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 effects of quitting alcohol come in the form of alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
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 nondrinker.
We will cover the positive and negative effects of quitting alcohol 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 effects of quitting alcohol 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 alcohol withdrawal and make it to the other side.
- 15 Positive Effects of Quitting Alcohol
- 1) I’m healthier than I ever thought I could be.
- 2) I’m mentally sharper than ever before.
- 3) Getting into very good shape became relatively easy.
- 4) I feel euphoric for no reason at least 5 times every day.
- 5) Sleep is now a drug that I look forward to taking each night.
- 6) I wake up feeling ready to take on anything.
- 7) My relationships with people who matter have gotten much better.
- 8) I’m a hundred times more productive than I was when I drank.
- 9) My face has reverse-aged…I look ten years younger than when I drank.
- 10) My workouts are a hundred times more satisfying than when I drank.
- 11) People who aren’t shallow idiots admire me for quitting alcohol.
- 12) With clarity of mind, I was able to find a purpose in life.
- 13) Being free from society’s drug of choice is more satisfying than being a drunk sheep.
- 14) I don’t have to hide drinking from people.
- 15) I finally feel at peace with the universe.
- Dealing With Alcohol Withdrawal
- Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline
- Alcohol Withdrawal Relief
- Further Considerations
- Effects Of Quitting Alcohol – Conclusion
15 Positive 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 alcohol 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 alcohol 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.
Supplementation and attitude shifts worked synergistically, and I quickly realized that alcohol 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 alcohol 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.
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 alcoholic 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.
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, alcohol 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 alcohol.
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. Alcohol 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 of alcohol 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.
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 Alcohol 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 effects of quitting alcohol are all temporary. Alcohol withdrawal tends to last for a few days to a few weeks at most. Protracted alcohol withdrawal can last for up to a year, but it is preventable with the guidance that you will find here.
What Causes Alcohol Withdrawal?
Alcohol is a depressant that mimics GABA, which is the primary “inhibitory” or calming neurotransmitter in our brains. The alcoholic 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 effects of quitting alcohol:
- 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 effects of quitting alcohol 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 Alcohol Withdrawal
Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, listed from relatively minor to severe, include (but are not limited to):
- A general sense of unease
- 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)
Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline
The following chart is a general snapshot (in days) of the alcohol withdrawal timeline for a person who quits cold turkey without medications.
The red, green, and gray areas only apply to severe alcohol withdrawal, while the blue area applies to minor alcohol 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 alcohol. 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 alcohol addiction, you have the power to minimize the symptoms in the above chart! The alcohol 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 alcohol withdrawal for mild, moderate, and severe scenarios, check out my article on the alcohol withdrawal timeline and body repair after quitting drinking.
Alcohol Withdrawal Relief
Here are some tips for alleviating the immediate effects of quitting alcohol:
- 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!
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 alcohol 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!
If you are currently trying to break your addiction to alcohol, the following articles will prove very useful to you:
- Top 20 Supplements For Detox And Recovery
- Top 10 Remedies For Sleep After Quitting Alcohol
- Top 10 Ways Exercise Rewires Your Brain
- 7 Ways Ben Affleck Could Transcend Alcohol Addiction
- Is Alcoholism Genetic? Reconciling Genes, Experience, And Choice
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!
Effects Of Quitting Alcohol – Conclusion
I hope you’ve taken something important away from this article on the effects of quitting alcohol.
With enough internal resolve, anyone can conquer alcohol 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 alcohol addiction.
Supplementation, mindset shifts, and lifestyle improvements together substantially put the odds in your favor.
I’ve boiled down quitting alcohol 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 about the effects of quitting alcohol, please leave them in the comment box below.