7 good reasons to reconsider your relationship with alcohol

In this blog, we explore seven compelling reasons why someone would consider a life without alcohol abstinence. It’s a perfect chance to reflect on your relationship with alcohol, especially if you’re feeling it’s becoming problematic. Join us as we delve into these insights, offering a fresh perspective on sobriety.

1. The cons of drinking alcohol are starting to outweigh the pros

If you’re a regular drinker, you most likely have had times where you told yourself you’re ‘done with alcohol’. Perhaps the hangovers are becoming unbearable or you’re not feeling as excited as you used to about drinking in general. There are many that quit for good once they start to feel feelings similar to this.

Take Mark Manson, three-time #1 New York Times bestselling author, as an example. In his blog, he talks about why he gave up alcohol for good. One of the main reasons is that he was noticing the initial benefits of alcohol were depleting, and the cons were starting to seep in.

At first, it was a helping hand for Mark, allowing him to push past social anxiety and dependency issues. Drinking gave him the ease to mix with larger groups, earning him the label of “the party guy” In his 20s.

Fast forward to his 30’s, now with a family and full-time job, the negative impact of regular drinking on his health became starkly apparent. Gaining weight, falling out of shape, struggling with sleep and feeling more stressed out highlighted the harsh truth of extended alcohol use. By the time Mark was 35, health issues linked to his drinking habits marked a critical turning point. It was at this point he decided to abstain for good.

Mark’s account sharply illustrates the double-edged nature of alcohol in social contexts. It might temporarily relieve social stress and help forge connections, but prolonged misuse can lead to serious harm to both physical and mental health. This story echoes with many who, at some stage, find themselves reevaluating their relationship with alcohol, driven by an awareness of its effects on their health and happiness.

2. Health concerns

When you drink often, it starts with the usual hangovers, making you feel pretty rough the next day. But it doesn’t stop there. Over time, your body starts to ‘tally up’ the damage. Drinking frequently for long periods of time can start to affect your liver, heart, skin and even mental health.

Then, there’s gout. Yes, we can hear you laughing! Gout is only for older or overweight people, right? Wrong. Stats show that between March 2015 and February 2023, there were 246,695 recorded cases of gout in the UK, and that’s not even counting the ones that slipped under the radar. Sure, around 75% of these cases were from people over 50, but 25% were under 50 (18-39- 10.9% and 40-49- 14.1% respectively). That’s a shocking number if we run with the idea that gout only affects the overweight and the elderly.

So, what’s the link between gout and drinking alcohol? Heavy drinking can lead to gout because alcohol increases uric acid in the blood. This happens as the body breaks down alcohol, hindering the elimination of uric acid through the kidneys. Elevated uric acid levels then form crystals in joints, causing the intense pain and inflammation characteristic of gout.

While we’re not saying that everyone who drinks heavily will end up with gout, it still is a potential consequence of frequently drinking alcohol. With how excruciating gout pain is and all the other health consequences mentioned, it’s no wonder some people decide to steer clear of alcohol altogether.

3. Gen Z are drinking less than previous generations

The drinking habits of Gen Z stand out distinctly from those of older generations, shaped by a mix of many different factors.

For starters, Gen Z folks are more tuned into the health impacts of alcohol, both on the body and the mind. This deep-seated health consciousness is leading many to either dial back their drinking or skip it altogether, putting their well-being first.

Then there’s the mental health angle. With mental health conversations becoming more mainstream, Gen Z is acutely aware of how alcohol can impact anyone’s mental state, exacerbating issues like anxiety and depression. So, it’s no surprise that many are choosing to steer clear of alcohol to keep their mental health in check.

On the financial front, things are tight for this generation. With the cost of living and education soaring, splurging on alcohol doesn’t always make sense. It’s led to a more frugal approach to fun, where pricey bar tabs often don’t fit the budget.

It’s also crucial to remember that the cultural tide is shifting. Gen Z is finding new, alcohol-free ways to hang out and unwind. From fitness classes to café hangouts and even sober bars, there are plenty of alternatives that don’t involve drinking. This shift is not just about avoiding alcohol; it’s about embracing different, healthier forms of socialising and relaxation.

Put all these pieces together, and it’s clear why an entire generation of people’s relationship with alcohol is changing.

4. Blackouts

You may have heard of the term ‘blacking out’ in regard to drinking alcohol before; in fact, you may have even experienced it yourself. You know when you go a little too ‘hard on the booze’ and wake up the next morning in the corridor of uncertainty? You’re not sure what happened, why there’s a traffic cone in your bedroom or where your wallet is. Unfortunately, this seems to be portrayed as amusing in the media and amongst friends when it’s anything but amusing.

So, what actually happens when you’re in ‘blackout’ mode?

