What are the TRUE Effects of Quitting Alcohol?

This article will explore the effects of quitting alcohol, which as we will see, can be separated into two categories. For people who are dependent on alcohol, the most obvious and immediate symptoms come in the form of withdrawal symptoms.

effects of quitting alcohol

But if you have the right strategies in place to get past withdrawal, then you should keep your mind on the ultimate prize, which is the range of positive effects that come from being a non-drinker.

We will cover the positive and negative effects of quitting in detail, and I will arm you with direction and solutions for transforming your life.

I want to begin with the brighter side of this topic, which will draw from my own experience as a nondrinker for the past several years. The positive symptoms are nearly limitless!

If you want to quit drinking and haven’t done so yet, the following section will help you build motivation to beat withdrawal and make it to the other side.

15 Positive Effects of Quitting Alcohol

effects of quitting alcohol

The benefits of being a nondrinker are too many to list. But I will do my best to compress them into 15 of my greatest epiphanies since I quit drinking years ago, in no particular order:

1) I’m healthier than I ever thought I could be.

It took time to rebuild myself from scratch and reinvent myself as a person who values fitness and mental clarity. But it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. I’ve surpassed in overall vitality not just your average so-called “recovering alcoholic,” but people who consider themselves to be quite healthy as well.

2) I’m mentally sharper than ever before.

If you drink way too much and you know that you’re intelligent, then let me assure you of something: You will be SCARY SMART a year after you’ve excised drinking from your life.

Before I quit drinking, my mind operated like a messed up filing cabinet that had been doused in vodka and set on fire. I feel like it’s been replaced with a supercomputer. I can pick any file I need within milliseconds.

3) Getting into very good shape became relatively easy.

effects of quitting alcohol

Supplementation and attitude shifts worked synergistically, and I quickly realized that drinking had been the only reason I’d ever spent whole days on the couch. I wasn’t actually lazy! Heavy lifting, sprints, and various forms of cardio became replacement activities for drinking that I really looked forward to doing each day.

4) I feel euphoric for no reason at least 5 times every day.

Awesome, mindless, full-body buzzes for no reason. In the car, in the gym, while I’m doing work. With no substances whatsoever. This is the new normal, and alcohol has nothing to do with it. The assumption that I would always need to drink to achieve euphoria was the biggest canard of my drinking days.

5) Sleep is now a drug that I look forward to taking each night.

effects of quitting alcohol

I used to put off sleep because I needed to get in my nightly alcohol quota to feel relaxed. Now I realize that this was always a massive waste of time. As my brain chemistry normalized, so did my sleep. Why would I want to fall into an intoxicated haze when I can drift off into restorative bliss?

6) I wake up feeling ready to take on anything.

I never need too much sleep anymore. 7 hours is sufficient; 8-9 hours is great if I’ve been deprived due to travel or projects that I’m working on. When I drank, I thought that being half-asleep and dreading the morning was the same thing as sleep. It’s not even close.

7) My relationships with people who matter have gotten much better.

A byproduct of alcohol’s neurotoxicity must be the decision to spend time with people who don’t matter. When you quit drinking for good, you’ll have much more insight into who actually matters in your life. And you’ll be able to channel your energy levels into being physically and mentally present with them.

8) I’m a hundred times more productive than I was when I drank.

effects of quitting alcohol

Simple things get done without much effort. More difficult tasks – like my eBook, or my online course – get done in record time. I used to feel confused, depressed, anxious, and unmotivated unless I’d had a bit of alcohol. When I drank too much, I was downright delusional and still unproductive.

9) My face has reverse-aged…I look ten years younger than when I drank.

My friends joke that I’m the only one who’s gotten younger since our early twenties. This is because I established my fitness and clarity of mind as high priorities. I still remember what it felt like to have a dry, sweaty, bloated face that made my eyes look beady.

10) My workouts are a hundred times more satisfying than when I drank.

Besides the massive amount of calories, drinking turns everything else you eat into fat, throws off your hormonal balance, and leaches nutrients that you need to feel your best. I tried very hard in the gym before I quit drinking, and often had to quit after 15 minutes of intense exercise. Now I feel like I can keep going after an hour.

11) People who aren’t shallow idiots admire me for quitting.

Being a happy nondrinker is a great filter for low-quality people. The best people out there will take pleasure in your transformation. Shallow, envious, resentful, insecure people will not be happy at all that you’re not drinking. You don’t have to associate with these types of people.

12) With clarity of mind, I was able to find a purpose in life.

