Alcohol abuse is a prevalent issue that many American families face. Individuals who have fallen victim to alcohol addiction may find it difficult to see the damage alcohol may be creating in their day-to-day lives. It’s one of the reasons that a small fraction of those with alcohol addiction seek help. According to recent statistics, over 16 million adults have an alcohol addiction. Alcohol is the fourth-leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. and kills about 88,000 people a year. More than 41% of all substance abuse treatment admissions in the U.S. involve alcohol. However, only about one out of ten people with alcohol use disorder will find and receive help. There are many reasons to quit drinking, though.
The issue of alcohol abuse is often multifaceted. A person may find enjoyment out from drinking, especially when it’s used as a recreational pastime with friends. Others may find the allure of alcohol intoxicating simply because it provides relief from stress, anxiety, depression, and more. However, the issue with alcohol is its resulting and often catastrophic effects. It can impact a person’s health, wellbeing, relationships, and much more.
If you or a person you love is struggling with reasons to quit drinking, contact us directly at 855-281-5588. Our alcohol rehab programs are designed and tailored to fit individual needs. We can help you overcome the struggles of addiction.
Reasons to Stop Drinking
There are lots of reasons to quit drinking. Some people need to stop drinking as a result of developing an alcohol-related medical condition such as liver disease, or because they start taking medication that reacts badly when used in combination with alcohol. Others choose to do so for religious reasons, or simply as a move towards a healthier lifestyle.
If you think you have a serious drinking problem and are experiencing any of the associated symptoms of alcohol dependence, you should consult your doctor or another medical professional about it as soon as possible. There are also a number of national alcohol support services that you can go to for advice. Resources can be found at the bottom of the article.
Giving up completely may not be easy – especially if you’ve been a heavy drinker in the past. The following tips and techniques are good reasons to quit drinking:
1. Health Reasons
Everyone knows that drugs are bad. Most people realize that excessive drinking is bad, too. But, when you’re caught up in the grips of an addiction, it’s easy to overlook the fact that these substances have negative consequences on your life. After a while, the side effects of addiction are hard to ignore. When alcohol consumption is problematic, it’s easy to experience:
- Job loss
- Health Issues
- Relationship Problem
- Mental Illness
Ultimately, drinking and drugs impacted every aspect of my life. It took a toll on my physical, emotional, and financial health. This was my biggest reason for quitting alcohol and drugs. I realized that, if I didn’t stop, my problems would only get worse. Somewhere around 5,000 people die of cocaine overdoses every year. And nearly 90,000 die from alcohol-related causes every year. So, I knew that I was on a dangerous path and things could end badly for me.
It took me a long time to see this clearly. But, once I saw my life for what it was, I knew that I had to change something.
2. Improve Relationships
The effect of alcoholism and relationships and, in general, intimacy is widespread and affect each individual different. The impact of heavy drinking on relationships can be quite harmful. The first area that is usually affected is intimacy. Parts of an intimate relationship that can be affected by the effects of alcoholism include:
- Shared values
Alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder, is linked to codependency in relationships as well as abusive behavior both verbally and physically. Deterioration in married or unmarried couples often stems from arguments, financial troubles, and acts of infidelity or, worse, domestic violence. Alcoholism also decreases sex drive, which can bring even more problems into an already strained relationship and can eventually lead to divorce. One of the best reasons to quit drinking is to improve relationships with family members, friends, and co-workers.
3. Better Sleep or Sleep Improvements
Poor sleep is often closely linked to drinking habits. Science shows that alcohol interferes with your sleep-wake cycles, making it more difficult to fall asleep (and stay asleep) throughout the night. It also relaxes the muscles in the throat, making you more prone to sleep apnea and snoring.
While you can expect some sleep troubles in early recovery, the longer you abstain from alcohol (and relearn good sleep hygiene), the greater improvements in your sleep quality.
4. Financial Difficulties Solved
The Bureau of Labor Statistics calculated the average household spends $579 per year on alcohol, around 1% of their annual income. If you just guffawed at that number, you aren’t alone. That seems comically low. I know people who have spent that much on a single weekend. While this doesn’t immediately appear to be financially unstable, there are other associated costs that many people overlook. Other expenses often associated with alcohol include:
- Medical costs
- Cross addiction costs (cigarettes, drugs, prescriptions)
- Productivity and work-related costs
- Legal costs
- Frivolous purchases
- Late fees, overdrafts, credit issues
By quitting alcohol, you can eliminate some, if not all of these expenses on a weekly or monthly basis.
5. Improve Wellbeing
There is a high rate of comorbidity between addiction and other mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.2 million U.S. adults experienced both mental illness and a substance use disorder in 2018. Yet nearly 60% receive no treatment at all.
While scientists have yet to determine the exact link, we do know that many people turn to alcohol and other illicit substances in an attempt to self-medicate symptoms of mental illness. We also know that alcohol actually exacerbates mental illness, so when you stop drinking, you’ll reduce these symptoms.
Developing an alcohol-free lifestyle and achieving long-term sobriety takes a lot more effort than merely not drinking anymore. If you’ve stopped drinking and began on the road to recovery, congratulate yourself.
As you achieve your sobriety goals (small and big) and work toward a healthier you, you will begin to notice an improvement in your mental health. This may include increased self-confidence and self-respect as well as decreased anxiety and depression, especially if you are struggling with a co-occurring mental health issue.
6. Recovering from Alcohol Addiction
Not only does productivity diminish when alcohol addiction is apparent, but an entire life can be impacted, as well. Many people with alcohol use disorder tend to “drink” their meals, eating less than the amount of food needed to provide sufficient carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals. Additionally, alcohol is known to interfere with the nutrition process, affecting digestion, storage, utilization, and excretion of nutrients. As a result, many chronic drinkers become malnourished and can develop long-term chronic diseases. As you stop drinking and begin focusing on a healthier way of life, your body will begin to better absorb nutrients.
Lower Risk of Cancer
Alcohol is a known carcinogen. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the more alcohol you consume, the greater your risk of developing some types of cancer, including:
- Breast cancer
- Colon and rectal cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Laryngeal cancer
- Liver cancer
- Oral cancer
- Throat cancer
Reduced Cardiovascular Risk
If you quit alcohol, your heart is sure to thank you. Heavy drinkers are about twice as likely to have a cardiovascular event within 24 hours and up to six times more likely within a week than those who don’t drink alcohol. A significant amount of scientific research has linked alcohol misuse with an increased risk for the following heart problems, including:
- Atrial fibrillation
- Heart failure
- Hemorrhagic stroke
- Ischemic stroke
- Myocardial infarction
Better Memory and Thinking
Heavy drinking can cause the hippocampus, which is critical to memory and learning, to shrink.10
Abstaining from alcohol over several months to a year may allow structural brain changes to partially correct. Quitting drinking can also help reverse negative effects on thinking skills, including problem solving, memory, and attention.
Find Alcohol Recovery Through AspenRidge
There are often clear physical signs of addiction to alcohol, but understanding what to do to help your spouse or significant other can still feel overwhelming. AspenRidge Recovery is a leading alcohol addiction treatment center in Colorado offering support for family members and loved ones. Our programs are tailored to each individual and can offer support at a critical time. Contact us directly to learn more about our alcohol treatment programs at 855-281-5588.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2016, April). Illegal Drug Use. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/drug-use-illegal.htm
MedlinePlus (n.d.). Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/alcoholismandalcoholabuse.html
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (n.d.). Alcohol Use Disorder. Retrieved from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-use-disorders
National Institute on Drug Abuse (2016, Aug.). Understanding Drug Use and Addiction. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-use-addiction