Benefits of Saying No to Alcohol and Drugs
Alcohol and drugs affect your health in more ways than one. They slow down your reflexes, making you more likely to injure yourself and others, not to mention getting behind the wheel of a car or operating dangerous machinery at work. They can also make you less productive at work and in school, affecting your career prospects and social life while you’re under the influence. If you’re addicted to alcohol or drugs, it’s time to get help before your addiction takes over your life. Here are some surprising benefits of saying no to alcohol and drugs once and for all.
1) More Free Time
It might not seem like it, but your brain uses a great deal of energy—even when you’re doing nothing at all. If you quit using alcohol or drugs, you’ll have more time to spend on other things (i.e., seeing friends, exercising, relaxing). In fact, some studies have found that there can be such a thing as recreational intelligence—that is, people with high IQs tend to drink less than their lower-IQ counterparts. This doesn’t mean taking up drinking or drugs will make you dumb; rather, it seems that high IQ individuals are likely not attracted to these substances in the first place.
2) Less Anxiety
If you’re tired of living in a constant state of stress, saying no to drugs is a good place to start. Drug use can throw your stress levels out of whack and increase feelings of anxiety. The trouble with drug use may make it hard for you to concentrate or remember things, which in turn may lead you to feel anxious, says Beecham. Plus, substance abuse can impair your judgment—you may be more inclined to take risks that put your health at risk or do something embarrassing (like getting fired from your job) due to poor decision-making skills.
3) Easier Decision Making
It may sound counterintuitive, but cutting out drugs and alcohol can actually help you make better decisions. When you’re high or drunk, your brain doesn’t function as well at making rational choices. Alcohol can also cloud your thinking, and make it harder for you to keep track of how much money you’ve spent or even what you’ve said or done.
One study found that people who drank alcohol were more likely than sober people to experience regret about decisions that they made under intoxication—even when those decisions had been carefully considered before intoxication. All in all, being sober gives you a clear head for important decisions like saving money for an emergency fund or which school districts will get your kids next year.
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4) Improved Sleep
Drinking too much booze before bed disrupts our sleep cycles. A nightcap might make you feel tired, but alcohol inhibits our bodies’ ability to enter REM (rapid eye movement) sleep—the time when we dream and grow. If you’re serious about staying fit and healthy, it’s important that you get enough quality sleep so your body can repair itself. Not only will you be more likely to wake up without a headache or a sore body, but also your reflexes will be sharper, allowing you to have full control over any emergency situation that might present itself in a job site or construction zone.
5) Faster Weight Loss
Substances can slow down your metabolism, leading to slower weight loss. If you’re serious about losing weight quickly, kick drugs and alcohol from your life. You may be surprised by how much easier it is to burn fat when your body isn’t fighting withdrawal symptoms. Plus, getting off alcohol and drugs can clear up your skin, make your hair shiny, keep you focused on important tasks, protect you from disease, add years to your life expectancy—and boost self-esteem!
6) Better Mood
You may have already noticed a boost in your mood since you’ve stopped drinking or using drugs. Not only does alcohol or drugs cause us to have a shorter temper when we’re drunk or high, but it’s also been shown that even in moderation, alcohol has long-term effects on our moods. For example, a small study done at University College London showed that those who drank one glass of wine per week were twice as likely to experience depression than their teetotaler counterparts. And while there are many reasons you may want to stay sober—the fact that it’s good for your mental health is definitely one worth noting.
7) Financial Security
As with any addiction, alcoholics are spending a lot of money on their vice. The higher your income, the more you’re throwing away in addition to your health. Not only can sobriety make you more productive at work and improve your performance, but it can also save you thousands every year. Not being intoxicated may mean that you have a better chance of recognizing when someone is trying to scam or steal from you, too. If nothing else, stopping drinking will let all those extra dollars flow into investments and savings accounts for retirement.
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