Author: John Carter

5 Keys to Going Alcohol-Free

alcohol free lifestyle

So I think, yeah, there’s a whole kind of raft of changes that have moved young people back into the home or kept them in the home for longer and more where they’re socializing externally less. And I imagine that’s definitely impacting on young people’s drinking or nondrinking practices. I’ve certainly found in my own research that amongst the young people I’ve spoken to, there is definitely discussion of physical health, but actually mental health has come through more significantly.

  1. What factors (people/places/feelings/activities) were related to your drinking or wanting to drink?
  2. Being able to have my children witness firsthand what a happy alcohol-free life looks like is my greatest accomplishment.
  3. You may even have a setback or slip and find yourself drinking again.
  4. And they’re talking a lot about, if you look at it from a really big picture point of view, it’s really about consumer choice.

The idea of positive sobriety or sobriety as a lifestyle choice, I think is quite key. Interestingly, quite a few of my participants have pushed back against the word sober. But in terms of levels of drinking, or the decline, I think that’s holding stable across genders, socioeconomic class. If you’re not into support groups, then you can take advantage of the rapidly growing alcohol-free support community on Instagram.

You’ll become a badass

While it’s true that alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be severe, they will not last forever. Once you get through that part of the process, you’ll start to feel better physically and mentally. The mental health changes you experience when you stop drinking can include symptoms of withdrawal, difficulty sleeping, irritability, mood swings, and clearer thinking. While some of these changes can be uncomfortable for some time, they will eventually begin to improve the longer you abstain from alcohol use.

alcohol free lifestyle

And we’re certainly seeing the particular growth in the beer segment. And I can attest that I think an alcohol free or zero proof beer tends to taste fairly close to the real thing. I’ve certainly found in my own research that amongst the young people I’ve spoken to, there is definitely discussion of physical health, but actually mental health has come through more significantly. Maybe there’s variation here across different countries and settings. Other medicines, counseling, and psychosocial support can also help to abstain or reduce unhealthy drinking. The important point is that one must be aware of the bad consequences of drinking and take steps to stop or reduce excessive drinking.

They need to be working on a side hustle, that there’s an increasing sense of anxiety for the future and a need to get ahead and perhaps to be your kind of best self, if you like. So these very similar themes that seem to be emerging in the UK as well, around people’s kind of motivations and reasons for not drinking. So to keep herself going, Syd often felt like she had to keep drinking. Now the hard part for her wasn’t giving up the alcohol.

So they’re not necessarily the most accessible products to all consumers. Emily, can I just ask you quickly about the language that we use around this movement or the increase in people choosing not to drink anymore? Because you heard Kelly in that clip, say, I’ve been sober for about four and a half years. I don’t know if she had an alcohol dependency challenge before that, but we also more casually hear the phrase, sober curious, et cetera, in terms of choosing not to drink.

You May Feel Happier

So I’d be really interested to see where that market develops. So one of them literally said, “I can’t afford to have a hangover. I’ve got my own independent business that I run on a weekend alongside my 9 to 5 job in the week,” for example.

With greater energy and productivity levels, they’re able to reach new career heights. I credit my sobriety for my ability to start my own business, and it was the best career decision of my life. And even if your symptoms are mild, consider getting help to make you more comfortable. There’s no prize for suffering, and you may be more likely to start drinking again if you ignore withdrawal symptoms. While some detoxification protocols involve being admitted to a hospital unit or specialized “detox” facility, some people are able to get outpatient treatment that involves taking medication at home.

By Buddy TBuddy T is a writer and founding member of the Online Al-Anon Outreach Committee with decades of experience writing about alcoholism. Because he is a member of a support group that stresses the importance of anonymity at the public level, he does not use his photograph or his real name on this website. Heavy drinking can actually cause the part of the brain that’s critical to memory and learning (hippocampus), to shrink. One study found that around 70% of participants had sleep problems when they were admitted for alcohol treatment. That number dropped to 50% when the participants went home, and many reported that their sleep quality got better after treatment. For example, research shows that people will see their stress levels, relationships, work performance, and self-confidence get better when they get sober.

Physical Benefits of Quitting Alcohol

Whether you’re going alcohol-free temporarily or as part of addiction recovery, social support can be a critical aspect of sticking with it. Mutual support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) can be helpful, but some people don’t find the 12-step approach compatible with their beliefs and needs. So take some time to familiarize yourself with other types of support; the pandemic has led to the rise of virtual options that increase accessibility beyond what you can access in person. You may be surprised to learn that alcohol is one of the only substances with the potential for life-threatening withdrawal.

One of the unexpected benefits of giving up alcohol is that you may find yourself more productive than before. This is because alcohol can cause fatigue and decreased motivation, so when you stop drinking, you may find it easier to get things done. One of the most significant benefits of giving up alcohol is that you may increase your lifespan. Alcohol misuse can lead to serious health problems like liver disease and cancer. So, giving up alcohol can help you to avoid these potentially deadly diseases. Alcohol is a toxin that can damage your liver.

Every morning is a good morning when living alcohol-free. Even though I drank cheap wine, it got expensive to keep drinking. It seemed like alcohol was at least 30% of every restaurant bill. I was stopping daily to grab a bottle or two of wine. Not only did cutting out alcohol help me save money, but it made me more financially stable in other areas.

We’re going to talk about that today with Emily Nicholls. She’s a sociologist at the University of York in the United Kingdom. Start by talking to your doctor about how much alcohol you’ve been using and your plan to quit. It’s important that you work with your doctor when you’re ready to stop drinking rather than trying to do it alone. Quitting alcohol has a number of important mental health benefits. In addition to improving your mental well-being, it may lower your risk for some mental illness and contribute to better sleep.

She could always live without alcohol if she wanted to, and she wasn’t drinking every day. Because before she stopped drinking, soon she’d feel that classic introvert exhaustion from having to put out so much energy in social situations. The best surprise in sobriety has been finding a new group of like-minded people. Sobriety is a great connector, and making friends in sobriety has been one of the best surprises of ditching the drink. My social calendar is full of fun alcohol-free activities and events. I have friends that still drink alcohol and I have new friends that don’t.

The Sober School

When you stop drinking, it can also reverse the negative effects alcohol has had on your cognitive functions like problem-solving, memory, and attention. “While for some people these structural changes are not reversible, most people are able to show less shrinkage in one to three months with alcohol abstinence,” says Volpicelli. Studies have also connected alcohol use to an increased risk of stroke, especially for people under the age of 45 years old. Alcohol can also affect digestion, storage, utilization, and excretion of nutrients.