There are many reasons to quit drinking: protecting your physical health, enhancing emotional wellbeing, preventing neurological damage, and improving relationships, to name a few. Even moderate drinkers often notice several significant benefits of sobriety immediately after they stop drinking, making them quickly realize how damaging alcohol can be even in modest amounts. “My life improved,” says Rafi, who went from a few drinks a week down to zero when he found himself living with nondrinkers and low on cash after college. “My chronic insomnia became easier to manage. I had more energy, spent less time watching TV and more time reading, writing and exercising. When I went out I felt more present and took home better memories of the evenings.”
Unfortunately, many people in the early stages of alcohol addiction convince themselves that their drinking isn’t a problem, regardless of the obvious benefits. Liver damage seems like a distant possibility, not an immediate concern. You may deny that alcohol interferes with your personal relationships and may even believe it enhances them. Emotional wellbeing? Alcohol helps you decompress, you tell yourself, and isn’t stress unhealthy too?
Of course, staying in a state of denial about your burgeoning alcoholism ultimately only makes it more difficult to recover once your addiction begins to inflict indisputable damage on your life. Now, research reveals that there is another reason to take control of your alcohol use as soon as possible: preventing other types of addiction. By understanding how alcohol acts as a gateway drug to other damaging substances, you can gain a new perspective on why getting sober is critical to keeping yourself safe and healthy.