Do you ever wake up on a Sunday morning after a week of after-work happy hours and boozy brunches and realize that, actually, a year off from drinking wouldn't be so bad? If you're interested in avoiding alcohol for a bit — whether to save money, feel clearer-headed in the mornings, or any of the myriad reasons to quit drinking — you might expect some of the more obvious health benefits, like improved sleep. But the unexpected benefits of not drinking might entice you to close your bar tab for longer than a Dry January.
"Most of us are familiar with the health benefits of a period of sobriety," Dr. Joseph Volpicelli M.D., an addiction specialist, tells Bustle. "For example, giving up alcohol is associated with improved sleep, improved mood, and even improved complexion with less baggy eyes and puffy skin." However, he says that many benefits of sobriety are less immediately obvious, and might not be very well-known, even if they're just as important to our health and wellbeing over the long term.
Experts tell Bustle that going sober can reduce liver damage, improve insulin resistance and cancer risk, and help mental health. Though the signs of those improvements don't appear in the mirror every day, they're no less real. Here are seven things that happen in the long term after quitting drinking.