It’s a new year, and for many people it brings an opportunity to reflect on the past and make goals about the future–New Year’s resolution time. While New Year’s resolutions have a reputation for being exaggerated (exercise every single day!) or unrealistic (lose 100 pounds!), setting meaningful resolutions, for which you feel motivated to make a change, can have a profound impact on your future: the goals you make still have a better chance of success than no goal at all.
So to help you find that motivation for change when it comes to sobriety, here are 5 great reasons for giving up alcohol this year.
Drinks have gotten ridiculously expensive. Even at happy hour rates, it’s common to spend $4-5 each for a beer and more for mixed drinks, wine or liquor. Order some food to go with those drinks, and you walk out with a big bill and an empty wallet–an entire paycheck can disappear in one weekend on the town.
Even if you buy in bulk at the local liquor store or a convenience store, and steer clear of the markups at bars and restaurants, costs add up quickly. Do the math for a month on what you spend on alcohol, and you’ll soon find motivation to quit.
Speaking of food and drinking, alcohol not only contains empty calories but also often makes people eat more. You don’t even have to go on a diet, just giving up alcohol can make you shed pounds. Beyond what you see around your middle, alcohol has a dramatic impact on health, causing:
- Heart damage
- Brain damage
- Liver damage
- Premature aging
- Pancreatic damage and increased risk of developing diabetes
- Suppressed immune function
- And even cancer
Alcohol is a depressant, both as a short-term effect and as a long-term consequence of use. Alcohol consumption decreases motivation, leads to depression for many users and causes mood swings–anger, irritability, crying, and so on, are common when drinking or experiencing withdrawal.
All of those health consequences and mood swings add stress to relationships. Long-term alcohol use, in particular, can make it nearly impossible to have healthy relationships with a partner, parents or children. How many alcoholics recover, is through pressure from family.
With the lack of motivation, depression or mood swings, and added stress, keeping a job while abusing alcohol can be an incredible challenge–but you need that job to even afford the alcohol habit.
It’s a difficult situation you could live without, if you get sober in the coming year.
Making a Resolution Stick
Alcohol addiction recovery statistics can look a little daunting: most people try and fail to quit several times before ultimately succeeding.
Overall, addiction recovery rates are comparable to long-term successful management of other chronic conditions, like hypertension or type II diabetes. Odds go up as you continue to steer clear of alcohol. Just as an individual with hypertension may have to stay away from salt, or someone with diabetes might have to skip dessert, having a problem with alcohol may mean it is best to avoid it altogether. In doing so, recovery rates improve.
While it is possible to quit on your own, alcohol recovery rates are higher with support for treatment. If you’ve tried and failed, don’t give up! It may be time to enlist outside support.
Consider these and other motivations as you set your New Year’s resolutions, keeping your goal of sobriety in sight, and you’ll have a fresh, clean start for many coming years.
Happy New Year!