Life without alcohol

Regardless of whether it is only for a few weeks or for a lifetime – those who decide to make their daily lives alcohol-free gain a lot in terms of quality of life. And not only because the alcohol-free life has a positive effect on your health. You will also feel freer. Both free from old habits and from the feeling of having to drink alcohol in certain situations or even needing it. How to manage? Try our tips and tricks for this.

A life without alcohol has many advantages

You are healthier

Abstaining from alcohol can lower blood pressure and thus also the risk of cardiovascular disease. Regular alcohol consumption weakens the heart and constricts the arteries. The blood can be pumped through so worse, the blood pressure rises. This in turn increases the risk of secondary diseases.

Your liver also feels better. Because it is it that takes over the lion’s share of the breakdown of alcohol. If you regularly drink a lot, you risk fatty liver, liver swelling or inflammation, for example. If you drink significantly less alcohol or none at all, your liver has the chance to regenerate itself. In addition, with an alcohol-free lifestyle, you reduce the risk of developing cancer and protect your brain and numerous other organs from long-term damage.

A man and a woman jump into a lake holding hands

You have better mood and more energy

Alcohol depresses the mood in the long run. Although many people associate alcohol with fun and a good mood, alcohol actually acts as a depressant and in the worst case can even trigger depressive moods. Because alcohol affects the chemical processes in our brain. First of all seemingly positive: alcohol boosts the release of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. Problems appear temporarily smaller, you are more relaxed, less inhibited. The risk: you can get used to it. One day you only feel this way with alcohol.

Those who dare to experiment and cut out alcohol will find that they suddenly have more energy. The depressant effect is gone, the mood rises. And something else contributes to the rising energy level: The hungover days afterwards are gone.

You sleep better

Life without alcohol

People who drink little or no alcohol sleep better. Although the glass of wine or beer can help in the short term to fall asleep. Overall, however, the quality of sleep decreases, because alcohol confuses the different sleep phases. Instead of first going through a so-called REM sleep phase, the body goes straight into deep sleep. But when the effect of alcohol wears off, deep sleep is interrupted, and with it physical regeneration. Especially in the early morning hours we sleep more restlessly and cannot recover properly.

In addition, we may experience only one or two REM sleep episodes instead of the usual six to seven during a night of REM sleep. Sufficient REM sleep, however, is important for our concentration, memory and motor skills. The altered sleep quality therefore means that we are neither mentally nor physically refreshed the next day, despite sufficient sleep.

They avoid being overweight

Alcohol makes you fat. One gram of pure alcohol contains 7 calories (kcal). For comparison: one gram of fat has 9 kcal, one gram of sugar 4 kcal. In addition, alcohol also curbs the burning of fat. When the body is busy breaking down alcohol, it breaks down less body fat and stores more of it in fat cells.

In addition, alcohol contains only so-called empty calories, which do not provide the body with important substances such as vitamins or trace elements. And although alcohol has so many calories, it does not make you full. On the contrary: many people develop cravings after drinking alcohol. The pub evening then often ends at the snack bar.

On the other hand, if you cut out alcohol, you can notice a positive effect on your waistband after just ten days or so.

You are fitter

Whether you exercise hobby-style or at a competitive level, it’s definitely more fun and much more effective without alcohol. For muscles to grow, they need training, rest periods and an adequate supply of nutrients. Growth hormones are involved in building muscle. Studies show that alcohol reduces the release of growth hormones in the body and thus curbs muscle growth.

Life without alcohol

In addition, alcohol deprives the body of water, as it promotes the excretion of water through the kidneys. If you sweat additionally, you dehydrate even more. This makes it difficult to remove harmful substances, and muscle cells are not supplied with sufficient oxygen and nutrients. Moreover, alcohol robs you of energy. This applies if you drank alcohol the day before, and even more so if you consume alcohol shortly before the training session. During sports, the body uses more energy than usual in the form of glucose, i.e. blood sugar. Glucose is produced by the liver, but the liver in turn is busy breaking down the alcohol. The result: you are slower, less concentrated and your coordination suffers.

Your skin glows

Looking in the mirror shows you a fresh, radiant complexion? No surprise when you cut out alcohol. Alcohol has a negative effect on the appearance of your skin. It withdraws water from the body – and thus also from the skin – and dilates the blood vessels. Some people therefore get red cheeks after just a few sips. And if you regularly drink a lot of alcohol, your skin looks doughy and bloated.

This is how alcohol-free everyday life works

"Today I have to drink alcohol. I am invited after all." You know the thought? It’s time to say goodbye to it. For starters, you don’t have to do anything, and most importantly, you don’t have to drink alcohol. Of course, the temptation is still great and old habits are stubborn. But there are a few tricks you can use to develop new habits for your alcohol-free daily routine.

When going out and at parties

Life without alcohol

On such occasions, the pressure to drink alcohol with the others is usually the greatest. It takes a little practice to refuse alcohol here. Stay friendly but firm. Drink slowly or leave some in the glass – especially in rounds where the drinking pace is high and no one is allowed to sit in front of an empty glass. As long as there’s something left in your glass, no one will try to force a new drink on you. Your friends are nevertheless persistent and want to persuade you to have a beer or a schnapps? Turn the tables and ask why it is so important that you drink alcohol. And if you’re tired of arguing: Have a water on the rocks poured for you at the bar. Looks like pure vodka. Only you know that it is not alcohol.

As a general rule, don’t let yourself get carried away and keep your good mood. It’s usually not the drinks that you remember from a successful evening, but the conversations, the people, or the time on the dance floor. You yourself give the party? Then this is your chance to surprise your guests with great new non-alcoholic cocktails. And maybe convince them of a new lifestyle.

At parties I drink cola or juices. I don’t let myself be pressured, even if I’m the only one who doesn’t drink alcohol. There I stand above.

Holger Weiss does not drink alcohol. Why and how it works, he tells in an interview.

Alone at home

Life without alcohol

Basically, it’s the ideal situation to simply leave the after-work beer in the fridge. You don’t have to justify yourself to anyone, no one offers you alcohol. And not drinking wine or beer doesn’t mean water is your only option. The alternative could be a juice you’ve never tried before – neat or as a spritzer. In winter, a pot of good tea warms you up; in summer, homemade lemonade refreshes you. And don’t forget The eye drinks with you. Use a nice glass or garnish your drink with a slice of lemon or a mint leaf.

The temptation is great in spite of everything? Don’t have alcohol in the fridge or on the shelf in the first place if it makes it easier for you not to drink.

Toasting with colleagues

It was the colleague’s birthday. First of all a sparkling wine. But not forced. Toast with, just with water or juice if you don’t want alcohol. Drink your non-alcoholic beverage from a champagne glass. That makes it more festive. Or take the champagne, join in the toast, and just keep the full glass in your hand.

Basically, you can always refuse alcohol. This applies to the pub crawl with colleagues after work just as much as to lunch with business partners. Just say kindly: "Thank you, not for me." And at the latest when you say that you still have to drive, no one will try to persuade you to have a glass of wine anymore.

With too much alcohol you massively damage your career, but not if you do not drink alcohol.

With stress and frustration

A lousy day at work, a fight with your partner, or just a bad mood? It would be easy to drown frustration in alcohol now. But it only solves the problem in the short term. Face your frustration instead of ignoring it – for example, by talking to someone about it. Call a friend, someone you trust, and get the frustration off your chest. Together you can then think about a solution.

Exercise is another way to relax. For some, a brisk walk is enough, while others prefer to go out and really work hard to clear their heads. Still others prefer deceleration with meditation or yoga. Or deliberately plan something that you enjoy but have not had time for in a long time.

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