Your Mind and Body Without Alcohol
In early sobriety, it can be scary to imagine how your life will change without alcohol. The truth is they are very real physical and psychological changes your body goes through in the beginning stages. Years of drinking really can take a toll on the human body, both physically and mentally.
The good news is you are doing the absolute best thing for yourself. Drinking in excess hinders you in so many ways. The harm you caused to yourself and those around you is just not worth it. At first, your life free from alcohol may be scary, new and different.
What kind of changes does the body go through? A lot.
The body goes through several stages of healing when a person who previously abused alcohol quits drinking. One thing is sure; you will not be the same destructive person you once were when you stop. Recovery and a life free from substance abuse are the best decision you can ever make.
Changes from Quitting Drinking
When you quit drinking, your body will go through changes that expand past the usual withdrawal symptoms. Common withdrawal symptoms of alcohol include:
- an increased heart rate
- high blood pressure
As you can see, the withdrawal symptoms for alcohol are pretty extensive. As your body resets, you’ll experience some of these changes:
Unhealthy habits usually associate with heavy drinking. For some people, alcohol results in weight gain while for others, they are so consumed with drinking, they lose weight. Eating becomes less important in the midst of their addiction. Like I said, everyone is different, but chances are you were not getting the right nutrients and practicing a healthy lifestyle in your days of alcoholism. Now that you have stopped drinking, you can finally take the time to assess your physical health. Learning proper nutrition and exercise are excellent tools to help you along the healing process. The goal is to find a balance between nutrition and exercise that you can incorporate into your day to day life.
In the initial stages of sobriety, you may begin to notice an increase in the sharpness of your senses. You will smell, hear and see things differently. You are not more in tune with your senses now that you are not abusing alcohol. You may find that you breathe clearer, inhale deeper and listen more intently. Alcohol is a depressant, and it affects the way your body functions. After years of alcohol abuse, now you can understand the beauty of life without the need to drink.
Sensitivity and emotions will usually increase when you stop drinking. It makes sense, after all. Chances are you were using alcohol as a way to numb your feelings. Now that you are not drinking, you will learn actually to feel your feelings. While this can be overwhelming at first, it is a beautiful thing. You will learn to navigate your emotions in a healthier way.
After the initial withdrawal face, you will eventually learn to sleep better. Perhaps you struggled with your sleep patterns when you were abusing alcohol. Alcohol disrupts the natural circadian rhythm of the body so it can take a toll on your sleep! Once you stop drinking, your body will be able to go to a more regular sleep pattern. Alcohol reduces REM sleep. REM is the deepest, most restorative sleep you can have. The more disruptions you have during REM, the more tired you feel the next morning. Without alcohol, you can re-establish your sleep patterns and wake up in the morning ready to take on your day.
Immune System Boost
Without a doubt, alcohol lowers your immune system. You might find that during your drinking years, you were more likely to have a cold or call in sick. Of course, let’s not forget those nasty hangovers. In recovery, your immune system will improve over time. An improved immune system protects your body from bacteria and germs.
In addition to all of the above physical changes, you will also transform mentally and spiritually. Your head will begin to clear, and the fog of your drinking days will start to lift.
Alcohol abuse affects the way your brain processes information. It also can take a toll on your memory. You may find that after some time has passed, your memory will improve, and decision making will become easier. You will be able to handle tasks and obstacles better than you would if you were drinking. While sobriety does not change the challenges of life, it puts you in a state where you can handle certain things better.
Healthy Coping Mechanisms
Most of all, life in recovery will teach you how to deal with life with healthy coping mechanisms. Sobriety allows you to understand the natural way you respond to emotions and challenges that life brings. For a long time, alcohol was your way of numbing the pain. While it will be difficult at first, in time, you will learn healthier coping mechanisms that do not include drinking.
Sobriety brings forth a lot of changes. In fact, it is a significant shift in the world you have been used to living. However, in the end, the challenges of recovery far outweigh the pain and destruction of your addiction. Get help today. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.