Are you seriously considering giving up alcohol? If you are, you’re joining the ranks of over 20 million Americans trying to beat some type of substance abuse.
Or, maybe you just want to cleanse and detox your system for a month. After that, feel free to enjoy a glass of chardonnay over dinner with your girlfriends on a Friday night.
But, if you’re wondering if your two to three glasses of alcohol four and five times a week is starting to get the best of you, we’re here to help.
In this article, we’re sharing some tips for anyone who’s planning on giving up alcohol, whether it be for a month or a lifetime.
Why You Should Give Up Alcohol
1. Develop Better Sleep Patterns
Raise your hand if you’ve ever drank some wine to help you fall asleep at night. We’ve all done it. The thing is, wine will help us conk out nice and early, but it won’t help us stay asleep.
Eventually, alcohol interferes with our REM cycle, leading to disrupted sleep.
Guess what an absence of alcohol brings to the party? Higher energy levels, increased productivity, and an overall boost to our mood. Heck, maybe we’ll even have the energy to get a little exercise in a couple mornings each week.
2. Shrink Your Waistline
What’s your drink of choice?
Is it wine? Is it beer? Or, worse, is it a mixed drink of some kind? The calories can swarm our waistlines if we let them. Let’s just take a very rough average of 150 calories per drink.
Mind you, that’ll be much higher if you’re drinking cocktails with sugary mixers. But, for the sake of this argument, imagine what eliminating a couple hundred calories out of your daily or weekly diet will do.
3. Boost Your Immune System
Have you ever woken up from a bender and noticed you had a sore throat? That’s a combination of the abuse to your throat and a lowered immune system.
Since it is, at its core, a toxin, alcohol is only going to lower our immunity. Why should we go on damaging the very system that works so hard to protect us?
4. Clearer Skin
We can all attest to alcohol’s ability to dehydrate us. But, it’s not just those cotton mouth mornings that are impacted by alcohol.
Our entire system is being depleted. So, when we decide giving up alcohol is the way to go, we’re sure to experience clearer, more rejuvenated skin.
5. Give Your Brain a Rest
Moving beyond the superficial, let’s talk about what giving up alcohol can do for one of the most important organs in our body – our brains.
Let’s say you entered the bar last Friday night acting normal and happy to see everyone. One, two, three drinks later and you’re talking louder than normal, laughing high above the crowd, and cracking jokes you wouldn’t normally crack.
That’s how fast alcohol impacts our brains. It slows down the speed between our neurotransmitters. Basically, every sip you take is disrupting your brain’s desire to operate at peak performance.
Over time, think about how much lasting damage you’re doing to one of your organs that matters the most.
6. Give Your Heart a Rest
Like our brains, life is all a wash without a functioning heart. Have you ever felt a surge in your heartbeat when living it up on a Friday night? Or how about the simple fact that our face gets flushed when we’re two or three drinks in?
Think about that. As soon as we feel the flush in our face, we know we’re negatively impacting our heart and blood flow.
But, long-term, severe drinking eventually paves the way for a weakened heart that can’t pump as efficiently as it wants to or can’t beat according to its normal rhythm.
7. Let Your Liver Have a Day Where It’s Not Working Overtime
With every glass we drink, our liver perks up and starts working to rid the body of the toxins we’re ingesting. In truth, the process of breaking down alcohol can create more toxins that are being dumped into our system.
Of course, the liver is happy to perform this function once in a blue moon. But, heavy drinking causes fat to build up on the liver. That added fat puts a strain on our livers, making its job that much more difficult.
8. Give Cancer a Kick in the Knees
We all hear and read about antioxidants. Green tea and other healthy alternatives are happy to pour antioxidants into our system which kick back at all the harmful toxins we ingest on a daily basis.
But, the more we accept toxins into our system, the more we weaken our immune system and the more we put ourselves at risk for cancer.
Get ready for this astonishing fact. According to The National Cancer Institute, seven out of ten people with mouth cancer drink or have drank heavily in their lifetime.
