The Mail on Sunday - You - - Reallives -

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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