Life Gets Better: Immediate Benefits to Quitting Drinking

Immediate Benefits

For anyone with alcohol use disorder, quitting drinking can feel like a daunting prospect. While early recovery can be uncomfortable and it may seem like progress is slow, the healing begins as soon as the drink is put down. 

Aside from heavy hitters like lower risk of cancer, heart, and liver disease (and for some, lower blood pressure), there are a myriad of immediate benefits to quitting drinking that people tend to notice as soon as the first few weeks of sobriety. 

Clearer, More Radiant Skin

For many, one of the most immediate benefits is clearer and better skin. Because alcohol is a diuretic, it causes dry, nutrient-deprived skin. Alcohol also causes redness and flushing. My face was always red and dry when I was drinking and once I stopped drinking, my skin looked radiant. While it probably just reverted to normal, for me it was glowing and I got a lot of compliments. And since I wasn’t passing out drunk every night without taking my makeup off, I was washing my face regularly and following a nighttime skincare routine — which undoubtedly helped.

Weight Loss

We all know that alcohol is full of empty calories and many of us have gained weight on account of our drinking. I certainly did. I was almost 190 lbs when I quit drinking, and without even trying, 35 lbs just fell off within my first year of sobriety. Now, mind you I was a daily, heavy beer drinker and weight loss isn’t the case for everyone. However, one thing most everyone who quits drinking loses is bloat. Alcohol causes inflammation, and if we aren’t drinking, the bloat tends to vanish relatively quickly — particularly in the face. And dropping weight is always possible when we are cutting out extra, unneeded calories. 

Improved, Restful Sleep

It’s a common misconception that alcohol helps us sleep when in reality, alcohol use disrupts sleep. It may help you pass out because of its sedative properties, but we aren’t getting real sleep when we nod off with a belly full of booze. When I was drinking, I would wake up around 3 am just about every night, and be unable to fall back to sleep. I would stare at the ceiling in agony, riddled with anxiety and fear about being tired the next day. Since getting sober, I sleep like a baby and rarely wake up during the night. Granted, it was difficult to sleep in the first couple of weeks of sobriety. But that leveled out relatively quickly and sleep now comes easy. In sobriety, I wake up rested, early, and hangover-free. 

Showing Up

Many people who suffer from addiction have missed out on something on account of their substance use, such as work, special occasions, or important life moments. But when we get sober, we don’t have to miss out anymore. One of the immediate benefits of getting sober is that we get to show up — either again or for the first time. When life no longer revolves around substances, we get to be present and no longer have to miss out on the big or little things. That’s not only a service we provide our loved ones, friends, children, and employers, but it’s a huge relief for us — and a gift. 

Random, Instant Benefits

There are so many other benefits to sobriety that you may not have realized were missing till the drinking stops. When we are not drinking, we reduce our risk of vehicular accidents and random drunken injuries. We no longer have to hide the empties or shamefully clean them up the next morning. For some, there’s also relief in not having to rotate alternative liquor or convenience stores. Many people start to get back the interests and hobbies they lost to drinking and hangovers. There’s also normalcy restored to bathroom habits, no more “how much do I have left” math, easier morning wake-ups, no hangovers, less heartburn and indigestion, being hydrated, lots of money saved… 

Shall we carry on?

What were your immediate sobriety benefits? Share them with us in the comments!


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