As Steve Jobs once said, it’s only possible to connect the dots in retrospect. I had no idea what my purpose was going to be when I quit drinking. My mind was still cloudy for months, but I was able to reverse the confusion and depression by using the strategies I discuss on this site. As I did, the universe gradually realigned to conform to my vision.

13) Being free from society’s drug of choice is more satisfying than being a drunk sheep.

Clueless teenagers aren’t the only ones who succumb to peer pressure. Old people are made to feel like they’re missing out if they don’t join the wine of the month club. Drinking gives us nothing that we can’t achieve without it – and that includes pleasant states of mind, euphoria, and relaxation. You can become a connoisseur in better ways.

14) I don’t have to hide drinking from people.

Secrecy is emotional isolation. I used to hide bottles all over my apartment, and I literally hid under a bar once as my boss walked by outside. I know what hiding drinking feels like. As the guilt and shame that stem from secrecy evaporate, you can proceed to replace your other weaknesses with strengths.

15) I finally feel at peace with the universe.

effects of quitting alcohol

The nagging feeling that I lived in a malevolent universe that was somehow out to get me is gone. Because alcohol induces artificial relaxation, it turns the dial down on our brains’ natural production of GABA, which is our calming chemical. The result is feeling “on edge” whenever alcohol is not in the bloodstream. I REALLY do not miss the constant, unsettling sensation of impending doom.

Dealing With Withdrawal

Now you know what you can expect to experience as a nondrinker. That is, IF you’re proactive, patient, and positive enough to quit drinking and change your life.

The negative symptoms are all temporary. Withdrawal tends to last for a few days to a few weeks at most. Protracted withdrawal can last for up to a year, but it is preventable with the guidance that you will find here.

What Causes Withdrawal?

effects of quitting alcohol

Alcohol is a depressant that mimics GABA, which is the primary “inhibitory” or calming neurotransmitter in our brains. The addicted brain decreases its long-term GABA production because it has learned to rely on alcohol for the same effect.

Even worse, alcohol also suppresses glutamate, which is an “excitatory” neurotransmitter. Glutamate has the opposite effect as GABA, making our brains hyperactive and our experience of the world hypersensitive.

For especially heavy drinkers, there are two basic reasons for the negative reactions:

  • Glutamate rebounds to high levels within 3-8 hours of the last drink
  • GABA does not return to normal levels (this can take weeks)

Many of the uncomfortable symptoms are caused by a lack of GABA and an excess of glutamate. Others are caused by deficiencies of dopamine, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters and hormones. These deficiencies can be fixed with supplementation and other lifestyle changes.

Symptoms of Withdrawal

effects of quitting alcohol

Symptoms of withdrawal, listed from relatively minor to severe, include (but are not limited to):

  • A general sense of unease
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Shakiness
  • Depression
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Sense of impending doom
  • Hypersensitive reflex responses
  • High fever
  • Full body twitching
  • Brain zaps
  • Auditory, visual, or tactile hallucinations
  • Delirium Tremens (DT’s) – confusion, hallucinations, and seizures that can last up to a week (untreated)

Withdrawal Timeline

The following chart is a general snapshot (in days) of the withdrawal timeline for a person who quits cold turkey without medications.

effects of quitting alcohol

The red, green, and gray areas only apply to severe withdrawal, while the blue area applies to minor withdrawal.

The chart above only deals with the physical symptoms of acute alcohol withdrawal.

For most alcoholics who quit drinking, life does not return to normal after two weeks without drinking. There are two other factors that have to be taken into account here:

  • Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS): Consists of physical and psychological symptoms – often anxiety, depression, and insomnia – that can last for up to a year after quitting drinking.
  • Resolution of Underlying Disorders: Many people have untreated anxiety, depression, insomnia or other psychological issues that need to be addressed – often by a combination of nutrient restoration, external support, and the formation of new belief systems. Some people may need therapy or medications.

Regardless of the severity of your addiction, you have the power to minimize the symptoms in the above chart! The withdrawal remedies, nutrient repair supplements, and lifestyle changes discussed on this site can help you quit with relative ease and stay quit for good.

For a fuller explanation of what to expect during withdrawal for mild, moderate, and severe scenarios, check out my article on the withdrawal timeline and body repair after quitting drinking.

Withdrawal Relief

effects of quitting alcohol

Here are some tips for alleviating the immediate symptoms:

  • For severe withdrawal, see a doctor for a tapered regimen of benzodiazepines
  • If you do not have access to medications, taper your drinking gradually to zero
  • Proactively repair your system
  • Drink lots of water and clean up your diet
  • Move your body and stimulate your mind!
One of the best ways to rebalance your brain after you quit drinking is to use Calm Support, which integrates a number of nutrients that I write about on this site.
You may find that you need higher doses of some of the ingredients – but using a supplement like Calm Support is a great way to begin the process of nutrient repair.

