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Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms + How Long Do They Last?

Most people would agree that on occasion, consumption of alcohol in moderation is fine and may actually yield some health benefits. However, when consumption of alcohol becomes chronic and spirals out of control, it can really take a toll on both physical and mental health. Alcohol itself works by increasing the effects of GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. Increases in GABA activity are linked to relaxation and depression of the nervous system.

Alcohol also decreases glutamate, which is an excitatory neurotransmitter – this causes our functioning to further slow while under the influence. To a certain extent, alcohol also can increase levels of dopamine – a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward. A majority of people can have a good time drinking on occasion with friends and/or family. However, some people become addicted to the psychological response that occurs when they drink.

Individuals who drink often may put themselves at risk for health problems as well as other risky situations such as drunk driving. People who drink often and utilize alcohol to the point that it negatively affects family functioning, work-related tasks, and/or their personal life are said to suffer from alcohol “abuse.” On the other hand, people who struggle with “alcoholism” are said to be physically dependent on it to the point that it is considered a chronic disease. Once an individual with alcoholism begins drinking, they are not able to stop.

The problem for most heavy drinkers is that when they try to kick their drinking habit, they experience an array of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can be very severe and in some cases, downright dangerous. If you are going through withdrawal from alcohol or are considering it, be sure to know how to properly taper as well as the possible symptoms that you may experience.

Factors that influence Alcohol withdrawal

There are many factors that will influence the difficulty of alcohol withdrawal as well as how long it lasts. Various factors that play an important role in withdrawal include: the time span over which you used alcohol, amount you typically consume, tolerance, whether you have an addiction, how quickly you withdraw, as well as other individual factors.

1. Time Span

Over how many years did you drink? Someone who has been drinking consistently every day for 10 years is likely going to have a much tougher time kicking the habit than a college kid who drank heavily for 1 year. In general, the longer and more consistently you have been drinking, the greater your tolerance is likely to be.

Additionally when you drink every day for years, it becomes ingrained almost as an innate habit that is even tougher to drop as alcohol has become part of your physiology. It is easier for your body to get used to functioning without alcohol when you only used it for a short period of time.

Long term users must gradually wean themselves down in quantity so that their body and brain can adapt to functioning with less alcohol until they have finally become sober.

2. Amount consumed / Tolerance

How much alcohol do you consume? Those who have been binge drinking daily for a year may have a very difficult time kicking the habit if they have a high tolerance. The amount of alcohol that you consume on a consistent basis will have great influence on your level of tolerance.

Obviously someone who doesn’t drink much will have a low tolerance, whereas someone who consistently consumes large quantities is likely to have a large tolerance. Individuals with higher tolerances are likely to experience more severe withdrawal symptoms when they quit.

3. Addiction / Dependency

Are you addicted to drinking alcohol? In some cases people become addicted to alcohol because it makes them feel good, takes away anxiety, lowers stress, and allows them to feel more carefree. Many people who become addicted drink so much that they develop a dependency on the alcohol for everyday functioning.

If you are addicted, withdrawal may be extremely difficult because you may constantly crave the alcohol and/or emotional component of relaxation that drinking provides. If you consider yourself an alcoholic or suffer from alcohol addiction, you may want to seek help from an addiction specialist and/or psychotherapist. Without proper help you may not make it successfully through withdrawal.

4. Cold Turkey vs. Tapering

If you have been using alcohol heavily, it is never recommended to simply quit “cold turkey.” Quitting cold turkey is widely regarded as a dangerous move for the simple fact that it can trigger seizures and other dangerous side effects. In order to avoid seizures and minimize withdrawal symptoms, it is important to gradually taper off of alcohol. Those who quit cold turkey or taper too quickly will likely experience significantly more severe withdrawal symptoms.

In order to successfully taper off of alcohol, it is best to come up with some sort of tapering protocol based on how much you currently drink (e.g. your tolerance). On average it is recommended to reduce your alcohol consumption by about 2 drinks per day until you are down to zero. So if you start at 30 drinks a day, cut down to 28 drinks your second day, 26 your third day, etc. – until you have reached zero.

Although you may be highly motivated to kick your drinking habit and function sober, it is recommended to avoid trying to taper too quickly. If you have been drinking consistently, you should not be making drastic cuts in the amount of alcohol you drink daily. People who drop from 25 drinks per day to 10 drinks then 0 drinks are going to likely end up with very debilitating withdrawal symptoms – some of which may be dangerous.

If you haven’t been drinking a lot and have only been drinking for short periods of time, you may be able to get away with a cold turkey withdrawal. With that said, you should know whether you have been drinking lightly enough to warrant a cold turkey withdrawal. If at any time you feel as though you are tapering too quickly, make adjustments and slow down the amount you cut and/or how quickly you do it.

5. Individual Factors

Individual factors play an important role in determining how successful someone is with their withdrawal as well as how a person copes with symptoms. Having healthy habits, good social support, and a productive environment can go a long way in helping a person make it through withdrawal. Without adequate support and proper environment, withdrawal symptoms can be more distracting and tougher to deal with.

  1. Physiology: Everyone is unique and will react differently to the process of withdrawal. Some people are more psychologically resilient and less sensitive to withdrawals than others. Your nervous system and the way your individual body responds to the withdrawal may be different than that of someone else.
  2. Habits: Do you have supportive habits to help you through withdrawal? Or do you have other addictions and bad habits that are tough to break. Individuals that are caught up in a string of bad habits may have a tough time quitting alcohol and dealing with symptoms.  For example, someone who has healthy dietary, exercise, and sleep habits may experience quicker recovery than others.
  3. Environment: Your environment can play a role in determining the difficulty of withdrawal. If you live in a safe, positive environment, it is thought that withdrawal will be easier to handle. People that live in a rougher environment are going to likely face greater difficulty in withdrawal. If lots of other people around you in your environment drink, it may be tougher to quit and you may get less support.
  4. Social Support: Do you have good social support? People with a more supportive social network may have an easier time getting through difficult withdrawal symptoms. If you have someone around to talk to who will support you when you are experiencing difficult withdrawal effects, it may help you with coping as opposed to someone without good social support.
  5. Other drugs: Are you using any other drugs? In some cases other drugs may make the withdrawal process easier. If you are working with your doctor and have been prescribed medications to help ease the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, they may actually help. On the other hand, if you are using illicit drugs to deal with alcohol withdrawal, you are essentially just shifting the addiction to a new substance.
  6. Personality: Do you have a naturally addictive personality? People who have addictive personalities may have a tougher time making it through alcohol withdrawal. Individuals who have more carefree non-addictive personalities will likely have an easier time making it through withdrawal.
  7. Coping mechanism: Many people use alcohol as a coping mechanism for stressors and/or to deal with life. People that are using alcohol to make it through a rough time in life may have a tougher time quitting because they are essentially using it as a drug to mask a deeper underlying issue. If you are using it as a crutch or coping mechanism, it is advised to seek some sort of therapy to help address other problems.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms: List of Possibilities

Below is a list of possible symptoms that you may experience upon withdrawing from alcohol. Understand that you may not experience every symptom listed below and the severity of these symptoms is largely based on individual circumstances. One person may experience nearly every symptom listed below, while another may have a relatively mild withdrawal and only have to deal with a few symptoms.

  • Agitation: Many people feel agitated during the first few weeks of withdrawal. The agitation may last much longer than a few weeks in some cases. Do your best to manage this feeling by getting some light exercise and/or practicing relaxation exercises.
  • Anger: Many individuals experience anger to the point of rage during withdrawal from alcohol. This anger is typically a result of our inability to relax and in part due to the fact that the brain is sensitive during withdrawal. Neurotransmitter levels have not recovered to baseline and this may make you more prone to anger outbursts.
  • Anxiety: The amount of anxiety people experience from alcohol withdrawal can be extreme. This may be due to changes in neurotransmitter levels (specifically GABA) as a result of extensive alcohol use. Additionally consistent alcohol abuse can diminish our natural ability to relax because the brain has become reliant on the alcohol to induce relaxation. Over time, your brain and nervous system will recover, but be prepared to deal with some anxiety during withdrawal.
  • Appetite loss: A large percentage of people will notice that their appetite changes during alcohol withdrawal. If you notice that you are lacking appetite, understand that it’s merely a withdrawal symptom. Over time as your body resets itself, your appetite should come back.
  • Blood pressure increases: In some cases people experience hypertension (high blood pressure) when they stop consuming alcohol. If you know that your blood pressure could be problematic, consult a doctor and discuss what can be done to manage this symptom. They may suggest taking something like Clonidine – which can help control blood pressure and may take an edge off of other symptoms.
  • Confusion: You may experience severe confusion when you initially stop drinking alcohol. This confusion is in part due to neurotransmitter changes, but also due to the array of other psychological symptoms such as poor concentration and memory functioning during withdrawal.
  • Concentration problems: It is very common to experience foggy thinking and lack of concentration when you withdraw from alcohol. It may seem impossible to focus on schoolwork and/or job-related tasks. Do your best to tough out the lack of concentration and do what you can to get through each day. The brain will eventually recover and you’ll be able to concentrate again – it just may take some time.
  • Cravings: Although many people that quit drinking alcohol are mentally determined to do so, it can be difficult to deal with cravings that arise during withdrawal. Some people experience such extreme cravings that they have a difficult time gradually tapering off of alcohol and or becoming fully sober. Do your best to deal with any cravings by getting rid of all excess alcohol once you have fully tapered yourself down.
  • Crying spells: The depression that people experience during alcohol withdrawal can be debilitating. This may lead people to feel hopeless and inevitably breakdown and cry. If you find yourself crying often during withdrawal, just know that you will eventually experience emotional recovery.
  • Delirium tremens: People experience major fluctuations in nervous system functioning during alcohol withdrawal. This is a more common symptom in people who drink large amounts of alcohol every single day for months. It also is more likely to affect individuals who have had an alcohol habit for many years. Essentially this is a psychotic state in which an alcoholic experiences tremors (shakes), anxiety, feels disoriented, and can possibly hallucinate.
  • Depression: Do you feel severely depressed now that you have stopped drinking? This is relatively normal and is in part due to neurotransmitter changes in the brain. As your brainwave functioning and neurotransmitters reestablish homeostasis, your mood should lift. Keep in mind that you may feel depressed for awhile, most people don’t recover overnight.
  • Depersonalization: If you feel unlike your natural self and/or almost like a zombie, just know that this is another possible withdrawal symptom. This is caused by changes in brain functioning and can actually be exacerbated by anxiety. Do your best to keep the faith that you will eventually feel normal again because you will.
  • Dilated pupils: You may notice that your pupils become enlarged and dilated when you withdraw. While drinking, most people experience pupil constriction due to the depressant effect it has on the nervous system. When you come off of alcohol your nervous system elicits the opposite response and pupils dilate.
  • Dizziness: A very common symptom to experience during withdrawal is that of dizziness. You may feel dizzy to the point of vertigo and/or feel as if you have a difficult time maintaining balance. The dizziness can be uncomfortable, but it will eventually lessen and eventually stop over time.
  • Fatigue: Don’t be surprised if you feel so tired that you cannot get out of bed in the morning. If you have been using alcohol for a long time, you may feel weak and tired. Your body and brain are likely completely drained of energy and will need some rest to function soberly.
  • Fever: Some individuals experience spikes in body temperature when they stop drinking and become sick. Most people that get fevers will only have “low grade” fevers, but it is possible to run higher fevers as well.
  • Hallucinations: Some people actually experience psychotic symptoms when they withdraw from alcohol. This can include hallucinations, which are regarded as seeing and/or hearing things that aren’t based in reality. Most people do not hallucinate when they stop drinking, but it is possible for more chronic, long-term alcoholics.
  • Headache: Another very obvious symptom that people experience is that of headaches. Even short-term drinkers experience various degrees of headaches when they stop drinking. You may experience light headaches and/or something more severe like a migraine. These will eventually go away with proper rest as time passes.
  • Heart palpitations: The symptom of palpitations can be somewhat alarming to a person who has never experienced them before. These are basically feelings that your heart is pounding especially loudly and/or racing. If you react to these with anxiety and panic, they will likely become more severe. As your anxiety subsides and your body relaxes again, these will diminish.
  • Insomnia: Some people drink alcohol because it depresses the nervous system and helps them fall asleep. During withdrawal not only are many people anxious, they experience significant changes in sleep patterns – which can inevitably lead to insomnia. Just know that it is very normal to experience insomnia when you withdraw. Your sleep pattern should correct itself over time.
  • Irritability: Withdrawal from alcohol can lead to irritability as a result of changes in GABA functioning. When you have adequate GABA, you are able to keep calm and don’t get bothered by minor things. Insufficient GABA can lead a person to feel irritable and unable to stay calm.
  • Itching: Some people have reported that they experience intensely itchy skin during withdrawal. The itch can feel almost like a rash in regards to severity and/or like bugs crawling all over the skin. The cause of this isn’t fully understood but one theory suggests that it’s the result of the central nervous system reactivating itself via nerve endings after being numbed by the alcohol for an extended period.
  • Joint pain: Do you feel pain in your joints now that you are going through withdrawal? This is especially common and largely due to the fact that alcohol can numb any sensations of pain. Additionally your body may have been in a drunken stupor for such a long time that reactivation of joint functioning causes some minor aches.
  • Mood swings: Most people can expect some sort of mood swings during their withdrawal. One minute you may feel deeply depressed and hopeless, the next you may be optimistic about the withdrawal process. Understand that changes in mood such as feelings of anger, sadness, apathy, anxiety, etc. will all gradually stabilize.
  • Muscle weakness: A lot of people who drink consistently don’t get adequate exercise. Heavy drinking and minimal exercise is a recipe for muscle weakness. Your muscles may have actually become weaker due to lack of exercise and stagnation during the period in which you drank heavily. The weakness is also in part due to your body adapting to the detoxification process.
  • Nausea: If you feel really nauseated during the first few weeks of withdrawal, this is pretty normal. The nausea may become intense at times and lead to vomiting. It may be difficult to work through this symptom, but eventually you will recover.
  • Nightmares: A lot of people end up having to deal with nightmares, bad dreams, and crazy dreams when they stop drinking. The nightmares may be caused by poor sleep quality and the brain attempting to function sober again.
  • Panic attacks: Some people experience such intense anxiety that it escalates to a panic attack.  Panic attacks are caused by intense surges of uncontrollable anxiety.  These are thought to be caused by disruptions with GABA neurotransmitter levels; when they drop, it’s easy for panic to set in.  If you notice yourself experiencing panic, it is advised to practice relaxation techniques as they will calm the nervous system and promote desensitization to environmental triggers.
  • Seizures: One of the dangers associated with rapid withdrawal or quitting alcohol “cold turkey” after extensive usage is that of seizures. If you quit cold turkey, you may not have adequate GABA in the brain to inhibit electrical activity. The electrical activity may spike, which could lead to a seizure. Seizures are more common in long-term alcoholics and/or people who have withdrawn from alcohol many times.
  • Sleep disturbances: In addition to experiencing general insomnia, your entire sleep cycle may be thrown off schedule. You may be unable to sleep at night, but may feel tired during the day. Additionally you may fall asleep and not be able to stay asleep for a long period of time. For long term drinkers it may take over a month for your sleep cycle to correct itself.
  • Suicidal thinking: The depression, anxiety, and panic that can set in during withdrawal can take a major psychological toll. If at any point you feel suicidal, recognize that although you feel crappy, you will eventually feel better. If you are unable to cope with this feeling, seek out a professional therapist. Typically as time passes, your emotions will stabilize and you’ll feel less depressed.
  • Sweating: Most people notice heavy night sweats when they are going through detoxification from alcohol. With that said, you may also sweat profusely throughout the day. The amount you sweat should gradually lessen and normalize within a few weeks.
  • Tremors: You may notice that your hands and/or other body parts constantly shake. Shaking is a symptom that many heavy drinkers experience during the tapering process and after they have had their last drink. Recognize that this symptom may be very uncomfortable, but it should subside over time.
  • Vomiting: Most individuals who drink a lot can attest to feeling flu-like symptoms when they stop using alcohol. One of the symptoms that people experience is that of vomiting. Consider taking something like Pepto-Bismol to calm your stomach. Additionally make sure that you are drinking plenty of water as vomiting can lead to dehydration.

