10 Things That Happen to Your Body When You Give Up Booze

Partying with friends on the weekend or having a few glasses of wine in the evening may not seem like a big deal. But even a moderate amount of alcohol can have far-reaching negative effects on your health.

Thankfully, many of these effects can be stopped or reduced by giving up booze. The following are some positive health changes you may find when you kick an alcohol habit. If you’d like a jump start, check out some great tips on how to quit drinking alcohol at StopDrinkingAlchol.com.

Related: Ditch Alcohol: Try mocktails!

What Happens When You Give Up Booze

1. You’ll have better results from exercise.

The excess calories in alcohol can seriously set back a workout. One cocktail, like a margarita, can contain over 300 calories, which is the same as a McDonald’s cheeseburger. Even a 1.5 ounce (43 milliliter) shot of spirits like vodka or tequila has over 100 calories.

That means if you stop for a happy hour drink before heading to the gym, you have a lot of extra calories to work off before you can even start to touch your real fitness goals, like weight loss or muscle strengthening. In addition, alcohol can interfere with muscle building and slow down your post-exercise recovery.

Next time, try skipping the alcohol. Then when you take a walk, jump on your bike, or lift weights, you’ll know you’re getting straight to the calories that need to go.

2. Your skin will get its glow back.

Your skin may start to look clearer and feel more hydrated the longer you avoid alcohol. This is due to a few factors. Alcohol is a diuretic, which makes you urinate more. Booze also decreases the body’s ability to reabsorb water. These combine to significantly dehydrate your body after drinking.

Alcohol also damages your liver and impairs its ability to remove toxins from your blood. As toxins build up in your body, it can start to show on your skin. You might feel like your skin is hot and itchy, or it looks red and dry.

Quitting alcohol will often clear up skin problems like these, as well as conditions like dandruff, eczema, or rosacea.

3. Your happy place will be easier to find.

Even though you may feel giddy and elated when you drink, alcohol is technically classified as a depressant. This is because alcohol depresses, or inhibits, your central nervous system (CNS).

One of the CNS’s functions is to regulate your emotions. When you drink, any underlying painful emotions tend to rise up to the surface as your CNS becomes impaired. So, if you’re drinking to make yourself feel better, it usually backfires. Those initial feelings of elation often give way to the emotional pain you’re trying to mask.

Alcohol has also been linked to a higher risk of depression and anxiety, most likely due to the negative effects on your CNS.

When you give up booze, it lets your nervous system go back into balance. Then you’ll be able to find your own inner balance again.

4. You’ll wake up with more energy.

Alcohol disrupts sleep. But the science behind it is a bit sneaky. When you first drink alcohol, it acts as a sedative. That’s why some people will easily doze off after a glass of wine or other drink in the evening.

But if you drink alcohol regularly, your brain develops a tolerance to its sedative effects. This causes your brain to maintain lighter phases of sleep during the night, rather than the deeper states needed for proper rest and healing.

Alcohol users may be tempted to increase their intake to get the initial sedative effect, but it will only make the problem worse over time. The only way to stop the cycle is to stop drinking, especially before bed. Your body will recalibrate and you’ll get the deep sleep you need to power you through the day.

5. Your liver will thank you.

More than 2 million Americans suffer from liver diseases caused by alcohol. That’s particularly disturbing when you consider the fact these diseases are completely preventable.

Your liver breaks down most of the alcohol you drink. But this process creates toxic by-products even more harmful than the alcohol itself. These toxins damage liver cells, promote inflammation, and weaken your natural defenses.

Only a few days of heavy drinking are all it takes to start damaging your liver.

Quitting alcohol will prevent any further damage to your liver. Previous damage won’t be completely reversed, but quitting will help support your liver and lessen your disease symptoms.

6. You’ll make better food choices.

A 2004 study found that alcohol consumption raises your levels of gelanin, a hormone known to increase hunger and food intake. In particular, gelanin increases your desire for high-fat foods.

In addition, individuals who drink alcohol excessively are shown to display poor eating habits, such as overeating and eating fewer healthy foods. And those who drink the most tend to have the worst eating habits. This may be a combination of impaired judgement while being drunk and altered hunger hormones.

Staying sober will help keep your mind clear and your hormones balanced. You’ll be able to skip the donuts and choose foods that support your health instead.

7. Your cancer risk will go down.

Alcohol use has been linked to an increased risk of cancers of the mouth and throat, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum, and breast. And the more you drink, the higher your risk.

Researchers believe this is due to many factors. Alcohol breaks down into toxins in your body that act as carcinogens. Booze also impairs your body’s ability to digest and absorb a variety of nutrients, which weakens your body. And alcohol increases estrogen in your blood, which is a sex hormone linked to the risk of breast cancer.

Studies have found that your risk of cancer slowly decreases as long as you stay off booze.

8. You’ll be able to think more clearly.

Impaired thinking doesn’t stop the moment you sober up. Chemicals called neurotransmitters take messages between the neurons in your brain that keep it running smoothly. Alcohol consumption can easily disrupt neurotransmitters and normal brain function.

Only one night of heavy drinking can lead to depression, agitation, memory loss, and even seizures.

Long-term alcohol abuse damages your brain cells enough to make them actually shrink. This loss of brain mass impacts areas such as motor coordination, mood, and cognitive functions like learning and memory.

Staying sober over several months to a year may allow these changes to partially correct. Abstinence can also help reverse negative effects on thinking skills, including problem solving, memory, and attention.

9. You may get sick less.

Your immune system is weakened when you drink alcohol, which makes your body more open to attack from bacteria, viruses, and other diseases. Chronic drinkers are more likely to contract infections like pneumonia and tuberculosis.

But even drinking too much on one occasion will slow your body’s ability to fight off pathogens for up to 24 hours after getting drunk. Quitting alcohol will help minimize the burden on your immune system, especially if you’re already fighting a viral or bacterial infection.

10. Your quality of life will improve.

Giving up booze can have a snowball effect on your life. Not only will you start to meet your fitness goals, feel happier, sleep better, and enjoy better health, you’ll also have more time and money to put towards more life-enhancing activities.

The average American spends approximately $457 on alcohol per year. What would you do with an extra $457 dollars? Go on a vacation with friends? Buy healthier food? Start a new hobby? Treat yourself to a few spa days throughout the year?

Staying active and engaged in life promotes better mental health, which helps you in all areas of life. Try taking alcohol out of your life for a while and see what better things you can find to take its place.

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Mike R
Mike Rabout a month ago


Mike R
Mike Rabout a month ago


Marie W
Marie W5 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

Melania P
Melania Padilla7 months ago

I don't think having a glass of wine will harm you; this article is for people who drink way too much.

Stephanie s
Stephanie Y8 months ago

Thank you

joan s
joan silaco8 months ago


Ruth S
Ruth S8 months ago


Emma Z
Emma W8 months ago

thank you for sharing

Elaine W
Elaine W8 months ago

A little wine in the spaghetti sauce and a little more in the cook. (I honestly do not cook sauce every day Ha!)

Carole R
Carole R8 months ago

Sounds good to me.