Alcoholism is a slow and steady disease that deteriorates the body. You don’t feel the health problems right away and that’s why most people continue to drink and drink and drink until one day, there’s a problem. I want you think of alcohol as a drug because that’s exactly what it is. The reason most people don’t think of it as a drug is because it’s legal and most adults drink alcohol. But, if you put a substance into your body and it alters your consciousness somehow, that’s a drug right? What if, alcohol was illegal but heroin was legal?
Your Drug of Choice
If you’ve ever had a chemical dependency assessment you know that the main question you are asked is, ‘what is your drug of choice?’ Now everyone has a personal preference. Some people like downers, some people like uppers, and some people don’t like either. When you think of uppers you think of cocaine or methamphetamine. When you think of downers you may think of opiates or marijuana. Alcohol is most definitely a downer as it is a suppressant. Just because your drug of choice is alcohol doesn’t mean that you are any better or worse than someone using heroin or cocaine. The substance goes into your body, you feel good and high and then you come down and have a hangover. All drugs are like this. If there was a drug out that didn’t cause a hangover or any adverse effects then everyone would be all over that but, it doesn’t exist.
How Hard is Alcohol on the Body?
Now that we’ve settled the fact that alcohol is a drug let’s talk about how alcohol is just as hard, if not harder on your body than all the other drugs out there. It’s bad for your liver, your heart, and especially your brain.
You can become physically dependent on alcohol and it’s one of the only drugs out there that you can actually die from withdrawal (benzos are the other ones.) It seems wild that you can’t die from a heroin withdrawal but you can die from an alcohol withdrawal and alcohol is legal!
What Happens When You Stop Drinking?
When you stop drinking alcohol a lot of things happen to your body. First, you must get through the initial withdrawal without dying and that takes time. Some people even need to be medically monitored. But once you stop drinking alcohol you will notice that you’ll be able to sleep better. You won’t wake up in the middle of the night as often having to urinate or feeling dehydrated.
When you stop drinking alcohol you may notice less stomach issues as alcohol can be very hard on your stomach lining. You’ll have less heart burn and such.
You’ll also notice you’ll be more clear headed and have less brain fog. You’ll get less headaches and your blood pressure will start to lower. Your body is going to start repairing itself on the inside too. Your liver will start to repair itself and your blood cells will become smaller which in turn will transport more oxygen to your heart. You’ll get more energy.
Remember, alcohol is basically empty calories. If you substitute water you will start to feel so much better within only a few weeks.
Isn’t Alcohol Healthy Though?
Another thing to be aware of is you will certainly come across articles where science has shown that drinking alcohol is healthy. Do not fall for that. The reason these articles go viral is because most of society is looking for a way to validate their drinking. I am not in any way saying the science is wrong. I am saying that there are other things you can do that will equally give you the same benefits. For example, you can drink grape juice to give you the wine benefits. But overall, if you stop drinking your body will be in much better shape then it ever has been. Alcohol may give some health benefits but drinking too much has the opposite effect and is very detrimental. Anybody can do a study on the health benefits of anything. So just keep that in mind when you see those articles. Your healthy lifestyle will outweigh those ‘so cal health benefits.
Do Not Trade One Bad Habit for Another
I can’t stress this part enough though. Do not trade one bad habit for another. When you decide to stop drinking alcohol, I highly recommend thinking about this as a lifestyle change too. You won’t feel better if you trade alcohol for soda or if you pick up a junk food habit. You need to have a healthy diet and keep your body moving. If you don’t already have an exercise plan in place, I recommend doing so. You can join a gym, class or just start walking. Whatever you’re doing now, try to add a little more. If you don’t currently exercise, you must start doing so.
Stop Smoking Too!
And one last thing, if you smoke cigarettes, I recommend quitting smoking at the same time. You will not feel better or feel completely free until you rid yourself from all of your addictions.