical changes in the brain that bring on both as well.
When you drink, the pleasure-hormone, dopamine, floods the reward center of your brain. As you come down, you experience anxiety and sadness due to the brain wanting that surge again. The more you drink, the more you need to feel the pleasure, and it turns you to drink even more.
Alcohol also affects decision-making and behavior centers in the brain. Not only do you feel stressed and sad, but you behave in all sorts of unhealthy ways.
Once you detox and get through the stages of alcohol withdrawal, your brain chemicals will find equilibrium. This will help you feel like yourself again, and through help, you can relearn appropriate behaviors and decision-making skills that will improve your life.
Alcohol can get expensive. Especially when you consistently increase your consumption to support a growing habit.
Add on to of what you spend, the amount of money you lose. Can you go to work drunk? Your company most likely frowned upon that and eventually, you may lose your job from taking sick days and/or making poor decisions.
If you attempt to drive to work, or anywhere for that matter, with alcohol still in your system, it can cost you an insane amount of money. A DWI will cost you fees from the lawyer, court, and DMV. On top of that, you could get sued if you injure or kill another person.
The pandemic left many people low on money as it is. Stop draining your hurting bank account for a habit you can kick!
4. Family and Friends
One of the top benefits of sobriety extends to your family and friends. While you drink to escape life and dull your pain, your friends and family remain in reality and take on all of the troubles.
Your friends and family worry as they watch alcohol slowly take their loved one away in all different respects. They deal with unruly behavior and personality swings while taking on responsibilities you can no longer handle and picking up the messes you make.
When you stop drinking, your apologies will mean something again. You can heal broken relationships and truly love the people you care about. Feeling sober and healthy means keeping plans and enjoying them.
Alcoholism can make a person hate who they are. The poor choices and behavior changes allow you to forget your true personality, skills, passions, and everything that makes you amazing.
Kicking the bottle not only brings the old you back. The process encourages that version of you to expand and grow.
Sobriety takes courage, dedication, perseverance, and grit. Channeling these traits from within and finding your success in sobriety will leave you with a new sense of pride, appreciation, and self-love.
How to Quit Drinking
When you depend on a substance, giving it up can feel confusing and seem impossible. But you can do it! Follow these tips to quit drinking.
Create Small Goals
While you want to reach the finish line, it takes many steps to get you there. Trying to jump over them to your main goal will discourage you.
Instead, break them up into baby steps that you can handle. For instance, step one might look like ridding your home of alcohol while step 2 looks like cutting people you drink without of your routine. Physically write each step in a notebook so you can mark and celebrate every little victory.
Eliminate Alcohol from Your Life
Do not leave little temptations around. Get alcohol all the way out of your life.
Rid your home of alcohol, leaving not a drop. Stop going places where they serve alcohol, at least until you can resist, including bars and parties. Cut out the people who encourage you to drink directly or indirectly.
Alcoholism does not go away easily. Withdrawal is actually dangerous and you deserve proper medical attention for it.
Consult your insurance company to see what they will cover and reach out to a treatment center. After detox, make daily efforts to attend meetings and seek mental health therapy.
Enjoy the Benefits of Sobriety
Once you do the work to stop drinking, you can enjoy all of the benefits of sobriety! It will change your life in incredible ways and help you love yourself.
Thinking about getting healthy in other ways as well? Find tips on our fitness page that will keep your sobriety moving in the right direction.