Before meeting my wife at a marathon while living an adventurous life in Barcelona, I was an alcoholic.
I dealt with addiction for a good part of my life, and I have to confess it was the hardest thing I’ve been through. My family and loved ones stood by my side, but there’s no denying it was tough for everyone around me. Back then, I didn’t know that I was dealing with an addiction and it took me a while to realize I had a problem.
It was only when my drinking started interfering with my daily life that I decided to listen to my friends and family and agreed to join a recovery program. When I started, I obviously had to quit alcohol altogether, and with time, I began to see amazing changes in my mind, body, and life. These changes were so profound that I’d like to share with you what happened.
1. Your brain heals back
The damage the mind and the brain endure from heavy drinking, though reversible, will be drastically noticeable when you quit. Aside from the anxiety and withdrawal symptoms, I started to experience clarity in my thought process.
The numb feeling I had towards reality began to fade away, and along came a new outlook on my current situation, which helped with time to achieve the goal I had set myself: To get completely clean.
2. Your liver and the rest of your body start to change back to normal
The most commonly known adverse effect of drinking alcohol is perhaps how it hurts the liver. I was lucky enough to have joined recovery in good time and never got to experience severe consequences. When I started my first 30 days without drinking, I gradually saw how my body, especially my skin, started to gain a healthier appearance.
The redness in my face went away and that swollen look I used to have faded off as well. I started to feel so much better, and it was hard to believe it happened in such little time. That planted the first seed in my mind that made me think that taking care of myself— treating my mind and body right– was something I should do no matter what.
3. You make those around you proud and gain back their respect
Admitting you have a problem, is the first step. It takes courage and humility. That’s something that everybody who cares about you will not only appreciate but also acknowledge. My family cried after the intervention we had. They could see how my face changed when it clicked in my head that I needed help.
They were all very encouraging and even though it was only the first month, they made it very clear that they were going to be there for me and that I was making them proud for my willingness to try to change my unsupportive behavior.
4. Your looks improve, too
Quitting alcohol has many internal health benefits, but it also has quite a few for your outward appearance, too. I’ve never been the best looking guy in the family, but even I could tell that my appearance was improving and it wasn’t only because my mood and general attitude were changing towards a positive side. It was because my body was also looking healthier due to my decision to quit alcohol.
5. You gain back energy you didn’t even know you had
When I was an addict, I felt tired all the time. It was even worse than when I was just abusing alcohol. The difference between addiction and substance abuse became very noticeable on the way I behaved, and how weak and slow I felt.
After I had moved past the withdrawal symptoms and the early sickness related to alcohol detox, I started slowly and surely gaining energy to move, to talk, to think, to live. I even wanted to do things that were challenging to my old lifestyle—like exercising. I took up jogging and working out with my sister on a regular basis. The physical activity and alcohol abstinence created a more optimistic outlook on life.
6. You gain quality time and motivation
By quitting alcohol, I quickly realized how much time I was wasting at the bar. Not feeling the pressure of the routine, I realized I could spend my time in other ways that would be more productive and would, therefore, bring more positive things and opportunities into my life.
I found the time to take on little projects that served as evidence of my progress, and that also made my loved ones see how hard I was trying. Again, I had more reasons to feel good about myself and the progress I was making.
7. You’ll find new creative interests and outlets
By the end of the third week of my sobriety, I started to gain interests in other types of activities that I was never really interested in until then. I found an old white canvas in the garage that I bought one time I felt like giving a shot to my artistic skills. Back then I felt pressured to produce a masterpiece even though I had no experience.
This time, I felt like it was more therapeutic and its only purpose was to help me express how I felt. I’ve never been able to produce an amazing piece, but I did get to occupy myself with something new that up to this day makes me really happy. I also found yoga and meditation and let me tell you, they have been incredible in the way they have helped fill that empty void that addiction, alcohol, and drugs left.
8. You’ll feel happier and meet new people
Being in an alcohol-free environment opens the doors to endless possibilities, which also leads to meeting an infinity of people you wouldn’t meet otherwise. During my first 30 days in the process and from then on, I got to see that I didn’t need alcohol to have fun and meet new people. In fact, some of the most amazing people I’ve met, like my wife, were waiting for me in places and moments where there was no room or need for alcohol.
Now that it’s been so long since I first joined a recovery program, I feel grateful and lucky that I chose to listen to my family. It was amazing and encouraging to start seeing changes at such an early stage of the process. That helped me to feel like I was actually going somewhere better and motivated me to push my boundaries, challenge my anxiety, and achieve greater things.
I went from closing off from society and shutting down from everyone I loved, to forgiveness, love, and redemption. I met my wife at a marathon. I was living in Barcelona at the time and had been clean for a while. Once I felt comfortable with her, I shared my story of sobriety with her. Now I’m trying to raise awareness on the benefits of quitting alcohol with everyone.
Even if it’s for 30 days, you’ll see amazing changes not only in your body but also in your life. You will thank yourself a million times over for this later.
If you’d like to ask a question or would simply like to suggest another amazing benefit of quitting alcohol for 30 days, feel free to leave a comment below!