8 Things To Expect When You Quit Drinking Alcohol

Alcohol, beer, wine, whatever. It’s one of those things that are 100% ingrained into our society. But, most people never themselves the question – “what is alcohol doing for me?” Well today, we are going to be looking into the 8 things to expect when you quit drinking alcohol. Guys, number 8 is by far the most important one, so make sure to stay tuned to the end.

You can also check out the video version of this post below!

1. Will Quitting Alcohol Cause Withdrawal?

When you quit drinking, are you going to withdraw? Well, this often puts a lot of people off stopping. I’ve heard it all a tonne of times. “Don’t you need to detox when you stop drinking?” Or “Isn’t it dangerous to quit drinking?” Well, depending on how long you have consumed alcohol for, and how much alcohol you consume, you may well have some withdrawal symptomsAnd, if you are very physically addicted to alcohol, then seek medical attention.

But, for those of you that have decided to embrace those feelings…Think of it like this…The crazy thing is, if you are feeling withdrawal symptoms, this means you’re doing something right! You are stopping! Drinking more alcohol isn’t going to fix your withdrawal symptoms. It’s just going to prolong them.

The reality is, most people can fight through that first bit of withdrawal and discomfort. If you drink alcohol, you deal with withdrawal every single day. What do you think is happening in between those gaps when you’re not drinking?  However, when you stop, you can welcome those feelings of discomfort and think:

“I know exactly what you’re doing here, body! And I’m not going to listen to you, dumbass!”

If you’re worried about withdrawal, go to your doctor. But, if you’re ready for it, more power to you my friend!

Man getting ready to quit alcohol

2. Quitting Alcohol Will Mean You Get Better Skin

The second thing you can expect from quitting drinking is that your skin will get a TONNE better. Firstly, any redness in your skin will start clear up. Interestingly, when we drink, there is a chemical reaction that causes our peripheral blood vessels to expand and widen. This can often cause that typical red, flushed skin.

It can take a few weeks, but eventually, the blood vessels will constrict and redness in the skin will disappear. If you surpass 30 days, this will only get better. Alcohol is also a diuretic, and causes huge amounts of dehydration. When you drink your wrinkles and pores become much more visible.

better skin after quitting alcohol

By drinking plenty of water and stopping drinking alcohol, your skin will restore its natural plumpness and healthy glow, and wrinkles and bad skin will start to diminish. Don’t be surprised if your friends and colleagues compliment you on how much better you are looking.

3. Will Stopping Drinking Cause Cravings?

What about cravings? Are you going to experience any cravings when you give up? Well, you know what, it’s entirely possible. Alcohol is an extremely addictive drug If you’ve drunk for a number of years, you’re conditioned to think of alcohol in so many different situations. Weddings, dates, parties, whatever.

And when you see other people drinking alcohol and having a “good time”, you may feel as though you’re missing out. Listen. Alcohol is a drug. It’s a powerful poison that can take control of your thoughts if you let it. I just want to let you know, you’re not missing out. You can deal with the cravings and you’ll be okay.

It may take some time for the cravings to go away. But, remember, that cravings are entirely normal. Almost everybody that has had lasting sobriety will have had to deal with cravings at some point or another. But they will get easier and easier as time goes on. Embrace those cravings, and when you think of alcohol, just remember that this time, you are going to fall for the tricks.

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4. Will Your Drinking Buddies Give You Resistance?

Now, it’s 100% possible that when you stop drinking and hang out with your friends, they will give you some resistance. You might head down to the local or head to see your old drinking buddies, and they offer you a drink. And you say:

“John, thanks a lot for the offer, but I’m stopping drinking for 30 days”.

“Oh go on Leon, just have one!”

Well, what should you do in these situations? Now, you have to be very firm with these people, and tell them what you’re doing.

“John, I’m giving up drinking for 30 days. Don’t offer me alcohol again.”

I would be very stern with that person, and make sure that they know what they just did was 100% not cool, and unacceptable. And, I’d also try to make a point in front of everybody else. Most of the time, if your friends are cool, they’ll get the point and back off. However, what happens if that person persists and asks again and again?

