5 Reasons Why You Should Cut Back on Drinking Alcohol

There is no denying that much of our culture and social live revolves around drinking. It can be your best friend when you’re feeling invincible, talking to a hot girl, and feeling like the next Seth Rogen. It can also be your worst nightmare when you wake up in the morning in a daze without your wallet or, for that matter, your pants. We’ve all been there, yet even after the worst hangovers we always seem to come back for more.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, 18 million adult Americans have an alcohol use disorder, yet you’re still expected to drink at work events, family dinners, and evenings out with friends. Alcohol is always part of the equation, and someone is always sure to give you a hard time if you opt out. Social pressures aside, drinking regularly or even occasionally drinking too much has negative effects on everything from your mental state to your wallet. Not sold yet? Here are a few valid reasons to cut back.

1. Ban the guilt

Overwork, hungover, tired

All those feelings of guilt could lead to anxiety. | iStock.com

How many times have you woken up from a crazy night of binge drinking feeling both physically and emotionally hungover? Everyone’s familiar with a physical hangover, but emotional hangovers are those feelings of guilt, anxiety, and depression that come on after you black out or do something stupid the night before. These feelings may be well deserved, or they may be unnecessarily caused by an imbalance of chemicals and nutrients in the body from excessive drinking. Susan Scholl, a health and wellness professor at Syracuse University, says that on a cellular level your brain becomes agitated.

2. Lose weight

tape measure, waist, weight

Losing weight is almost a guarantee if you cut back on drinking. | iStock.com

When you’re trying to maintain or lose weight you don’t chow down on an extra slice of pizza, but when you drink a pint of lager, which has a similar number of calories, that’s not helping you either. That Friday margarita you always get is the equivalent of a late-night cheeseburger based on calorie content. These unnecessary calories from alcohol not only lead to weight gain but they actually slow down your metabolism over time. Your body cannot store alcohol, so it metabolizes it right away. When alcohol becomes the priority, your body can’t break down other fats and sugars as efficiently. Over time, this leads to a slower metabolism and weight gain.

3. Keep your organs happy

illustration showing male liver anatomy

Your liver deserves a break. | iStock.com/sankalpmaya

Drinking too much, over time or in one sitting, can take a serious toll on your body’s organs. While drinking moderate amounts of alcohol may protect you against developing coronary heart disease, drinking too much can lead to stroke or high blood pressure. The liver takes the biggest beating: One out of every three liver transplants in the U.S. is a result of liver disease from alcohol consumption. The brain, pancreas, and kidneys are also impacted, and alcohol is thought to lead to certain forms of cancer and weak immune systems.

4. Save cash

Two Men Stopping For Rest On Walk, friends

You can finally take that trip by cutting back on drinking alcohol. | iStock.com

How many times have you complained that you can’t afford to take your dream trip to Bali? Now think about how much you spend each week on happy hour drinks, going out on Friday night, and even mimosas with brunch over the weekend? Alcoholic drinks aren’t cheap. Cutting back on drinking means more money in your pocket for things you really want.

5. Be yourself

People congregate at the entrance to the Metropolitan Museum

There are plenty of things to do that have nothing to do with drinking. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Alcohol is a crutch for so many experiences in life. When you have to attend an uncomfortable dinner or spend time with a new friend, it’s easy to rely on alcohol to make the situation more comfortable and to make you feel at ease. This isn’t a bad thing, but when you’re tipsy or drunk you’re not a true version of yourself. Rather than meeting a friend for a drink, go on a hike, check out an exhibit at a museum, or take a class together. You may not make memories on how many shots you took, but you’ll create memories from experiencing something new together.