THE BEAUTY OF BEING ALCOHOL-FREE
SPARKLY EYES For years, every morning I would lie back with a bag of frozen peas over my eyes to turn them from bloodshot to sparkly. When I stopped drinking, my eyes got bigger and clearer. Then they got smiley again. l FEWER SPIDER VEINS In the final year of drinking the skin on my cheeks and chest turned scarlet and blotchy. Alcohol causes the blood vessels to swell, increasing blood flow. While I still have traces of spider veins, they have faded. l A CLEARER COMPLEXION When I was a teenager I had perfect porcelain skin. With heavy drinking I started getting cystic acne – marble-sized lumps, deep within my face. While my skin isn’t perfect now, it is dramatically better and I haven’t had a cyst since 2013. l THICKER HAIR Drinking can cause hair loss because alcohol depletes the body of zinc and iron, minerals important for healthy hair. Also, dehydration can lead to dry, brittle hair. Now my hair is thicker and stronger. l SKIN THAT TANS Alcohol leaches the skin of vitamin B which helps promote tanning. My skin used to burn in the sun but now that I am sober it tans. l DEFINED CHEEKBONES Drinking made my face bloated and puffy – a friend once told me that I looked like a hamster. These days, it’s less doughy; my jaw has become more defined and my cheekbones have re-emerged. l MORE ENERGY I remember hangover days when making my bed seemed on a par with scaling K2. Now chores are automatic; I don’t have to scrape together the energy to do them. l HEALTHY NAILS I used to bite my nails and the skin around them and had to cover them under plasters. They were an outward sign of my wounded mind. Now my nails are decent, clean and I don’t need to hide them. l BETTER SLEEP Going to sleep is now a pleasure – I put my head on the pillow and wake up eight hours later. Alcohol prevents us from getting enough deep REM sleep. I know I will wake up feeling infinitely better, rather than infinitely worse.