10 Years Without Alcohol

Wow….it’s so hard to believe that my sweetie and I chose to stop drinking alcohol June 25th, 2009….and it’s been 10 years since then.

We are so glad we made this choice. First of all because it is so much better for my Multiple Sclerosis but more so it was a good decision for both of us and our overall health and well-being.

I recently read an article on MSN about what happens to your body when you stop drinking. I can agree with the points in the article first hand because my honey and I have experienced many positive changes physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually….all good.

Those “happy hours” were not making us happier. In fact those “happy hours” were making us miserable, overweight, sleep deprived and unhealthy.

I can’t think of one negative thing we have experienced in the past 10 years from giving up the booze. As the article pointed out we have much to be thankful for in our 10 years of life since quitting.

  • While living the “party lifestyle” we were always battling 10 to 20 pounds of excess weight. I was always on a weight loss plan trying to fight off the weight gain from consuming all of those “empty calories” contained in alcohol. Since quitting I have never had to go on any weight reduction plan as the weight fell off and has stayed off over those 10 years and I must add, effortlessly.
  • Alcohol actually makes your body crave high sodium and high fat foods. Just one half of a drink makes you hungrier. That’s why cocktail bars offer high fat foods on their bar menus. Nachos smothered in melted cheese go so well with a cold beer. Cheese is often served beside wine. And then there is the hangover” often resulting in a “greasy” breakfast or high refined carbohydrate lunch to try and make you feel better. We don’t crave that “junk” so much anymore which also helps with maintaining healthy weight.
  • Teatotalers’ liver fat is far less than that of a drinker thus reducing the risk of liver damage.
  • Blood glucose levels are lower in those who don’t drink alcohol. This means a reduced risk of diabetes.
  • When you go to bed after drinking you may “pass out” quickly but your quality of sleep is poor and disrupted. Alcohol increases your alpha brain waves which do not allow for deep restorative sleep. We sleep well and wake refreshed every morning. We have fallen into a regular sleep pattern nightly which is good “sleep hygeine”.
  • We definitely have more pep in our step during the day. Alcohol tended to take us away from commitments, making us procrastinate and even get lazy. Since quitting drinking we accomplish so much more as we are more energized and engaged in day to day life.
  • Drinking alcohol increased our cravings for unhealthy foods. We now eat healthy and nutritious meals hence healthy weight maintenance.
  • When you give up drinking your metabolism speeds up too. This also helps with weight management.
  • One thing I can definitely say I noticed pretty shortly after quitting drinking was an improved complexion. Alcohol is dehydrating and is a diuretic. Without alcohol in the system your body is able to retain water and add to the “plumpness” of your skin…making for less wrinkles, eczema and rosacea. We all know someone who has little red veins around their noses or on their cheeks. These are blood capillaries, in some cases a result from the dehydration from too much alcohol.
  • The biggest benefit from abstinence from alcohol is a lowered risk for the “Big C”! According to the National Cancer Institute, drinking booze has been linked to mouth and throat, liver, breast, colon and rectal cancer. This risk increases with the amount you drink.
  • The American Heart Association links alcohol consumption with higher levels of tryglicerides contributing to plaque build up in your arteries and cardiovascular and heart disease.
  • A major point for me is that alcohol damages nerves. My MS is a “central nervous system” condition. One of the many reasons we opted out of the party lifestyle was to try and boost my nerve health and keep me on my feet as long as possible.
  • We both feel stronger in the emotional and cognitive areas of “mental health”.

All in all, these past 10 years have been healing for both of us. We are more engaged in day to day life. We are more grateful for life’s blessings, both big and small. We do more, we see more, we enjoy more.

I must congratulate my sweetie and I. We did something that can be very difficult to do in a society where everything is centered around drinking alcohol. We swapped out the vodka/tonic and the wine for water with lemon, herbal teas, organic coffee, the odd non-alcohol beer in social settings. All for our greater good. It’s something we chose to do for us and it’s working.

Cheers.

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