Note: While certain symptoms may be noticeable during the “tapering” process, a majority will emerge after alcohol has been fully cleared from your body.  For further information about how alcohol is metabolized and the rate by which it is eliminated, read the article: “How long does alcohol stay in your system?”

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms: How long do they last?

There is no exact predictable timeline that can be universally followed for withdrawal from alcohol. Although many people may experience most intense symptoms within the first few days of withdrawal (the acute phase), some end up dealing with severe withdrawal symptoms for weeks and in other cases months since their last drink (post-acute phase). The severity of symptoms as well as the duration of withdrawal will largely depend on individual circumstances.

Individuals who are naturally less sensitive to withdrawal and have a supportive environment may recover at a quicker rate than people who are highly sensitive to withdrawal symptoms. Additionally someone who has been drinking heavily for years and is withdrawing may experience much more intense and longer-lasting symptoms, compared to someone who was only drinking for a couple months. It is important to understand that the withdrawal process is a highly unique and individualized based on many personal factors.

Some people may only end up experiencing intense symptoms for a few weeks and gradually improve, while others don’t notice any symptoms until they have been off of alcohol for a few weeks. Some people report pretty intense withdrawal symptoms for up to 6 weeks after their last drink, while other people end up going through protracted withdrawals that last up to 3 months. As a rule of thumb for any major withdrawal, I always recommend giving yourself 90 days before reevaluating how you feel and your symptoms.

Although it can be difficult to wait a full 3 months, a majority of people will be able to notice significant improvement after this duration of time. By waiting 90 days you have given your nervous system more time to adapt to sober functioning and you will likely be able to recognize some clear improvements in your recovery compared to the first couple weeks of withdrawal. Keep in mind that in some cases, protracted withdrawal symptoms can last up to a full year.

In the meantime, make sure that you don’t get caught up in how long the symptoms are going to last, rather take the time to focus on recovery. Take things one day at a time and if necessary, one hour at a time in the early phases of withdrawal. One tough hour may seem like a marathon, but you will survive and eventually experience full recovery. Each day try to focus on doing healthy things for yourself like eating good foods, staying hydrated, resting, getting good sleep, staying productive as possible, talking with friends, and consider some light exercise.

If you are currently dealing with alcohol withdrawal symptoms and/or have already survived alcohol withdrawal, feel free to share your experience in the comments section below. By sharing your experience, you may give someone else some encouragement and/or hope that they need in order to make it through this challenge.

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  • matt December 18, 2014, 1:03 pm

    Great article. I’ve been drinking fairly heavily (8-12 pints a day) for the last few years and have struggled with the withdrawal which has often given symptoms you wouldn’t necessarily expect like dizziness, fatigue, up to weeks/months after quitting. As it said above everybody is different and will experience it in different ways. Good to read an article that goes a little deeper into it, as with me I wasn’t sure what was happening to my mind, body and soul. Sure enough things seem to be getting better slowly but surely, give it a few months and just keep going.

    • Bryan November 21, 2015, 3:26 am

      This post was very helpful, although it didn’t directly answer my question. It did however show that withdrawals can vary in time lengths. As for my story I started drinking once a week on Saturday night, and limited it to 5-6 shots. Just enough to to have a strong buzz. This went on for 6 months to a year then turned into many times a week and later to every day of the week. The amounts changed to, from 5-6 to 8-12.

      The last 3 times I drank, (where I had 12 shots within 30min) the next day I would wake up with a racing heart. While I’ve never been super healthy, this shocked me and caused me to change my life for good. As a side thought, as I would be drinking fm everyday, I would research all sorts of alcoholic symptoms to understand the dangers and then try to quit. This never worked, in fact it wasn’t till I started to see, what I viewed as serious symptoms that I started to change.

      I had just about every symptom you read about from withdrawal, and I had only gone from the night before till the next night of not drinking. And this was before I started to get strange chest feelings. So the withdrawals that started first when I decided to quit were increased heart rate, all sorts of odd chest sensations, pressure behind my left shoulder blade, and center of the back. Not to forget crazy strong anxiety, shakiness, depression, and disturbed sleep.

      The feelings would come on strong, and then trigger the anxiety, it felt like I was about to have a heart attack of sorts, almost a state of not having pain, but feeling like something bad was about to happen. The good news is nothing did. This went on for a week, and it actually helped to out my mind at ease knowing the types of symptoms to expect, and that it would simply take time.

      The day’s turned into weeks, and then months. I started to notice that I was listing weight also, (which I had struggled for years to do) and this gave me something strong to focus on in the process. As I started to lose weight and would encounter small panic attacks and chest sensations, I would make deliberate diet changes. Quitting alcohol became easy to quit do I added soda to that list.

      After 25 years of drinking that everyday, I quit it for the first time too, and the weight had kept coming off. I later added a time to stop eating at night by, and started going to the park everyday to take some photos of wildlife. This disguised me actually exercising for over an hour a day 6 days a week. So at this point where am I going with the story?

      The point is, it’s scary at first when you find something you didn’t expect to happen. And by some research you can learn what to expect and focus on small improvements as you progress. What helped me with anxiety is i would notice that the day before, (as crazy as it seemed, nothing serious actually happened) and then calm down with that in mind. As the days turned into weeks and months, that helped the most.

      It’s all scary at first, and I did it without anyone to be there with me. So if I can do it, so can you. Since I’ve stopped drinking Booze, I’ve lost 37lbs, and have forever found out how to raise or lower my weight. That in itself was worth the starting and quoting of drinking for me. So one powerful Lesson out of all this? Look for the good that comes as a result of the challenges you face today.

      Take it literally one moment at a time, one day at a time, one month at a time. This sort of change needs to be life long, small and repeated over and over each day. In closing, the thing that I use to help me to never drink again for the rest of my life is this. All those horrible symptoms I had, all the panic, the scary moments, the pain, will return as soon as I pick up drinking again, for in that moment of starting I know I will again someday have to quit and to make matters worse, the symptoms will be even more evil and deadly.

      Maybe I wouldn’t have a second chance, but if I start again, I’ll be doomed to face all the symptoms intensified. We all know that you can’t live and drink alcohol, without it affecting the body, and because of that, one will always be faced with quitting if you start again. This piece of truth helps keep me grounded by all the hell that is alcohol withdrawal, and the simple fact is you avoid it all by not ever starting. I pray this helps, and gives you in the midst of the storm hope to move forward one day at a time.

      • Derek January 14, 2016, 4:15 am

        Thanks, that’s my story to the T. Just to hear it like that has me on a different outlook, given I’m going through it now. Good and bad 3 days.

      • Dea January 19, 2016, 2:07 am

        Thank you so much for sharing. I’m on day six, exact same symptoms as you but I’m so afraid of them I’ve been in the hospital twice for an EKG. EKGs all came back normal (three times), but I’m concerned about long term heart damage. I’m only thirty. Did you ever end up getting your heart checked out? Thanks for sharing.

        • Hector March 3, 2016, 5:50 pm

          The withdraw will make your heart race, I am 31 and after heavy drinking was the first time my blood pressure was ever high. You have to try to keep your mind off of it, and keep yourself active and busy, I know it’s easier said than done but hang in there. Don’t push yourself, maybe go for a walk or something easy, get out of your own head and don’t hyper-focus on the weird stuff your body and brain is trying to do to convince you to get alcohol in your body.

        • John alldred March 10, 2017, 8:22 am

          I started drinking at 15 and rapidly became a big drinker and eventually a drug abuser. All through school and university I continued to drink to a ridiculous degree until I collapsed with the heart condition called cardiomyopathy, which in those days was hard to treat and I nearly died. The doctors eventually sent me home and said be very careful, no heavy exercise, no alcohol.

          I got sick of sitting on the couch and decided to try and get tip. I didn’t tell the doctors but I stated by waling down the driveway and back and eventually tried jogging. My heart jumped all over the place but I persisted and eventually ran marathons, did Iron Man and all kinds of crazy stuff. When I was 40 I went back to the doctors and all the symptoms had gone and I got full clearance.

          Now I was a bit crazy to do it without the doctors and wouldn’t advise that. I didn’t drink for many years and had a successful career. Sadly later I started to drink again UP TO FOUR BOTTLES OF RED WINE A DAY, CRAZY STUFF! But I have stopped, with the help of my GP and I feel great. I have no desire to drink again, am 66 so need to get on and enjoy what time I have left, it’s never too late.

          Anybody can stop if they want it bad enough and they find the right way for them. Don’t be convinced to drink by social pressure, that’s caused by people who have the same problem but won’t admit. Don’t be hard on yourself or embarrassed about it – everyone will know anyway. Good luck and stick with it, it’s very worth it. It’s your journey so take ownership of it and be well.

          In the end you got into it probably through bad circumstance, genetic predisposition, a number of bad things – but put all that aside. Time to take care of yourself and look forward not backward. Regards, JOHN (NEW ZEALAND). Sober!

          • Aaron March 16, 2017, 2:47 pm

            Thank you John for your story. I’ve been heavily drinking for about 10 years and have recently (3 days ago) decided to quit for good. It’s a tough road at the moment but comforting to see all the comments left here for advice and encouragement.

            Funny thing – a New Zealander actually started me on this path in January. He was traveling the states and our paths crossed. What an amazing man with an incredible story. He said the same thing to me – take time to care for yourself and look forward, not backward. Thank you for reiterating the point.

      • carol February 10, 2016, 3:46 pm

        Thank you.

