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Benefits of No Alcohol for 6 Months

by Harley Miller

By now, most of us have seen the new documentary on Lifetime, 'Where is Wendy Williams?'.

The eye-opening documentary is one of many surrounding the iconic media personality and author, Wendy Williams, who is now diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia. She shares her journey and battle with alcoholism, financial abuse, and addiction.


In a previous article with Dr. Terry Simpson, a medical expert, the topic of alcoholism came into the discussion as a key player for the increased risk of dementia. This information prompted the conversation on why we should look to be more cognizant of our daily alcohol intake.


When we aim to make drastic changes to our diet, our bodies will adjust, and this adjustment can take on various forms—from night sweats to increased appetite, dizziness, and more. However, this leads to a better outcome. Here are some of the benefits of abstaining from alcohol for 6 months.


BETTER SLEEP

"People who abstain from alcohol reap a variety of benefits, including physical, mental, and emotional ones. Excessive alcohol consumption can be linked to a variety of health problems, including liver damage, heart disease, and certain forms of cancer," Paul Daidone, MD, FASAM, tells us. "Furthermore, alcohol consumption can disrupt sleep patterns, resulting in poor-quality sleep. People who avoid alcohol can get better sleep and wake up feeling more rested."


As consumers of alcohol, oftentimes we want to believe that one type is better than another—perhaps wine is better than spirits—but the truth is, everything should be consumed in moderation. Red wine often contains tannins, which can cause headaches and negatively impact your sleep patterns, despite us being told that consuming red wine is healthier than white wine.


Have you ever noticed that when you're drunk, you tend to wake up looking and feeling puffy, or you wake up in the middle of the night? Alcohol can suppress REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is when most dreaming occurs. As you're sleeping and your alcohol levels drop, your brain will kick into overdrive, causing you to toss and turn as your body undergoes a rebound arousal. The puffiness is caused by dehydration, blood vessel dilation, and inflammation.


MOOD STABILIZATION

Abstaining from alcohol over a long period can help stabilize your mood, as "drinking can exacerbate conditions like anxiety and depression," says Carlos Escobar, LMHC. Drinking and depression are linked because the more you drink, the higher your tolerance for alcohol, making you more dependent on it to lower your inhibitions and feel good.


During this time when your inhibitions are low, you may say or do something that could cause irrevocable damage—cursing out a boss, driving too fast and harming someone, and more. While there are people who drink to get drunk and do not act out, more often than not, people with a drinking problem are doing so to drown out something or escape from their reality. During this time, while you’re viewing alcohol as an escapism, it’s merely causing your body to become reliant on it.


This is a good time to go to AA or engage in other activities that can leave you feeling fulfilled without the triggers. It takes 21 days to form a habit, so by abstaining from alcohol for 6 months, you’ve long since reached a point where your body can adjust to new and innovative ways to bring you joy without the complications linked to alcohol consumption.


BETTER RELATIONSHIPS

Believe it or not, women have complained that men refuse to date them because they’ve stated that they do not drink. Unfortunately, this is quite common because for an uncomfortable number of people, drinking has become linked to socializing. If you’re at an event, party, out to dinner, etc., it has become normalized to always have a drink. So, for the few who refuse to engage, they may be seen as boring or uptight.


“Alcohol can be so enmeshed into our relationships it can be hard to take a stand against it. But you should always communicate with your friends and/or partner your goals around drinking less or quitting, and let them know the ways that you feel it’s negatively affecting you,” Dr. Brooke Scheller, Founder of the Clinical Nutrition, shares with us. “Keep the focus on your own journey with alcohol and avoid judging their choices around alcohol.”


Believe it or not, you can find a tribe of like-minded men and women who, too, prefer to enjoy their lives without the presence of alcohol. Those people may frequent third places such as coffee shops, libraries, or even Facebook groups where they make plans to meet up around their city.


BETTER TEETH AND SKIN

Macleod Trail Dental Clinic’s Dentist and Owner, Jennifer Silver, tells us, “Abstaining from alcohol can lower the risk of developing oral cancer, including in the mouth, throat, and esophagus. Additionally, avoiding alcohol altogether reduces the risk of gum disease and tooth decay, which can be intensified by alcohol’s drying effect on the mouth and its contribution to bacterial growth.” Silver also sheds light on the impact drinking can have on our skin.


As aforementioned, we may awake from a night out with a puffy face, but that is only the external side effects. There is more going on beneath the surface that can and should make you want to rethink how much alcohol you’re going to consume, if at all.


“Alcohol can dehydrate the skin, worsening already problematic skin conditions such as rosacea or psoriasis.” Celebs like Kim Kardashian, who suffers from psoriasis, have made it very clear that she does not consume alcohol.


FINANCIAL SAVINGS

When you take into account the cost of alcohol and none of the health benefits it possesses, it makes you wonder, “Is it worth it to self-harm?” Many of us argue that healthcare should be free in places like the United States, but then would go out and purchase alcohol despite knowing it can wreak havoc on our mental health, skin, and overall well-being.


So, if we’re paying to harm ourselves, why do we argue about paying for the things that are necessary to prolong our lives and keep us healthy? Surely, this does not apply to people who do not consume alcohol at all or all medical expenses, but the consensus is, many of us do drink. Some go as far as purchasing bottles in clubs for upwards of $700 for a $140 bottle. But would decline to pay $200 for a teeth cleaning at the dentist.

“Alcoholic beverages, especially premium or specialty drinks, can be relatively expensive. Moreover, many social activities involve alcohol, and the cost of drinks at events or gatherings can add up. By choosing not to drink, I believe individuals can save money that would otherwise be spent on purchasing alcohol. These savings can be redirected toward hobbies, travel, or financial well-being,” says Jennifer.

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