The Costs and Benefits of Changing

Although there may be some great benefits to making changes in your drinking, you also need to consider the costs of changing your lifestyle. It’s important to really think about the costs of cutting back or quitting because being caught in a situation you are not prepared for could reduce your chances of successfully quitting or reducing your drinking.

What do we mean by costs? Costs are things that may make cutting down or stopping too difficult for you. Examples of some costs are:

  • I'll feel stressed out
  • I'll miss the feeling of being high
  • I'll have difficulty having a good time
  • I'll miss the taste
  • I'll be irritable
  • I'll feel bored
  • I'll have difficulty not drinking
  • I'll have too much time on my hands
  • I'll feel withdrawal or cravings
  • I'll have difficulty coping with my problems
  • I'll get depressed
  • I'll change a lifestyle that I enjoy
  • I'll have difficulty relaxing
  • I'll miss hanging around people I drink with

But don't just focus on the costs and difficulties. Although it's important to think about the costs you should also focus on the benefits. Examples of some benefits to stopping or cutting down drinking are:

  • I'll save more money
  • I'll be more financially stable
  • I'll be more in control of my life
  • I'll live longer
  • My health will improve
  • I'll regain my self-respect
  • I'll accomplish more
  • I'll feel better about myself
  • I'll be more active and alert
  • I'll have more money to do other things
  • I'll feel less frustrated and anxious
  • I'll feel better physically
  • I'll have fewer problems with my family
  • I'll have a better relationship with my friends

Sign up for the Alcohol Help Center's Toolbox and use the Costs & Benefits exercise. The Costs & Benefits exercise is designed to help you determine what it is that is most important to you as you consider changing your drinking.

If you’ve completed the Costs & Benefits exercise and have decided that cutting back or stopping drinking is right for you, you need to be aware of the changes you may experience if you change your drinking habits. In the next section we’ll review some of the changes that you might expect.