What if I told you that abstaining from alcohol for five weeks not only offers seen and unseen current health benefits, but also a few that last? That’s right, according to a a 2016 study cited in a December 2020 report by Men’s Health “adults who participated in Dry January found that up to six months later, they were drinking on fewer occasions and drank less when they did imbibe.” It’s no secret that cutting back on alcohol for the long term is beneficial, so to that we say (alcohol-free) cheers! Meanwhile, here are some of the changes and benefits you may be experiencing at five weeks alcohol free.
- Better sex: Yup. After all, booze is a neurotoxin and it numbs our nerve cells, dulling our senses. By now, you may have noticed an increase in physical sensations and improved performance (sorry guys and gals, alcohol doesn’t discriminate and can cause sexual dysfunction in both sexes). We love following writer, podcaster and “Sober Sexpert” Tawny Lara for articles and information on this topic.
- More Hobbies: If happy hour, bar hopping and day drinking were your top three hobbies leading up to your alcohol-free break, you’ve probably found (or revisited) activities to enjoy instead of the drinking arts. Or, you’ve discovered that previously-boozy events can still be fun when you aren’t imbibing. Whether it’s getting crafty with your knitting needles, heading out for a hiking or a camping adventure, hitting an art show, biking with friends or catching up over a big Sunday brunch, there is probably a little more variety in your life now that you aren’t spending innumerable hours bellied up to the bar.
- Increased Productivity: The gang over at One Year No Beer reports that, according to a survey conducted with 725 of the platform’s 90-Day (alcohol-free) Challenge members, 71 percent are more productive. With improved brain function, higher energy and more time, it’s no wonder you are a whirlwind of productivity.
- Lower Cholesterol: An oft cited 2013 study by published by the staff at the New Scientist indicates that at five weeks, abstainers saw a total blood cholesterol drop of almost 5 percent. High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease.
- Stabilized Glucose: The same study reported that the “blood glucose levels of the abstainers dropped by 16 percent on average.” High glucose is a factor in Type 2 diabetes. Read more about Type 2 diabetes and the effects of glucose on insulin production from the Mayo Clinic.
So much has happened in just a few weeks time! If you aren’t yet experiencing any of the above benefits, or those covered in week one, week two, week three or week four, don’t get discouraged. Everyone is different and even if there aren’t visible or noticeable changes, there are immensely beneficial changes going on in your body and brain.