Why sobriety leads to a better life.
The Drinking habit – It’s a pastime that many South Africans take part in. For some, it’s considered an ‘ice breaker,’ while for others it’s a way to find a connection in a crowd of strangers. One thing is for sure, it has become such a common pastime around the world that to abstain from drinking is called, almost negatively, “teetotalling.”
What you may not be aware of is that there are real and significant life-enhancing benefits to kicking a drinking habit. Sobriety can literally lead you to a better life. Here are a few of the things that make sobriety a lifestyle worth pursuing, not just for the sake of conquering addiction, but for anyone!
Look great, feel better – lose the drinking habit
- There are countless studies which prove the point that a life without alcohol is actually better for you overall. Let’s start with cardiovascular health. Putting aside the claims that red wine is good for your ticker, there are studies which show that alcohol weakens the heart. Take into consideration the following risks which our North American counterparts have revealed:
- According to the American Heart Association, too much booze can raise the levels of certain fats in the blood (triglycerides), which have been associated with higher risks of heart disease.
- If you drink too much you stand a chance of overloading your caloric intake and in turn finding yourself at the risk of becoming obese and even being diagnosed with diabetes.
- Binge drinking or heavy drinking can lead to incredibly dangerous medical conditions. You could suffer a stroke, cardiomyopathy, cardiac arrhythmia and even sudden cardiac death.
Putting down that glass of alcohol can also increase your energy levels and improve your mood. Alcohol is a sedative and a depressant and it interferes with one of the most important components you need for healthy energy levels and mood, sleep! Getting rid of alcohol from your diet can therefore improve your health and overall well-being.
We all know that feeling better is half of the battle towards looking healthier. Cutting down the amount of alcohol you drink is great for your skin. Drinking can cause premature aging and wrinkles. The more it advances, the worse the prognosis is for your body. Advanced stages of alcoholism is often characterised by jaundice (your skin turns yellow). In addition, because alcohol is high in empty calories, quitting can also help you get rid of that pesky beer belly! The result? A trimmer, fitter, better life.
Less booze more cash.
Depending on just how severe the situation is, having a daily drinking habit can quickly empty your bank account. Even two drinks a day can add up to R1400 a month (at R25 a drink). That is money that you could be putting towards a host of more important things – like retirement, a holiday, your child’s education or paying off debt. Do yourself a favour. Calculate how much you are spending on alcohol a week and compare it to what you owe in debt. The results may shock you. You could be drinking your financial freedom away!
Time for all your hobbies
Quitting the drinking habit frees up your time, it frees up your energy and it gives you more financial freedom to pursue healthier types of personal enrichment. No one lies on their deathbed wishing they had spent more time at the office. Similarly, I challenge you to find anyone who wishes they had consumed more alcohol or regrets their sobriety. Turning away from alcohol typically opens up a whole new world, filled with opportunities to learn, to have fun and to find adventure that were not options when drinking shadowed over your time.
Strong mind. Stronger focus
Abusing alcohol can wreck your brain. There is no better way to describe it, sorry. Excessive alcohol impairs key functions like cognition, problem solving, memory and decision making. The damage occurs at a neurobiological level. Here’s how. When the alcohol enters your brain it disrupts the white matter connections, those are the information pathways between the regions of your brain which governs those all important functions. On the bright and sober side, within just a few weeks of abstinence, your body begins to repair and reverse alcohol-related damage to those very same pathways. By quitting drinking. You can strengthen your attention span and improve your mental clarity.
Rebuild deep connections.
Alcohol numbs your capacity to feel. This is one of the reasons people become addicted to alcohol, they are drinking to self-medicate the pain and ease the otherwise difficult and negative emotions they cannot deal with. Over a long period, heavy drinking can in fact decrease your ability to interact and empathise with others. But, there is a bright side. Sobriety is a chance to wake up to a healthier, happier, fuller relationship with the people who matter to you and that is just another reason why sobriety undoubtedly leads to a better life.
The science behind sobriety
Chronic alcohol abuse will lead to severe damage of the nervous system, including a change in cerebral metabolism and brain morphology. When you severely abuse alcohol there is a Global volume reduction of grey matter and white matter. In addition, there is an increase in cerebrospinal fluid. After stopping their consumption of alcohol, however, alcoholics also demonstrate a brain volume recovery. A recent study on pubmed.gov aimed to investigate whether improvement within the human body can take place within the first 2 weeks of abstinence. In the study, 49 alcohol-dependent patients were scanned twice. One within the first 24 hours of detoxification and then the second after 2 weeks of supervised abstinence.
The recuperation and recovery of the affected brain loss in alcohol-dependent patients was investigated and then compared 55 healthy control subjects. The results were incredible. After only two weeks of abstinence, a significant albeit partial recovery of grey matter volume occurred in several brain regions proving that your brain begins to recovery soon after you stop consuming alcohol.
In closing, when you make the decision to kick a drinking habit, the positive and life-altering outcomes are exponential. They compound one another and paint a clearer future. An alcohol free lifestyle is worth looking at for you if you wish to live a happier, more fulfilled and healthier life.
For more information on getting yourself into rehab to start a new life for yourself and your child or children, call Houghton House now:
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