When It's Cool to Be a Quitter: The Benefits of Not Drinking Alcohol
An alcohol addiction affects all aspects of life, from body and mind to relationships and perspectives. The consequences from drinking range from disease to dysfunction and are negative and severe. For those hoping to cut back or quit for good, there is hope. And for those wondering what an alcohol-free lifestyle is like, there are myriad benefits.
Alcohol can be a form of self-medication and keep you from addressing real problems or sources of stress in your relationships. Whether at home or at the office, your interactions with others will improve if you face issues head-on instead of trying to drink them away later. With a clear mind and control of your words and actions, you can better communicate with your co-workers, spouse, children, neighbors and others. Not drinking alcohol can improve relationships because the other person gets the complete, sober you.
Tip: According to Helpguide.org, establishing clear goals can help drinkers quit. For example, set a drink limit per day or weekend and stick to it. Then, decrease your limit as you slowly ween yourself from the habit.
As the senior pastor of Fellowship Church, Ed Young suggests first admitting you have a problem then asking God to help you gain more control. Modern, creative pastors take a more progressive look at alcoholism and help treat it through modern spiritual and physical techniques. Practice saying no in a convincing, firm but friendly way to prepare for when friends or associates offer you a drink.
Better Mental and Physical Health
Alcohol can cause weight gain, multiple diseases, insomnia and depression. Those who are alcohol-free are prone to better mental and physical health. Instead of drinking a glass of wine with dinner, those drinking water find they sleep better, are more relaxed and aren't drinking a large portion of their calories. Waking up refreshed can help you improve your job performance and fulfill family responsibilities.
Tip: Keep a drinking diary. Helpguide.org suggests this will help you track any patterns in your behavior, such as when you are most prone to temptations and what factors help you say no or convince you to give in.
An Increase in Energy
Instead of using alcohol as an unhealthy way to relax or unwind after a long day, non-drinkers find they have more time and energy to develop new interests, participate in new activities and build better habits. Without alcohol weighing you down, use exercise to release endorphins, relieve stress and cope with mental or emotional troubles. Spending your time involved in new activities will help you realize how much time you lost to drinking or dealing with hangovers.
Tip: Surround yourself with positive influences and stay in safe atmospheres. According to Helpguide.com, being invested in and accountable to friends, family and your community will help you stay motivated and on the recovery track.
A Happier Lifestyle
Being alcohol-free is empowering. When you can rely completely on yourself to be successful in home, work and social situations, it leads to more self esteem and confidence. With better relationships, a healthier body and mind, more energy and control, you'll find living sober helps you appreciate and enjoy life more than before.
Tip: Continue with treatment, such as support groups or talking with a trusted sponsor or friend, to stay sober. It can help you stay clean but also motivate others to keep trying.
Author: Jacob Chavez
Jake is a health and fitness writer living in the Sacramento area. He has written for several Spanish-language magazines and maintains a blog about sustainable living.