Teetotaler Meaning

Some individuals don’t drink whiskey or other hard liquors but enjoy a beer or the occasional wine. Others stick to beer, and others only like the hard stuff. None of these people are teetotalers. A teetotaler is a person who refuses to drink any and all alcohol-containing drinks.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic driving up the sales of alcohol, there are still individuals who simply don’t drink—before COVID and even now. Part of this group is those who used to drink but have chosen to discontinue and are now sober. Another part of this group is known as a teetotaler. Teetotalism is the practice of abstaining from alcoholic drinks. Some who practice also support others to abstain as well.

Although the words “sober” or “sobriety” tend to be connected with people who have had an addiction to alcohol or have dealt with alcohol abuse, have undergone alcohol rehab treatment, and no longer drinks, a teetotaler is not necessarily someone who struggled with alcohol abuse. A teetotaler is someone who tends to choose abstinence from drinking for their own personal reasons. This can be because of alcohol abuse but may be for any number of reasons.

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Where Teetotaler Culture Began

When alcohol consumption in the US increased in the 19th century, the era seemed to also give rise to teetotalism in this country. Drinking alcohol was part of daily life, so those who were vocal about abstaining from drinking alcoholic drinks stood out. Once Prohibition ended, drinking in moderation became more acceptable and the negative label of a teetotaler became a thing of the past.

Nevertheless, just before the American Temperance Union advocated for people to abstain from alcohol, the Preston Temperance Society in England was also part of the temperance campaign by supporting others to not drink. Those who signed the pledge to do this were asked to write a “T” alongside their signature to signify “total abstinence.” The capital letter “T” in addition to the word “total” led to the name T-totalers, otherwise known as teetotalers.

Whether you have struggled with alcoholism in the past (and hopefully received medical and professional rehab treatment) and are now sober, or you’ve never had a drink in your life, you can choose to be a teetotaler. But if you’re currently struggling with alcoholism, there are resources available to guide and help you achieve long-term sobriety. Don’t let a fight with alcohol abuse control you. Please reach out to get the help that you need today.

10 Reasons Why You Should Be a Teetotaler

Long-term alcohol abuse creates lots of consequences, and alcoholism is the most common one. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) [1], in 2019, over 14.5 million individuals ages 12 and older struggled with alcohol use disorder. There’s also a growing awareness regarding the dangers of heavy drinking, including the risk of weight gain, liver disease, cardiovascular disease, mental illness, and cancer.

Now that there are more teetotalers, both as celebrities and public figures, the health benefits of being teetotal are becoming more visible. Below are the reasons why you may want to be considered as a teetotaler and why abstinence from drinking alcohol is a good thing.

Avoid Dehydration

One of the most obvious signs and symptoms of alcohol use disorder is dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it prevents the body from holding onto fluids, which can lead to dehydration. When someone is focused on drinking, they also usually forget to drink water. Not only can this cause uncomfortable side effects later on, but it can even contribute to neck and back pain. Individuals who drink while partying are also at risk of becoming dehydrated to the point where they end up in the emergency room.

Improved Sleeping Pattern

Although alcohol can make people sleepy and keep them unconscious for hours, this doesn’t necessarily qualify as good sleep. The amount of time a person spends in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, and slow-wave sleep, matters. Slow-wave sleep is linked with deep sleeping, and REM sleep is the cycle during which a person dreams the most. Drinking too much booze can cause an irregularity between these two cycles, reducing the latter and prolonging the former. In the long run, the lack of sleep is not only harmful but can lead to irritability and more drinking.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

I am sure you’ve heard of the term “beer belly,” and I know you understand the connection between alcohol and weight gain. Most alcoholic drinks contain lots of calories and carbohydrates. Even if you aren’t eating excessively, drinking too much alcohol can still lead to significant weight gain. This is somewhat the reason why people with alcohol use disorder often struggle with heart problems and high blood pressure.

Avoid Relationship Problems

Alcohol restrains our ability to make choices and think things through. The more someone drinks, the more likely they are to act in a way they normally wouldn’t. Drinking unreasonably and frequently can affect the way someone treats their loved ones, leading to relationship problems with spouses, family members, friends, and even coworkers. People who abuse alcohol are usually pushed away by their loved ones if they refuse to sober up.

