Drinking is ingrained in British identity. Just look at the 2018 World Cup of football fuelled revelry; wild celebrations, roaring crowds and thousands of plastic cups flung to the heavens. In just the first knock-out match against Colombia, punters sank an astonishing 18 million pounds’ worth of pints according to the British Beer and Pub Association.
But it’s not just an international cause for celebration that fuel’s the UK’s love of alcohol and our enjoyment is not narrowed down to a visit to the pub either. Social drinking has become part and parcel of home life too, with mothers often taking to social media and posting about how wine is a mum’s best friend. In this culture of casual drinking, it can be hard coping with an alcohol addiction. When does ‘Gin o’clock’ become a serious issue and when has alcohol taken more of a grip on your everyday life than you would like?
If it begins to seem a struggle to think about cutting alcohol out of your life, it can help to remember why you want to quit the booze and think about the positive effects that stopping drinking can have on family life, finances and your physical and mental health.
We’re constantly bombarded by news reports on how bad fast foods is on our body, but if you’re a regular drinker one of the smartest health decisions you can make is to cut down on alcohol. Medically speaking, alcohol is a poison, and government guidelines recommend no more than 14 units per week; that’s seven pints of average strength lager.
There are many health risks associated with heavy drinking. These include damage to vital organs like the heart, lungs and liver, and frequent alcohol consumption can lead to a host of different cancers including liver, breast and mouth cancer.
By quitting, you greatly reduce the risk of developing these illnesses. The most recent statistics show that there is one alcohol-specific death for every 10,000 people in the UK, so make sure you’re not one of those statistics.
While it’s smart to consider the long-term ramifications of daily alcohol intake, what happens when you stop drinking alcohol suddenly? Well, the good news is that the effects when you stop drinking can provide a variety of immediate improvements to your life.
Studies show that those quitting often feel a renewed sense of vigour. It is because drinking can disrupt your sleep, making you feel sluggish during the day. Teetotaling will help fix your sleeping patterns and can leave you feeling and looking fresher, allowing you to make the most of every day. No more lying in bed with a hangover the day after a night out!
Keeping your mind healthy is just as important as your body and studies have shown that drinking alcohol can cause numerous issues in the brain. Mental health is heavily reliant on our brain chemistry; alcohol is a depressant and progressively alters this the more you drink.
Noticeable changes in your mental state, both while under the influence and after you’ve sobered up, become evident to those around you. Eventually, it can cause an extreme emotional response or lead to heightened aggression. Habitual consumption can turn into mental conditions like clinical depression and even if you think the drink might calm you down, it’s much more likely to be an amplifier of any anxiousness you may be feeling.
‘Hangxiety’ is real and is why the morning after can make you feel the ‘fear’ of what happened the night before. Is it really a good time if you don’t remember half of it?
Alcohol dependency can also be a real strain on romantic relationships and can cause issues in the bedroom. Many find themselves experiencing sexual dysfunction when drinking and prolonged abuse can even lead to infertility in some cases and erectile dysfunction. Since a healthy physical relationship is usually key to couples, alcohol can contribute to frustrations that end up putting a serious strain on the bond between partners.
Outside of your social circle, stopping drinking can help you regain control over your bank account as well as your life. Many heavy drinkers find that the extent of their financial planning stretches from paycheck to paycheck. Worse still, alcohol can also have a severe impact on your career.
Alcohol is estimated to be the cause of up to five per cent of all workplace absences, and in a survey of personnel directors, 17% described alcohol consumption as a ‘major problem’, citing loss of productivity and poor performance as key concerns. Studies have also noted that co-workers notice when someone is a habitual drinker, and they start to perceive them negatively.
Giving up isn’t easy, we’re only too aware of that. You may experience withdrawal symptoms such as feeling anxious, depressed or not yourself, particularly if you stop drinking suddenly. You may find that others around you notice a difference too.
If you think you have a problem, the best course of action is to get addiction help. Port of Call offers free consultations for those with alcohol addiction, and our team comprises of recovering addicts too, so they know what it’s like.
If you’re a family member or friend looking to help someone start their road to recovery, Port of Call can also offer support in the form of interventions. These are meetings held between the family and the person in question and facilitated by a trained counsellor.
Alcohol dependency doesn’t develop overnight, and neither does recovery from it. If you find you can’t quit the bottle on your own, reach out to us for the help you need with alcohol addiction. No judgements… just help.
Martin is our Founder and Chief Executive. Martin is himself in long term recovery and started Port of Call to help families navigate treatment options. In 2020 Martin will open Delamere Health Ltd, the UK’s first purpose built addiction treatment clinic.
We’re specialists in UK rehab options and can advise you on alcohol rehab in the North West, drug rehab in the North West and other addiction support services in the area.