The images are everywhere – happy people in groups drinking beer, wine, or a cocktail. Cool, fresh mountain streams, sports activities, tailgate parties, camping trips – whether it’s a beer commercial on TV (think Budweiser and Super Bowl), or hard liquor ads in magazines (Absolut, Dewars, etc.), it’s hard to avoid advertisers’ call for consumers to buy their products. With all these assaults on our consciousness, it may seem cool, hip, or that everyone is doing it, but when it comes to drinking, especially drinking that gets out of control, there are some very good reasons to stop.
1. Improve your health
Constant drinking is, quite simply, bad for your health. Chronic drinkers may develop cirrhosis of the liver, a condition that develops from liver inflammation and one that is irreversible. Long-term alcohol use, dependence and abuse can also increase your risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke, along with stomach problems and deficiencies with nutrition. Your neurological system may be affected, with numbness, confusion, and loss of memory. Men may suffer erectile dysfunction (also called ED), and women who are pregnant may deliver offspring with birth defects.
Another consideration is the fact that alcohol is a major factor in thousands of fatal and injury accidents each year in the United States. Even a single drink can impair your judgment behind the wheel, which could result in injury or death to yourself, your passengers or persons in other vehicles. A decision to stop drinking is a good step toward improving your immediate and overall health.
2. Improve your quality of life
Humans are social creatures who both need and thrive with the interaction with other individuals. When you are frequently (or always) in a state of intoxication, that quality of life suffers substantially. Often the first relationships to suffer are those with your immediate family – your spouse, children, parents and siblings. Drinking will ultimately affect your job, your friends, even strangers, when every day becomes just another opportunity to drink or get drunk.
Remember, too, that many instances of domestic violence and abuse are precipitated by behavior that gets out of control after alcohol consumption. By quitting drinking altogether, even for a short time if you consider yourself only a social drinker and do not overindulge, your quality of life will dramatically improve.
3. Set a good example
Children and teens are like sponges: they absorb all that’s around them. If you, as the parent, eliminate drinking, especially in their presence, you will be setting a good example by being a role model for their own behavior.
4. Feel better about yourself
If you’ve ever experienced a hangover or severe headaches from the effects of too much alcohol consumption, you know that when it occurs, the only thing you think about is how to get rid of that awful feeling. Some people mistakenly believe that the “hair of the dog,” or downing another drink, is the only way to get over a hangover. Others have bitter or hard-to-swallow concoctions they consume just so they can be able to drink again later. Avoid those morning-after physical symptoms by stopping drinking altogether.
In addition, you won’t feel sick, you won’t have to worry about what you may have said or done while you were intoxicated, you won’t be ashamed or embarrassed about your behavior, and you won’t suffer from any “blackouts” or “brownouts” where you have absolutely no idea what you did or how you got home (or another location). The latter two conditions are signs of serious alcohol abuse and/or dependence and the only way to eliminate them is to completely stop drinking.
Need any more reasons to feel better about yourself? Just remember that alcohol is a poison. If you think about alcohol that way, you surely wouldn’t deliberately ingest poison into your body. Keep your emotions and your body healthy and your life outlook will improve. Persons who stop drinking report that food tastes better, they appreciate the beauty of their surroundings more, and enjoy life in a way they’d never believed possible when they were drinking.
5. Achieve your goals
It’s difficult to get through the day if all you’re concentrating on is when you’ll have your next drink. Or, if you look forward to the end of the day (or even at lunch) when you’ll enjoy a few cocktails, think how this obsession with drinking affects your job, and how it impacts your long-term goals. If you’re striving for a promotion, kiss it good-bye if your employer notices you “have a drinking problem.” It doesn’t have to be just your job goals that may suffer. You may want to marry a long-time companion, or take a vacation with your children so you can spend some meaningful time with them. Whatever your goals, stopping drinking will improve your focus, your concentration, and your ability to both chart out your goals and devise a sound plan for achieving them.