What Happens When You Quit Drinking Alcohol?

Man holding up his hand to stop someone from handing him a beer in a bar.

Perhaps the best way to deal with alcohol problems is to stop them from occurring.(Image: Flynt via Dreamstime)

Many people are struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. Over time, alcohol may ruin your relationships, financial stability, opportunities, and health. 

Of course, quitting alcohol isn’t easy. But it’s important to continue your journey to sobriety despite the hurdles. That way, you will reap the benefits of staying sober.

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Reasons why you should quit alcohol

Improve your liver 

Your liver’s main function is detoxification. It breaks down toxic substances into simpler forms that don’t harm your body. And alcohol is one of the toxins your body needs to break down before excretion. 

Excessive consumption of alcohol for years (about 15 drinks a week for men and 8 for women) can damage your liver cells, leading to liver cirrhosis, cancer, and alcoholic liver disease. 

Luckily, your liver cells regenerate. So if you quit drinking early enough, you can have a healthy liver again. 

Excessive consumption of alcohol can damage your liver cells but if you quit alcohol early enough, you can have a healthy liver again.
Excessive consumption of alcohol can damage your liver cells, but if you quit alcohol early enough, you can have a healthy liver again. (Image: Anton Skavronskiy via Dreamstime)

Improve your heart health

Alcohol can also increase the amount of triglycerides (a type of fat) in your blood. This leads to hypertension, heart failure, and cardiovascular disease. So cutting down or completely quitting alcohol may improve your heart health.

Improve your cognitive functions

Long-term and excessive use of alcohol may reduce your brain capabilities. Some people experience memory loss, impaired learning abilities, and poor job productivity. In severe cases, it can cause severe brain-damage conditions, like the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome — a serious brain condition.

Sobriety can reverse these symptoms, and soon your memory will feel fresh. Over time, you may be able to remember details and improve your mood and overall mental health.

Overall health improvement

Alcohol consumption contributes to many health issues, like digestive problems and liver disease. Worse still, mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, liver, and pancreatic cancers have all been linked to excessive consumption. 

No scientific proof exists that quitting alcohol will lower your chances of developing cancer. But you have the benefit of keeping your body free from harmful substances.

You also do away with the mental effects of alcohol, such as dementia, depression, anxiety, and memory loss. Plus, you can improve your concentration and performance, among other short-term effects. 

Better yet, your skin and general appearance will also improve. For some people, sobriety helps them improve their hygiene and eating habits. Eating healthy and staying hydrated improves your well-being.

Young man touching his beard and face while looking in the mirror at his healthy skin.
When you quit drinking alcohol, your skin and general appearance will improve. (Image: Martinmark via Dreamstime)

Save money

Alcohol and drug addiction can milk you dry. If you have struggled with addiction, you understand it’s hard to save. You may live paycheck to paycheck or accumulate debts just to have that drink. 

But sobriety can help you manage your finances better. You don’t have to spend money on drinks or entertaining friends. 

No hangovers

After having one too many, hangovers are almost inevitable. You probably know the not-so-good feeling of tiredness, nausea, vomiting, headache, anxiety, depression, mood swings, and irritability.

This may affect your job performance or relationships with family and colleagues. Sobriety is the sure antidote to hangovers and contributes to better relationships at work and home. 

Tips to quit drinking

Despite what your drinking triggers are, everybody is capable of quitting drinking alcohol. You just need to make a commitment and stick with it. Now that you understand why staying sober is important, here are tips to help you get on your journey to sobriety.

Make it clear why you want to quit

First, bear in mind or write down why you want to quit. Then, make your intentions known to your family and friends. This way, you will have all the support you need to keep you going. 

Get rid of any temptations

Throw away anything that might trigger you to go back to your drinking habit again. Avoid influential friends and change your environment completely if you can. 

Get rid of any leftover alcohol you might be keeping in the house, and learn to say no when offered or invited for a drink.

Wine bottles in a cardboard box ready to bring home.
Get rid of any leftover alcohol you might be keeping in the house. (Image: Christian Delbert via Dreamstime)

Find alternatives

You can find new hobbies to keep you occupied and busy. You can join community self-help groups, find new friends, or join the gym.

Find alternative drinks like soda, lime juice, mocktails, or sparkling water. You can then slowly transition to healthier beverages, such as fruit juices, teas, and water to hydrate.

Don’t give up on yourself

Many people fail on several attempts to quit drinking, but they eventually succeed through persistence and focus. Do not give up if you suffer a relapse after some time. Recollect yourself and press on. 

Remember, you might experience withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia, headache, depression, anxiety, alcohol cravings, fatigue, and heart palpitations. Some symptoms can be severe or even life-threatening if you’ve been a long-term user. 

Talk to your physician if you want to quit or in case you experience severe withdrawal symptoms such as delirium tremens or seizures. 

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