For many people, alcohol is an intrinsic part of life. Whether it’s a casual dinner with friends, a birthday party, or a weekend barbecue, it’s likely that alcohol will be part of the festivities. The social acceptability of drinking can make it seem harmless, but that’s far from the case. If you’re taking an honest look at your relationship with alcohol, you’ll need to put the positive aspects aside and consider the negatives.
The Social Effects
A Worse Version of Yourself
Some people can drink without any noticeable changes to their personality. Others might become completely different people while intoxicated. There are many reasons to quit drinking, and becoming mean, angry, reckless, too wild, or depressive while drunk is a sign that perhaps you should. Most of us want to be the best version of ourselves, so if something is making you into a monster, there’s no value in it.
We all make mistakes. For those who tend to get out of control while intoxicated, the likelihood of making life-altering mistakes is much higher. Perhaps you’re someone who comes up with grandiose plans while drunk and then has to think twice about them later. Maybe you tend to behave out of character and do things your sober self would have a problem with, such as cheating on your spouse. You could have the tendency to talk out of turn or be overly blunt about delicate subjects, hurting the feelings of those you care about.
If you’re finding that you often wake up with regrets after a night of drinking, it might be time to call it quits.
Facade of Confidence
Some people use alcohol to overcome shyness or social anxiety. There’s nothing wrong with having a drink to loosen up a little. After all, that’s why most people drink in the first place, right? It becomes a problem when you realize you can’t function socially while sober. Alcohol consumption isn’t acceptable in every social situation. Even if it was, the negative health effects make drinking every day unsustainable.
Alcohol being a crutch is one of the good reasons to stop drinking. Getting sober might be uncomfortable at first, but it will allow you to develop stronger social skills.
Dealing with Hangovers
A hangover can be a health issue as well, but it’s important to also consider the social consequences. Do you miss important social events due to being stuck in bed with a hangover? Has a hangover ever affected your ability to parent your children properly? Do you get depressed or irritable while hungover and take it out on your loved ones?
Most people who drink suffer through a hangover now and then, but if you’re waking up hungover on a regular basis, or your hangovers are affecting your personal relationships, quitting might be a smart choice.
The Health Consequences
The drunken tendency to behave recklessly can lead to all sorts of bad situations. Aside from drunk driving, which puts your life and the lives of anyone you encounter on the road at risk, there are plenty of other ways to hurt yourself and others while intoxicated.
Even those who make responsible choices aren’t necessarily spared. Things like getting a little too wild on the dance floor or slipping on a patch of ice you didn’t see due to spinning vision can also leave you with injuries to deal with the next day.
Alcohol can lead to a plethora of health problems that reduce your wellness. Memory issues, heart problems, premature aging, poor quality sleep, and liver damage will all affect your ability to be happy and healthy long term. Statistics show alcohol contributes to a wide range of diseases and disorders, including heart disease, stroke, hypertension, cirrhosis, and cancer.
Physical dependency on alcohol is one of the top reasons to stop drinking. Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder, occurs when the body becomes dependent on alcohol. This is a physical dependency, which means suddenly stopping alcohol consumption can be dangerous at this stage. Recovery is possible with professional help, but a better option for those who still can is quitting drinking before a dependency develops.
There’s a mental component to alcohol addiction as well. Along with relying on it as a social crutch, you may come to depend on it to regulate your moods. If you’re depressed or unable to be yourself while sober, a mental addiction is already developing. Of all the reasons to stop drinking, avoiding addiction is one of the most important.
People who enjoy alcohol don’t necessarily have low self-esteem. However, for someone experiencing life problems due to drinking, getting sober could make a big difference. It isn’t easy to stop a bad habit, especially if everyone around you considers it acceptable. Through quitting drinking, you’ll realize how strong you are. You’ll develop healthier coping mechanisms and learn things about yourself you never realized.
The Financial Reasons
Overindulging in alcohol can affect your professional life. Missing work due to hangovers, accidentally saying something offensive at the office holiday party, or sleeping with a subordinate coworker can all result from intoxication. Rather than making a mistake that harms your professional potential for years to come, consider whether your life might be better free of alcohol.
The Cost of a Drink
Maybe you don’t have the tendency to overindulge or make mistakes while drunk. You could still be spending too much of your hard-earned money on adult beverages. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends about 1% of their yearly gross income on drinks. This can vary depending on the person, but if you drink regularly, stopping could save you quite a bit of cash.
Overspending While Intoxicated
There’s another financial aspect to alcohol consumption, and it’s something many people don’t think about. The same inhibition-lowering effects that lead to bad social decisions can also make you overspend your money. Shopping, gambling, and dining out can all seem more enticing and less consequential while drunk. If you don’t have any financial worries, this might not be a problem. Anyone on a budget should consider this as one of the many reasons to stop drinking.
To Quit or Cut Back
Plenty of people use alcohol responsibly, so why can’t you? Only you can figure out the answer to that question. You might have a genetic tendency toward alcoholism, which means any alcohol consumption is likely to cause problems. Even without a family history or physical dependency, you still might be someone who’d be better off sober. Alcohol affects people differently, and if it’s making your life worse rather than better, you have your answer.
When deciding to sober up or not, it’s wise to work with a therapist who can help you understand your tendency to overindulge. A therapist can help you examine your feelings and habits surrounding drinking. Through this work, you’ll discover what is triggering your desire to drink and your behaviors when you do. By embracing therapy and being honest with yourself, you should be able to determine the best path forward.
If you do choose sobriety, know there are many folks out there who are going through the same journey. The support you need is available, so consider the many reasons to stop drinking, and change your life for the better today.