For many problem drinkers, it can be tough to pinpoint the moment it all changed. From that first ‘rites of passage’ pint with the old man, to using a fake I.D to buy a few at the weekend, to uni nights of having 8 pints, where ‘banter’ felt an appropriate call to arms and beyond. But for those with a rocky relationship with the booze, gradually, the fun seems to dissipate, replaced with guilt, shame and errors of judgment.

If you find yourself in that place, longing for an escape but consistently succumbing to ‘having another’, then rest assured; help is out there. Here’s the push you may need; our 5 IDEAL reasons to quit drinking alcohol today. 

HEALTH PRESERVATION

It’s a well-known fact by now, but one so often ignored; heavy alcohol consumption can damage vital body organs like the kidneys, liver, pancreas and digestive tract. The liver is the organ that faces the most significant damage because it’s responsible for breaking down alcohol. As such, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to health problems like fatty liver disease and cirrhosis.

And though very minor alcohol consumption may have some benefits for the heart, excessive and extended consumption can do serious damage to the ticker. Indeed, in the UK there are around 8’000 deaths a year directly linked to alcohol, as well as countless more hospital admissions. This makes alcohol one of the major causes of preventable deaths annually. If you feel like the problem is getting out of hand and need immediate advice, consider contacting someone like AddictionResource or the NHS’ alcohol addiction service, Drinkline, on 0300 123 1110.

FINANCIAL BENEFITS

Alcohol consumption is an expensive habit for most people, especially heavy drinkers. We could wax lyrical over the vice-like grip of the stuff for hours, but let’s simply dial down into the digits; it’s estimated that the average household spend on alcohol is just under £1000 a year. But problem drinkers spend way more. If you were to consistently have three or four drinks a day, then that spend could be tripled. Just think about the things you can do with the money. A holiday, or two, a new wardrobe, a weekly treat at a fancy restaurant, gifts for family…the list goes on.

IMPROVE RELATIONSHIPS

If you fall into the ‘problem drinker’ camp, then you’ve probably had to apologise for things you once did when drunk. And this has inevitably placed strain on your most cherished relationships. Think about it; your most nurtured bond, the one which you put the most effort into, is with booze. That can’t be right. 

Research has shown that alcohol can, quite simply, bring out the worst in us. For instance, alcohol increases self-disclosure, aggression, and erratic behaviour. Your family and friends are probably longing for the best version of you, and almost always, that’s the sober one. Indeed, when you stop drinking, you mend broken relationships. A fresh start never felt so good.

GET PRODUCTIVE

We’re all entitled to the odd duvet day. Each and every one of us deserves a little downtime, low, lazy and lounging with a box of pizza and Dragon’s Den on the box. But booze amplifies the frequency and force of these days, and can make us a far less productive, creative unit as a result. 

Alcohol interrupts the communication pathways in the brain. Consequently, communication between neurotransmitters and neurons are slowed. As these are command pathways for the major functions of the body, such as speaking and breathing, this is a problem. This interruption makes thinking clearly difficult for heavy drinkers. When you quit drinking, you’ll notice a gradual improvement in your ability to focus. And that’s one hell of a feeling to get back.

LOOK & FEEL YOUNGER

Alcohol releases toxins like free radicals into the drinker’s body.  And though they may sound like the coolest cats around, free radicals actually accelerate the natural aging process. And looking grizzled and past it before your time, well, that’s not very cool now is it? That’s why a person looks older than they really are after drinking heavily for a long time.

When you quit drinking, the body starts working hard to eradicate the excess toxins from alcohol. After some time, your skin starts to glow, rehydrating itself and processing nutrients properly. This promotes glowing, healthy skin. That’s not all; your hair also starts receiving proper nutrition. This leads to the growth of shiny, full locks. And if that wasn’t enough; alcohol is also full of calories. Once you quit drinking, it’s easier to maintain a healthy, fighting weight.

If you want more tips on giving up the booze, check out our 5 IDEAL tips on cutting down your alcohol intake in 2019.