2020 is, without a doubt, one of the most stressful and challenging years we have experienced. The global pandemic and uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the country’s political climate have all contributed to a national sense of unease and worry. It is no wonder then, that more and more people have turned to alcohol to cope. For many, alcohol has served as a comfort blanket and a friend, always there to help get you through the day.
Since Covid-19 had such a significant impact on the way we work, socialize, shop and live, we have become more anxious, lonely, depressed and stressed. The isolation that many have faced as a result of multiple lockdowns and continuous restrictions on personal freedom, make it easy to normalize daily drinking as a way to quiet uncomfortable emotions. Indeed, since Covid-19 emerged in the UK, alcohol sales have increased by 22% and the number of people drinking to excess has doubled since February 2020, from 4.2 million to 8.4 million.
This alarming rise in alcohol consumption can be put down to a number of factors: increased unemployment, mental health problems, physical health concerns, and the many restrictive measures implemented during lockdown. But alcohol simply isn’t going to make things better. Unfortunately, the more frequently you drink and the greater the quantity, can both lead to addiction and alcohol dependence. In fact, it is attributed as a contributing factor in several medical conditions. These include cancer of the stomach, liver and breast, and can cause high blood pressure, heart disease and liver cirrhosis.
As 2021 draws near, the end of this difficult year is in sight. Many people will be jumping for joy at the thought of a fresh start, and what better time than to set some healthy and positive lifestyle goals? Whether you’re thinking of ditching the drink altogether, or cutting the amount and frequency, be proud of yourself for the steps you are taking to a healthier and a happier you.
We know it isn’t easy. Changing a bad habit and building new ones require much energy, motivation and commitment. But it is possible. 2021 can be the year you decide to make some changes, and finally rid yourself of the things that no longer serve you. You are able to live a sober life and be happy at the same time. You’re guaranteed to enjoy both physical and mental health benefits as a result of changing your relationship with alcohol.
Here are some of the positive reasons for you to go sober, whether it’s taking up Dry January, or giving up completely:
1. Improved mood
Alcohol is a depressant, and its effects on your brain chemistry can lead to anxiety, depression and severe mood swings. Alcohol will only make mental health problems worse, but giving up even just for a month will significantly improve mood, reduce stress, increase productivity and your daily wellbeing.
2. Better sleep
Alcohol significantly disrupts your sleep schedule. Whilst many believe alcohol can help you drift off at night, it actually has the reverse effect. You will end up in the less restful, REM state (Rapid Eye Movement) of sleep, which ultimately leaves you more tired in the morning. Without the alcohol, your body and mind can properly restore and refresh overnight. Over time, you will start dreaming again and develop good sleep hygiene. The benefits are huge: improved mood, less stress, anxiety and better physical health too.
3. Save money
Alcohol is expensive. The amount you spend on alcohol over a period of time can be a lot bigger than you might first think, if you do the sums. Take into account drinks with friends, drinks with dinner, brunches out, bottles of wine and beer at home with friends, and you can easily spend between £50 and £100 per week on booze. Why not use that as an incentive to stop drinking? Calculate the amount you’d save by giving up, and at the end of each month put it towards something special just for you. You could book in for a relaxing massage, buy yourself a new outfit, or put it away for a big holiday that you’ve always wanted to go on.
4. Better skin
Alcohol is a poison which dehydrates your skin and releases multiple toxins into your system. When drinking your skin can become dry, patchy and red. By stopping drinking, you give your body a break and your skin can recover. As your body is able to absorb more vitamins and nutrients, your skin will naturally improve and look healthier and younger.
5. New perspectives
Getting sober can change your entire perspective and outlook on life. If you enter a treatment facility, part of the therapeutic programme involves CBT, individual counselling and group therapy. These therapies can help you challenge your thinking, your patterns of behaviour, and teach you how to build healthier relationships, both with yourself and others. Dependent drinkers often worry how they will have fun without alcohol, but over time, attitudes and opinions can change. You have so much more time, and are more present and engaged with life and able to enjoy it. In fact most people realise that life is a lot more fun sober!
We're here to help
Perhaps, like many of us, 2020 has found you using a bit more alcohol than usual to cope with the loneliness, isolation and boredom. Or perhaps this year has shone a light on your problem drinking that you’ve been trying for too long to ignore. Are you ready to make a change in 2021?
Here at the Providence Projects, we do not underestimate how daunting the process of giving up alcohol or drugs can be. Yet we also know how beneficial it is for the individual, their family and friends. Getting sober can be the best thing you do for yourself and your future. Since our doors opened in 1996, we have helped thousands of individuals to recover from drug, alcohol and gambling addictions. These people have gone on to lead happy, healthy lives in recovery – and most importantly, they are free from the prison that the disease of addiction creates.
If you’d like to find out more about our private alcohol rehab and detox programmes, please feel free to get in touch today. You can call us today on 0800 955 0945 and speak to our experienced teams of counsellors and doctors.