New Year’s Resolutions are well and truly forgotten by now, as the warmer weather starts to peek its head above the parapet – and as the sun begins to shine on our many abandoned New Year’s pledges. Alcohol makes frequent appearances at the New Year, and not just through the liberal swilling of it in service of a raucous start to proceedings; many of us make best-laid plans to cut down or cut out the stuff altogether.
Quitting alcohol can be a difficult thing to do, and naturally much more so for some than others. There are distinct differences between enjoying a glass of wine every other day and making booze a part of your evening routine, after all. But cutting out alcohol altogether can have profound and positive impacts for everyone that drinks, whatever their consumption. Why should you consider dropping alcohol once and for all?
The fundamental reason for which many agitate for reduction in alcohol consumption is health. Alcohol is not a healthy substance, and actively damages the body especially when drunk in excess. The liver’s attempts to metabolise alcohol result in the production of toxic materials that damage your liver; sustained drinking can bring about permanent damage, with direct impacts for blood health.
Meanwhile, drinking can have separate impacts on cognition and sleep. Drinking interrupts sleep patterns, reducing the length and depth of certain sleep cycles with consequences for your energy the next day. These are just two examples of the harm alcohol can do, with many other parts of the body negatively impacted by overconsumption.
Alcohol can also seriously get in the way of our relationships – whether with family, friends or romantic partners. For one, consumption of alcohol can often lead to poor decisions – which are not good bedfellows with positive social relations. For another, those unfortunate enough to suffer alcohol addiction are more likely to cause harm to their loved ones in the name of their addiction.
Removing alcohol from the equation can help you build deeper and more meaningful relationships. Having a friend over for a camomile tea and a chat can bring about much more healthy and productive conversations than a night on the wine.
Finally, and unavoidably, alcohol costs money. In cutting it out, you are returned a significant amount per week that you can use towards other more gainful things, whether hobbies or spending time with friends. In some places in the UK, alcohol costs a significant amount more; specifically, Scotland introduced a 50p minimum cost per unit of alcohol in a given beverage to dissuade purchases – a price hike that has been linked to a 13% reduction in alcohol-related deaths in the country.
Alcohol is a cost-heavy substance, with costs ranging from financial to familial. It is possible to have a positive relationship with it, but why bother? The alternative is much nicer.