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6 Health Benefits of Not Drinking Alcohol for a Year

Quit alcohol written on wooden blocks on a board

Many people believe that drinking alcohol is the only way to unwind, have fun, or connect with others. However, for millions of others, alcohol has resulted in unwanted behaviours, broken relationships, and health problems.

There are many benefits of not drinking alcohol, and I'm not just talking about not having a bad hangover the next morning, though it is a huge plus. Quitting alcohol improves your overall health and can help you live a better, happier life. After all, the risk of all-cause mortality increases with rising amounts of alcohol intake, according to a 2018 study

While the journey of breaking up with alcohol for good is a difficult one, the health benefits of not drinking alcohol can substantially alter your life. Let’s take a look at the six health benefits of not drinking alcohol for a year.

1. Improved Sleep 

Do you ever wake up feeling like you've had a decent night's sleep after a night of drinking? The answer is almost certainly no, and for good reason. When you drink, you usually fall into a deep sleep and miss out on critical rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.

Alcohol drinking interferes with sleep and reduces sleep quality. It also raises your chances of waking up in the middle of the night and puts you at risk of developing sleep bruxism (nighttime teeth grinding).

Better sleep increases energy and productivity all while balancing the hormones that make you feel full. 

2. Reduced Risk of Cancer 

Every year in the United Kingdom, approximately 375,000 new cancer cases are reported. By making the choice to stop drinking, you can decrease your chance of developing a variety of dangerous alcohol-related diseases. 

Alcohol has been associated with seven different types of cancer, including liver cancer, breast cancer, stomach cancer, mouth cancer, and much more. A 2017 study discovered that even light drinking was linked to breast cancer in women and colorectal cancer in men.

Given our culture's love of alcohol, public knowledge of the alcohol-cancer relationship is exceedingly low, but it’s important to know that a huge benefit of not drinking alcohol is that it reduces your risk of cancer.

3. Decreased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease 

You may have heard that drinking a glass of red wine every night is good for your heart. While this is true for relatively light drinkers, anything more than that can result in heart disease. If you are addicted to alcohol, quitting drinking minimises your chance of heart disease.

Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to cardiovascular disorders such as:

  • Heart attack 
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Vascular disease 

A big health benefit of not drinking alcohol is that it can lower your blood pressure, triglyceride levels, and risk of heart failure.

4. Improved Liver Function 

When you stop drinking entirely, your liver will be grateful because it will no longer have to absorb all of that alcohol and will be able to focus on other vital functions. If your liver function has not been significantly impaired by alcohol, it can recover in 4-8 weeks.

Heavy drinkers' livers are frequently overworked, which can lead to cirrhosis and fatty liver disease. Once the liver has been damaged, a prolonged immunological reaction generates inflammation in the liver, which can be fatal.

Allowing your liver to rest so it can keep you healthy and happy is a massive benefit of not drinking alcohol.

5. Weight Loss

Man refuses or rejects to drink alcohol at the pub

Losing weight is a major health benefit of not drinking alcohol for a year. Giving up alcohol permanently reduces your chances of becoming overweight or obese.

A can of beer has 154 calories in it. A single margarita can have 200 to 300 calories. Alcohol consumption adds a significant number of calories to your regular diet. Not to mention the "drunkies" that come with drinking, which can lead to excessive overeating.

Quitting alcohol balances your appetite and metabolism. It also boosts your chances of living an active life because you are more likely to go to the gym, take a walk, or engage in any other physical exercise, all of which are important for weight loss and overall health.

6. Improved Mental Health 

An important benefit of not drinking alcohol is improved brain and mental health. Alcohol only worsens depression and anxiety, and it can cause mood swings and increased hostility.

Alcohol has a direct link to mental health conditions and can affect both your personal and professional life. When you stop drinking, you'll notice reduced stress and anxiety, as well as higher self-esteem. 

If you know someone suffering from mental health issues and excessive alcohol usage, supporting them to get treatment can drastically improve their life.

It's time to transform your relationship with alcohol and feel like yourself again. When you participate in our Freedom Course, you can begin your journey to recovery and learn the steps you need to take to live a happy, alcohol-free life.

Ready to live your life without alcohol? Learn more about the programme.

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Author of Sober In Seven and wellness and sobriety coach in the UK, here to use my own experience of overcoming alcohol addiction to support you on your journey to a better healthier life.

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