Scarily, it’s a moment when your brain shuts down the area where memories are formed, the hippocampus.
According to neuroscientist Andrew Huberman, when you reach the point of black out drunk the “activity in the hippocampus, which is involved in memory formation, are completely shut off”. This explains the amnesia the next day because, in essence, your brain is unable to create any more memories. It also explains why some are so unpredictable and even dangerous in this state; they can’t think for more than a few seconds without losing short-term memories.

The beginning of a blackout typically starts when blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) reach approximately 0.16%. This means it would take around 6 drinks to start to see signs of a blackout beginning. Perhaps you repeat your sentences or forget where you left your keys 5 minutes ago. The scary thing is this is only the beginning. Any more drinks, and you’ll start to progress deeper down the blackout hole.

A lot of the time, one blackout is enough to make people at least re-evaluate their drinking habits. With the abundance of information we now have access to, it can be scary knowing exactly why you blackout with the quickest of Google searches. People from other generations may not have been privy to this information, showing that ignorance is certainly not bliss.

5. You’re noticing that people are starting to avoid you when you drink

When you drink, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’re at your most charming and articulate. In your mind, you might be the life of the party, eloquently expressing yourself and behaving like a true gentleman. However, the reality observed by others can be starkly different. Alcohol has a way of skewing self-perception, leading to a disconnect between how you perceive your actions and how they’re actually received.

One of the subtler challenges with alcohol consumption is the silence that often surrounds it. Friends and loved ones may notice changes in your behaviour or be concerned about your drinking habits, but they might hold back from saying anything. Their silence is usually not out of negligence or indifference; rather, it’s rooted in a fear of hurting your feelings or damaging the relationship. This reluctance to speak up can leave you in the dark about the impact your drinking has on those around you.

Sometimes, feedback on your drinking habits often doesn’t come until things have escalated to a point of concern. By the time someone musters the courage to speak up, your drinking may have already led to significant personal or relational problems. This delay in confrontation makes it difficult to recognise when casual drinking has crossed the line into problematic behaviour.

Recognising the potential for alcohol to create a rift between how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you can be a powerful motivator for change. For many, the realisation that their drinking might be pushing people away or disappointing those they care about serves as a wake-up call. On the flip side, it may push people not to want to drink in the first place, and we can’t blame them.

6. The threat of alcoholism

Just the idea of alcoholism is increasingly leading many to reconsider their drinking habits or even to shun alcohol altogether. High-profile cases of celebrities struggling with alcohol dependency have cast a stark light on the issue. Stars like Bradley Cooper and Demi Lovato have openly shared their battles with addiction, illustrating that success does not shield one from the pitfalls of alcoholism. The practice of openly speaking about addictions, such as alcoholism, wasn’t popular in the past, but now we’re seeing more deep interviews and biographies highlighting the struggles.

These stories resonate deeply, showcasing the harsh realities of addiction – the toll it takes on health, relationships and personal growth. For many, the fear of falling into a similar trap is a powerful deterrent. The visibility of these struggles in the media has sparked a broader conversation about the risks of drinking and the importance of moderation or abstinence. As awareness grows, the choice to avoid alcohol becomes less about missing out and more about a conscious decision to pursue a healthier, more stable lifestyle.

7. Something terrible has happened

For some who want to quit drinking, the decision comes in the wake of something drastic. There are many cases throughout history of those facing a prison sentence because a night out turned into a drunken fight, with injuries or, even worse, a loss of life. Or think about the heartbreak of causing an accident while driving under the influence, where the consequences are irreversible. Then there are the personal losses that hit hard: your partner walking away because they can’t cope with your drinking or losing your job because alcohol made you unreliable.

These moments are like flashing neon signs saying it’s time to make a change. It’s a harsh reality check that no one should wait for such extreme events to realise they need to quit drinking. If you’re seeing yourself in these scenarios, feeling trapped by alcohol, it might be time to consider rehab. It’s a tough step, but it’s about choosing a different path, one that leads away from the edge of the cliff towards something better.

What’s next?

While some people can quit drinking on their own, others find it more challenging and might need extra support. This is where alcohol rehab comes into play. It’s a crucial step for those struggling, providing a comprehensive approach to alcohol addiction treatment.

Alcoholism rehab centres offer a range of services, from alcohol detox treatment to therapy, all designed to tackle the complexities of alcoholism. In these alcohol detox centres, individuals receive the care they need to navigate the recovery process.

Opting for alcoholism rehab and alcohol addiction detox can make a significant difference, offering a path towards a healthier, alcohol-free life. It underscores the importance of recognising when it’s time to seek help in the treatment of alcoholism.

For more information on these services, reach out to UKAT today.