      • Kevin April 3, 2016, 11:39 am

        Hi. This is just the most mind blowing thing I’ve read in a long time. I’m hungover reading this and I’m now at the point of stopping drinking after about 23 years. I’ve talked about doing it for some time but didn’t fool myself into believing I could go cold turkey. I had to prove it to myself that nothing would change unless I changed my attitude towards booze and life in general.

        I suppose it doesn’t help being Irish. Yeah I know that’s a stereotype but it’s true. Anyway I always get to a point of being healthy and positive and I think that I can go for drink and this time it will be different. It never is. I think it was Einstein who said that madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a change. I didn’t know who will read this, and yes I am rambling, but thanks for writing this. Good luck.

        • ChristineZ May 13, 2016, 12:09 pm

          Hey Kevin, I’m Irish too. (Live in US). I think it’s in our blood to want to have the warm glow of liquor flowing in our veins. To all the rest of you on this thread, I hope you are still visiting and listening… Quitting alcohol is the hardest, most irritating mind-screw you will ever face. And that’s just the first few days.

          Depending on how much your normal consumption was, you will sweat, have palpitations, shake, cry, vomit, yell at everyone for any reason, and lay in the bed at night and wonder why the hell you just didn’t have a drink. And that’s just to first week or so. And THEN… the exhaustion. The desire to sleep and sleep becomes so strong and you have no clue why you’re ready for bed as soon as the sun sets, and anything requiring any amount of labor is just too much to deal with, so you just go to bed.

          I know, you’re wondering why I’m going on and on of the misery in giving up alcohol… But THEN… one morning, (it was about day 33 for me) you have a bit more energy. The black circles under your eyes are gone. Your skin is tighter, younger-looking. Your breath doesn’t melt the paint off the wall any longer. You didn’t yell at your kids for being noisy or complain that someone drank all the damn coffee.

          You pants were a little looser. You appreciated the smell of the neighbors freshly mown grass without complaining about how he was running his damn mower so early in the day. You go for a walk. You scratch the dogs belly. You plan a vacation. You read a good book. You actually have a conversation.

          YOU FEEL GOOD. You. Feel. Good. It won’t be overnight, and it won’t be fun. But there IS a great reward at the end of the road. Go try and amaze yourself… I bet you can.

          • Lisa July 18, 2016, 11:52 am

            Wow! Beautifully said!

          • Richard September 15, 2016, 7:38 am

            This must be my mantra. I will try and read it everyday. Today is day 1. Heavy drinker for last 30 years. I gave up last year for 4 months after everything spiraled out of control. But gradually got back to drinking everyday. I decided yesterday I had to stop again. Hopeful!

          • John C September 25, 2016, 3:10 pm

            Christine, Exactly what I needed to hear this morning. Thanks!

          • Taylor S October 29, 2016, 9:26 pm

            Thank you, Christine. You just got me through a moment.

          • Luke December 12, 2016, 2:03 am

            This sounds great to me! I’m 29 and have been drinking heavily for 8 years. By heavily I mean 15-20 beers per night or more, or maybe just a full bottle of high proof liquor. I’ve never tried to quit probably because I was in denial. I’m on day 5 and man is this rough!

            I want to take my life back even though my habits haven’t affected my work life. I did pick smoking back up but it has really helped me through to this point. I know it’s trading one habit for the other but I’m trying to keep it to a minimum to get through this worse part of withdrawal.

            I have always had an addictive personality but I am looking to trade the bad things for good things. I’m looking for new positive hobbies aside from drinking til I black out. Reading the stories of others has really helped me cope with this. Thank you guys.

        • Thomas November 3, 2016, 5:18 pm

          Thank you all. A lot of what I’ve read over the last day or two was focused on people drinking for a couple years. For me it’s been 20 years. Jack Daniels. about four or five drinks a night. Didn’t know anything about how severe the symptoms could be stopping cold turkey. Sunday I stopped (five days ago), as I really felt sick and pain in my liver.

          I’ve got the basketball stomach and I know I’ve done damage. I’ve read after a few years the liver does a good job regenerating, so I hope I caught it in time to where I can heal and live normally someday. No drastic withdrawal symptoms for me – nausea for the last few days and totally exhausted. Really drained. All I want is sleep.

          It scares me that with few symptoms that after a few weeks, more bad stuff can happen, which sucks cuz I really didn’t have many major symptoms, and was hoping things would just get better day by day. The thought that a few weeks from now I could have a seizure scares me. But I don’t want to go back to drinking just to try and ween myself properly. I feel like I got through the tough part with it being five days clean now.

          But in reading of others who have drank heavily for many years and they are okay gives me hope. Aside of the loss of appetite and being so, so tired, I feel way better than I have in a long time. I really appreciate seeing others who have had success, and even moreso, others who have hit the bottle so hard like me having such success.

          You all have made it easier for me to cope. Thank you and please keep active in these comments letting us know your progress over time. It is an inspiration.

          • john c November 8, 2016, 12:37 am

            Thomas, I’m at 56 days sober after drinking for 45 years Its worth it so far. People are starting to tell me I’m happier. I certainly sleep better. I used to dread going to bed at night and drank vodka until I passed out. If I woke up too soon, I would drink some more to knock myself back down.

            Now, I literally sleep 8-10 hours a night. The first week is so hard. The first month is so long. This second month is almost worth the effort so far. Can’t wait to see what the third month brings!

      • Ben August 6, 2016, 2:08 pm

        I try to always remind myself that a thousand drinks is never enough, but one drink is too many. Stay strong man.

        • Dee October 16, 2016, 7:20 pm

          Thanks Ben, that saying does help a lot! I will chant this every day.

      • Natalie August 29, 2016, 7:33 am

        Thank you so much for your story and advice! 33 years old and have drank 8-13 beers a night/day for the last 5 years… Before that it was 2-3 bottles of wine… For how many years??? I can’t even remember! My memory is blurred… I have 3 children. The only time I stopped drinking is when I was pregnant and throughout there first year of fun/on.

        The quilt I feel is indescribable… Why didn’t I stop? I wished every morning I wouldn’t drink today. Come 4-5 the crave was there. Eventually the crave was at 10-11am. All the symptoms you describe I had.. Still having! I’d say the night sweats are the worst. Waking up literally drenched. I don’t know what the final straw has been.

        I think I was drunk when it happened but enough is enough. Each day that goes by the more ups and downs and flash backs.. Looking at kids with absolute heartbreak that there mum was a functioning alcoholic. But wish it was so different… I’m have high happy emotions most of the time right now.

        No blurriness from the night before. Excited feelings I Keeps me going that I no it can only get better. If I feel like this now only 13 days sober. How great will I feel in a year. I can only hope. I’ve done it all alone… Not told a soul. The quilt and embarrassment has been a secret for years.

        Alcohol has me. I don’t know how I let it happen… It was a terrible choice as a coping mechanism. I will take each day and hope it works. Enjoy the kids.. Life and my crazy mind to its fullest. I tried for years. Reading group chats. Silent on my own hoping it would give me strength. Maybe it’s worked… 13 days sober and counting. Thank you.

        • Megan September 18, 2016, 3:26 pm

          Keep it up. You are doing a great job! Stay strong. It will be worth it.

        • Thomas November 3, 2016, 5:30 pm

          Natalie, I have the same situation. Didn’t tell anyone I quit, I live alone, part time with my daughter but she really hasn’t seen the bad stuff. For me, it was drinking from midnight while she was asleep til about 4 am every night. I was a functioning drunk, never had any bad consequences. no drunk driving, no fighting with anyone, it really just enhanced my mood.

          But it made the days so much worse trying to get through them all, and then repeat the process the next night. I really don’t have any cravings yet (I think I scared myself away from drinking for the time being). After 20 years, you’d think my withdrawal and cravings would have been awful.

          Maybe I’m getting off lucky, or maybe the worst is yet to come for me. All I know is for now, I feel better and hoping it can continue forward. Hoping the same for you. Hoping the best for you, and please keep us updated on how you are doing.

        • Shannon November 22, 2016, 10:11 pm

          Hi Natalie – While all of these messages have helped me, yours spoke to me the loudest. I have 3 boys and have drank wine every night for the last 5-6 years. Lately it’s been about 2 bottles, going into work dizzy and hung over – but nobody ever knew. I was very good at masking my hangovers. I sure felt them though!

          And every morning, I would chastise and berate myself for doing that, and then, around 3ish, I would know I was going to get some more wine for that night. Sometimes I could go a few days – Sun through Wed or Thursday. But then, I would have some, and then off I went through the weekend! My kids are 12-14 & 15 and while I tell myself that they didn’t notice, or didn’t mind, I’m sure they noticed.

          Especially when Mommy was ‘sick’ on the weekends and couldn’t do anything with them. So today is only day 3, and usually I know I’ll have some more wine on the weekend. But I went without last weekend, just to see if I could. And I did! But then, started on Tuesday… But I’ve been having heart palpitations for the last 2 days.

          I know I’m poisoning myself. I’m literally killing myself and barely surviving through the days. This is not who I want to be. So while I do have friends that enjoy wine and we joke about it, I haven’t told anyone I’m quitting. If I told anyone I’ve quit, they would wonder why have I quit?

          Am I an alcoholic? I may be. But until I’ve got a handle on it, I can’t tell anyone. I do feel a bit better, more clear headed anyway. I feel a bit detached from my emotions though, and I’m glad to read that’s normal. I’ve not been sleeping, but I’m exhausted. Just keep on, keeping on. Thank you.

      • Mo October 19, 2016, 8:25 pm

        Thank You!!!

    • Leslie January 7, 2017, 9:04 pm

      Well, that was a great read. It’s really helping me, cause I quit three days ago and I suddenly got real dizzy. So I’m dizzy to the point where I feel like I’m going to fall down all the time. Can’t take a shower. Can barely fix something to eat, or simply use the restroom. Will the dizziness go away?

      • Harriet January 9, 2017, 12:42 am

        Leslie – I was reading these comments and found yours… gosh I’m glad it’s not just me! I stopped six days ago and I feel like I am a robot with no emotion except lots of nausea and dizziness. Stupid me thought I had an inner ear infection. I’d love to check in with you occasionally to see how you’re doing… and hope we both get over this hateful vertigo!

        • Harper January 14, 2017, 4:48 pm

          I get this too! So you’re definitely not alone. I also get the heart palpitations… Scary but I know it’s necessary…

    • Joseph February 16, 2017, 3:16 am

      Thank you, Bryan, for talking about the odd chest pains. I have been experiencing persistent twinges and spasms throughout my chest since I stopped drinking a month ago. They really spike my anxiety, and I never would have associated them with going cold turkey until I came across your post. Our withdrawal seems very similar. I pray for your success at staying off the drink. Now, if only I was allowed to sleep fourteen hours a day, things would be even better!

  • james January 20, 2015, 10:42 pm

    Thanks for sharing Matt. I’m an alcoholic, I quit drinking on November 7th, 2014. I’ve felt pretty much “normal” with few or little withdrawal symptoms until today, mainly trouble sleeping and anxiety. All of a sudden out of nowhere, I started balling my eyes out, I was so embarrassed, I didn’t know what to do. I found reading this article gave me focus and helped calm me down, it helped me understand the emotion. Thanks for the read.

  • Michael February 18, 2015, 8:33 pm

    I’m on month five of complete abstinence after drinking heavy and daily for the past 40 years. I’m experiencing many of these symptoms still. Especially the fatigue. I’m hopeful that I improve and am happy with my sober state. This article helps a lot. -Mike

    • Kay May 14, 2015, 1:35 am

      I binge drank heavily for thirty nine years and have been sober for twenty months. I still feel fatigue at times. Does anyone know if daily headaches I experience are at all normal?

  • Chris February 24, 2015, 10:25 pm

    Day 5 after drinking hard and heavy for 38 years and a recent 18-month binge of daily drinking of a minimal of twelve a day. Saw a GP after a vacation of blackouts, swollen ankles (subsided), one dark urine and dehydration. GP gave me BP pills as mine shot up (both systolic and diastolic) to 160/110 and a blood workup. So high BP, lightheaded and dizzy everyday, diarrhea, dry mouth, feeling cold, spontaneous crying.

    Did not taper. Have tried a few times in the past, including AA, but never had withdrawal symptoms before. Thanks for the article. It’s the first one that summarized with clarity and brevity what one might experience. I hope for an end soon to the withdrawals but, given my history and recent binging… I’m not optimistic. Thanks again.

    • Bob June 26, 2015, 4:18 am

      Thanks for your comment Chris. From the age of 19 to 44 I drank about 8 oz of whisky per night, nearly every night, more on the weekends. I quit completely for 5 years and restarted at age 49 as a moderate drinker. For the last 20 years I have drank about 4 to 5 oz. of whisky a night, every night. Due to surgery and health issues I quit completely three months ago. I am still experiencing the dizziness and coldness and increased blood pressure you did, as well as brain fog, derealization (feeling unreal, sometimes like in a dream, sometimes like I’m on Mars) and fatigue. It’s good to know these are natural effects of quitting alcohol. I do hope I will eventually regain my energy levels and feel like my old self. But if I don’t I’ll have to learn to live with it. I guess after running on jet fuel for 45 years, there has got to be an effect when you start running on water.

