Giving up alcohol forever may seem intimidating or even impossible, but what about going alcohol-free for one month? As people increasingly experiment with 30 days of sobriety, it may seem like just a fad or trend. But just one month without alcohol can boost your mood, your sleep, and the amount of cash in your wallet—plus many other benefits beneath the surface.
Why Go Alcohol-Free For One Month?
Some people choose to spend one month sober because they feel their drinking has become a problem. Thirty days alcohol-free might be part of a longer quest to get sober. Others decide to try no drinking for a month for their general health.
The rise of ideas like mindful drinking and the sober curious movement has also inspired many people to become more thoughtful about their alcohol consumption. People who are “sober curious” are interested in the mental and physical benefits of sobriety—even if they don’t consider themselves alcoholics.
Dry months like Dry January, Dry July, and Sober October have become popular as well. These “one month no alcohol” challenges offer a preview of life without drinking, and the positive changes that come with sobriety.
Speak with a Ria Health team member about how medication-assisted treatment can help you.
Benefits of One Month With No Alcohol
One month without alcohol might not sound like much, but it offers a wide range of benefits physically, mentally, financially, and beyond. And many of these benefits last for more than 30 days. Research from the University of Sussex1 shows that a one-month break from alcohol helps people reduce drinking days and the frequency of being drunk long-term, extending the benefits of one month with no alcohol.
These benefits include:
When you give up alcohol, even for a month, you’ll have more money in the bank. Light drinking, like 1 to 3 drinks per week, can cost you up to $15 weekly. 1 to 2 drinks daily adds up to as much as $70 per week, and three or more drinks daily can cost at least $100 each week.
That means a month without drinking can potentially save you hundreds of dollars, plus whatever you spend on tips, taxes, food you order while drinking, and Uber rides.
Improved rest is a major benefit of one month alcohol-free. Better sleep improves your mood and keeps your body healthy and your brain functioning properly.
You may think alcohol helps you fall asleep faster, but it actually has a negative impact on the quality and quantity of your sleep. It disrupts your sleep cycle, often leading to excessive sleepiness and other issues the following day.
Even moderate drinking can decrease sleep quality by 24 percent, while more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women may decrease sleep quality by 39.2 percent.2 Most people who reduce or quit drinking will see a rapid improvement in their quality of sleep.
Read more: Alcohol and Insomnia
Alcohol can damage your digestive system from the top down, causing acid reflux, heartburn, inflammation, bacterial imbalance, and even gastrointestinal cancer. It also interferes with your body’s production of digestive enzymes, so it’s harder to absorb what you eat.
Undigested food can damage the stomach lining and cause gas, bloating, and indigestion. If you want to reset your digestion and reduce digestive distress, cutting out alcohol for a month will help.
Read more: Alcohol and Your Gut Health
People who drink heavily often become secretive and isolate themselves from friends and family. They may choose alcohol over former favorite activities, including spending time with loved ones. And drunken behavior or arguments about alcohol can cause tension in relationships, even for people who drink less frequently.
No drinking for a month may disrupt your nightlife, but it’ll give you more time to focus on healthier relationships that don’t revolve around alcohol.
Giving up alcohol, even temporarily, can lead to loss of excess weight. When your body’s working hard to break down alcohol, fats and sugars burn off more slowly. Plus, alcohol is high in calories and fats, and it’s often mixed with sugary drinks. Some people also snack more or turn to fatty foods when drunk or hungover.
Temporarily, alcohol can help you feel more relaxed and cheerful. But when that pleasurable feeling wears off, many people feel negative mental health effects. One common example is “hangxiety” (hangover anxiety), a post-drinking feeling of anxiety or dread. It’s therefore not surprising that alcohol is linked to both anxiety and depression.
If you give up alcohol for a month, you may notice that your mental health improves and you feel happier.
Alcohol causes inflammation throughout the body, affecting everything from your gut health to your skin. It can increase facial lines, puffiness, and redness. Because alcohol dehydrates you, it may also lead to dryer skin. And when alcohol dilates your pores, whiteheads and blackheads spring to the surface.
Quitting alcohol for a month won’t automatically reverse aging, but you may experience clearer and more hydrated skin.
Read more: Alcohol and Your Skin
Have you ever gotten sick after a bout of heavy drinking? Even a night of too much alcohol can weaken your body’s ability to fight germs for up to 24 hours. Over time, excessive drinking slows your immune system and your body’s ability to repair itself. Taking 30 days alcohol-free can restore your body’s germ-fighting power and help you ward off illness.
Read more: Alcohol and Your Immune System
Reduced Risk of Alcohol-Related Illnesses
Beyond damaging your immune system, alcohol can cause a variety of health problems and chronic illnesses. These include heart disease, several types of cancer, diseases of the liver and pancreas, and diabetes. It can also worsen existing issues like sleep disorders, HIV, asthma, IBS, and more.
Quitting or reducing drinking long-term helps prevent these illnesses and even allows your body to repair some of the damage caused by alcohol. But just one month sober reduces your risk and helps you feel healthier overall.
Read more: Alcohol and Your Overall Health
Help For One Month Sober—and Beyond
You’ll experience powerful benefits when you take a break from drinking. But cutting back or quitting alcohol entirely isn’t an easy task—even for one month. If you want to make a change, Ria Health can help. Our members receive recovery coaching, expert medical support, FDA-approved medication, and other helpful tools. It’s all 100 percent virtual, so you can get the support you need from the comfort of your couch.