In the UK, we drink a lot. More than most countries in Europe. We don’t just drink a lot, we drink in dangerous ways. Binge drinking is not as popular as it was, but the hundreds of thousands of hospital admissions for alcohol related injury or disease speaks volumes of the continuing appeal of excessive drinking.
Cutting down on your drinking can only be a good thing. A lot of people say they can and they will, but drinking is enjoyable, relaxing, and addictive, so it is hard to get away from.
Hopefully, this short summary of the benefits will help you motivate yourself to make the right choices.
Ethanol, the active ingredient in alcoholic drinks, is toxic. It reacts with our bodies and destroys cells. The liver is very good at processing it but it cannot do it much without becoming damaged itself. Too much alcohol causes the liver to harden and stop functioning. Eventually, the patient needs a liver transplant. Lists are long: many people die before they ever get a new liver. People who do not drink are given precedence over those who drink, so you will be at the bottom of the list for new livers.
Alcohol is also carcinogenic: it causes cancer. Mouth cancer is the most common form of alcohol-related cancer. You could lose your tongue or your jaw. Maybe all your teeth and gums. Mouth cancer can spread and kill you. Another cancer caused by alcohol is oesophageal cancer. You do not have many nerves in your oesophagus, so you do not feel the cancer until it is too late. Survival rates are very low. Then there is colorectal cancer, which has low survival rates as well. Even if you do survive, you will be missing large parts of your intestines and rectum. This is not a pleasant fate.
Booze has a lot of sugar in it. Alcohol is a leading cause of obesity. If you want to lose weight, cut out the beer and wine. A Friday night getting the pints in can be like eating a bag of sugar. You wouldn’t do that normally, so why do it with booze?
That sugar can also cause diabetes, which is made worse by alcohol.
Have a Better Social Life
If your social life revolves around the pub, it is probably not a very good social life. A lot of people drink because of social anxiety, but it does not help you get over the social anxiety, it just shuts it up for a while.
Cutting down on booze can give you more opportunities to go and do other things with your family and friends. Access culture, don’t just go to the pub. With the extra cash you have from cutting down, you can save for some really interesting things to do.
Have more Money
The average Briton spends about £800 on alcohol every year. That’s a new TV, a shiny new smartphone, a new boiler, an upgrade to the house, nice presents for your kids, or just a bit of money put to one side for a rainy day. Booze is expensive, imagine what you could spend the extra cash on?
Are Sundays often spent in bed with a hangover? Do you feel tired at work? Struggling to get out of bed in the morning?
In many cases, alcohol is the cause. Drinking disrupts your sleep, it changes how you breathe when you are asleep, and alters the patterns of your dreams, which are essential to proper rest. Half a bottle of wine a night might not sound like much but it can seriously impair your sleep quality, and therefore the rest of your life.
It can feel like you need alcohol to unwind. It rarely has this effect, and if it is a habit, it will not help. Cutting down or cutting it out entirely can help you find effective stress relieving strategies. Plus, you will be less stressed because you are less tired, are healthier, and have more money.
Your friends and family will notice the change. You’ll look healthier and be better company. People care about you, they do not want you to hurt yourself with alcohol.