      • Jason January 29, 2017, 11:12 pm

        All and everything symptoms wise – this is an excellent thread, helps to go back and read daily… And BTW Bob, yes I experience that daily, but good to know along with me there is life on Mars, look me up!!😉 (2.5 months and going).

    • Dee July 23, 2015, 2:09 am

      Chris, Stay optimistic! Making it through five sober days is well worth it. I made the decision to become independent on July 4-independence day after years of daily drinking. I have experienced extreme fatigue which has been difficult to manage. I would rather battle fatigue than wonder what I did the night before or wonder where all my money went. It’s worth it, Chris. I feel great as a non drinker. I don’t ever want to go back to that life. Hang in there!

  • Chad February 28, 2015, 7:46 am

    I am 32 years old and have drank daily since I was 18. I am sober now, but trying to sober up. I’ve had seizures 2 times, both times landing me in the hospital. Hopefully I stay sober this time, with the help of a 12 step program. They don’t teach you how to not drink, they teach you how to live life.

  • Noam March 3, 2015, 3:00 pm

    After 10 years of daily drinking, I quit cold turkey after a bad fall. I wish I’d read this article first. For the first few weeks I splayed my arms against the pantry doors where I used to keep the wine at 5:00, praying not to buy more. It was several months until I could go to the grocery store without my cart swerving to the alcohol section. That was 3 yrs ago.

  • Rachel March 8, 2015, 3:56 am

    I was drinking everyday (at least 8 glasses of wine). I hadn’t had a drink for 2months and felt great. Last week I had 4 glasses of wine in the night and the next day I was so depressed, crying, sucidal, terrbible anxiety. This is the 5th day after that episode and I still feel so depressed. What’s going on with me?

    • Marvin August 13, 2015, 12:03 am

      Rachel I believe you are experiencing “kindling”. To my understanding, that’s when a person quits cold turkey without tapering and goes back to drinking again. The smallest amount of alcohol could trigger bad withdrawal symptoms.

    • Blamminski October 11, 2015, 8:56 pm

      What you are experiencing is a natural reaction to being poisoned by alcohol. Ever see a dog get hold of a toad or some antifreeze? Same difference. Ciggy smokers don’t cough. They adapted to that poison. ALCOHOL. I drank a fifth a day or better since 1978 and thanks to a good doc, some Xanax, Buspirone and I dietitian I seem pretty much good to go after only 3 weeks. One of your main issues in mineral depletion. CoQ10, Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc, Iodine.

      Get a good blood workup and tell the doc you’re an alkie. FIRST THING. He’ll know what to look for and get you on the right track. Don’t just go buy a bunch of nonsense at SuperDrug Inc. The blood work tells you what you need and the doc tells you how much(approx). The diet change is the other 50%. Better direct from food but damn near impossible after long term poison exposure. Eventually zero supplements will be needed. Just good food.

  • Susie March 10, 2015, 4:14 pm

    Day 10 for me, after drinking 4-8 glasses of wine/champagne for better part of 20 years. Experienced severe nausea yesterday and today, really tired and face breaking out in pimples, hard to sleep soundly. This too shall pass. I am shocked/amazed at what alcohol does to the body/ mind and how it adapts to the toxins we put into it.

    Going through this withdrawal makes me realize how I have abused my mind/ body and taken for granted it’s wisdom and beauty. I have been meditating and praying and asking my mind/ body for forgiveness. Forgot to mention pretty severe dehydration, my mouth is dry as can be it’s pretty intense and I have been drinking tons of water but cannot quench my thirst and my skin feels so dry although I am breaking out…very weird.

    • Barb August 26, 2015, 5:37 pm

      Hi Susie, Thanks for posting! It is day 10 for me. I have been drinking heavily for about 10 years. My face is all broken out with a rash. I itch too! I think that my body is going into shock from lack of alcohol. I am tierd too. I am glad that you shared what you were going through, so I can hang in there.

      • Adam October 9, 2015, 10:24 am

        How long have you been itching for I am having the same problem? Very bad itching, sweats, and trouble sleeping.

        • Lee January 14, 2016, 2:25 pm

          Hi Adam, I am on day 14 I also have very bad itching, sweats, and trouble sleeping. Hopefully it will stop soon, but I have loads more energy than I did when I drunk.

    • Tim December 7, 2016, 4:00 am

      DAY 7 being sober… I am 45 yrs old father of 3 with a successful career… and have been drinking since HS. But only heavily for the last 8 yrs (mostly daily). I started drinking heavily when my sister committed suicide. It helped to numb the feelings I had and helped me sleep rather than deal with it all and the people around me.

      After a period of time, drinking became a norm and I went through (2-3) 1.75 a week minimum. Started having liver pains, back pains, blackouts, sleepless nights, headaches and just the plain ability not get drunk anymore. Drinking started to become a chore… and I came to the realization that drinking isn’t fun anymore.

      Went to the doctor and got some blood work done. I knew it, I so knew it… no surprise… my labs came back off the charts. I mean you cant live like a rock star this long without creating some battle wounds. So I quit cold turkey, along with smoking (cigarettes).

      My Symptoms:

      – Itching (OMG)…Face, neck, and scalp…to the point of swelling.
      – Night sweats…cold and wet sheets… (JOY)
      – Sleepless nights…no matter what time I go to bed… Whammoo HELLO 3AM!!
      – Headaches
      – Thirsty all of the time with dry mouth.

      Doing all of this without letting anyone know. You know us drunks!!! If you tell someone than they will think you have a problem. Even my wife of 25 years doesn’t think I have a problem..and says “I have really never seen you drunk”. Just proves I am a good actor and great at being deceptive.

      My long term goal is being made daily and changing hourly… But this is something that I have to do for myself. Everyday I wake up and say I made it to another day and that gives me hope to press on! Plus, I look at my girls and think… is this how I want them to remember me… always with a drink in my hand and night. (What kind of example am I setting for their future)???

      Thank you everyone for your comments above!! Don’t give up the fight to find your true self…

  • cruz March 12, 2015, 5:42 pm

    I’m 29 years old and I have been battling this disease for about 4 years now, I know it’s only been 4 years but I’ve wasted so much money, so much valuable time, so much potential relation time just to have a drink or down a bottle of Jack in a day. I’m only on day 1 of this withdrawal. It’s okay so far, but I know from the past experiences trying to quit/taper off.

    I get so dizzy, irritable, unable to focus on anything and all I do is want to stay home in bed. I’m tired all the time. My eyes are drooping down to my mouth. I know it will get better, and I definitely want to improve. I know its messed with my brain in many ways. I can hear my self stuttering, I can hear my speech slurring occasionally without a drink and I’m embarrassed.

    I just needed to write this out in hopes of helping my self to endure the next day, next week, month, or even years of withdrawal. I would like to check back in this article tomorrow or the next. It has really helped me out.

    • Heather December 14, 2016, 6:19 am

      I relate to your story very much. About 4ish years ago I started drinking daily, and it escalated to where 1 bottle of wine wouldn’t cut it, and I’d drink another half bottle after that. I’m on day 3. (It’s after midnight so definitely have insomnia) I also am stuttering and stumbling over words. I cried today because I feel like my kids deserve a sober mom.

      The only other feelings I had today were irritation and major apathy. I’m looking forward to these annoy symptoms to disappear! It’s been very encouraging to hear other people’s stories and not feel alone.

  • paul April 9, 2015, 8:12 am

    I have been drinking daily around twelve beers for thirty years. Last May, I spent 28 days in a private rehab and could not tolerate the boot-camp attitude, 12 step repetition, endless group sessions and no answer to addiction other than to attend AA meetings. I relapsed soon after leaving and things soon got out of control again. Someone gave me a book called BEAT THE BOOZE which has a line in it: “ULTIMATELY, VICTORY DEPENDS PRIMARILY ON ONE THING; YOU MUST WANT TO OVERCOME YOUR DRINK PROBLEM MORE THAN YOU WANT TO DRINK.” This idea got me sober and keeps the cravings under control and the mental strength to weather the withdrawal symptoms.

    • Cara August 15, 2015, 4:38 am

      Wow, wonderful article. Thanks to all of you for adding your comments and feelings, as it’s a big help to me right now. (I’m done with alcohol), I do think I want to quit more than I want that glass of wine.

    • Tracey September 28, 2015, 11:05 am

      Thank you for that quote. I’m on day two and doing ok but my heart feels like it’s pounding out of my chest. I saved a copy of your post to re-read when I’m feeling weak! -T

      • kate October 22, 2015, 8:30 pm

        I am on day two. Just few off the handle completely (at nothing really) and now feel heart palpitations, cold and headachy. I didn’t think I had a drink problem but realized that drinking a bottle of wine a day (more at weekends) is not actually ‘normal’. The shaky fretful symptoms I am having make it clear to me that I have a problem. I am determined to remain sober. I want my life back. I want my body back (not the overweight unfit blob I have become). I want me back.

        I think I am going to have to get to know myself again. Me sober is going to be an eye opener. What do people do with all that time,where you aren’t getting drunk, drunk or passed out drunk, hungover or shopping for drink in anticipation of the never-ending (but now ended) cycle? I can’t believe how sucked in by drinking I was.

        • Theodora November 27, 2015, 11:09 pm

          Kate, I couldn’t agree with you more! I want to get to know myself again! I want me back! I want to feel clear and together in my brain, I want my intuition back, I want my energy back. I am done with blackouts, blurry brain, guilty feelings and bad conscious. I stopped cold turkey, 3 weeks ago, after too many years of drinking 1-2 bottles of wine every second day or so, and often much more at weekends.

          I haven’t really had any withdrawal symptoms, except light headaches and no appetite and I have actually been enjoying my soberness, feeling like all high spirited and positive, until today. Today I got hit by a wave of emotions, anger, irritation to the extreme, feeling all dizzy and a bad headache. And to day was the first time since I stopped that I wanted a drink. So I sad down and started reading all of the comments in here, and you cannot imagine how much it helps! Thank you all.

          • Heather December 29, 2015, 10:44 am

            Thank you so much for this article, this is day 15 for me and I thought I was going crazy and being a hypochondriac. I went to detox for 6 days (was forced) due to alcohol poisoning. It’s the best thing that happened to me because I tried tapering and I’d do ok for a few days and be right back where I was. I was drinking anywhere between a fifth and a half gallon of vodka a day, it started four years ago going out once a month, then every couple weeks, to a couple times a week, to staying home and drinking all day everyday (that part started about 9 months ago).

            Anyhow for the past week since getting out of detox I have had severe daily headaches, panic attacks, (about had a melt down in Walmart), crying, irritable, can’t sleep, depressed, every part of my body aches, can’t concentrate, forgetful, and just feel so on edge! I feel like I’m losing my mind so reading this and knowing it’s normal help because nothing feels normal right now! I saw someone else post about feeling like things are unreal. I had stated that I felt that I’d been feel that way to my boyfriend the other day and he looked at me like I grew a unicorn horn so it’s good to know it’s not just me.

          • Natalie August 29, 2016, 8:49 am

            Same… Exactly the same. This helps me so much. Thank you.

  • mauri April 19, 2015, 2:54 am

    26 year old female/drinking everyday since 19. 8-18 drinks a day. This was a wonderful article, probably one of the best I’ve read. I actually read words of hope for myself friends. Have not started on the sober journey yet, but have been mulling it over for a few months now. Thank you for your comment Paul, you are absolutely right when you said you have to want to quit more than wanting to drink, that really hit home for me… Good luck to everyone and keep the faith and hope going for yourself.

    • Ed October 20, 2015, 11:34 pm

      I’m so scared of stopping. I’m a 30 year old man who’s been heavily drinking since 14. I found this website whilst having a beer and watching tv. I use alcohol for everything in my life. I can’t go shopping, get my hair cut, chat to new people without booze. The thing that scares me is who I’m going to be without drink. I hold down a job got good friends but this has got such a hold on me I’m in danger of losing it all. Take care. And it’s so nice to find a website with people in the same boat.

      • Pamela November 1, 2015, 6:20 pm

        Almost identical circumstances except I had a much longer drinking career. Could not imagine how people could go shopping without drinking, or anything for that matter, and would even drink more before going out drinking. I now know it was a cycle, neverending, of getting buzzed and planning on how to keep the buzz which almost always involved a beer in the morning and one or more every hour depending on the circumstances of the day.

        It’s been three weeks and I am able to realize the hold this cycle had on me and can’t believe how good it is to feel good. I did stumble into AA and can say that it worked for me. I had to admit that I had no control over alcohol and that I couldn’t drink like normal people. It was a hard pill to swallow but wouldn’t go back for the world, you can do this!

