And I think that might be true for a lot of women listening to this podcast. As for the health effects, White says it’s been clear for a long time that heavy drinking takes its toll, but now there’s emerging evidence that — even for moderate drinkers — a break from alcohol can be beneficial. „There is early evidence that even taking a one month break from fairly low levels of consumption reduces some burden on the liver,“ White says.

How do you know if you need a break from alcohol?

Finding you have a compulsive need to drink and finding it hard to stop once you start. Waking up and drinking – or feeling the need to have a drink in the morning. Suffering from withdrawal symptoms, such as sweating, shaking and nausea, which stop once you drink alcohol.

The NIAAA Alcohol Treatment Navigator can help you recognize and find high quality treatment for alcohol use disorder. If you drink excessively, seek medical help to plan a safe recovery as sudden abstinence can be life threatening. NIAAA’s Rethinking Drinking can help you assess your drinking habits and provides information to help you cut back or stop drinking. On the other hand, binge drinking is generally defined as four drinks for women and five drinks for men within a two-hour period. And even occasional binge drinking episodes can have profound effects on your liver’s health over time. If you’re keeping up with this average (or less), the damage from alcohol is most likely minimal.

Just note that you might overdo it if you start drinking again.

I didn’t realize that my love affair with drinking was making me more anxious and less able to manage my responsibilities. It’s no secret that drinking alcohol can harm your health, especially if you happen to indulge in your favorite bottle of red or white wine, craft beer, and Pinterest-worthy cocktails on a regular basis. On the other hand, staying sober for a certain period of time can give your body the kind of boost that it might need in order to feel refreshed and reinvigorated. That’s why you might be tempted to take part in „Dry January.“ While that amount is generally thought to be okay for your health, having more than that on a regular basis isn’t.

Lee explains that „If someone already has a chronic syndrome or illness, such as IBS or liver disease, it may be recommended to limit or stop alcohol consumption, depending on the individual’s reactions to alcohol intake.“ So in essence, when it comes to mental health, which is deeply affected by sleep, and both mental health and sleep are affected by alcohol consumption, an alcohol break really does a lot of good in both areas. If you’re having difficulty finding support systems as you experiment with quitting drinking or aren’t sure how to make sober friends, Stewart recommends connecting with sober folks on social media. Unfortunately, sometimes those same people can feel judged by your changing relationship with alcohol, which is why it is important to begin by setting boundaries with the people in your life who still drink. Ultimately, this is your life and your decision, so “it’s important to consider setting boundaries, honor your recovery goals, and prioritize your needs,” says Ellinwood.

Is Acetaminophen Safe to Take When You’re Drinking?

You know, I don’t really want to go to policies and be the telling jokes anymore. I always remember a friend sent me and I laughed, but I was quite hurt. He said, Oh, I met I met this woman the other day, you’ll really like she’s, she’s great fun. Yeah, yeah, I definitely wouldn’t have because I was just trying to get through the day, and I thought that drinking was helping me. And then I also first I thought drinking was helping me cope with my life. And then I thought that the fact that I couldn’t cope with life was the alcohols fault, right?

Taking a break from alcohol—even a short one—also provides a wealth of benefits. Mehta also reminds that, for those trying to quit drinking, it’s important to understand if you were drinking to cope with something (such as drinking in social settings due to social anxiety) and to find alternative methods of coping. “I would suggest cutting back on several things rather than completely eliminating to avoid feeling deprived, which can lead to rebound eating/drinking and weight regain,” she said. New draft Australian alcohol guidelines recommend healthy men and women should consume no more than ten standard drinks per week and no more than four standard drinks on any one day.

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And then gradually, you go through the stages and you get into action. And, and then you know, you have to stick with it. So just if you are in that stage of making rules, just accept that you’re actually contemplating taking a break. As you decrease alcohol consumption you are able to reduce impulsive behavior while drinking.

How do you reintroduce alcohol after a break?

You'll need to calibrate how much alcohol you want to consume if you're going to drink without getting drunk. You might want to consider lower-alcohol alternatives, having two alcohol-free drinks first and drinking more slowly. These are all helpful approaches to moderate drinking.

Being sober curious is the new introspective. More and more people are choosing to quit drinking or take an extended break to discover how much better they will feel, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Alcohol Concern reports that over 5 million people partook in dry January last year. And once you start to bring awareness to your relationship to alcohol, it just doesn’t look the same ever again.

It’s not a binary yes or no — you have a problem or you don’t. You can have a mild, moderate or severe problem. And there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to getting help. There is a wide range of options — from residential „detox“ programs to cognitive behavioral therapy, to medications such as naltrexone which can help people drink less, or acamprosate, which can help people stay dry.

A couple of days, a week, a month…, no matter how long, has far-reaching benefits. You might consider giving a Dry January or Sober October a try the next time you think about taking a break, but always remember that you don’t need a specified day or month to take a break. Mental health is another aspect of life that’s pretty dependent on sleep as well, which we already know is impacted by drinking. With the recent popularization of 30-day challenges like Dry January and Sober October, people are beginning to recognize that there can be benefits to cutting out alcohol for a period of time.

Maintain a healthy diet

The more you drink, the more likely it is that you’ll damage parts of your heart that you really, really need. If you drink a lot, you might notice heart symptoms that seem to be worse—like palpitations and higher blood pressure—when you first stop drinking. Those initial disturbances should calm within two weeks.

taking a break from alcohol

Wake up instead feeling nourished and energetic and not tired and cranky? Mornings take on a new meaning when you don’t drink because you never regret the choices of the night before. Mornings expand, and it’s not a frantic race to get out of bed and get to work. You can wake up early, enjoy a cup of coffee before the house stirs, and do things that make you happy like meditate, workout, or write. When your body breaks down alcohol, your liver has to clear the metabolic byproducts, Dr. Leavey says. “As a result, the liver has to work harder and longer to recover from the effects of alcohol,” he says.

I mean, he may not even want to bring his friends home, to hang out at dinner, if I was drinking that much. And so I just realized that life is so much better without it. But you can decide to stop drinking at any point and experiment being alcohol free.

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