To Drink You Not To Drink? YOU Decide

To Drink You Not To Drink? YOU Decide

04-02-2022

I'm not here to lecture you or try and convince you to give up alcohol - that's a decision for you and only you to make. Only you will really no how much you're drinking, whether it's becoming a problem or if it's already a big issue to you.

Do I Really Have An Alcohol Problem?

It's all so easy to be dishonest with yourself. I remember telling myself I'm only having a drink to be sociable, I think I'll pop out for a quick one tonight instead of tomorrow (and we all know tomorrow never comes!!!), I might as well finish this bottle off to get rid of it then I won't buy any more. In my mind I could pretty much "justify" having a drink at any time and find an genuine (in my mind) excuse for drinking every day.

Deep down I knew it was a problem though and I remember the moment of realisation that I HAD to stop. At that time I admitted to myself I had a problem and made the big decission to quit. Let the battle begin!!!

What Happens When I Give Up Alcohol?

Alcohol is a complicated drug and the exact effects it has on the brain are not yet fully understood but there's a couple of things you need to know so let me try and explain what these are in simple terms.

Alcohol stimulates the release of dopamine - a chemical in the brain which gives us a feeling of pleasure ... a "high" if you like. Drinking regularly causes the brain to crave these highs and associate them with alcohol. What happens due to drinking regularly over time though is that the brain gradually becomes more and more desensitized to the effect of alcohol which means we have to drink more and more to experience the feelings of pleasure which we inwardly crave.

This explains why you feel yourself wanting a drink, looking for excuses to have one or trying to justify your drinking habits. You've been sending the brain the wrong message for some time and it's not going to understand why you've been feeding its addiction and then suddenly stop. It's not going to give up (or let you give up) without a fight!

The other think you need to understand is that as the brain gets used to an increasingly regular hit of alcohol it adapts to alcohols natural depressant effect by increasing a chemical called glutamate which causes the brain to become excited by the presence or expectation of alcohol and remain in this excited state until it receives enough alcohol to calm it down.

This explains the physical symptoms you're likely to experience when you first give up. Everyone of us will experience different reaction but you need to be ready for some potential short term initial effects of sobriety which could include feeling anxious, not being able to sleep well, cold sweats, the shakes, rapid heart beat, nausea, mood swings etc. The most serious potential effect is something called Alcohol Withdrawal Delirium which we better know as Delirium Tremens ... the DTs! 

In reality and according to the American Addiction Centres, around half of us can expect some kind of withdrawal symptoms but they will only be serious in less than 5% of cases.

So, a simple decision to give up is going to create a fight with your own brain which will make you crave a drink and make you feel like s**t !

Have we put you off yet? If we have then perhaps it's another of those excuses or justifications ... I'm not ready for it yet!

Don't be deterred because all these things are short term reaction only. You've created a habit which your body has become accustomed to and now you want to change that habit so it's going to take a little time for your brain to adapt. But BOY - is your brain going to feel better and it may not realise it straight away but it's really going to thank you in the end! 

Withdrawal symptoms can start anywhere from between 6 hours and 48 hours after your last drink. They're not going to last for long though. they'll typically be at their worst between the first 1 - 3 days of not drinking and you can expect to start feeling better at some stage around the 5 to 7 day period. 

To Drink You Not To Drink? YOU Decide

Think about it. You may not have realised it but you've created an addiction. Your brain is craving the good feelings it associates with alcohol and it's excited about the thought of getting it. The levels of craving and excitement depend on how much you drink and how long you've been drinking but, if you don't stop now there's every chance they will grow and develop until drink takes over your life.

Sure, giving up results in a little short term pain but the overall benefits are more than worth it ... weight loss, more money, wonderful deep sleep, waking up feeling refreshed and revitalised, more energy, improved mental health, greater concentration levels, better skin tone, improved liver function, better heart health, lower blood pressure, greater immunity, balanced moods, less rink of accidents - the list goes on and on! Best of all though is that feeling of freedom and wellbeing that can only come from beating an addiction to alcohol and no longer having to organise your life to fit in with your drinking habit. My god, it's worth it!

It may not seem like it to start with but there is life after alcohol and it's absolutely amazing But, to drink or not to drink? Only you can decide.