      • Gina December 2, 2015, 2:33 pm

        I am also on day 3. Heavy vodka drinker. Been through many of these detoxes. What helps is an AA meeting. When I’m going to my meetings, I feel so good. It’s just I’m a single mom and I work a lot and daughter has lots of activities. So when I start skipping meetings, I get weak and I relapse. Then I go back into AA. You can say AA doesn’t work, but it has taken me from a dying heavy daily drinker that relapses every once in awhile over last 3 years.

      • Sherri May 17, 2016, 2:34 am

        Ed, you can stop drinking and you should. I am 36 and have been drinking since 16, I am now 36 days sober and really starting to enjoy my life again. I went to a 28 day treatment center, best thing I ever did in my life. I was scared as *$%&, didn’t think I could do it either, but I did it and I am finally getting myself back.

        You can too and you will meet so many new wonderful friends that care about you and want to be there for you. What do you have to lose, blackouts, hangovers and poor decisions, give it a try, you won’t regret it. It will be scary at first and you won’t feel good but that goes away and when the fog clears it becomes a beautiful thing.

    • Kelci March 18, 2016, 5:19 pm

      I was in the same boat. 24 years old and I’ve drank every night since I was 19, and in the last couple of years I was polishing off 1/2 of a bottle of whiskey every night and a six pack of heavy beer. Over the last year I’ve tried to quit a few times but I’ve failed because I made the mistake of not forgiving myself after I slip up. This time around I think it’s really for good.

      I’ve been mostly sober for a month which is a big deal. I’ve made mistakes, I’ve had a couple of Saturday’s where I’ve gone out and gotten trashed but the huge difference is I’ve had the willpower to just suffer through the hangover the next day and not pick up the bottle again. Every time I’ve relapsed in the past it’s because I slip once, and I feel so terrible about it I go back to drinking to turn that feeling off.

      This month hasn’t been easy, some days I’ve felt great and other days I’ve felt like I was going crazy; depressed, fatigued, like there is something wrong with me. It helps to read these articles to know that I’m not dying, just recovering. I just make a point to write down all of the good things; waking up with a clear mind, being able to exercise, my skin looks better, I’m losing weight without even trying, and I feel like I’m slowly starting to be able to actually experience life.

      I’ve learned that I thought I was drinking to enjoy things, but in doing so I was just forgetting everything. Nothing will happen until you just start, it’s both the hardest thing I’ve ever done and the most amazing thing I’ve ever done. I wake up every day feeling so proud of myself.

      • Becky January 21, 2017, 2:04 pm

        Kelci, I am not judging you. Be honest with yourself for your own recovery. Don’t judge yourself for a slip, but don’t fool yourself into thinking you are sober. If you drink heavily on Saturday nights (enough to “get trashed”), you still are drinking.

  • HEATHER April 24, 2015, 7:51 pm

    This really helped. I have been a heavy drinker for 15 years. Went from beer to wine to vodka to rum. A lot of it. I’m currently detoxing and could not understand why I’m itching all over. Last drink was last night, but I thought I should just quit? Shaking like crazy, any suggestions?

    • Mary May 2, 2015, 4:05 pm

      Heather – Stay sober and the itching will go away – drink lots of water, eat well (no junk, sugar, caffeine or processed foods) and take walks every day. It takes time to pass, but it Will pass.

    • Lemon123 December 29, 2015, 8:19 am

      I have experienced all of the symptoms described in the article as well. The most terrifying was when I got a severe panic attack and was so convinced that I was having a heart attack that I had to go to the ER, where they discovered severe dehydration and vitamin deficiencies following a 3-day bender. They prescribed me Ativan, which has been helpful when I feel anxiety coming on…

      That said, it’s a habit-forming medication, so you do have to be careful with it. A more natural approach I’ve found is this calming magnesium drink that comes in powder form and you simply mix with hot or cold water. I’ve found it very soothing and effective! Right now I’m still experiencing weird nerve sensations, but as everyone has said, they will subside… Good luck to everyone, and thank you for all the encouraging and brave shares. :-)

  • Mike April 29, 2015, 7:01 am

    Been drinking for almost 20 years. The last couple years daily. Beer drinker. Rare occasions hard liquor. Been sober and doing cold turkey for the last 10 days. Before that 13 days. So in the last 3 & 1/2 weeks only drank one day. No huge withdrawals, but noticing a headache coming on around day 10. Should I consult a physician?

  • Andrew May 3, 2015, 2:11 am

    Good article. I am 42 and have either been drunk, drinking, thinking about my next drink, or hung-over or withdrawing from alcohol almost every waking moment of my adult life. I used to just have hangovers, but for the last eight years or so, I get terrible withdrawal symptoms whenever I stop (usually cold turkey). Sometimes I stop because I want to, sometimes it’s because I run out of alcohol (beer, wine, liquor, anything). I have all the symptoms described in the article, and others. It’s always intensely physically uncomfortable, even painful; and psychologically terrifying.

    The worst part (the acute phase, as the article puts it) for me is only about 2 and a half to 3 days, then I’m just a little uncomfortable for a few more days. Having said that, I usually only hold out for about a week before having another. As it happens, I had my last drink a week ago, and this time it feels different. I have no desire to drink right now and I wouldn’t even take a sip if someone set a drink in front of me (usually I’m obsessed with trying to NOT think about drinking). I hope this is a good sign.

  • Denzy TheDestinyson May 3, 2015, 2:57 pm

    I am greatly pleased with this article though I had spent years of counselling, rehabilitation and detoxification. I drank heavily from my childhood 35 years now and had to face almost all the symptoms stated above. Having had the knowledge of 12 steps of AA/NA I still relapsed 7 times and detoxified every time. After 7th relapsed, I could stay sober for just a month long which is my short sober period than other relapses.

    Just a day ago, I vomited lot due to excessive mix drinks then other days of 6-7 bottles of beer. I am again suffering all the symptoms badly. I am frustrated now and trying not to visit hospital or call a sponsor this time. I know this is not right and could let to danger extent but will try myself with the weapons I got on my rehabilitation and relapse courses. Thanks for the article. Just For Today: One more Bottle is End to Me. Hugs to all my fellowships!

    • Ron October 19, 2016, 11:14 am

      Great article. Well, it’s a tough business being human eh? I’ve got the itches, sore kidneys and back and irregular urination going. I’ve had a few periods of not drinking lately as gout has kicked in after binging. I’m in a 5-6 day stretch now and just been through a really strange conversation in my head whether to go get s bottle of vodka or not and ease through it.

      I decided it was a really bad idea. I almost went out to get a bottle 10 minutes ago when reading about ‘tapering’ then I came across ‘kindling’ and that just made me go cold all over. The mind is worse than the body and that’s saying something. I am scared: I’m frightened I’ve done my liver or kidneys in. I had been drinking vodka heavily for months and well it has taken a toll and I hope I haven’t damaged myself. I’ve read you can recover, if you stop… that’s where I am, fearful more than hopeful, but am hoping all will be ok.

      I’m really scared of life without drink and I’m scared of life with drink! What if I don’t stop wanting it? Something good that seems to be happening is that I’m in control of not purchasing alcohol… in listening to my better self, and I’m proud of that. But!!! I have to really watch the insidious side of my thinking patterns that lurks in and tries to convince myself to go and buy a bottle.

      Wow, that has got to be the weirdest thing going on at the moment for me, besides the itching. Can someone talk to me about it? Are you having the same internal dialogue? One thing I want to say; and I’m not trying to have s go at anyone writing in because I think you are all awesome rave people – but I do want to say that when someone is drinking and writing, the spelling and auto correct mistakes really go out the window etc.

      I know this from looking at my own drunk texting I’ve inflicted on people. Have a look people, it might help you put that drink down as you’re writing and reading about not drinking. Much love.

  • Kenny May 8, 2015, 6:00 pm

    Its been almost three months. In a binge drinker. I would go out one night, innocently, say the pub, or an afternoon with friends and then drink for two weeks after that, by the end, being dunk 24 hrs, blacking out, waking up not remembering things but knowing I’d hurt friends and missing watches. Then I’d be if for the next two weeks, all the acute withdrawal, intense depression, intense fatigue, nausea, headaches, night sweats, extreme guilt and regret, constant anxiety, loss of appetite, weakness.

    When I was younger, these would only last a couple of days and then I’d feel terrific for two weeks – and then go to the pub. The time between binges has grown to about two months. I realize now that it is not the acute withdrawal that kills me, it’s the lasting and chronic fatigue afterward. Like I said, not going on to three months, completely fuzzy like a ghost (depersonalized I think they call it) and so tired everyday, I could just cry.

    There are no words just how debilitating it is. I have to think about walking to the fridge for hours beforehand, I go out only when I HAVE to, I can stay in bed for days. And it is psychologically painful. Excruciating. I can’t stand the dysphoria. Everything is just blah. I can’t concentrate long enough to read. I used to run 10kms a week when I was drinking. I fainted the last time I tried it and have not tried again since.

    This was the years ago. I want to make at least a year. It just feels like I’m never going to be the same again. I liked having fun and being with people. Now it’s a chore. It’s a chore to be worth people, it’s a chore to wake up and get out of bed, it’s a chore to laugh. I don’t know if I’ll ever be ‘normal’ again but I will not drink this year. That’s all I have.

    • Chris June 11, 2015, 10:02 pm

      Hi, Kenny, like you I am on month 3. Since stopping the fatigue has been awful, the cravings and thought of drinking along with the chronic IBS have diminished but the fatigue and headaches are worse then when I drunk! Seems unfair don’t it? All I wanna do is sleep when really I would rather be exercising. The knowledge of PAWS though is what’s keeping me going, whereas before I just thought I was too weak to stop. Good luck and keep going!

  • Jeff May 18, 2015, 10:06 pm

    Thanks for the comments. I’ve been drinking heavily for the last 7 years. Usually a pint of vodka/day (about 11 drinks). Then last week, I suddenly woke up with severe foot pain. I made nothing of it, thinking I banged it on something. Oddly, it just in my toes, but all toes on both feet. Yesterday, I realized it might be nerve damage – and might be permanent. Scared me senseless.

    I had a liver ultrasound and function test and while the doctor said it certainly abnormal, nothing was completely out there. Anyhow, I’m hoping if my liver and blood weren’t terribly messed up, things couldn’t have that far south. I quit cold turkey (yes against the advice here, but didn’t see these tips) yesterday and lots of vertigo today. Had to brace my self on whatever I could find while moving around the house. Also, feeling quite tired. No tremors yet, but that seems like a couple of days out from what I read here.

    • Brian May 26, 2015, 1:19 pm

      Thanks for sharing Jeff. Your duration and consumption sounds a lot like me. I’m 41 with an 8 and a 4 year old. I’ve drank every night for the last 7 years. I had a 4 day stretch in November 2014 when I was in the hospital and couldn’t drink. I was fine. Once I got out I was right back at it. I drink to deal with a struggling marriage. Yesterday, 5/25/15 was first night without drink. Fever, night sweats, and trouble going to sleep were my demons last night. I exercise daily so I hope this will help. Reading this article and these comments gives me hope.

      • Sam August 9, 2016, 11:51 pm

        I drank heavy like pint of scotch every night for 10 years. Quit for couple of days and started again including tapering to all possible methods out there. Finally I figured out how to successfully quit. Bought a heart rate gadget and planned 4 days out and 3 days in and started measuring vitals and stats day by day including BP. I was bit irate but nothing major.

        Now over 2 weeks did not even feel any symptoms. Was tempted to visit bar couple of times and pushed the thought by looking at the gadget. I did not want to let go the feel better self and it went away. I must tell you this is after reading Dr. Susan Beck’s Mindfulness and Dr. Henry Young’s Reinventing Yourself and mentally changing myself before quitting with planned rehearsals. Same books are used for therapy.

        I do not feel I have quit. I feel I do not need it. My gadget definitely provided positive enforcement by showing quick progress every day I think these combinations were the key for me. Breathing before sleeping and glass of milk helps a lot to sleep better. To summarize, educate, prepare, rehearse, find a reward gadget and taking high ground instead of fighting it helped me.

  • Michael May 20, 2015, 3:50 pm

    Great article and good comments. I am A 38-year-old male. I have been drinking with varying levels of intensity for 20 years. I could always “not have a drink” for a day or two so I always told myself that I was in control. I have recently cleared up my diet and started exercising and was told that giving up alcohol for a few weeks was a great way to jumpstart my fitness goals. Now at about four days in I am starting to struggle with sleep, sweating and general fuzziness.

    After reading this article I believe that I am an alcoholic and just didn’t realize it. I generally drink between one and six beers a day depending on mood and social environment. On occasion however, I will pick up a handle of rum or vodka and almost without me realizing it it’s gone in well under a week. While I don’t have any interest in attending Alcoholics Anonymous or other support groups, this article has been very helpful. Thanks again and good luck to all!

