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Breaking up with alcohol

Alcohol in moderation, a few times a week doesn’t have to be a bad thing if it’s done wisely, but what are some of the possible effects, besides the more common effects involving mood, liver and detoxification if you drink every night and more than 1-2 drinks?

  • Sleep: Alcohol usually makes people sleep really well in the first half of the night and disrupts the second half of sleep. So although you fall into a deep sleep easily- the rest of the night is usually disturbed.

  • Skin: If you are drinking every day it is hard to notice the effects alcohol could be having on your skin. It is not uncommon to experience breakouts, dry skin and redness or even rosacea.

  • Hormone balance: Alcohol does increase estrogen and decreases progesterone. A lot of women have low progesterone and high estrogen and alcohol throws this further off balance.

  • Deficiencies: Alcohol inhibits the absorption of vital nutrients especially folic acid, B12, Zinc and Magnesium. Long term deficiencies can affect energy, mood and sleep.

It is always a good idea to have a break from something to understand and feel the difference it might make. I had a client that had 2-3 drinks every night and slightly more over the weekend. He wasn’t convinced he would notice a difference by taking a break from the daily drink. He lost around 5 kgs in a month, was able to exercise more, slept so much better and felt his mood and energy drastically improve. Will he ever drink again? Of course! But he has learnt to decrease the dependence on alcohol every night so he can retain some of these benefits.

Try these tips:

  • It doesn’t only have to be water. For some people coming home after a long day and pouring a drink is such in ingrained habit. Try drinking something non-alcoholic instead like a glass of kombucha in a wine glass with ice or soda water with lime and a splash of bitters.

  • A lot of social gatherings with friends centre around alcohol- try shift these meetups to a coffee date, movies , trying out a new exercise class or a walk in the park. It usually feels great to shake up a routine too.

  • For some work events can be tricky, especially if entertaining forms part of the job. If it’s a larger gathering you can easily order soda water and fresh lime and no one will know you’re not drinking. It can also help to put a time limit on it- let people know you’re trying not to drink for the next 2 weeks or a month, rather than saying “I am not drinking”.

  • If you do drink regularly, make sure you are topped up nutritionally through diet and if needed supplements. Some of our clients take a “hangover helper” mix of nutrients every evening they go out and might have a few drinks. This mix has specific nutrients that can help the liver process alcohol more effectively.


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