Alcohol is one of those love-hate things. At the time of socializing and having fun, you might love it. But, the next morning when you feel like death and can’t stop thinking about the embarrassing stuff you did, you definitely hate it. For some, drinking is a now and then thing. Unfortunately for others, it can rule their lives.
When heavy drinkers decide they’re going to put down the bottle for good, it can be a serious battle. But once they do, the benefits are undeniable. Dr. Niall Campbell, an alcohol addiction expert told The Daily Mail just how giving up booze can affect the body. Within 24 hours, your body already starts to detox. Within a week, your sleep patterns improve. Within two weeks, you could start losing weight. By four weeks, your blood pressure will decrease. In a month you could start to look younger. In two months, your liver function improves. And, within three months your energy levels will increase.
After six months, a year, two years and beyond, these benefits continue to increase more and more. Not only are these changes good for you internally, the improvements externally are astounding. Check out these 12 before and after photos of people who gave up alcohol.
1. This man said he finally reached his fitness goals after putting down the bottle. Trying for over a decade to improve his physical appearance, he said nothing worked while he was a drinker. From his before photo to his after photo, you see what three months booze-free can do to the body.
2. It’s easy to tell just from the look in his eyes that this man is more full of life. Seven months since his last drink, he’s thinner, more well-groomed and has a look of clarity to him. The redness and bloating in his face have disappeared too. No more foggy mornings for this guy.
3. This woman gave up drinking and entered herself into rehab five days later. She lost 35 lbs in eight and a half months and feels like a whole new person. Dietitian Susie Burell told Nine.com.au that heavy drinking and weight gain go hand in hand, “The issue with drinking alcohol is that it inhibits weight loss, but also impairs our decision-making processes.” This includes all of those alcohol-induced fried food binges.
4. This Reddit user had a hospital stay in 2016 that changed his life. He had acute pancreatitis. According to the National Pancreas Foundation, one cause of this painful condition is heavy alcohol consumption. This man’s after photo is him six months sober, healthy and just having completed a thirty-three mile bike ride. He did one mile for every year he’s been alive.
5. This man began drinking heavily in high school. By his third year of college, he was drinking a bottle of vodka a night. He’d gained weight, noticed thinning hair and suffered from anxiety. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, anxiety can be brought on by prolonged drinking in some instances. A year and a half later he’s seen here sober, thinner and hopefully in a better mental state.
6. One year drink free, and this Reddit user says he’d do it all over again. To commemorate his sober state, he took before and after photos in the same outfits to put the difference into perspective. In this photo he’s holding a glass of wine, in his after photo he recreated it with a water instead.
7. This man went through seven years of relapsing before finally finding true sobriety. His before photo is him at his “bloated-relapse-worst” as he called it. “I did survive all sorts of degradation and humiliation even in recovery—none worse than where alcohol had taken me. I’m so grateful to have survived to now,” he wrote.
8. This woman said she cringes even looking at her before photo. She’d blacked out that day after sharing a bottle of rye with friends, pounding back beers and crying in a public washroom. The after photo is her six months sober. She looks bright-eyed and clear-minded.
9. A newborn son is what did it for this Imgur user. With three Driving While Intoxicated charges along with other alcohol related infractions, he knew enough was enough. He quit drinking, starting eating healthy and working out and now he’s got a beach-ready bod.
10. A recovering alcoholic, this woman looks 20 years younger from her drinking days. Cosmetic practitioner Dr. Michael Prager told The Daily Mail about the effects that quitting drinking has on the skin, “The best option for anti-ageing is to stop drinking altogether,” he said. “Giving your skin time out allows it to recover by reversing damage, mainly in the production of skin collagen and hydration levels.”
11. This Imgur user had begun her weight loss journey while she was a drinker. Not surprisingly, she hit a standstill. It’s easy to stick to a routine throughout the week only to sabotage yourself once the weekend hits with drunk McDonalds. Giving up alcohol, keeping a clear mind and staying focused on her goals seemed to have worked for this woman.
12. “600 days ago was the last time I woke up with a hangover,” this Imgur user wrote. He and his wife quit drinking together to support each other. He said it took a number of attempts to finally reach true sobriety, but today he’s more inspired than ever to keep it that way for good.