What other supplements might you need? Based on my own experience and that of my coaching clients, I would say that Sleep Support, L-glutamine, DLPA, and magnesium citrate seem to be the most helpful in addition to Calm Support for helping to kickstart nutrient repair and brain chemistry normalization.

Here are some tips on using these other supplements:

  • Sleep Support is a very effective supplement that helps with insomnia
  • A few grams of L-glutamine placed under the tongue to help prevent alcohol cravings
  • One capsule of DLPA in the morning to improve mood, since it contains dopamine and endorphin building blocks
  • Up to half a gram of magnesium citrate before bed to help with relaxation and sleep

I discuss more natural remedies for withdrawal in a free report that you will get if you sign up for my email list. If this is something you’re interested in, be sure to sign up at the bottom of this article!

Further Considerations

If you are currently trying to break your addiction, the following articles will prove very useful to you:

There are well over one hundred articles and counting on Fit Recovery, so please subscribe to my email list at the bottom of this article and stay posted for more!


I hope you’ve taken something important away from this article.

With enough internal resolve, anyone can conquer addiction forever.

In fact, if you take the time to absorb everything on this website, including my eBook and online course, I would not bet against you beating addiction.

Supplementation, mindset shifts, and lifestyle improvements together substantially put the odds in your favor.

I’ve boiled down quitting forever into three P’s that you’ll need to “be” if you want to win your struggle:

  • Proactive – Absorb every piece of information you can, and take action on it all!
  • Positive – No one has ever defied the odds by looking through poo-colored glasses
  • Patient – Small decisions you make today will pay off in the future, in ways you cannot imagine

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment box below.

Hierarchy of Alcohol Recovery
Please review this post!



The information we provide while responding to comments is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal, or other professional advice. The responses to comments on fitrecovery.com are designed to support, not replace, medical or psychiatric treatment. Please seek professional care if you believe you may have a condition.

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4 years ago

Hey Chris, because I discovered your YouTube clips I was able to break my 20+ year routine of drinking wine every single night, by understanding alcohol better, smashing supplements and herbal teas to de-stress, cleaning up my diet and upping my workouts. After a 4-day headache I started feeling great, in control, less bloated and proud! I’m a mum with a lot to live for. Thankyou so much, you are extremely inspiring. Ally, South Australia.

4 years ago

Hi, I suffer from depression and associated alcoholism and have got to thank you for the supplement info. I am taking l-tyrosine / l-glutamine during the day and these have definitely increased my mood and motivation – taking Theanine on a night or when anxious to give me calm – jurys out on these. I will also try the magnesium as I do take epsom salt baths once a week and this does help me relax

Joanne Czarnik
Joanne Czarnik
5 years ago

I love the Calm Support! I loved the book Drinking Sucks which I still read over and over to keep
Me motivated! Thank you Chris Scott !!

Kathleen C Pinney
Kathleen C Pinney
5 years ago

I, too, am grateful for finding your website and for the information you’ve provided about supplements. I am lucky (well, not lucky for having an anxiety disorder) that I do have a prescription for Xanax and have been taking 0.25 mg x2 daily for the past 3 days, and will continue for the next week. Before this, I was just taking 0.25 prn.

Once again, thank you for your help and support.

Chris Scott
5 years ago

You’re very welcome Kathleen, keep it up!!

6 years ago

Hi Chris, In advance, I apologize for being extremely wordy in but I just can’t seem to say enough! I just wanted to drop you a line to say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for creating this website and offering so much undervalued and overlooked advice in regards to quitting drinking. I stumbled across this blog 4 nights ago around 2 am from yet another seemingly “last ditch effort to help myself not die Google search” whilst in the throes of yet another withdrawal- a drenched in cold sweat, chest pounding, body shaking nightmare. I definitely also… Read more »

Chris Scott
6 years ago
Reply to  Marie

WOW. Marie, thank you for telling your story and for this incredible feedback! So glad you’re finally starting to feel better – just wait until six months from now. And then a year. Don’t ever give up – but don’t worry, you won’t want to. You’re finally repairing your system, and the benefits will accumulate like compound interest. With your brain-body system repairing, it will become easier to empower your mind. If you need further help finding a purpose, I can’t recommend Tony Robbins enough as a potent replacement for stale recovery dogma. And now thousands of people will eventually… Read more »

Marie Alexander
Marie Alexander
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris Scott

Thank you Chris!

Chris Scott
6 years ago

You’re very welcome Marie!