10 Ways Alcohol Negatively Impacts Your Life

Depression isn’t cute

There’s a lot of terrible ways alcohol messes with your life but this is a good snapshot to start the conversation with yourself.  If you want more out of life than booze-hangover-guilt-repeat there is help out there!  You can get sober and start to see life in full colour again.

1. Stunts Your Mental Growth

Drinking to medicate low self esteem, poor coping skills, and negative thinking perpetuates these problems. When you’re stuck in a cycle of numbing you don’t make real changes to seriously address the issues which only makes them worse.

2. Lapses in Judgement

We all have those funny stories where we wake up half drunk at 5am next to a box of half eaten pizza on a grassy shore of a river next to a family of ducks all because at 3am you thought it was an awesome idea to share some meatlovers deep dish with your super cute feathered neighbours.  (Calgary was a hell of a time).  But not every drunken lapse of judgement ends in sideways glances from ducks the rest of the summer.  Bad decisions increase the risk of sexual assault, physical danger, other drug use, and a plethora of other situations that can hurt or kill yourself or others.

3. Hurts Your Brain

The short-term effects on the brain while drinking is obvious- reduced reaction time, slurred speech, lethargic movements, memory lapses, reduced logic.  These symptoms are a direct result of alcohol changing brain signals by either slowing parts down or speeding other parts up.  While these seem harmless they’re masking the actual real potential long-term damage.  There are over 100 billion neurons in your brain and central nervous system which are at risk of being slowly killed off and damaged when the toxin of alcohol is fed into the body over time.  Long-term drinking actually shrinks the frontal lobes of your brain. 

4. Makes Anxiety Worse

I had a crippling anxiety disorder for years before I quit drinking and when I did finally stop I noticed my anxiety lessened dramatically. Why is this? Since alcohol is a depressant, it depletes serotonin in your brain and lower levels of this “happiness hormone” increases anxiety. Another way alcohol magnifies anxiety is during a hangover. When a hangover is bad you feel sweaty, dizzy, foggy headed, you can have heart palpitations, and can be shaky. These symptoms are similar to an anxiety attack so feeling this way can trigger waves of anxiety or a full-blown panic attack.

5. Wreaks Havoc on Your Skin

Alcohol dilates your blood vessels in your skin which in turn makes any facial redness worse. It also creates and increases inflammation which can cause rosacea and acne flare ups. Alcohol also dehydrates your skin which makes wrinkles and pores way more visible.

6. Injuries

Slips, falls, car accidents, drownings, and passing out in a snowbank is the reality and if you haven’t died yet or seriously injured yourself yet from any unintentional accidents you’re lucky! 

7. Higher Risk of Disease

Cirrhosis isn’t the only disease alcoholics have to worry about.  There’s also a higher risk of high blood pressure, heart failure, dementia, and some cancers.

8. Digestive Issues

Booze can cause damage to your intestines and stomach which can lead to bouts of diarrhea, stomach pain, bloating, gas, and ulcers.

9. It’s Not Cheap

I recently went out to have dinner with a friend and we ordered the same meal and for drinks I had water and she had two draught beer.  The difference in our bills was $20!  Might not seem like much in the moment but that adds up.  A night out for me used to consist of a 12 pack, bottle of wine, shots at the bar, cover, and a taxi home.  I have no idea how much a 12 pack of Olands and a cheap bottle of wine costs nowadays since I haven’t stepped foot in a liquor store in 6 years but I’d imagine it’s even more distressingly expensive.  Quit drinking and you’ll see your bank account get FAT.

10. Reduced Quality of Life

Lack of productivity, motivation, and energy to finish projects, get together with friends, or get to the gym really wears you down over time.  It’s easy for life to start to feel like hangovers and daily drinks are normal but I can assure you there’s way more to life than that cycle.  The longer you’re in that cycle the more lonely and deeper you fall into it.  Lowered self-esteem, depression, loss of friendships, and broken promises cause so much guilt, resentment, and real mental health concerns. 


  • Dan C

    I LOVE what you’re doing. Sober is the new buzz. Being fully present for life is the next frontier for a lot of us in NS. The movement is growing. I listen to a lot of recovery podcasts. is my fav. Sobercast is another good one. If you’re not in HRM and don’t have great access to others in the recovery community, they are great resources! Great for in the car or just to look up general resources, being discussed by people who have been there. I will use your site as a reference for the people I visit in detox.

  • Jane Balmanno

    I am very impressed with your site!
    It’s well written and well researched.
    I admire your efforts, have not come upon anything like it, and think it’s needed in our Nova Scotia drinking culture. Best wishes as you go forward, and as you continue to open up this very important conversation.

  • Jason


    I was reading the CBC website this morning and came across the article on Sober City.

    As I was reading the back story on Lee-Anne, my own story of getting sober flashed before my eyes. How it happened for Lee-Anne is almost exactly how it happened for me. I woke up one day and said to myself, enough’s enough. That was June 23rd, 2017 at 12:30pm. I haven’t had a drink since. My life is drastically better. No more hangovers, anxiety, guilt, depression, stupidity, etc, etc….the list goes on. I can honestly say, since the day I quit drinking, I have not done anything stupid, whereas, when I was drinking, I was doing stupid things on a weekly basis.
    I did go through a challenging period within the first year trying to figure out who I was as a sober person, but I stuck with it, and I’ve never felt better.

    I don’t go out much these days but when I do, I know I’m strong enough to be in an environment where drinking is taking place. But for newly sober folks, I could see how being in the bars/restaurants of Halifax could be challenging. This city loves to drink.

    Thanks Lee-Anne for starting this site. It will be a great resource for those trying to get sober and for those of us continuing their sobriety.


  • Machelle Thomas

    Thank you. I’m from Dartmouth NS and AA isn’t for me. It’s given me a foundation, but I need more. Something outside the box. I’ve read Annie Graces’s books, Allen Carr and many others. It’s helped me learn about the science behind the why, what and how. It’s hard to find your tribe out “there”. I’m glad You’re providing resources for us. We are the normal ones and we are not powerless. If there are any meetings or get togethers in the Halifax area, please email me. I would like to meet other sober people in the area and form new friendships with like minded people. Much appreciated.