Why is it Important to Have a Strategy for Staying Alcohol Free

Why is it Important to Have a Strategy for Staying Alcohol Free
Published:
November 22, 2023
|   Updated:
November 30, 2023

Living an alcohol free life can bring an individual both a sense of peace and control over one’s life. Though alcohol and drinking are often glamourized in everyday media, there has been a recent wave of people choosing a sober or sober “curious” lifestyle, especially post-pandemic. 

With research constantly proving how detrimental alcohol can be on our bodies and minds, it is clear that living a life without it can prove extremely beneficial. Whether you are looking to cut back on your drinking habits or forgo alcohol all together, keep reading to learn ways to get support and the benefits of kicking alcohol to the curb for good.

The Benefits of Being Alcohol Free

Many individuals report a swift and noticeable improvement in their overall health following their commitment to an alcohol free lifestyle. While this list is not exhaustive, here are the main benefits of being alcohol free:

Improved Organ Health

Drinking alcohol affects many different organs, including your liver, kidneys, brain, and heart.

When you drink in excess, your liver is forced to work overtime, leading to a fatty liver or even liver failure. 

The same effect can be seen on your kidneys. The kidney's role is to filter chemicals and other toxins through our bodies. When you drink in excess, your body is unable to do so, leading to extreme dehydration, or possible kidney failure (cirrhosis). 

Your brain loses its sharpness and ability to make proper decisions when overconsuming alcohol. Brain fog, anxiety, and depression can occur when your body is consistently fueled with alcohol.

Additionally, the damage caused to these organs from drinking can lead to poor blood pressure and eventual heart damage. With your blood pressure being affected, blood flow to the heart becomes difficult and can lead to a plethora of issues like heart attacks or disease if drinking is not under control.

Fortunately, most organ damage can begin healing immediately once you’ve given up alcohol (unless you are diagnosed with a fatty liver or cirrhosis.) All four organs, the liver, kidneys, brain, and heart, are, in most cases, able to self-heal as you rid them of the heavy amount of toxins alcohol possesses. The weeks following sobriety should result in healthier body and brain functionality.

 

Woman waking up in bed after a restful night of sleep

Enhanced Sleeping Habits

Those who are looking to become alcohol free may be doing so for the simple sake of a better night’s sleep, as drinking in excess can ruin a person's sleeping habits.

Though some people drink to the point of blackout where they may feel as if they have achieved a decent night's sleep, research proves otherwise.

As alcohol metabolizes in a sleeping body, an individual's sleep becomes less deep and, therefore, less effective. So, though it may start out feeling like a decent night, you will most likely wake up feeling less rested than desired. As you continue this pattern, or if you drink multiple nights a week, your sleeping habits begin to decrease in effectiveness.

Sleep is key to overall health. Without proper sleep, almost every part of our bodies becomes affected. Insomnia, anxiety and depression, and a compromised immune system can occur when we are not properly rested.

Fortunately, when you cut out alcohol, your sleeping habits, and therefore your health, can begin to improve. Many will find they can have deeper, more effective sleep cycles once becoming alcohol free nearly immediately.

Balanced Moods/Decrease in Anxiety and Depression 

Alcohol is classified as a depressant, which means it leads to a slower connection between your brain and body. Though it acts initially as a stimulant, providing you with a sense of happiness or euphoria, overconsumption can lead to long-standing mood swings, anxiety, and/or depression.

When alcohol is overused, anxiety and depression symptoms begin to exacerbate. While some find a quick relief as they begin to drink, they ultimately find that the cycle becomes toxic. Happiness and euphoria typically never follow a night of heavy drinking; instead, people find their mood and mental health altered. The term “hangxiety,” the feeling of extreme anxiety due to a night of over-drinking, has even risen in popularity as more people begin to connect their rise in anxious feelings to alcohol misuse. 

When you cut alcohol out, you can begin to see a change in your mental health almost immediately. By getting sober and finding the right tools to assist with your healing, you will likely begin to find more peace and mental clarity.

Physical Appearance

Not only does alcohol attack our insides, but overconsumption simultaneously affects our physical appearance.

Alcohol abuse can lead to rapid weight loss or gain, discoloration in eyes and/or face, poor skin health, hair loss, and/or weakened muscles/ability to move properly. These are caused by the many effects alcohol has, like weakening inhibitions or dehydration.

Once you make the decision to no longer drink, you will likely see these physical effects begin to reverse. Your appetite can begin to stabilize, your water intake can increase, and your body may no longer feel weak or unable to properly find movement. Sobriety can improve your physical appearance while simultaneously helping you enhance your physical health.

 

Group of male friends smiling and having a good time together

Improved Relationships 

One of the hardest parts of being dependent on alcohol or suffering from alcoholism is the effect it has on your relationships. Many times, people are estranged from friends and family or have difficult relationships with others in their community due to alcohol.