Well, if it was me in that situation, I’d take stock of that person. Is that really someone I’d want to call a “friend”? I’d ask myself that if they’re not going to be supportive whilst I’m trying to change my life for the better, what value are they bringing to a friendship?

quitting alcohol

Is it going to be a crabs-in-the-bucket scenario, where I try to escape and this person desperately clings on and doesn’t let me leave the trap? I don’t want to tell you to get rid of your friends, but if it was me, I may take some time away from this person whilst I get some sobriety under my belt…

It’s also important to mention that these types of people, that are still drinking, are very difficult to reason with. Rather than trying to persuade them that what you’re doing is a good thing, or trying to persuade them that they should join you on your quest, try to lead through your actions. Maybe you could take some time away from them, show them what happens when you stop, and maybe they’ll follow your lead. I found that after a few weeks, most of my friends just accepted that I don’t drink alcohol.

Every so often, friends mistakenly offered me a drink, but I just declined and make no big deal. If they persisted, however, I would not hesitate to tell them to stop. 

5. Stopping Drinking Means You Will Sleep A Lot Better

Have you ever had a few drinks, and then instantly fell asleep, only to wake up feeling untested and tired? Or maybe you think that a “night-cap” actually helped you sleep. Now, whilst I want to keep this post motivational with tonnes of tips in it for you, we are going to have put our lab coats on and get a little bit more scientific.

man sleeps better after quitting alcohol

A 2015 study, published in “Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research” wanted to look into what happens to our brain when we drink alcohol and fall asleep.  They had 24 participants – half of the group were given alcohol before bed, which was vodka and orange, and the other half were given a placebo drink, which was orange dipped served in a vodka dipped straw.

Alcohol increased slow-wave sleep-related non-rapid eye movement, or NREM, delta power. In other words, the first bit of your sleep is actually pretty good. However, what happens in the second half of your sleep, is the your brain starts producing “alpha waves”. This then disrupts your DREM sleep, “leading to sleep disruption, a greater number of awakenings and more time spent awake.”  

So, whilst you may be falling asleep easily with alcohol, your actual sleep quality is worse. Whilst you may find it harder to fall asleep at first, you’ll feel much more rested and energised after stopping.

6. Will Stopping Drinking Cause Sugar Cravings?

I have begun to lose count of the number of people that tell me they get sugar cravings after stopping. This is quite likely, but what is happening?

When you drink alcohol, caffeine or eat sugar, your body releases dopamine and serotonin – which are your feel-good neurotransmitters. When you stop drinking, your brain says “wait a minute, I need to feel good!” So you see other substances – like sugar, weed, nicotine and so on – as a way to get that dopamine fix.

Also, when you stop drinking, you can expect your blood sugar levels to drop, so it’s totally normal to feel irritable and moody – and when you eat sugar, that feeling will go away. When I stopped drinking, the only thing that mattered to me was to not drink alcohol. If I ate a big bag of Haribo and didn’t drink alcohol, I had won the day.

I’d say don’t give yourself a hard time. You’re currently healing yourself from alcohol, which causes havoc on your body, and it’s going to take time. However, still try to eat a balanced diet, and definitely don’t swap sweets for regular meals. Try to eat at least 3 meals throughout the day, with a good serving of protein and healthy fats. But, if you’re eyeing up that brownie on the desert menu afterwards, more power to you my friend! Get it down you! 

7. Stopping Will Mean Your Brain Feels Much Clearer

When stopping drinking alcohol, a lot of people describe it as a “fog” being lifted. When you drink alcohol, you don’t notice the fog…

fog lifts after quitting alcohol

But when you stop, you have way more mental clarity. Making important decisions becomes easier, and thinking through problems is also more straightforward. You are also able to deal with emotions much easier. It feels much less like a rollercoaster and you end up feeling quite stable. Clarity was the biggest benefit I found from stopping drinking in the long term, and I created another video on the 5 benefits after stopping drinking for 365 days. You can access that by clicking the image below.

8. You May Feel As Though You’re Missing Out (FOMO)

You very well may feel like you’re missing out on certain activities or events…You might be watching TV, see some kind of event that involves alcohol and think “damn, they sure like they’re having a good time”.

This may take some time for you to get to grips with, and changing your relationship with alcohol might take some time.But, I want to tell you, that you’re not missing out on anything.Very often, when you see people having a good time with alcohol, you are seeing that very short moment of enjoyment.

You aren’t seeing the hangovers, the arguments, the broken relationships…You’re seeing a very small detail. And most of the time, people who are having a good time with alcohol would probably be having a good time without alcohol too! It’s not the alcohol that causes good times, it’s often the company that you are with.

And that’s why it’s important to get yourself around activities and events that don’t revolve around alcohol usage. I’d recommend checking out some local Facebook events or meetup.com, and try to start living life ASAP.

Picture of Leon


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