- Quality of Life & Wellness
Quitting Drinking: What Happens When You Stop Drinking Alcohol For Good?
With more than 8600 preventable alcohol related deaths in the UK alone each year (Alcohol Concern) it is most probably important to recognise that something that is associated with happier times can be 'enjoyed' too much. What if alcohol consumption was having a detrimental effect on our wellbeing as well as our health?
It’s all in the liver
Our liver doesn’t like alcohol. It’s job is to process the nutrients we consume while detoxifying any poisons within that consumption. In terms of alcohol our liver deals with the lot. The death rate above confirms that alcohol isn’t too great for our general health, but what about our wellbeing?
Being alcohol free could be intoxicating
Imagine seeing, feeling and understanding all that is around you fully, in an unadulterated way. A life without alcohol ensures that we’re able to appreciate the smallest of detail. Detail that awakens the brain to more and more of those beautiful appreciative happy feelings that once experienced, become addictive. Forgive me, I’m no neurologist but I believe the process involves gratitude and neurons. In a time when society is a bit alcocentric , drinking is connected with happiness seeking and enjoyment. Oh, the irony.
Being alcohol free could facilitate rest, not just sleep
Alcohol helps us feel drowsy. I have felt the effects myself. When we begin to take the time to try to understand alcohol we can begin to question how it is that a stimulant can relax. It can’t. Alcohol creates sleeping problems. Alcohol is biphasic, meaning ‘in two phases’. At first alcohol has a stimulating effect but later it begins to have a sedating effect. Nothing new there then but it’s more about the quality of our sleep that we have problems with. During the second phase we are unable to fully enter REM sleep – our most restorative sleep.
Being alcohol free can help us to understand ourselves more
Think about all the things you like and dislike and then ask yourself why it is that you think you like or dislike them. What life experiences have influenced you thinking, if any. Imagine being open to new ideas and experiences without thinking you know yourself. What if you allowed yourself to influenced by all that comes with the alcohol crux? I know this from experience. I now look forward to weekends walking amongst all that wildlife has to offer, appreciating the sights, sounds, smells and good conversation. A treat of a cup of tea by the fire is something I cherish and enjoy but one time I yearned to be three drinks into a session, surrounding myself with people of the same thinking. Back then my idea of a good weekend was lying in late of morning in a darkened room trying to remember what I laughed about and nursing a headache. Without alcohol my perception of what thought I liked and disliked changed like polar opposites.
Being alcohol free enables us to question the validity of our relationships
Obviously when we chose to behave in a way that marries with how our friends behave we will probably fall out of favour with each other, especially if the friendship is built on very little else. Wow. That is some realisation. Imagine just having friends because build our life around alcohol consumption. Without alcohol in our lives it becomes clear that questions need to be answered about our goals and outlook on life and whether friends should unconditionally be there for us regardless of consuming everything that comes with a glass of alcohol.
Being alcohol allows us the chance to feel
Please don’t be daunted by the prospect of feeling and realising things that alcohol maybe pushes away. Learning about our emotions, why we feel what we do and why, is all part of building a strong character. In my experience being aware of myself enables me to feel in control, grounded and actually happy, come what may. Experience has helped me to see that only a mind that deals with emotions can truly be happy in life. Having the courage to try to face up to emotions is liberating and once realisation dawns that negative emotions can be just as beautiful as positive ones, in terms of a happy mind set, we can face anything better than hiding it with a drink.
If a life full of happy drinking is for you then that is for you. That is what you want to do and I, as former alcohol fuelled ‘fun seeker’ and adult child of a cirrhotic alcoholic, understand that but in writing this I just felt it important to put forward that without alcohol a greater level of happiness can be achieved because without alcohol we get to experience every little thing that goes on around us with appreciation and gratitude.