  • Lance May 21, 2015, 10:32 am

    Hello friends! I am 23 years old have been drinking on/off since I was 18. At first, drinking wasn’t so bad and I did it every day with friends or by myself. Mostly by myself which is never good. But recently I would stop after binges. My typical binge is like 4 to 5 days of non stop alcohol in my system. Not good for work. And my withdraws were never too bad, I never experienced seizures or tremors before but they always caused me a lot of discomfort.

    I am writing this at 3 in the morning because I can’t sleep. I’ve been having a lot of weird crazy dreams tonight and afraid to go back to sleep. But I’m keeping my fluids up and I’m committed to do better. Hopefully I’ll level out somewhere, it’s usually only in the couple of days after that it’s tough. I stopped 2 1/2 days ago. Believe in yourself and keep living. The struggle is real for all of us. Good night.

  • Kelly A. May 22, 2015, 10:22 pm

    This has been the most recent post on this subject that I have found…thank you to everyone who has been replying. It really helps those who are in desperation feel much better. In a few days, it will be 3 months without alcohol. I am 30, female, and would drink 4-6 drinks every day. I have had most all of the aforementioned symptoms. At month 3, I am dealing with what I believe is anxiety. Really, I have had lots of pain in the chest area, some in the back, some in the neck, arm numbness.

    I have been to the Dr. for it all and everything has come back with good results. I have had blood tests, ultrasound, EKG, Echo, Neurological tests, all good. But I am still having weird pain issues, and I am really tired of going to the doctor, but it’s really bothering me. Like I still feel that something is severely wrong with me. I have been short of breath for the last couple of weeks, and I am trying to determine whether or not it’s anxiety. So my question is, has anyone else gone through this type of anxiety after quitting? I am at 3 months and expected it gone by now.

    • Ashley June 20, 2015, 3:10 pm

      Mostly anxiety can be over come with your own mind. Not for me. I take velerian root at night to sleep and like to keep it on me if I’m feeling anxious during the day. Drinking water helps. Usually dehydration is the first cause, even if you’ve not been drinking. Just know that your body is used to something that you’re not giving it. Like the secret vitamin of your life.

      Give it time and try essential oils or all natural remedies. It’s hard. But I know that I can’t function the other way so I’ll put up with all the other crap. I went to the doctor last year and I was so sick that I messed up my liver, kidneys, my whole stomach. She put me on a proton pump inhibitor and it got better. I feel like the anxiety was stemmed from the other reactions from stopping drinking. I’m all about Valerian root and St john’s wort.

    • Richie August 6, 2015, 6:15 am

      Exactly the same as you. I can not understand what it is apart from the details of the article above. I have not given up but stopped drinking daily and only drinking 2-3 nights a week and drinking a normal amount like two glasses of wine etc, and with food. I think the feelings are still historical. I get tension headaches. Anxiety, pounding racing heart. I’ve had eye tests, blood tests, usualy blood pressure is good when I test. I’m active! I hope it subsides but feel that I need to do more on the sleep, relaxation and recovery. It doesn’t seem like a quick fix. How long does the tiredness and anxiety last?!

    • Barrie W. October 12, 2016, 2:31 pm

      Kelly: Serious, spasmodic (?) chest pain is typical of pancreatitis – the pancreas gets overloaded with harmful enzymes, and can virtually shut down. I had it twice over the last 12 years, with a gap (alcohol-free) of about two years. As a male, the pain I described as being (what I imagined)
      as female birth pain agony – “never to be gone through again”… Until the next time of course!

      Caused by ethylene excess, as the doctors say. Curiously, the latter also ask (even male) sufferers “… Can you only get a little pain relief while curled up in the foetal position? Pancreatitis is often fatal, and should never be ignored after rehabilitation. A rewarding site is this one – I’m amazed at the level of literacy/home truths to be found here…

  • Anne May 30, 2015, 6:30 pm

    Kelly A. I am experiencing everything you wrote. About three weeks ago I was tapering off alcohol and went my first full day totally without. I had been in some pain for a few days, but the next morning I was in such severe pain I went to the hospital and had all of the tests (EKG, blood, chest x-ray, CT…) which all came back good. That was a relief since I had pneumonia in January and was very concerned. They gave me lidocaine patches and pain medicine for the severe muscle pain in my shoulder and back.

    I immediately felt better. Unfortunately I began drinking again a few days after that incident and continued through our vacation week and the holiday weekend. I stopped on Monday night. I immediately experienced the same physical pain and tried the patches and pain medication without success this time. I was determined to make it cold-turkey. I made it until Thursday night and just couldn’t take the pain anymore. My husband got me a beer and it helped. I went to bed and woke up in agony again on Friday with extreme guilt that I had that beer.

    I have been sleeping, but am so tired and my body is in such pain that I just know that I can’t deal with this. I feel like it was better to drink than to feel like this, but I want to get OFF the alcohol in the worst way. I knew I could make a few days of this, but I don’t think I can make weeks of this. I am so proud of you for going 3 months!!!! I WISH I was 3 months in…I’m on the worst roller-coaster ride of my life, both physically and psychologically/emotionally.

    My therapist told me to taper off the last time and since I went back to drinking, I convinced myself (against his advice again this time) to go cold-turkey. I am not convinced that I can do it, but I have to make sure I don’t fall back into drinking again and that scares me to death. I wish I knew how long this will take…having that BIG UNKNOWN out in front of me is so terrifying. All of you on this thread are giving me hope for recovery and the strength to keep up the fight. Thank you.

    • phoenix January 26, 2016, 11:40 pm

      For the muscle pain, take magnesium, try for magnesium sulfate, Sisu is a great brand. Alcohol depletes the electrolytes, and I’ve found that the magnesium (I take approx 1000mg-1500mg a day) helps incredibly with the muscle pain. Try it in the evening at home (can be a bit of a laxative), I take it every 3-4 hrs, and it helps me immensely!

  • Caroline May 31, 2015, 9:50 am

    I withdrew cold turkey, I couldn’t move or speak the first day (similar to an infant) then I got a burst of energy and tired to run out of the house and was screaming bloody murder. Second day was like the first but I could move slightly more and had major hallucinations and voices in my head, third day was like the second just less, tremors, confusion, actually not being able to speak or form words. My brain wouldn’t work.

    Also I had no memory and keeps trying to ask the same question that was just answered. I had a seizure yesterday. I feared for my life experiencing paranoia. I have not yet slept and the scares me to the I made my BF drive very far at 3 am only to have to turn around. He told it’s getting stressful and difficult to put up with the episodes of rage and fear. Guys I feel like I am dying and lost myself. I’m only 22 and I don’t know what to do. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    • Emma June 9, 2015, 11:45 am

      Dear Caroline. It sounds as though you’re having delirium tremens, the DT’s. Can you access help from an addiction specialist or a charity who cares for the needs of alcoholics perhaps with the help of your doctor? ‘Cold Turkey’ is not always the best way to deal with alcohol addiction. It is often best to taper or have medical support to get you through the first weeks of withdrawal.

      This approach will reduce the severity of your symptoms, also reduce the risk of relapse and will keep you physically and psychologically safe. From your comment I feel that you are going through a terrible time, I really feel for you and would suggest you seek proper professional help. I stopped drinking 6 weeks ago after drinking heavily every day for 11 years but it was made possible due to tapering for a month beforehand then a short course of benzodiazepines.

      I was also lucky to have peer support from a government funded organisation in Scotland, counselling to help me deal with the issues which caused me to drink and other help to keep me busy and active these last 6 weeks. I wish you the best.

    • Jake July 7, 2015, 7:04 pm

      Caroline, You absolutely we’re experiencing delirium tremens which is extremely dangerous. This is due to the excitotoxicity of glutamate which is a chemical in your brain which is inhibited by alcohol, but is produced in large quantities as a “rebound effect” when you stop drinking. GABA also plays a role. Delirium tremens are FATAL in approximately 25% of cases when not treated. I hope you got through your episode but if you are ever in this situation again you need to seek medical attention. Tapering or using benzodiazepines to ease the withdrawal are the normal methods, although in some cases a patient is temporarily placed into a medically induced coma.

  • Danielle June 9, 2015, 7:10 am

    You guys, you guys!!! I can’t stress how critically important it is–especially for some of us long-term or constant binge drinkers–that you DO NOT GO COLD TURKEY. Tapering is the first step, but tapering is very hard because you’re essentially doing it on your own, and its easy to relapse. A detox program takes about 7 days and there are in – and out-patient available (so you can keep working, etc).

    If you go to the ER a doctor can prescribe drugs that make withdrawal symptoms much easier, and safer, to beat, not to mention monitor you for risk of seizures/convulsions/thiamine deficiency. Alcohol withdrawal substitution is a REAL thing and NOT to be messed with. Also, the more frequently you try to go cold turkey, relapse, and try again, the greater your risk of SEVERE alcohol withdrawal syndrome, including seizures and death.

    Yes, you can die from your well-meaning cold turkey attempt. Please get help with quitting, even if it’s just family/friends checking up on you and helping you with tapering.

  • Thomas June 10, 2015, 8:37 am

    Thank you all for your encouraging words and thank you to the author of this article. It was clear, concise and worded in such a way that helped me understand better, my symptoms and why. I began drinking around fifteen years ago socially. About 5 years ago heavily. I am functional, i.e.. job, but home life suffers because when I came home, I hit the drinks. I found myself easily irritated and irrational in my thought processes.

    (Hmmm) I initially started with having beers and a few mixed drinks on the weekends, but that turned to a pint of vodka a day for about 2 years. I did admit myself in for a detox program last summer and stayed for 11 days. The first three days were very difficult. I could not walk well and shook uncontrollably. Things got better by the forth day as I could exercise and write legibly.

    Like a light switch suddenly turned on, day 6 clarity struck like a train. It was immediate and I felt great. That in itself was amazing. Yes it was non stop meetings, but if there was one thing about it, I could not drink and that controlled environment assisted me in recovery. I did relapse, not to the heavy extent that I previously partook, but never the less began again. I did just now quit cold turkey and am ending my third day.

    (I do not recommend quitting cold turkey if you are drinking heavily). This time is easier, but I still have symptoms. Insomnia, night sweats and a crazy itching sensation all over my body. I am feeling irritable, but this will pass. May good fortune and better health accompany you on your will and success in slaying this dragon.

  • Rick June 15, 2015, 2:39 am

    I have been drinking again for about five years. Basically average between a third to a half of a fifth nightly. No drinking before evening. Probably average 5 nights a week. It is having a profound effect on me – a few hours of sleep and then I wake with a racing heartbeat and panic and that’s it for the night. I had open heart surgery six months ago and was alcohol free for a month, albeit on everything from morphine to fentanyl to oxycodone during recovery.

    Started back and was right back on the treadmill. I also have been taking Xanax for 12 years and have a very high tolerance. I’m not capable of tapering on the booze. Once I start I can’t stop until it’s way too much. I quit cold turkey ten days ago. Still taking the Xanax. Blood pressure, which I take medication for, has been up. Difficulty sleeping, headaches, nausea. The difficult thing is the incredible fatigue. I almost literally can’t get up and move around although I go to work every day.

    I don’t think I can handle doing anything about the Xanax right now because of my stress level and I feel like not drinking is all I can handle at the moment. I had to defend a lawsuit that went on 11 years and cost me $400,000 to defend. The expenses also cost me my business. I won, plus won multiple counter suits against the plaintiff, but it forced me into a bankruptcy that has been open for 7 years now. I also have a genetic form of very aggressive wet macular degeneration.

    I’ve lost my vision in one eye and they estimate I have a year or two of functional vision left in my other. Don’t mean to whine but life is kind of intense these days. I’m 61. Have had the disease since 27. Ironically the year I decided to stop drinking, which I did for 28 years until a few years ago. 28 years of sobriety and threw it away…. At any rate, I’m hanging on. I don’t think I can take months of this fatigue and the business I’m working in is closing. I have to work. Sob story over. I can’t share this with anyone so dumped it on you guys.

    • Cara August 15, 2015, 5:07 am

      You have so many stressors, I admire you for having the courage to quit again. Deal with the Xanax thing once you have been sober for a while. One day at a time. I wish you every success.

  • Sanmer June 16, 2015, 11:42 am

    50 year young energetic male. Drank continuously for 35 yrs or so. Went to detox center for 7 months, stayed dry for 1 year. Again started but not daily for 3 – 4 days continuously without limit, till almost blackout. Experienced many of these symptoms, some of time but almost ALWAYS – NAUSEA & SEVERE VOMITING lasting 1 – 2 days. This time too vomiting 1st 2 days, loss of appetite, complete sleepless for last 3 days, dizziness and slight hallucinations.