Adopting an alcohol free lifestyle can enhance your mental clarity and motivate you to mend broken relationships. With alcohol no longer in the picture, people in alcohol recovery often find that healing the past becomes much easier. Whether it be friends, loved ones, or coworkers, ridding of alcohol can help you build or rebuild these connections that have been tainted through the lens of alcohol abuse.

Helpful Strategies For Becoming Alcohol Free

Choosing to be alcohol free is an honorable yet difficult decision to make for some. Once you have decided to live a sober life, you may feel lost on where to even begin. Fortunately, for those who are ready to eliminate alcohol from their life, there are many different tools and strategies available to help guide and support you through that process.

Treatment Centers

For those with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) or who suffer from severe alcohol abuse issues, finding a treatment center or rehabilitation program may be the necessary first step for you. 

There are different types of treatment centers available. There is outpatient vs. inpatient, 30-day vs. 60-day, and each may have a unique methodology for helping their clients reach sobriety. For example, some offer detoxification to help you release all the alcohol in your body as safely as possible, while others may follow a different approach.

Regardless, all treatment centers aim to heal alcohol abuse in a well-rounded and hands-on way that can result in you living the alcohol free life you desire.

Support Groups

Support groups, like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) have been helping people stay sober and in recovery for many years. Being in a community with like-minded people, especially in the earlier days of your newfound sobriety, is key to staying on the right path.

Being able to discuss your past and present issues with alcohol in a judge-free environment can be extremely beneficial to your sobriety. Being in a community helps you remain accountable, stay in healthy relationships, and motivate you to stick to your goals.

Though AA is widely known, there are other choices. Groups like SMART Recovery or LifeRing are also great strategies if you’re looking for a different approach to support groups.

Soberlink devices and monthly advanced reporting

Soberlink Alcohol Monitoring

Utilizing Soberlink’s alcohol monitoring system can help those looking for added accountability during their new alcohol free life.

Soberlink is a highly trusted tool designed to remotely confirm someone's BAC or blood alcohol content in a simple and reliable way. Since 2011, the Soberlink system has been the leader in alcohol monitoring for Family Law, Addiction Treatment, and Workplace Compliance monitoring. Soberlink’s remote breathalyzer uses facial recognition, similar to the facial recognition technology on your phone, confirming your identity when you take the test and ensuring it's really you without needing someone else to check. 

Perhaps its most valued feature, Soberlink sends immediate results to specified contacts’ phones or emails, proving sobriety and providing instant peace of mind. The device is also smart enough to detect if someone tries to trick or beat the test, ensuring the results are always trustworthy. Finally, it uses AI to create easy-to-understand testing reports, saving you or a loved one from digging through pages of data to track progress. In short, Soberlink makes the whole process of remote alcohol testing more convenient, quick, and reliable.

Moreover, Soberlink gives an individual a sense of control and autonomy over their sobriety while also keeping them accountable to themselves and their loved ones via instant test results. Utilizing this device has proven to help people find sobriety but, most importantly, sustain it. 

Therapy

Finding a therapist who focuses on alcohol abuse and addiction is another tool that may help an individual find the sober life they hope for.

While there are many different psychological professionals with different methodologies, it is crucial to find help from someone who has experience and training in addiction management, as they will be best equipped to help you become alcohol free.

To find a therapist in your area who can help, utilize Psychology Today’s Therapist Finder. This search engine allows you to include your insurance, specific preferences like in-person or virtual sessions and, more importantly, allows you to filter your results to only produce addiction-trained therapists.

Why is it Important to Have a Strategy for Being Alcohol Free?

These strategies may look daunting and overwhelming, but if you are truly trying to become alcohol free, you must have a strategy in place.

Whether you suffer from AUD or feel like quitting alcohol is the best option for you, without support, relapse becomes much more likely. Setting systems in place that promote accountability will help you remain motivated to stay sober.

While you do not need to incorporate every resource on the aforementioned list, many people find that utilizing multiple recovery tools provides the best results. This may look like attending AA and utilizing Soberlink or completing a rehabilitation program and finding the proper therapist. For some, using every resource on this list makes sense, while others find that a single tool, like Soberlink, for example, suffices. 

Regardless of what path you choose, before you decide to become alcohol free, ensure you have a strategy set in place to help guide you when your newfound sobriety begins to feel challenging.

What is the Simplest Strategy for Staying Alcohol Free?

The most straightforward strategy to staying alcohol free is the strategy that works best for you and your individual case.

Unfortunately, AUD and alcohol abuse look different from person to person; therefore, the proper treatment will, too. While all these recovery tools we’ve mentioned have been successful for many, they may not work for every case. It may take some time to find the proper mix of tools and support that best fits your new alcohol free lifestyle. Push through the struggle, do not give up if and when you encounter bumps in the road, and keep recommitting yourself to your sobriety each day. Though giving up alcohol is not always easy, the rewards are worthwhile.

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