Living Without Stimulants – Side Effects of Using Stimulants Including Alcohol

stimulants side effects

Christmas is that time of the year when it seems absolutely impossible to avoid a drink or an occasion that requires you to have a drink. 

Office parties, family gatherings, friends meet-ups (which usually involve shots)… December is full of happy occasions, everyone’s merry and up to their ears with Christmas shopping. 

Although December is the prime time for drinking, it seems that the whole year is now getting more and more filled with occasions (or excuses) for a drink. 

Birthdays, national celebrations, Halloween, Easter, bank holidays, long weekends, graduations, dinner parties, oh the list goes on…

If we’re absolutely surrounded by occasions that involve drinking, if our new commitment is to stop drinking, how are we to escape and avoid it? 

The norm is to drink. 

If you’re asked if you want a drink and you say no or choose an alcohol-free option, you get a weird look – like, you don’t drink? You’re not having a proper drink?? 

Then it becomes common knowledge, an office gossip, and the weird looks continue. 

It can put us in a difficult position. Not necessarily because we feel our choice was wrong, but the way other people look at us and the way they make us feel – like outcasts, the non-drinking weirdos. 

The thing is, I used to get those looks when I first went vegan. I used to get questioned about my reasons why, and a debate would soon start on what’s right and wrong. 

Whenever someones chooses to do something that isn’t mainstream, people freak out. You single yourself out from what everyone else does and the norm is no longer the norm. There are different forms of normality. 

As a society we start to learn that everyone is different and each one of us is entitled to making choices that suit us, even if that means not drinking at Christmas parties or any other time of the year. 

Not drinking and going sober helps your mind and body to be completely free from stimulants that otherwise alter your mood and behaviour. 

I for example would often get a little sad after having that one too many glasses of wine. 

Alcohol although at first releases dopamine for a very brief moment, after a while, the effect wears off. 

Effects of Alcohol

That first drink or first few sips make us feel more relaxed and better, due to the chemical changes that occur in our brain through neurotransmitters. 

Alcohol slows your body down and changes the chemical make up of your brain. As a result, we might feel more confident or less anxious. 

All sounds great, but – these effects are short-lived

As the feelings of happiness and reduced anxiety wear off, if there are underlying issues or we have a history of some depression or anxiety, those issues tend to creep in, sometimes intensified. 

This is why it isn’t recommended to have an alcoholic drink if you suffer with depression. It’s a dangerous game and in the long run, it can make stress, anxiety and depression harder to deal with.  

Alcohol can affect our mood, energy levels, sleeping patterns, concentration and memory. 

If like me, you’re someone who suffers with hormonal changes and mood swings as a result, alcohol consumption can intensify the effect and make you feel much worse and increase the mood swings. 

The more we drink in one sitting, it’s more likely that our negative emotions and underlying issues will come up, intensified. Everything always seems scarier and more intense when alcohol is consumed, ever notice that?

If not, look at people on nights out – ever saw people arguing over something really petty or something they won’t even be bothered about in the morning and will end up apologising for causing a row? 

Stimulants Side Effects

Alcohol is one of the stimulants, with caffeine also considered a stimulant as it alters our mood and functioning of the brain. Some of the side effects from alcohol as a stimulant are: 

  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Anger outbursts
  • Memory loss
  • Anxiety 
  • Panic/paranoia 

A stimulant is essentially any substance that alters our mood, thoughts, and/or the way we feel. 

The effects of alcohol on our mind and body are usually short-term, affecting us for a day or two. However if you’re a regular drinker, it can last from a few days to a few months. 

The Culture or Alcohol Alternatives

There seems to be a growing trend and culture almost, of having a cool drink, a cool cocktail that’s completely free from alcohol. 

We start to see these potions appear is cool bottles, looking like alcohol, tasting amazing and altering our mood just slightly, without the nasty effects of the hangover the next day. 

I first heard about the Three Spirit Drinks – as a magical potion filled with many different, natural ingredients and I was instantly intrigued. 

As we know by now, nature gifts us with many wonderful presents, from crystals to yummy foods and herbs, spices that can alter our mood. 

No I’m not talking here about magic mushrooms…

I’m talking about cacao (which warms the heart and awakens our creativity), Damiana – an ancient Mexican aphrodisiac that awakens the senses and imagination, and valerian, for a touch of peacefulness and stillness. 

I don’t know about you, but these effects sound a lot better than a red nose, flushed face, paranoia and anxiety. 

