Lifestyle

What are the Benefits of Quitting Alcohol?

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Please note this post is not targeted at those who suffer from alcoholism. I have included some links at the bottom of this post, and I would encourage you to visit them. I wish you well in your journey.

After the last lock down (f your reading this post in the future – google “2020” – it should be the first result), my alcohol consumption levels increased.

Not to any extreme levels, but to a point where a glass a wine every night would not be unusual. This maybe something others do, but it is not something I particularly wanted in my life. It’s the kind of thing where you say to yourself – ” I’ve had another long day working from home – and we are on lockdown – I deserve this” – kind of thing. 

To make matters worse, the lockdown has brought with it limited movements and social interactions, which lead me to weight gain. 

Action is needed!

But, ignoring the fitness issue, lets look at alcohol intake. It is well known that Ireland (where I live) has a very… shall we call it ‘love/hate relationship’ with alcohol. “Alcohol consumption in Ireland almost trebled over four decades between 1960 (4.9 litres) and 2001 (14.3 litres)”. This figure is startling to say the least especially when we consider 75% of all alcohol consumed in Ireland in 2013 was done so as part of a binge drinking session.

It seems we cannot just have a drink as part of a social occasion in Ireland, there has to be many many more rounds. Giving it up, is considered my many as social suicide. Telling your work colleagues or friends at at event “I’m not drinking tonight” leads to one shock and horror reactions.

So I did a little research. If you are going to control, reduce or give up the drink what are the benefits. 

Maybe the benefits are obvious…

I have picked three astonishing things that happen when you give up alcohol.

Why these three? Because, these are the three main benefits which you may not have considered.

You will sleep better

You probably always heard that a night cap will help you nod off much quicker, and this can be true, in today’s culture people often have a so called ‘night cap’.

But, how about the quality of that night cap?

Have you noticed that soon after you ‘nod-off’, you are turning and twisting in bed, you can feel hot and then too cold and feel somehow disturbed in sleep.

This is the real effects of alcohol on your sleep.

In fact according to Mr. Irshaad Ebrahim a researcher and medical director at The London Sleep Centre in the U.K, “Alcohol may seem to be helping you to sleep, as it helps induce sleep, but overall it is more disruptive to sleep, particularly in the second half of the night, “…Alcohol also suppresses breathing and can precipitate sleep apnea,” or pauses in breathing that happen throughout the night.”

You will get closer to that beach body you always wanted

Have you noticed, you are not eating more than before, but yet you have an extra layer of fat?

It’s what I call one of the free prize at the bottom of each glass of beer, or your beverage of choice.

And  unfortunately no amount of working out will compensate for any alcohol intake.

“because alcohol is a diuretic, drinking too much can lead to dehydration because the alcohol makes your kidney produce more urine. Exercising soon after drinking alcohol can make this dehydration worse because you sweat as your body temperature rises. Combined, sweating and the diuretic effect of exercise make dehydration much more likely”. Source

You Get Time Back

How you can get time back?

Alcohol, I found during my research on the topic, steals away time from you.

When you have to go to work or be productive the next day. Have you found it:

  • Difficult to concentrate?
  • You feel terrible?
  • Have a hangover?
  • Possible stomach pains?
  • You just want the day to finish so you can go home?

What a waste and over the duration of a week you can lose up to day of doing something useful with your time.

You can have that back!

10 Tips to Quit drinking alcohol

Below I have compiled 10 tips to quit drinking alcohol.

I hope you find them useful and remember, that are many other things you can do and many tips you will come across yourself on your journey.

Feel free to share them with me in the comments section.

So lets begin looking at 10 tips to quit drinking alcohol!

Temptation

  • Do not keep alcohol in your house if you really want to quit drinking alcohol. I found over the years, if you do not have a beer in the house, you can’t drink it. DOINK! Sounds obvious, but if you’re anything like me and you have some in the house, you will always say, well there’s some there, I’d love some and why not. In fact you will find your brain will help with this rational very well and will encourage you to have one, “sure why not”. You can be easily tempted if you keep alcohol in the house!
  • Stay out of situations where you will be tempted, until you are ready. I still have a drink, my aim is to enjoy a beverage when I want it, but not to rely on it as some sort of reward. While you are still adapting to the process of reducing your alcohol intake or quitting it completely, do not place yourself in a situation where you would be expected to have a beverage. The truth is, for some people, they too feel uncomfortable with their relationship with alcohol and feel somewhat vindicated if you break your pledge and join them.

Lifestyle

  • Drink plenty…of water. You most likely will have heard this advice before, but heed it! Most of us do not drink enough water, and we need it to survive even more-so than food! I bought a 1 litre bottle of water and reused it, I keep it at my desk in the office, as reminder of how much I have had that day or had not. There are also apps for logging water, but I find that a bit excessive. What I do find about drinking more water, is it makes me feel more healthy. Drinking water puts me in the right frame of mind. And talking about a healthy diet…
  • Adopt a healthy diet. You knew it was coming, and yes, here it is! And it can be very hard to maintain, simply do this gradually, find healthy fruits and vegetables that you like and go from there. Make meals yourself from real foods, not foods that ‘may contain what it is supposed to be’ or is flavoured something or other. Start what what your mom used to make or told you to eat, she won’t send you down the wrong path!
  • Go for a run. Ok! Maybe running is not for you, but what ever is your exercise of choice – do it. But if it is running, google ‘runners high’. Much better than that buzz from alcohol, and it’s healthy, a healthy buzz! Who knew!

This is for you

  • Everyone makes mistakes, and if you have decided to quit or reduce alcohol and somehow feel like you have failed, you went on a binge or have have a few bad days, for whatever reason don’t feel like you can’t pick up the pieces again…. I mean the idea here, at least in my case, is to improve general lifestyle, and every effort I made, and that you will make, can only have a positive effect on life! Stay positive, hold your head high and simply start again. Everyone makes mistakes during this process!
  • You are in control when it comes to quit drinking alcohol! Always remember, it may be hard to find the power at times, but it is always there. I have found the ‘physical walk away’ solution worked very well for me. If I was out with friends and uncomfortable about being bothered to have another drink, when I had one, and was satisfied with that, or I was at home and really badly needed a drink, but did not want one, I just went for a walk cleared by head, it does wonders. Remember you have to approve anything that goes inside your body, you are in control!
  • Remember why you are doing this. It has to be for you! It’s, of course, great to have a reason, for your family, for work, but for me these were the positive impact of reducing my beer intake, but not the reason. You have to want to do this for yourself. If you do not value yourself, how can you expect others to?
  • Plan! Plan your day and move things around, make life interesting and be positive. Little positivity here and there can have a very beneficial impact on your life.

Remember, information on this post is for entertainment and educational purposes, always consult you doctor for medical assistance and stay safe.

Resources

DrinkAware (Ireland)

https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/list/5/addiction/drugshivhelpline/ (Ireland)

NHS (UK)

NIH (US)

https://thesoberschool.com/ (A wonderful resource targeted at women)

Please advise if you have a resource link and wish to share it.


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John Ryan

I write mainly about tips to achieve your goals as well as technology and personal finance. Click here to contribute an article >>

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