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As we’ve reported, there are a variety of treatments beyond Alcoholics Anonymous, including counseling, medications and support groups to help people who want to end that dependency. This NIAAA guide can help you find a program or approach that’s right for you. Over the past 12 years, Marshall has seen a lot of changes in the way people view sobriety. Back when he was getting sober, you either drank — or you didn’t, he says. “Those early days of abstinence from alcohol were so tough, because I had no friends,” he says.

Most importantly, think of it as doing something good for you, rather than giving something up. Dry January is an initiative of the charity organization Alcohol Change United Kingdom, which encourages people to try giving up alcohol for 1 month at the start of the year. Replacing an alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic drink that is “special” can be a big help when quitting booze, Shapiro notes. Not feeding the habit comes down in part to changing the ways you enable or encourage drinking. “For patients who are left with cirrhosis after severe injury to the liver from alcohol, even one drink of alcohol is toxic to the liver,” cautions Dr. Lindenmeyer. If your liver has taken a hit from prolonged alcohol use, there are ways to give it — and the rest of your body — a break.

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But you don’t have to wait for a designated month to take a break from alcohol. Taking a break at any time gives you a chance to evaluate your relationship with alcohol and allows you to gain an understanding of what is motivating you to drink and how it is impacting your life. The insights gained while taking a break from alcohol can help guide better choices moving forward. That’s why many of us wonder if a month of avoiding drinking is enough to “reset” your liver back to normal.

Talk to a doctor about your personal history and what’s right for you. SELF does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Any information published on this website or by this brand is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.

Here’s What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Drinking for 30 Days

On a recent Friday night, Rob Zaleski and Kim Daniel walk into Marshall’s bar in Austin. They’re going without alcohol for 30 days, they explain, and are documenting their experience in a podcast and on Instagram at #boozelessATX. After a monthlong break, researchers measured levels of a liver enzyme called gamma-glutamyltransferase, or GGT.

  • If you want to understand your drinking, and begin to make changes, How to Change Your Drinking is the place to start.
  • “Viruses won’t be caused by alcohol, but you can be more vulnerable to them if you’re drinking,” he says.

Many people, from occasional drinkers to daily drinkers, are exploring the benefits that come from giving up alcohol. Millions of people get started during the Dry January challenge each year. People give up alcohol use for the month to welcome the new year with a focus on improving their health and life. You may find yourself being more social during the day, and relaxing and unwinding during the evenings when you’d normally be out and about. Although it doesn’t always happen instantly, weight loss is a natural occurrence of taking a break from drinking. When we think about it, those beers or wine in the evening can make up half our daily recommended calorific intake – so cutting this out is going to result in shedding the weight, especially if you keep going over several months.

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The thing is, it’s easy to go above moderate levels of drinking is a mainstay of your social life. After all, a serving of alcohol is a 12-ounce beer, 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard alcohol.1 Most people have more than that at happy hour or on the weekend. As for the health effects, White says it’s been clear for a long time that heavy drinking takes its toll, but now there’s emerging evidence that — even for moderate drinkers — a break from alcohol can be beneficial.

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There are also certain foods like tea, fish and nuts that can benefit the liver’s function in many ways. Think of it as giving your liver a little boost in the right direction. “Nutrition therapy is very important in terms of feeding the liver and taking a break from alcohol giving it the building blocks it needs to restore itself,” says Dr. Lindenmeyer. Drinking—especially a fine wine or scotch habit—is an expensive undertaking. That’s because alcohol is a diuretic, causing you to urinate more, Dr. Raskin says.

Giving up alcohol for just 1 month has lasting benefits

This is what causes you to feel light-headed or tipsy after multiple alcoholic drinks. But alcohol can contain a lot of unexpected calories—some drinks more than others. For instance, a beer can have about 150 calories, a glass of pinot noir would have about 120 calories, and a frozen pina colada can have about 245 calories. So, depending on how much you typically drink on a daily basis, cutting that out might simply mean you’re taking in fewer calories. That’s generally two drinks a day for men for health reasons. If your drinking seems to be affecting your work or personal relationships—regardless of how much booze you’re knocking back—it’s time to consider taking it easy, he adds.

benefits of taking a break from alcohol

It’s not a binary yes or no — you have a problem or you don’t. And there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to getting help. There is a wide range of options — from residential “detox” programs to cognitive behavioral therapy, to medications such as naltrexone which can help people drink less, or acamprosate, which can help people stay dry. It included just 16 people who had been in the habit of drinking about two drinks per day on average. Still, the findings were provocative, scientists say, and merit following up.