Even with love from family and friends, guidance from health professionals on everything from behavior treatments to medications, and peer support from 12-step programs, alcohol recovery is a hard road because it is a lifetime commitment.
We want to provide that extra boost of motivation when you’re finding recovery a challenge. We’ll help to remind you of how you’re turning around the mental and physical toll of alcoholism. Then we’ll show you how your continued recovery can help you financially, including how you can get life insurance for alcoholics to support those you love.
Mental Benefits of Alcohol Recovery
When you’re abusing alcohol, you’re not only disrupting how your brain should work but you’re also affecting how it looks. Heavy drinking can actually shrink your hippocampus, which is critical to learning and memory. Shrinkage in this area has also been found in those suffering from Alzheimer’s.
So congratulate yourself for your recovery allowing structural brain changes to partially correct themselves. You’re improving your memory and your thinking skills, so you’ll have an easier time concentrating, problem-solving, and remembering things.
You’re also improving your verbal fluency, so you’ll have an easier time communicating.
Increasing your ability to think clearly will also enhance your mood. You’ll notice increased self-confidence and self-respect as well as decreased anxiety and depression, which will help you improve relationships on a personal and professional level.
You’re also helping yourself avoid or manage mental disorders. You may not be aware that alcohol can cause mental disorders.
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) can trigger a mental illness, the most common ones being depression, anxiety disorder, and bipolar disorder. Those suffering from both, called a dual diagnosis, need a well-planned, integrated rehab program to ensure both disorders are addressed and managed.
Physical Benefits of Alcohol Recovery
The most well-known physical benefits of alcohol recovery involve the liver and the heart, which we’ll remind you of the details. But the benefits go way beyond those two major organs, and we’re happy to point them out to provide even more motivation to stay alcohol-free.
Alcohol Recovery and Your Liver
As the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) notes, heavy drinking takes a toll on the liver. Evidence of that is from 2010 to 2016, when the primary cause of nearly one in three liver transplants in the U.S. was alcohol-related liver disease. It was so prevalent that it replaced hepatitis C viral infections as the leading cause of liver transplants.
So you’re now helping your liver repair itself and even regenerate from the toxicity incurred from alcoholism, which can lead to fatty liver, cirrhosis, and other problems.
Alcohol Recovery and Your Heart
Since alcohol places heavy damage on your heart, you are greatly reducing your risk of several heart problems, including arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat), cardiomyopathy (stretching and drooping of the heart muscle), strokes, heart attacks and heart failure.
You’re also helping to lower your blood pressure, as alcoholism constricts your arteries and causes your heart to work harder to pump blood through your body. And you’re helping to lower your levels of cholesterol, which can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels, and triglycerides, which hardens your arteries or thickens your artery walls (arteriosclerosis).
More Physical Benefits of Sobriety
Living your life free of alcohol will help your body thrive in seemingly innumerable ways.
In addition to halting damage to major organs, look at this inspiring list of all the other ways you are taking care of yourself by taking control over your AUD:
- Better absorbing your nutrients
- Clearing up your skin
- Getting a sounder sleep, including better REM sleep and reduced snoring
- Detoxing your pancreas and avoiding pancreatitis
- Losing excess weight through removal of alcohol’s empty calories and less temptation to eat fatty foods as a side effect of drinking
- Reducing your risk of developing several types of cancers associated with alcoholism, including breast, colorectal, esophageal, liver, and oral
- Strengthening your immune system
- Undampening your sex drive and sexual performance
Financial Benefits of Alcohol Recovery
The mental and physical improvements that come with sticking to sobriety have yet another very important benefit: You’ll have the energy and clarity to get your finances in order.
Maintain a Steady Income in Recovery
Since you’ll be sick less often, you’ll have less absenteeism and be able to perform better — all pluses to being able to excel at a job and maintain a steady income.
In addition to paying off debts and providing for your family, having regular work actually also helps your recovery because it contributes to providing structure, which is a vital component to successfully overcoming AUD.
