It’s a new year and the time when many people set goals or make resolutions. Your goal may be giving up alcohol this year. If so, it might strengthen your resolve to consider your specific reasons for making this change.
Everyone has his or her own personal stories and experiences that lead to a decision to stop drinking. While the scenarios may look a bit different for each of us, there are usually some common themes. Here are a few that come up frequently – do any of these sound familiar?
The Effects of Alcohol
Dennis never considered himself an alcoholic. He had a good job, a wife, two children, a home and two cars. He spent his evenings after work at the country club where he would have a few drinks, make a few bets and pass the time until everyone at home was in bed. When his wife served him with divorce papers, he found himself without a home, paying half his income in child support and alone with kids he didn’t know two weekends each month. His wife’s main complaint – drinking was more important than his family.
Kathy was the life of the party in high school and college. She was fun and happy when she was partying, but nobody knew what her life was like when she was alone. Kathy hated her life when she was sober. Every morning that she woke up with a hangover, she saw her father “the drunk” looking back at her in the mirror. She could hear her mother crying and begging her dad to get help. She felt “blah” each day until she took her first drink.
Five Reasons to Stop Drinking
Whatever your story, there are others who have been there. Here are five reasons people may consider giving up alcohol for a year.
- Health – Consider what the negative effects of alcohol (and the lifestyle that accompanies it) are doing to your health. Even if you are young, there is no denying that alcohol, cigarettes, staying out late and poor nutrition is wrecking your health. You don’t have to drink for decades to experience damage to your liver, heart and other organs.
- Relationships – If you are honest, you will see how drinking has negatively influenced your relationships. Whether it is saying things you shouldn’t, breaking promises, showing up late (or not at all) or making poor choices, friends and family usually get hurt when drinking becomes a priority in your live.
- Work – Even if you show up for work after a night out drinking, you are probably not giving it your best effort. Alcohol impairs your cognitive and emotional functioning for 8 to 16 hours after you stop drinking. Heavy or extended drinking can result in permanent brain damage.
- Mental Health – Alcohol is a depressant. Many drink to take the edge off and feel better, inadvertently creating more problems. As the initial effects of alcohol wear off, there is a risk of anxiety and/or depression. This happens as a result of drinking and because of the impact of drinking on our lives. Financial, relationship and legal problems are sure to come.
- Finances – Drinking and the accompanying lifestyle can be very expensive. Poor choices made while under the influence can wreck your finances. The costs can be devastating.
Don’t wait until you lose everything and everyone to stop drinking. You have options. Giving up alcohol for a year will give your body, brain, relationships and finances time to heal. You can reconsider your position after a year of sobriety and then decide if you want to try drinking in moderation or continue to abstain. It’s up to you.
Thinking about giving up alcohol?
If you need some help giving up alcohol, you may want to join other former problem drinkers from around the world who have used the Give Up Alcohol Course to get free of their alcohol issues once and for all.