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“Everything in moderation” is a pretty good rule to live by, especially where alcohol is concerned. The obvious effects of alcohol on the body are high blood pressure (hypertension), which increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke, liver damage, and increased risk of cancers.

Another not-so-noticeable effect of a drinking problem is that sipping too many Margaritas can also cause you to gain a bunch of excess pounds. There are roughly 200 calories in a pint of beer and about 230 calories in 100 grams of vodka.

When a heavy drinker gives up on alcohol abuse, the physical metamorphosis can be staggering. Take a look at these before and after pictures of individuals in alcohol recovery to see what we mean. 

Some of the people in the photographs are barely recognizable compared to their former selves, and while some complemented the alcohol rehab process with exercise, the benefits of quitting drinking can't be clearer by looking at these pictures.

How Does Your Body Change in One Year Sober?

A year of sobriety can bring about positive changes in the body. If you’ve ever seen photos of alcoholics before and after quitting the vice, you’ll see a clear glow-up in their faces (and bodies). Often, they look fitter, healthier, and, most importantly, happier. However, these benefits come with their own set of problems. Stick around to learn more about the struggles of withdrawal and the eventual rewards.

#1

7 Months Sober

close up view of a man's face with tired eyes (left) and happy man's face (right)

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Cesi Baca
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7 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Holy cow! He looks great! All the bloating and redness have gone.

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#2

1 Year Sober

tired man's face (left) and good looking man's face (right)

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Shane Watson
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7 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Thanks for sharing this. By the way, I'm coming up on five years sober (11/29/16). -Shane (Silverladder) fouryearss...b5e167.jpg fouryearssober-5819058b5e167.jpg

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#6

1.5 Years Sober

man's face in glasses (left) and good looking man (right)

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Sergio Bicerra
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7 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I love the fact there is someone's hand in the first pict, like suportting hi

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#9

1 Year Sober

full woman in a sundress (left) and fit woman in a sundress with her hands on hips (right)

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 First Comes the Hard Part…

We all love a glow-up story, especially when it involves fighting inner demons. In this post, the demon at hand is alcohol, a challenge many people face. And the hardest part of fighting them? The after-effects of quitting. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can vary from person to person. The National Library of Medicine (NIH) has published a study describing some of the more common ones.

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  • Irritability
  • Tremors
  • Anxiety

In rare cases, more severe symptoms appear. In these situations, a person can experience:

  • Delirium tremors (DT) (can last 3 to 4 days)
  • Hallucinosis (can last 1 to 2 days)
  • Seizures (can last 1 to 2 days)

In all cases, the first 72 hours will be the hardest. As the body rids itself of alcohol, an increasing number of withdrawal symptoms will manifest. However, if a person can endure this initial period, the benefits will be visible quite quickly.

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#11

7 Years Sober

swollen man's face (left) and smiling old man with glasses (right)

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#18

3y 4m 17d Sober Together

plump faces of man and woman (left) and young smiling pair (right)

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7 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Thank you! It literally saved his life and allowed both of us to have a life worth living.

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…Better Health Comes Second.

After a year of abstinence, the developed symptoms of alcoholism before and after quitting get replaced by healthy benefits. Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches, also known as the Center for Alcohol & Drug Studies, discussed some benefits of long-term sobriety.

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  • Improved skin. A sober face often appears more youthful, bright, and glowy.
  • Mental clarity. Like other drugs, alcohol plays with the chemicals within your body. When you quit drinking, the levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin normalize, leading to improved cognitive function, emotional stability, and overall mental well-being.
  • Weight change. The “Beer belly” phenomenon is real. Thank the high-calorie content in alcoholic beverages. By cutting out alcohol, you can significantly reduce your calorie intake.
  • Better sleep. Like nicotine, alcohol can induce insomnia.
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While we’ve listed only four, there are many more benefits to enjoy in sobriety. And judging from the faces of now-sober people, it’s worth the price.

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#23

At 11 Months Sober (3.85 Years Now)

smiling man in glasses in shirt (left) and thin smiling man in glasses and in shirt with tie (right)

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#27

7 Months Sober

smiling couple (left) and smiling thin boy in dark glasses (right)

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#29

1 Year Sober

woman's face with freckles (left) and smiling woman (right)

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Early Intervention Can Help

Early intervention can make all the difference. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, early prevention seeks to inform individuals about the harm, symptoms of withdrawal and strategies for reducing alcohol use. As long as the person knows there is still hope for recovery, an intervention will usually lead to positive outcomes.

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Since facing a problem head-on can be daunting, that extra push or support can go a long way. There are support groups that try to help individuals drop the vice through group sessions and therapy. While we might know the more famous Alcoholics Anonymous, there are more alcohol addiction support groups a person can choose from.

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#32

5 Months Sober

boy's face with piercing (left) and boy's face in glasses (right)

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#34

What A Difference 5+ Years Of Sobriety Makes! Sober Date: January 16, 2011. #recoveryrocks #iamtheevidence #gratitude

close up view of woman's face (left) and thin woman's face (right)

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#35

2 Years.

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Rosemary Walsh
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7 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My father FINALLY became sober. I will always wish he had done it when I was a young girl.

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#36

151 Days Sober

close up view of man's beard face (left) and man jumping under the waterfall (right)

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Caroline Hoxter
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7 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Good for you! On the left you are in a hospital bed. On the right you are fit and healthy. You should be very proud!! You rock, keep it up.

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#37

21 Months Sober

plump face of a woman with a short haircut (left) and woman's face with piercing in her nose (right)

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Natalie
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7 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I love your tattoos girl - haters always gonna hate - keep moving n brush your proud shoulders off! Beautiful

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#44

9 Years Sober

swollen woman's face (left) and smiling woman (right)

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#45

1,5 Years Sober.

smiling woman with freckles (left) and smiling woman (right)

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Michael Southern
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7 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm thinking the photo on the left is the after photo, and the one on the right is the before photo! Just possibly...

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#46

13 Months Sober .. Not Only Did I Stop Alcohol And All Non Aa Substance I Also Stopped Drinking Soda.

smiling woman with red hair and tattoo on the hand (left) and smiling woman in a swimming costume (right)

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#50

8 Months Sober

swollen man's face (left) and thin man's face with piercing (right)

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Note: this post originally had 130 images. It’s been shortened to the top 50 images based on user votes.