Structure can help you better adjust to your new life of sobriety. It gives you the comfort of predictability through routine, repeating good patterns that will become good habits, and reducing unstructured time that causes restlessness, boredom, and anxiety. Those red-flag emotions can make you more susceptible to relapse.
Freedom From Alcohol Expenses
Drinking is not cheap. Alcoholics can throw away up to $5,000 a year — and that’s just on the booze. Add to that the additional costs for going out to drink, such as tips, transportation, entertainment, and club entrance fees.
Even more financially damaging, abusing alcohol can trigger impulsive behavior. Your AUD could have led to reckless spending via everything from online shopping to gambling.
Now you have a better chance of financial recovery and attaining good financial health by being free of alcohol’s direct and indirect costs.
Alcohol Recovery Saves on Car and Home Insurance
You may not realize that by saying “no” to alcohol, you’re saying “yes” to keeping both your car and home insurance rates from spiking due to drinking’s negative effects.
Being alcohol-free helps you on car insurance because there’s no longer any possibility you will be driving intoxicated. By regaining the proper perception of distances, and control of your motor skills and reaction time, you’ll greatly reduce your risk of accidents, tickets, and injuring yourself and others by no longer driving impaired. You may even be able to earn a safe driver discount.
Being alcohol-free helps you on home insurance because you’re not guaranteed to stay safe when you drink at home. Cooking while impaired could spark a kitchen fire. Smoking while impaired could cause you to fall asleep with a lit cigarette.
Filing a fire claim once could hike your home insurance rate by close to 30%. Filing a fire claim a second time could raise your rate by 60%. And an insurance company can decide to cancel your policy if you file too many claims in a short period of time.
Get Life Insurance in Recovery
While you are increasing your longevity by successfully recovering from alcohol, the unfortunate fact of life is that your loved ones will someday mourn your loss.
And you can help them financially by getting life insurance, which, despite what you may think, is available to recovering alcoholics.
How Life Insurance Works for Recovering Alcoholics
If you have been successful in your alcohol recovery for at least two years, you can reach out to certain insurance providers such as Banner Life and Lincoln Financial.
Other providers who offer term life insurance with alcohol addiction include AIG, Protective, and Prudential, which require a minimum of five years of sobriety.
How to Prepare for Life Insurance as a Recovering Alcoholic
The longer your recovery, the better chance you have at a more affordable life insurance rate. But that’s not the only factor taken into consideration.
When you apply for term life insurance as a recovering alcoholic, this will most likely involve completing an application and a medical exam.
So here’s what information to gather and what to keep in mind to increase your chances of getting approved and at the best rating class:
- Put together a list of your doctors’ names and contact information.
- Check that your doctor has copies of all records regarding your treatment, reports, and follow-up reports.
- Compile information about all of your medications and dosages.
- Attend all follow-up visits with your doctor.
- Maintain an overall healthy lifestyle focusing on good nutrition and physical activity.
And here’s what will be looked at during the underwriting process:
- Age at diagnosis
- Adherence to treatment
- Amount of time since diagnosis
- Any major health problems
- Drinking and driving convictions
- Length of time since treatment and recovery
- Liver enzymes
- Tobacco or drug use
- Treatment success
Lowest Insurance Rates for Recovering Alcoholics
You can find affordable term life insurance with alcohol addiction for less than $19 a month.
There are also two other ways to get the most affordable rates:
- Don’t delay: As with life insurance for anyone, the older you wait to get it, the higher your rate will be.
- Don’t settle: If you’re not pleased with the life insurance offer you receive, you have choices. You can shop around and try another company. Or if you’re not placed in the best rating class possible, enroll in the policy and work on improving your rating class.
We hope we’ve pointed out ways to help show you the many rewards of living a life free of alcohol. Congratulations on your continued alcohol recovery.
Author Bio: Karen Condor is an insurance and wellness expert who writes and researches for the life insurance comparison site, QuickQuote.com. She can attest to the benefits of alcohol recovery from her experience supporting several family members and friends suffering from alcohol use disorder.