Over the years since I was in my early 20's I had always had a back and forth relationship with drinking (and partying) Being a former athlete and a person who always wants to be in some sort of shape I have always craved the incredible high I get from working out or playing 2 hours of basketball. When it came time to go to a party or a club I now know that I thought I needed to replicate the high I got from sports and working out when going out.
That is where getting a buzz on while out came to be a normal thing, and for many years it appeared to work. What I didn't know was it was really hurting my overall long term health. I would be hung over and feel like shit for a while but by the time the weekend rolled around again, I felt on top of the world and would go out and get high again... for me this turned into about a twice a month thing, every other weekend for years.
Through out the years I would go off drinking for a few weeks or a month every now and then, but would always end up being invited to a party or a social event and would feel the need to get that "Buzz" again.
All along not knowing the bad influence this was having on my overall health and well being.
Well, at the end of last year I started to learn about and see the effects drinking was having on me. I gained weight, my blood pressure was high, I wasn't sleeping well at all. I was suffering from depression, anxiety and starting to have alcohol-induced psychosis / blackout drunk episodes.
You've heard of of being Scared Straight, well this is what happened to me, I was scared straight and stopped drinking completely. I got back with my therapist and even went to AA - the good news is I didn't have any kind of physical or mental withdrawal. My body and health pretty much was very appreciative and everything improved. Mentally I now understand that I was using alcohol and getting high as a crutch, specially in social situations. I always thought it was better and fun to be buzzed for these situations, but I now know that was just an illusion that I had bought into.
NOW, I have lost weight, I am NOT depressed, I handle anxiety on a positive daily basis and no more Black Out Drunk episodes. I am also getting in fantastic shape and eating better, except for too much chocolate which I am working on.
Here is some valuable research I found that helped me...
When you stop drinking alcohol, your body and mind can undergo several changes as it adjusts to the absence of alcohol. Here are some common effects:
- Improved liver function: The liver begins to repair itself, leading to improved liver function and a reduction in the risk of liver disease.
- Better hydration: Alcohol is dehydrating, so quitting drinking can result in improved hydration levels and healthier skin.
- Weight loss: Alcoholic beverages can be high in calories, so abstaining from alcohol can lead to weight loss, especially if you previously consumed significant amounts.
- Lower blood pressure: Alcohol can raise blood pressure, and quitting can help bring it back to normal levels.
- Improved sleep: Alcohol can disrupt sleep patterns, so quitting can lead to better quality sleep and increased daytime energy.
- Enhanced mood and mental clarity: Alcohol is a depressant and can impact your mood and cognitive function. Sobriety can lead to improved mental clarity, decreased anxiety and depression symptoms, and increased overall well-being.
- Better concentration and focus: Alcohol can impair cognitive function, including concentration and focus. Without alcohol, your mental acuity and ability to concentrate can improve.
- Reduced risk of mental health issues: Alcohol abuse is associated with an increased risk of mental health problems. By stopping drinking, you may lower your risk of conditions such as anxiety, depression, and alcohol-induced psychosis
- Improved relationships: Quitting alcohol can positively impact your relationships with friends, family, and loved ones, as it removes the potential strain caused by alcohol-related issues.
- Financial benefits: Alcohol can be expensive, so stopping drinking can lead to financial savings.
- Expanded social activities: You may discover new hobbies or engage in social activities that do not involve alcohol, which can broaden your experiences and connections.
It's important to note that the effects of stopping drinking can vary from person to person, depending on factors such as the duration and intensity of alcohol use, overall health, and individual circumstances. If you have been a heavy drinker or have concerns about alcohol withdrawal, it's advisable to seek medical guidance to ensure a safe and supported journey towards sobriety.
Why only weekends?
Here are some reasons why you might choose to drink alcohol and party on weekends despite leading a healthy lifestyle:
- Socializing and relaxation: Alcohol can be a part of social gatherings, celebrations, and events, providing an opportunity to unwind, socialize, and bond with friends or peers. It may be seen as a way to relax and have fun in a social setting.
- Cultural and social norms: Alcohol consumption is often ingrained in cultural and social practices. It may be considered a normal part of certain events or occasions, and participating can help you feel connected to your community or social group.
- Stress relief: Some individuals may turn to alcohol as a means of stress relief or as a way to temporarily escape from daily pressures. While this is not a healthy coping mechanism, it can be a common reason for drinking.
- Habit and routine: If drinking alcohol and partying on weekends has become a regular part of your routine or social life, it can be challenging to break the habit and adopt alternative activities.
- Enjoyment and pleasure: For some people, the taste, sensory experience, or the feeling associated with alcohol consumption can be pleasurable. It may be seen as a form of entertainment or a way to enhance the enjoyment of social experiences.
If you are concerned about your alcohol consumption or its impact on your overall health and well-being, it may be helpful to reflect on your motivations for drinking and assess whether it aligns with your long-term goals.
Consider the potential benefits of reducing or moderating your alcohol intake, such as improved physical well-being, mental clarity, and the possibility of exploring other fulfilling activities or hobbies. If you find it challenging to change your drinking habits, seeking support from a healthcare professional or a counselor who specializes in addiction or substance use can provide guidance and assistance in making positive changes.