    My 1st Q: Are these hallucinations & dizziness are part of withdrawal or lack of sleep? When will I get sleep? I am having acute pain on left side of neck up to start of shoulder. And right shoulder down to shoulder blade ending in the back; one can say right upper back. Is it possibly withdrawal symptoms because I haven’t read these anywhere? Could any alcoholic friend or medical person please clarify what I am experiencing?

  • Kurt June 22, 2015, 9:51 pm

    After 20 years of drinking and the last 5 very hard drinking I went to a detox clinic for 6 days. I could not do it myself as I have tried several times. I would suggest anyone who is a heavy problem drinker go to a detox and then outpatient support. I am on day 8 of my last drink and my symptoms are incredible itching and hard time sleeping. I can’t wait for it all to stop, but after reading all your posts I realize I am just starting.

    • Brayley June 26, 2015, 11:11 am

      Had the horrid itches too. Been drinking heavily for years and my liver in bad shape. I’m over 40yrs old, way under 50yrs young. Quit for over 40 days but a big family blow up drew me back in to the booze, hate it. I WAS a whole new person – happy and healthy. Relationships were SO much better, compliments on how much better I looked…things were good. My 2nd try at self rehab I awoke on the 5th day and I was truly ready to rip my arms, legs and torso off. I itched SO bad, so I’ve slammed some beer this AM and truly hate myself. I was aiming for at least 2 months.

  • Jack June 25, 2015, 9:24 pm

    After being a heavy duty beer drinker for close to 16 years, about 6 months ago I started doing two or 3 shots with my first couple of beers to speed up the “calm”. I quit cold turkey last Saturday at 4 PM and had a terrible flu since about Monday with temps above 101. I found this article a few minutes ago because at 4 PM today, all of my symptoms vanished and I honestly feel great. Just waiting to find out what boogeyman comes next!

  • Inez June 28, 2015, 11:59 pm

    Been drinking since 18. I’m in my 50s. Had times in my life when I have stopped. Its been 7 days since my last drink. Little headache and taking naps. Doing this on my own. I want to do this so bad to see who I can become with out drinking. Wish you all well and thank you for your words and encouragement.

  • Jason July 1, 2015, 1:12 pm

    Thank you for writing this article! I’ve been drinking for 20 years now, but in the last few years, I’ve been averaging 18 (16oz) cans of beer a day (if a British pint is 20 ounces, that’s a little over 14 pints a day). I recently hit a financial crisis and the logical decision (maybe it was subconscious) was to get rid of everything non-essential – like beer. I started on 29 June by having only one in the morning and I had three more at 10 pm and was experiencing heavy withdrawal symptoms before I even made it to lunch time.

    The next day was worse. I didn’t have any beer, but it didn’t matter. I couldn’t eat or drink anything, even water, without vomiting shortly after. That night is when I found your article and found out that quitting cold turkey is not the way to go. Now, on the beginning of the third day, I feel a little better. I haven’t eaten anything yet, but I’ve had some water and keeping it down.

    I’m wondering if I should still try tapering, or should I just continue with the cold turkey if I continue to see improvement today. I have a doctor’s appointment, but it’s not for two weeks. Something has to happen between now and then… Again, thank you for the article! At least now I know this is normal.

  • David A Dearing July 4, 2015, 12:23 am

    I’m on day 63 of sobriety. I’m 61 years old. Was drinking 1/3 to 1/2 bottle of whiskey per night. Very high functioning during the day. Been drinking something to help me sleep since I was 17. Guess I’m lucky after reading the article above. I went cold turkey. Was jittery for three days. Took Valerian root and xanax for a few days but then stopped. Just finally got mad about it. Trying to quit is just a game. Like the person said above, you have to want to quit worse than you want to drink. When you get to that point you just do it, you don’t try to do it. Thank God I got to that place. Hope my liver has some time left in it.

  • Andy July 4, 2015, 5:26 pm

    I just wanted to thank everyone for the excellent article and comments. It’s only lunchtime and I’ve already thrown back a few drinks because I *needed* them. Also, a few years ago, it became possible for me to work from home. That didn’t help a bit! I’m 55 and had unrelated surgery a couple weeks ago. Many nurses noted it was difficult to find a vein on me (dehydrated) when attempting to insert an IV or any needle.

    To my surprise, I coped with those 3 days okay for the most part, but then I had pain meds going on. Anyway, I’ve been drinking a LOT each day for what seems forever. I copied a quote I loved here into Word, made it big/bold, and taped to the bottom of my monitor. A gentle but effective taper begins tomorrow (I promise). Thanks again and Happy Independence Day to those here in the USA.

  • James July 15, 2015, 9:54 pm

    Stopped drinking 6 weeks ago. My mind is much clearer but I am so exhausted all the time, I hope the constant tiredness and constant low mood lifts.

    • Dave September 4, 2015, 8:40 pm

      Me too. I drank 4-6 beers on most nights for about 30 years, so I am glad to be feeling better already, but wish I had a little energy. Funny, I always exercised when I was drinking. A lot of times I was depressed, so I am working on my low mood with a therapist, since alcohol was my medication for that.

      • Coors Light October 1, 2015, 9:00 pm

        Dave… I too was drinking about 4-8 beers every night for 10-15 years. I am on my 5th day and feel normal thank god. When did you start experiencing a lack of energy? Right away or weeks after? How long have you been sober?

  • Anne July 19, 2015, 6:00 am

    I have been drinking mostly vodka for about 10 years. Within the last 6 months, I was up to 50 shots/day. I realized that this was incredibly dangerous. I never knew I drank that much until I started a taper. I was able to get down to 30 shots, but very uncomfortable. 2 & 1/2 weeks ago I went to an inpatient detox. 13 hours of groups a day, bedrooms locked at 6:30 am and only reopened at 9 PM. I stayed 5 days.

    I felt OK until about one week later and developed extreme fatigue, aches and low grade fevers, which I still have. I am glad I found this article. It allows me to worry a little less about dreadful things that might still happen to my liver. I don’t drink anymore and I never will again. I don’t miss it and I don’t crave it. I hate that I allowed a substance to dominate me for so long.

    • Guest October 9, 2015, 12:31 am

      Interesting seeing the different number of units consumed, years of consumption and age groups… Going on 55 and the easy 4 Coronas today will be my last, ‘fingers crossed’ Those 4 beers were left from last nights 18 pack. Primarily a beer man but everything aside from Scotch & Absinthe will do nicely. Been drinking pretty hard since around 20 years old… Country boy from Oregon going to keg parties, smoking pot and many other drugs.

      A number of car accidents, 1 in 1997 that put me in the ICU for several weeks with a coma with the uncertain chance of living. You can’t stop me… Kept on drinking although a little wiser about driving… Hard working contractor I continued to drink myself into oblivion. I see some say 18 beers a day, sounds about right although I would mix it up on occasion. Took some work in Dubai thinking it to be an escape being a Muslim country, ha ha.

      I never drank more as all the expats are from the UK and drink exceptionally hard.. I ended up with alcohol induced pnemonia and a 10 day hospital stay… Left the UAE and when back in the States quit booze and cigs cold for 9 months, while all 9 months weight training and exercising. In the best shape of my life and no memory of it being rough in reference to withdrawals etc.. I slipped however a year and a half ago.

      A wine here a beer there and back to a 12 pack after work and finding excuses to get out early to get my drink on… Anyway some new stuff going on as I continue to feel problems with my digestive system. Saw a gastro had a full work up elevated liver enzymes, pre-diabetic with fatty liver. Anyway not a day went by aside for 9 months, hospital stays and tonight where I wasn’t drunk at bedtime 30+ years and shutting her down for good. Almost forgot ‘Fingers Crossed’ was not drunk at bed time.

  • Xavier July 22, 2015, 4:25 pm

    Day One. How pathetic! And, right this second, I desperately want to get blotto. I really just want to give up on the rest of the day and go buy some wine. Why? Because for years I have resorted to alcohol to cope with life’s disappointments, big and small. It helps so to know that I’m not alone in dealing with this, and I appreciate all the honest comments posted here. So I guess I should contribute.

    I’m 56 and have been a heavy drinker for about 20 years. I think it was the growing pressure of a busy family life, small kids and long working days that started it. Really, a perfect family life, but all the time feeling stressed and somehow dissatisfied with everything. Being prone to depression since teenage years only made things worse. Originally it was what seemed a normal level of consumption of beer and/or wine in the evenings, more at the weekends.

    By 2005 a half-bottle of whisky a day or bottle of wine, and these days closer to two. Or start with a strong beer, then wine. A bottle of cheap fruity punch at 21% ABV goes down SO well. These days I don’t buy bottles of wine, I buy boxes. I circulate the different supermarkets to avoid being seen too often in one. To avoid looking like a complete wino, I always feel like I have to buy other food items. All very expensive.

    I firmly believe that I have been an alcoholic for years, but sometimes wondered whether I was being overdramatic. Funny thing is, despite friends and family knowing my levels of consumption, they don’t seem to be overly concerned. Sure, they worry about me, particularly because I get so depressed and regularly hide away for two or three days in my room, but nobody has ever suggested that I’ve lost control and should get help. They just say I should ‘keep an eye on it’.

    I’ve been divorced for six years and, of course, I see how much my drinking was to blame. Normal frustrations in a marriage made worse with habitual resorting to drink and the ott emotions that go with it. I have never been a violent person but I will admit to outbursts of anger which I am truly ashamed of. I also blame my drinking for my current state of unemployment. My constant state of angst caused me to get fed up with my job and I have quit twice in the last 18 months.

    I have truly shot myself in the foot, because I had a great job with one of the ‘top 20 best companies in the world to work for’ and was set up for the rest of my working life, and I blew it. I quit for no good reason other than feeling fed up. You have no idea how sick I feel about this now and how much regret I have. And being at home all day, as you can imagine, does not help. I am totally free to get drunk whenever I want and I frequently do. All it takes is for me to feel some slight disappointment about something and off I go.

    I don’t think I am as bad a case as many of the other people here, which almost makes it worse, because I can still function. I am in good physical shape for a man of my age. How strange that I should give attention to exercise and diet, yet spoil it with excessive booze! Usually I don’t drink until evening, but by 6pm I start needing that first drink to mitigate that awful sense of melancholy that descends like a dark cloud as each day comes to an end.

    I don’t know what it is: I feel so bored with life and everything. I feel almost no pleasure from ANYTHING and am only “happy in the haze of a drunken hour” as Morrissey so eloquently put it! Booze is a brief escape into fantasy and just imagining a different life somewhere else. Watching YouTube videos until 3am. This, of course, results in the next day being lost. No horrible hangover, just feeling yuk. Don’t get up until lunchtime, realise I won’t get anything else done today, so potter about for a couple of hours and then decide I might as well go back to bed and finish off that last litre.

    I’ve given up on maintaining my home properly and get away with doing the bare minimum. No pride or desire or dreams anymore. Can sometimes manage three or four days without a drink, tops. Upon restarting, I drink more to make up for it! I realize that I need to focus on personal development. I have used chronic self-pity as an excuse to continue drinking as if I have no other options in life.

    It’s ridiculous because I know I could be at least three times as productive as I am now. I feel a complete failure in life, and yet I have a certain pride in knowing that, when I put my mind to something, I usually manage to achieve it. It’s helping to write this, and I have started a folder of notes to read and re-read as a motivation to quit. I know I need to keep my mind occupied with positive stuff, and eat properly and exercise.

    I have started to panic now about finding a job and that really adds to the pressure. Yet I have decided to focus on just ONE THING: Quitting alcohol altogether. I don’t think I’m so bad that I will experience awful physiological withdrawal symptoms, just the discomfort of abstaining, which is the hardest part by a long way. What scares me is the awful emptiness of being sober. Right now, my mind and body and soul feel, not pain, but an awful dull ache. Unfortunately, suffering such bad, regular depression makes the future still bleak, but I have to believe I can feel better than this if I quit drinking.

    I have read up as much as I can about the long-term effects of alcoholism on the body and, while I don’t think my liver is under threat right now, I really believe that my mind and thinking have become severely affected: I am chronically sad and depressed. I HAVE to believe that my neurotransmitters are all screwed and that only by staying off drink and allowing them to fix will I start to feel better. Sorry it was life story, but thanks for reading.

    • Rick August 14, 2015, 2:13 am

      That about says everything perfectly. Thank you.

      • Cara August 15, 2015, 5:36 am

        Awesome comment. Thanks, it helps to know none of us are alone.

    • GodHelpUs February 23, 2016, 5:47 am

      Xavier, your story broke my heart to know all of the debilitating emotional pain you’re in, and that very spirit has broken. I can relate more then you will ever know. Please please see your doctor and show him what you wrote, he or she will understand even if they’re not alcoholics, but on a human level and hopefully provide treatment, some sort of action.

      You need to ask for help of a medical professional so that these demons and evil negative thoughts don’t consume one tiny bit more of you. I’m an alcoholic, sober 3 days (10th try). 40 yrs old and fringing half my life away. Each time withdrawal is worse, like knocking on deaths door louder and louder while screaming for God to help me!!!

