Most Americans significantly underestimate the dangers of alcohol. From a cultural perspective, our society embraces the use of alcohol. Unlike other drugs – like heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamines – there is no stigma associated with alcohol. It is considered socially acceptable in the U.S. and around the world.
Think about it for a minute. Alcohol is legal. It is offered for sale at convenience, grocery, and liquor stores. Beer, wine, and liquor is used to celebrate special occasions. Booze is served at restaurants, ballgames, BBQs, and all kinds of other events.
Alcohol is everywhere – and people from all walks of life are addicted to the stuff.
Yet – according to the Liver Foundation – an estimated 88,000 people (62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes every year, making alcohol the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
It’s time we get real. The stuff is poison. It is killing people. It is destroying individuals and their families. In fact, alcohol misuse is even worse for women because our bodies absorb and metabolism alcohol differently; women have higher concentrations of alcohol in their blood than men do, even when drinking equivalent amounts.
If you have a problem with alcoholism, and need some motivation to quit, keep reading. Here are 6 health benefits to quitting drinking:
# 1 Your Liver Will Thank You When You Quit Alcohol
It’s no secret that alcoholism wreaks havoc on the liver. Prolonged, excessive drinking damages this vital organ and causes the entire body to get out of whack. This is perhaps the most important reason to give up the booze. Alcohol abuse can lead to fatal diseases.
Here are a few of the most common alcohol-related liver diseases:
- Cirrhosis of the liver (an estimated 15 percent of alcoholics will develop cirrhosis)
- Liver cancer
- Liver failure
- Fatty liver
- Alcoholic hepatitis
The liver is responsible for filtering blood that comes from the digestive tract before dispersing it to the rest of the body. The liver also detoxifies and cleanses the system from toxins. When your liver is shot from drinking alcohol, the entire system suffers. This can cause a load of nasty problems you DON’T want to experience.
The good news is that if you quit drinking alcohol, the liver can usually regenerate itself with new tissue and begin to function properly again. This significantly reduces the likelihood of developing an alcohol-related liver disease.
# 2 Quitting Drinking Will Help You Look Younger
Drinking too much wine, beer, or liquor is one of the worst things you can do for your skin. Alcohol abuse ages people. It dehydrates the skin and causes inflammation. This can cause sagging, fine lines, premature wrinkles, dullness, and an overall ragged and lackluster appearance.
When you quit drinking, your skin looks better. It appears healthier, brighter, more radiant, and less puffy. No more dark circles under your eyes! If liver disease doesn’t scare you, looking haggard at a young age because of excessive drinking definitely should!
# 3 When You Quit Alcohol, You Will Lose Weight
Here is another thing to consider when it comes to how alcohol affects your looks. Alcohol causes significant weight gain. Beer, wine, and liquor are chock full of empty calories and simple carbs, which the body stores as fat. If you give up the booze, and change nothing else about your diet, you will absolutely lose weight!
# 4 You Will Experience a Healthier Sleep Cycle
Drinking too much alcohol can disrupt the sleep cycle and cause major problems. These include insomnia, hypersomnia, nightmares, weight gain, and chronic fatigue. Alcoholism can also cause sleep apnea, which cause you to stop breathing in your sleep and die. This information alone should motivate you to get sober!
Sleep is crucial to a healthy body. If you don’t get proper sleep, it negatively impacts your entire life. When you quit drinking, you will once again be restored to a healthy sleep schedule, which will have a positive impact on your well-being.
Of course, when you detox from alcohol, your sleep situation is likely to get worse before it gets better. Alcohol withdrawal usually causes insomnia, nightmares, and night terrors. However; after a few weeks of sobriety, you can enjoy peaceful slumber once again.
# 5 Your Stomach Will Feel Better
Alcohol is a highly acidic substance that destroys the stomach lining. Chronic drinkers will often experience gastritis (which is extremely painful!), acid reflux, indigestion, bloating, and other problems. Alcoholism also greatly increases the chances of developing stomach cancer.
It should be mentioned that vomiting often accompanies heavy drinking. This causes all kinds of damage to the stomach, esophagus, the teeth and mouth, and other parts of the body. Plus, throwing up is just gross.
Quit drinking and your stomach will be grateful.
# 6 You Will Get a Boost in Your Mental Health
Drinking causes depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, sadness, powerlessness, unmanageability, and hopelessness. This is no way to live!
Most people who develop alcoholism started drinking to numb the pain from some past trauma. They saw it as a way to cope with the difficulties of life. However; heavy drinking leads to a downhill slope that always ends in despair.
Giving up alcohol restores the brain chemistry to a place of wellness, which means a boost in your mental health!
Get Sober and Get Your Life Back!
When you give up drinking, your whole life will change for the better. This won’t happen overnight. But, when you get the help you need; you will experience freedom from the bondage of alcoholism.
Whether you go to inpatient rehab or take part in an Intensive Outpatient Program; you will come to know joy, inner peace, contentment, and personal fulfillment in sobriety. Doesn’t this sound better than a lifetime of misery?
It’s Time to Kick Off Your Sobriety
Quitting drinking isn’t easy, but it is worth it. If you’re ready, we are here.
Here is some helpful info about the different types of women we serve at New Directions for Women:
We have given you six health benefits to quitting drinking – but there are many more ways your health will improve if you give up the booze. Here are seven awesome things that happen when you get sober.
Still need encouragement? Check out these sober celebs who give us hope for recovery!