Alcohol – we live in a culture sodden with the stuff.
Flashy billboards and beautiful magazine ads abound showcasing the supposed benefits of drinking – you’ll be sexy, suave, the life of the party. You’ll have the time of your life.
Of course, nothing in the advertising so much as hints at the benefits of quitting drinking, much less the consequences of drinking too much or of becoming addicted to alcohol. And yet, these are undeniable realities.
While drinking is common, so are its negative impacts on millions of people and their loved ones. The truth is that there are far more benefits of quitting alcohol than there are from continuing to slug back shots and cold ones. Even if you’re not a hardened barfly, there are lots of reasons to stop drinking alcohol.
Alcohol, like Cheetos and donuts, is a major source of empty calories. The body simply stores its sugars as excess fat. Not only does booze contribute no vitamins or minerals, it also inhibits the absorption of nutrients from other sources. When you stop drinking, your body can actually absorb vitamin C, thiamin, vitamin B12, folic acid, and zinc.
Binge drinking in particular has proven a problem for individuals with weight issues. If you have weight goals to maintain, you will find it is much easier to stay on track when sober. Exercise can help, but the effectiveness of working out diminishes as consumption rises. Alcohol deeply depresses your metabolism and muscle recovery, putting a major dent in your endurance and ability to convert carbs to usable energy.
All this points to some serious benefits of stopping drinking. Without alcohol, you’ll get more fitness from your exercise. Your workouts will be more satisfying. You will have more energy during the day and you will get more restful sleep at night. If you are trying to lose weight, it will make the process much easier. You will be an all-around healthier, more resilient individual.
Alcohol consumption has its charms, but it is also a major contributing factor in more than 60 different diseases. It has a fairly brutal impact on your body, increasing the risk of a range of cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and cognitive disorders. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies alcohol as a Group 1 carcinogen.
Because it accelerates the shrinkage of your brain, long-term alcohol use is linked to the development of dementia later in life. Its typically rude disruption of the central nervous system makes it a risk factor for high blood pressure, and thus for kidney disease, heart disease, and stroke. It also increases vulnerability to infectious diseases and Type II diabetes, and can cause nerve damage in large quantities.
In contrast, the positive effects of quitting drinking can be felt almost immediately. Quit for just one month and you will have improved liver function, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar balance. Your immune system will thank you, too; you’ll actually have natural resistance to the common cold, among other preventable diseases.
If you have wounds or physical rehabilitation needs, your body will be able to heal faster under the influence of a sober lifestyle. If you are trying to get pregnant, you’ll be able to brag about boosting your fertility practically overnight. And hangovers – who needs them? You’d be amazed how well your body functions when not forced to undergo periods of intense dehydration.
Have Better Sex
Alcohol and sex have always had an uneasy relationship with one another. On the one hand, they certainly seem to hook up more often in each other’s presence. On the other hand, those hook-ups aren’t always totally satisfying.
Alcohol can sometimes enhance your libido, but it simultaneously tends to reduce your ability to act on said libido. As a result, dudes are frequently unable to ‘get it up.’ Ladies lose sensitivity. When you quit drinking, you may find that it’s not only easier to have sober sex, it’s also much more enjoyable.
Not to mention, people who drink more engage in more risky sexual behaviors, so much so that drinking triples your odds of getting a nasty STD compared to sober folks. You’re also less likely to use protection. That’s because it does a number on your judgment and decision-making skills.
If you’re like most people, the benefits of stopping drinking could include a decrease in the sheer quantity of intercourse and a meaningful increase in the quality of your sex life. In a nutshell, quitting drinking means more orgasms, less crabs, and fewer unwanted pregnancies. That’s a win-win.
Life is a tough game with lots of challenges that demand a person think on their feet. Alcohol will not help in this regard, but quitting will. Because alcohol tends to have a dulling effect on one’s senses and brainwork, stopping drinking has the potential to seriously clarify your outlook. You will literally be able to think better, having rid yourself of something that makes learning and the formation of new memories much more difficult.
Alcohol can have lingering detrimental effects on cognition even when you’re not drunk. Having at least five alcoholic beverages one night will affect the goings-on of your brain for up to three days. That’s why a sober lifestyle is more effective than trying to squeeze your ‘smart’ moments in between episodes of drunkenness.
In the same way that alcohol has a depressive effect on higher cognition, it also wreaks havoc on a person’s mood and emotions. Emotions tend to be more “myopic” or extreme under the direct influence of alcohol, but even between drinking sessions there can be a distortion of feeling that leads to depression in some people.
Numbness can alternate with bouts of anger, sadness, or regret, even in people who do not consider themselves alcoholics. For those with existing emotional management issues, the consequences of heavy drinking can be dramatic and even violent. For those in intimate relationships, the drama can easily spill over into their romantic or family life.
You can go sober for maximum emotional stability. Sobriety lets you consistently feel in the right measure – neither too much nor too little. And for those who drink to feel better, feeling fine when sober will come much easier.
Life Without It
When you’re knee-deep in a deluge of alcohol, it can be difficult to imagine life without it. But this is only a mirage.
The benefits of quitting drinking are many; we’ve only scratched the surface here. While there’s nothing wrong with indulging once in awhile, leave alcohol behind and you will soon find that life is not only possible without drinking, it is far, far better.