Alcoholism is a very serious disease. It can damage your health in ways you may not even realize. For example, it contributes to the development of several health conditions such as liver disease, 7 different types of cancer, heart disease, among others. It can also deteriorate your mental health, causing anxiety, depression and even dementia. I was an alcoholic for more than a decade, and it certainly took a toll on my health. By the time I was 25 I was suffering from several health conditions, both physical and mental. That’s when I finally decided I had to get clean. That’s when my life changed forever.
When you stop drinking alcohol, you start noticing some positive changes in your lifestyle. No more hangovers, no more blacking out, no more worrying about what you did last night. These are great things sobriety gives you, but it doesn’t end there. There are endless, amazing benefits you get from sobriety. Today, I would like to share 5 amazing benefits of quitting alcohol with you.
Alcohol is full of what is often referred to as “empty calories”, which are calories that have no nutritional value whatsoever. In addition, alcohol contains 7 calories per gram, which is almost the same amount as pure fat. Quitting alcohol can significantly reduce your calorie intake and help you lose weight. I was overweight when I first started rehab, but that started to change quickly. With a healthy diet and regular exercise, I was able to shed several pounds during the year I was there.
One of the very first steps of recovery is alcohol detox. This is when you stop drinking alcohol and your body goes into withdrawal. For me, this stage lasted about 4 or 5 days. It sucked, but after it was over, everything started looking up. Once my body was free from all the toxins of alcohol, one of the first things I noticed was that I had more energy during the day. I also started sleeping better at night and feeling well rested in the morning. I later learned that it was because alcohol disrupts your sleep cycle, which can affect your quality of sleep and therefore make you feel tired throughout the day. When you quit alcohol, the quality of your sleep improves drastically.
Have you ever woken up after a night out partying, checked your account and have no idea how you could have spent as much as you did? This was the story of my life for a long time. I spent every penny I earned on alcohol and partying, sometimes I didn’t even have enough to buy food or clothes. Alcohol was all that mattered to me back then. It wasn’t until I stopped spending money on alcohol that I realized how expensive alcoholism can be. When I got sober, I was able to take good care of myself -even when I had a low-income job- and I was even able to start saving. Little by little my financial situation started improving. Ten years later, money is not a problem for me anymore.
While you may sometimes feel that alcohol increases your libido, it can actually have a negative impact on your sex life. Yes, it may boost your desire, but it also makes it more difficult to act upon said desire. Alcohol can cause erectile dysfunction in men, and it can cause women to lose sensitivity. And these effects can become long-term. Furthermore, alcohol can lower your inhibitions and contribute to making bad decisions. When you have sex while being drunk you risk not using protection, which can lead to diseases or unwanted pregnancies. And trust me, it’s not worth it. Sober sex is a hundred times better than drunk sex.
As I mentioned before, when I got to rehab I was in a bad mental state. I was suffering from anxiety and depression. I couldn’t sleep well, I didn’t want to eat, take a shower, or get out of bed. Quitting alcohol helped me recover from these conditions. I started taking better care of myself and I started doing activities that helped me heal -such as exercise and mindful meditation-. I can’t say that this happened overnight. Recovering from mental illnesses such as addiction, anxiety, and depression takes time. But little by little I started getting better. I started feeling happier and having a more positive outlook on life. If I hadn’t quit alcohol, I never would have realized I was dealing with two very serious mental conditions. I never would have done anything to get better. And, honestly, I probably wouldn’t be here at all. Sobriety saved my life.
Sobriety can give you not only these 5 benefits but many more. It can improve your overall wellness and make you happier and healthier. If you or a loved one is suffering from alcoholism, please get professional help soon. You still have time to turn your life around and become the best version of yourself. If I could do it, I’m certain you can too. Ten years after I first checked into sobriety, I can safely say that I am happy, healthy and successful. I encourage you to make the same decision I made all those years ago.
Do you know any other benefits you can get from quitting alcohol? If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below.