Worst of all, five or more drinks/day can also put us at risk for the following types of cancer:
This doesn’t really make Friday night’s binge drinking session down at the local pub really worth it, does it?
9. Boost Your Mood
Don’t we all drink to feel better? Sure, we all love to chase that buzz, put our cares and struggles behind us, and dig in deep to that pitcher of margaritas.
But, in truth, alcohol is a depressant. Its guise of light-hearted buzzy nights is nothing more than that — a guise, a lie.
It’s literally slowing down, or depressing, our body’s ability to function properly. It’s true for our brains, our hearts, our livers, our immune systems, and more.
Not only that, with your lowered inhibitions and your regrettable moves last night, how can you not feel a twang of regret or remorse? Add in a heavy head, puffy eyes, and you’re setting yourself up for a typhoid of depression.
We have to ask ourselves, were those two buzz-worthy hours really worth it all?
Tips on Giving Up Alcohol
Many people all across the world struggle with giving up alcohol. There are websites, communities, local AA chapters, and rehab centers that are equipped to help anyone struggling with this battle — whether it’s for a month or an entire lifetime.
If this isn’t a month long challenge for you, but a real battle, you can find rehab centers online easily.
Check some of them out. Read their reviews and testimonials. Meet with a few of them before taking the plunge.
In the end, it’s your brain, liver, heart, immune system, waistline, and energy levels we’re talking about here. So, what’s the first step toward giving up alcohol?
1. Don’t Try to Go It Alone
Do you have any friends who keep talking about their desire to get healthy? See if you can convince them to take this month long journey with you.
The moment you start to feel like you’re going it alone while the rest of the world lives in a barrel of fun, you’re likely to forget your plans for giving up alcohol.
2. Stay Busy
The best way to give up alcohol is not to live like a hermit for a month, barring all the temptations from your door. This is more likely to make you feel down and out and – you guessed it – reach for a bottle.
Instead, make some plans that don’t revolve around happy hour and nights down at the club.
Try to get up early every morning and do something healthy for yourself, like take a morning stroll.
Enroll in some type of Friday night cooking class in town, or something to take you out of a world riddled with pints and martini glasses.
3. Take Up a New Hobby
Also, don’t just stay busy on the obvious nights, like Friday and Saturday nights. Enroll in some other activities that will give you something to look forward to.
Perhaps you’ll find a Saturday morning yoga class or join a group of people in your community who’re training for a marathon.
When we switch our focus from what we’re lacking (alcohol) to what we’re gaining (new friends and experiences), giving up alcohol isn’t such a mountainous feat.
4. Keep Treating Yourself
When you’re not dropping $9 on a raspberry martini or $8 on a craft beer, you’re doing yourself a number of favors. While your liver is thanking you for the respite, perhaps you can plan a respite of your own.
Why not book that solo trip to that cabin in the mountains so you can work on your manuscript?
Why not treat your mom to a beachside getaway? Changing your scenery is likely to help you check off yet another win in the month without alcohol challenge.
5. Remind Yourself Why You Started
If you start to feel anxious about this whole scheme, remind yourself why you started.
Maybe your little getaway with Mom was harder than you thought because you kept thinking, “Well, if I’m on vacation, I should be drinking.”
Or, maybe your yoga pals wanted to go out for brunch after class one afternoon and you struggled to order club soda instead of mimosas.
In these moments, remind yourself why you started. Your body is healing; your system is free of toxins; your stomach is less bloated; your brain isn’t out of whack. Feel encouraged that your struggle is toward a greater good, not a hopeless cause.
Be Well, Friends
Here at Florida Independent, we’re all about Health & Fitness. If we only have this one life, aren’t we meant to make the most of it?
While you’re powering through your lofty goal of giving up alcohol, come on over and read some of our articles that’ll help you down your new pathway to wellness.
In fact, while you’re giving your brain a rest, you can even help it recover some of its former memory strength.
No matter your goal, when you put your health first, everything else will fall into place.