Living without stimulants that are dangerous to our body, can provide a euphoric feeling. Returning to our original state, with our mind clear, our soul cleansed – think of the realisations, awakenings and spiritual experiences you might encounter?

With a clear mind and soul, you can really tune into your intuition, your spiritual, higher self and go through experience that stimulants would otherwise prevent you from having. 

Meditation might become a much more meaningful experience as you’ll be able to tune in better and listen to that voice within. Your body won’t be altered by any external factors and this sober time may reveal truths that you weren’t previously aware of. 

If you’re going through a spiritual awakening for example, one of your natural inclination might be to quit drinking completely. 

I remember my first stages of spiritual awakening, the thought of alcohol made me feel as if I was poisoning my body and minds. It literally felt like poison, smelled like poison and I just didn’t want any of it near or in my body. 

I had a bit of an enlightenment, like I don’t need that stuff. Although it occurred to me that the reason why I used to drink, was because I had a stressful day at work, or I had a bad day and needed to take the edge off. 

That’s the case for most people too I believe – it’s a glamourised way of finish your day/night off, with a nice glass of wine or some whisky, a bottle of beer, etc…

It’s what we do, completely normal, because everyone else does it too. 

With that drink however, we numb out the pain, distract ourselves from the real issues that led us to that drink in the first place. 

What if you really hate your job and should look for a new one? Instead you’re ignoring it with a bottle of wine. 

What if the reason you’re drinking is because you’re not happy in your relationship and instead of fighting to save it, you’re ignoring it with a drink hoping tomorrow will be better? 

I sometimes found inspiration at the bottom of one wine glass, it can give me some good ideas and remove writing blockages… It never helped me solve any of my problems however. 

Three Spirit Drink 

A plant-based alternative to alcohol. The reason why I chose this particular alcohol-free “alcohol”, is because Three Spirit Drink use ingredients that have been used by tribes for centuries during ceremonial celebrations and rituals. 

Which is right up my street…

Some of the ingredients within these magickal drinks include: 

  • Cacao 
  • Lion’s mane
  • Guava leaf
  • Turmeric
  • Ginseng
  • Ashwaganda
  • Green tea
  • Maple syrup

And lots more.

To top it off, their packaging is plastic-free and recyclable

There are 3 potions* – *I mean options – to choose from: 

The clue of the effects of each one is in the name. The Livener makes you feel more awake, happier and talkative.

Social Elixir is recommended in social settings, raising your spirits and setting the mood for an awesome night

While Nightcap is exactly that – a quiet drink to settle down at the end of the night or after your dinner. A calming effect and relaxing effect to wind down after a long day…

I tried the Livener – and here’s how it went:

The Livener – effects and review 

I mixed about a single shot (25ml) with a bit of orange juice and cranberry juice and oh my goodness was it refreshing

It was absolutely delicious – the tang of spice from the ginseng, a touch of sourness and a whole explosion of fruitiness. It was yummmm. And most importantly, it felt like I was nourishing my body while drinking it – rather than punishing it with alcohol. 

The ingredients are super healthy so it feels like you’re drinking a freshly squeezed juice oozing with vitamins and nutrients. 

And you don’t need to feel guilty about calories or not making the gym the next day. No hangovers with this one, woo!

The effects: it made me feel tingly in my feet – which is my happiness sign, must be the serotonin hormones reaching my feet. 

As we sat on the sofa drinking our Livener, we felt giddy, more talkative and relaxed while also happy. It felt good! 

And it felt special too! Sometimes you want to reward yourself after a hard week/day with a special concoction of a drink, and this Livener has definitely hit the spot. 

Totally, absolutely recommend the Livener

Three Spirit have a list of cocktail recipes to try – it’s not that nice on its own as it’s concentrated and it’s a rather strong flavour. 

More Alcohol Alternatives 

If you’re not a fan of a drink anyways, there are of course other ways in which you can stay healthy, reduce your stress and increase happiness. I’ve listed my favourites methods below: 

Alcohol Alternatives for Stress

If you’re turning to alcohol because you’re stressed, I’d recommend the following alternatives which are likely to be free or cheaper than alcohol, and benefit both your physical and mental health too: 

Alcohol Alternatives For a Happiness Boost

If you’re drinking alcohol to feel happier and get that happiness boost, the following alternatives are again, free or cheaper than alcohol, and benefit your body and mind: 

  • Jogging/running
  • Exercise 
  • Yoga
  • Doing something that you love for an hour – a bath, watching a comfort programme, gardening
  • Sitting in the sun for 15 minutes 
  • Going on the swing (my favourite…) 
  • Dance/movement
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