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Improved Performance at Work 

Because alcohol acts as a sedative in large amounts, binge drinkers and chronic drinkers may strive with cognitive performance at work. While the short-term effects of alcohol can impair brain function and concentration, constant drinking can also cause a chemical (GABA and glutamate-NMDA neurotransmission) imbalance in the brain. This neurochemical imbalance can make simple duties impossible to complete and is usually the source of addiction [2].

The withdrawal effects of abstaining from alcohol happen fast and are usually the most difficult to get through. Medically-assisted detox is usually an effective first step in treating alcohol use disorder because it lessens physical discomfort correlated with stopping alcohol that would otherwise scare the person from completing their substance abuse treatment.

Avoid Alcoholism

You can avoid alcoholism by not drinking. The more accustomed to drinking alcohol someone gets, the more their tolerance grows. The more tolerant the body becomes to a certain amount of alcohol, the more they will need to drink to experience the same high or buzz. Repeating this pattern of behavior for a long time can result in a full-blown alcohol addiction.

Save Money

As with most substance abuse disorders, maintaining addictive habits related to drinking alcohol can become expensive. As a result, many individuals who do not seek out alcohol addiction treatment often struggle financially, which can affect their relationships and lead to homelessness in extreme circumstances.

Avoid Alcohol Blackouts, Hangovers, and Alcohol Poisoning

Individuals who are dependent on alcohol often drink to the point of blacking out. Another common side effect of excessive alcohol drinking is experiencing a hangover the day after, characterized by symptoms such as vomiting, headaches, nausea, dizziness, and stomach pains. Someone who drinks a lot of alcohol is also more likely to experience alcohol poisoning. This is another disease that can be deadly and land someone in the emergency room. Constantly experiencing these issues over several years can cause permanent damage to your mental and physical health.

Alcohol and Cancer Types

Usually, the more someone drinks, the greater their cancer odds. Heavy drinkers, who consume two or three drinks every day, are most likely candidates to get cancer and die from it. Even if someone is a light drinker (no more than three drinks a week), the chances are still higher than for teetotalers.

Liver Cancer

  • The liver’s main function is to filter blood and toxins. Alcohol is toxic to liver cells [3]. Drinking heavily can scar and inflame the liver. Too much of the substance can double someone’s chance of liver cancer compared to a teetotalers. More than 70 percent of individuals in the United States who develop liver cancer do so because they have alcoholic cirrhosis [4].

Mouth and Throat Cancer

  • According to the Center for Disease Control and Prefvention (CDC) [5], When a person drink alcohol, the body breaks it down into a chemical called acetaldehyde.  Acetaldehyde damages your DNA and prevents the body from repairing the damage. DNA is the cell’s “instruction manual” that controls a cell’s normal growth and function. 
  • When DNA is damaged, a cell can begin growing out of control and create a cancer tumor. The danger gets even bigger if you smoke cigarettes, since alcohol can help pave the way for harmful tobacco chemicals to get inside the cells.

Esophagus (Food Pipe) Cancer

  • The chances for esophagus cancer, which can be very aggressive and deadly, go up in combination with the number of drinks. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) [6], alcoholic intake is linked to an increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma, a type of cancer that happens in the lining of your esophagus.

Colon and Rectal Cancer

  • Men who drink heavily are more likely than even women who drink a lot to get cancer in their colon or rectum. Overall, heavy drinkers of both sexes face 44% higher risks than non-drinkers. According to the National Cancer Institute [7], moderate to heavy alcohol consumption is associated with 1.2- to 1.5-fold increased risks of cancers of the colon and rectum compared with teetotalers or someone with no alcohol consumption.

Find the Right Treatment at We Level Up Florida NJ

Being a teetotaler is not impossible. But if you’re currently struggling with an alcohol use disorder, there are resources available to help you achieve long-term sobriety. We Level Up NJ offers a safe and medically-assisted Alcohol Detox Program. Contact our team today!

Reach out at We Level Up NJ today!

[1] SAMHSA – https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt29393/2019NSDUHFFRPDFWHTML/2019NSDUHFFR1PDFW090120.pdf

[2] NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4065474/

[3] NIAAA – https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh21-1/05.pdf

[4] NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5070280/

[5] CDC – https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/alcohol/index.htm

[6] NIH – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27145335/

[7] National Cancer Institute – https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/alcohol/alcohol-fact-sheet