      I’m doing something different this time. I’m getting help from my doctor, therapist, and AA and writing to a person that needs help on this blog for the first time, you. Please ask for help and accept it. All my love and support. I’m with you! xo

    • Locallass July 7, 2016, 11:59 am

      Thanks for your comment it was like reading my own life story. I’m on day three of no alcohol, and I’m feeling so dizzy, and a dull headache. Never felt this way before when I’ve had a couple of days off the booze, but I want to feel normal again after abusing my body all these years, I just hope I can make it, doing cold turkey, this page has given me hope. Thanks to everyone’s comments, when I feel low I will come back and read them again.

  • Lisa July 24, 2015, 2:35 pm

    I’m 30 years old and have been drinking heavily for the past 5 years. I would drink about 12-15 beers a night, spent a ton of money, ruined relationships and even had a bad fall which caused me a concussion. I decided to quit the drinking and haven’t drank in 5 days which is definitely hard for me considering the amount I would drink daily. I have been experiencing anxiety, itching at night, confusion and depression. I am trying to stay positive and active to keep my mind off the drinking.

    It’s definitely hard to do but I’m staying strong. Unfortunately, I am not someone who can just have a couple drinks and be satisfied for the night. I am the type of person who drinks until there is no more beer left or until I pass out. I’m just hoping to stay strong and it definitely helps to read other peoples comments to know I am not alone in this struggle. I am looking forward to a sober life and eventually starting a family.

  • Steve July 27, 2015, 12:58 pm

    I am 28 years old, drank pretty much daily for the last 9-10 years, quit cold turkey exactly 30 days ago. I felt perfectly fine for the first week or two, then the extreme anxiety creeped in. Ive been dealing with that and a general feeling of just being… off. I feel kind of lightheaded most the days, random headaches and I’ve been dealing with some sort of throat infection. I’m scared to death of cirrhosis even though I don’t have any signs or symptoms, I know symptoms might not even show when you do have it.

    That coupled with already having issues with depression and anxiety are making things tough but I have zero interest in having another drink. I’m just taking it one day at a time and hoping these things will eventually pass. It wasn’t easy to quit, I felt I needed alcohol to feel normal, but now I see what its done to me and enough is enough!

    • Coors Light October 1, 2015, 9:13 pm

      How much were you drinking and what were you drinking? Thanks for sharing.

    • Debra October 15, 2015, 9:47 am

      I am on day 18 of not drinking and over the last few days have experienced some very strange symptoms. I have been drinking every day since my husband died from brain cancer 6 years ago. In the week maybe a few beers or a bottle of wine in the evening and then lots more of beer, wine and spirits every weekend. I didn’t really think I was drinking excessively but obviously my body is struggling without the alcohol.

      A few days ago I had a very strange sensation pass through my head and then couldn’t walk properly and last night whilst I was teaching my yoga class I just felt weird as if I didn’t know what was going to happen to me – it was very scary and horrible – could this really be down to quitting alcohol??? Has anyone else had similar things going on???

  • Martin August 2, 2015, 12:59 am

    I’m a 25 year old male, drinking heavily for 6-7 years now. I made the decision to start a sober lifestyle after going on a 4 day bender. The withdrawal symptoms are awful. Does anyone have any advice to help curb these symptoms? I’m willing to do or try just about anything with the exception of the taper method. I am 100% done with alcohol… Thank you for your advice.

    • Jill August 23, 2015, 1:36 am

      Valerian root supplements help, especially at bed time. Melatonin may also help with sleep. I have also found a very useful tea from Celestial Seaonings: Tension Tamer.

  • M August 2, 2015, 1:35 pm

    Today is my 8th day sober. I’m still dealing with night sweats, and last night I wanted to drink very badly. Early this morning it seems as if the anxiety/ panic attacks have set in. I keep worrying about finances, obligations, etc. In a way as if I can’t overcome obstacles. This makes me want to drink, but I know that drinking will only throw me into a depression as I would feel like a failure for not being able to go clean… again.

    I’m 44 years old, and I really can’t remember a time that I haven’t been drinking heavily since my late teens. I know my liver is compromised… The doc told me to not drink any alcohol for 30 days, and go back for more blood work. That was about 60 days ago, and I’ve yet to be able to stay sober for 30. I’m really, really trying to do it this time. Its finally caught up to me. I just hope it’s not too late.

  • Kathy August 3, 2015, 11:57 pm

    Good article. After drinking 1-2 bottles of wine a night for the last 3 1/2 years, I finally got fed up with the hangovers, shaking hands, weight gain, and the financial cost. The blackouts were also scary and got me into some dangerous situations. I’m only on day 2, quitting cold turkey, but I have consulted with my doctor and an addiction counselor who are ready to assist medically should I have bad withdrawal symptoms.

    So far, so good. This is completely different from other times I tried to quit or taper. The difference this time is I feel extremely motivated. I absolutely never want to drink again. I’m tired and have a little headache and minor anxiety, but it’s manageable. I hope it doesn’t get worse. I really want to make it.

    • Barb February 27, 2016, 12:22 am

      Hi, I have been drinking for 25 years in varying degrees, but every day. I am on my 3rd day after drinking 1-2 bottles of wine nightly. Fully functional, work full time, in a very unhappy, unsatisfying marriage. I decided it was time to get my head on straight so I can make some sound decisions in my life.

      No major withdrawals physically, take a sleeping pill at night and want to get rid of all of this booze weight, 25 lbs. I don’t have anyone to talk to so it’s been tough and this site is a gift!

      • Shannon September 11, 2016, 3:41 pm

        Barb, your story is like mine. I can, given your relationship challenges, assume that you’ve struggled on again off gain. Me too. I’m trying to consider it more of a lifestyle change. Like in earlier posts, for me one drink is never enough, but it only takes one swallow and without much thought a bottle of wine is gone while I silently fold laundry or do dishes.

        Like you, I want to quit. I want to feel good again, I want to have a good night of sleep and not feel guilty for avoiding my family while I promote my booze breath. I’ve started my own gold star on the calendar program. Hopefully, the gold stars will be more frequent. For now, I’m consoling myself that the two glasses of wine I had two days ago was then. This is now. Good luck to you and to me too.

  • Mike August 9, 2015, 2:31 pm

    I have been drinking 7-12 drinks every day for 8 years. I quit 3 weeks ago. In the first few days I had dry mouth, some intense cravings, nightmares and dizzyness. These are fading now. I feel better than I have done in a long time. For some reason almost overnight my attitude to alcohol changed. You won’t do it unless your mind is in the right place. Some tips:

    – stay hydrated and eat well, I can’t stress this enough!
    – keep busy
    – stay away from bars and shops that sell alcohol
    – get support from a couple of people that are close to you
    – remind yourself regularly of the benefits

    There is no point thinking weeks or months ahead. Take it one day at a time and eventually everything will fall into place.

    • gail September 2, 2015, 5:37 pm

      Mike, thank you for the advice! I am 21 days free from alcohol. I quit cold turkey and have been doing well. I found this arrival as I was wondering why my body and joints are hurting. Now I know why. At least I now know it is normal. Just one day at a time for me. I can’t wait to get some energy back. So much to do around my place and no energy to do it. I think one of the most irritating thing for me is now you go to grocery store, drugstores, any store, and there is the hard alcohol staring me in the face.

      My mouth starts to water and I have a hard time not wanting a drink! But the want to quit is stronger than the want to drink! I try very hard to not go anywhere by myself so I don’t give in. Anyway to all you out there trying to quit alcohol, I send you strength! You can do it as I can do it too. Love to you all! Now off to spend time with the grandchildren who helps keep me grounded! Just knowing I need to be around a long time to be with my family is helping!

  • Shan August 13, 2015, 4:55 pm

    I’m 27 years old and have been drinking for about 4 years. I would go through about 2 bottles of vodka a week. It got to the point where all I thought about was when I would get my next drink. If I wasn’t able to I would get anxious. It also started affecting my friends and family because I couldn’t remember important things they would say. I just started tapering off a few days ago.

    I’ve been super nauseous, vomiting, shaking, tired, and bad anxiety. I almost get sick just thinking about my next drink. But as I’ve read going cold turkey doesn’t seem like the right fit for me. I know it has only been a few days but I am hoping it will get better. Taking it one day at a time! Thanks for all the comments and advice. It gives me hope for the future, that I can and will overcome this addiction!

  • Dana August 15, 2015, 2:46 pm

    I am on day 3 of a taper. I drank 12-14 whiskey shots a night for the last 2 years. I haven’t slept really at all. But, I am not delirious. I am a bit scatter brained but I have been drinking a ton of Gatorade and taking lots of B vitamins. The B12 and B8, I can tell are the most effective. It is hard because my body temperature changes so much.

    But, when that gets crazy I drink a little to bring my body temp back to normal. Lots of blowing my nose. Sitting in the sauna at the gym helped a lot. The mild exercise helps a lot. But, rehydrating myself and putting vitamins back in my system has been the most helpful. This may not be easy, but this time I am quitting for real. I just miss sleep.

  • Janie August 15, 2015, 7:10 pm

    I’m I day 6 and still feel like death, 35, have been drinking for 3 years not too bad but then it went to a glass a week to a glass a night… To two glasses a night to weekends where a bottle + a night would do.

    I went cold turkey, my head won’t stop pounding and the dizziness is horrible.

    Trying to do it on my own, but battling a lot in a constant bad mood and my husband can’t really understand. I’m a bit scared with the constant pain… Not sure what to do.

  • Stephanie August 17, 2015, 8:16 am

    I quit drinking cold turkey twelve weeks ago. I was a moderate-heavy-extreme drinker for nine years. I had thought I escaped with no *intense* detox period, as I have only been suffering from depression, anxiety, insomnia, little-to-no appetite and maybe some mild shaking (versus seizures, vomiting, heart palpitations and/or hallucinations). However, in the last week I have been experiencing migraines that have put me out of commission for an entire day at a time, vertigo to the extent of being unable to stand, severe nausea (sans vomit) and literal hot flashes where I sweat profusely unexpectedly. Could this be related to my sobriety so long after the commencement?

  • D August 17, 2015, 2:29 pm

    I go back and read this article and all comments. All of your comments, the article it self are so helpful. I am just past week 3 of quitting cold turkey after drinking 2 bottles of wine or many shots of whiskey or vodka every evening (functioning very well during the day) I thank God I haven’t had severe withdrawals but I have had major dizziness and nausea, sleepless nights being very touchy, etc.

    I know it’s going to take time but I have a wonderful supportive family and this time total determination to stay sober. That’s right, this isn’t my first rodeo but will be my last. This is the best site I have found and go back and read article and all comments. Thank you all for your comments you all have helped me I hope I have helped someone even just a little. Hugs

  • Jeff August 19, 2015, 7:16 am

    I’m currently experiencing a bloated stomach. I’m still drinking but have cut back to just a couple of drinks a day although I did drink heavily before. I just had a liver and blood test about 2 months ago which they said were normal so I don’t think its that. Any other ideas of why I’m bloating now, and had anyone else experienced this? Thanks.

    • el May 9, 2016, 5:26 pm

      I experience this every time I have tried to write in the past and it’s been the single greatest physiological impediment for me to quit. However, with patience (it’s a good 4-6 month committed process), rigid dietary control and adding in some supplements you can move past it and end up healthier than the average non-drinker, even. It’s most likely gut dysbiosis or basically out-of-whack good organisms.

      Many people who stop drinking then become dependent on sugar or processed foods which keeps the bad guys happy so your gut doesn’t hurt but ultimately that makes us sicker. A high-quality, 50+ billion organisms per pill – not from places like GMC or etc but from Whole Foods and the like – twice or thrice a day with a diet of high quality protein at each meal 3oz is enough (heals gut lining) and vegetables.

      No fruit except for a few berries, no deep-fried or battered fried foods, no sweeteners of any kind including artificial, adding in meditation or daily walks to decrease gut stress chemicals, and reading up on healing from gut dysbiosis can really turn this around. Like I said it’s a process, but for those of us who have this aspect of our alcoholic illness, it’s a life saver!! Good luck and congrats!!

  • Just Another August 21, 2015, 2:26 am

    All of the above, and then some. Go figure. 47, large bottle of wine daily with the occasional 3 day binge of constant consumption. I’ve lost track, but approx 12-15 years, maybe more. Get your vitamin D levels checked. Low D can cause structural pain, chest, bone and joint. Take a good vitamin B complex supplement, daily. Multiple vitamin daily. Eat well and consistently, every 3 hours. Not junk, prepackaged, or take away. I’ve centered on a lower carb (complex only), protein and vegetable base with lots of water.

    Supplement with a combo 20 oz SoBe Lifewater pure via sweetened, 2.5 tbsp psyllium husk, and 3 probiotic capsules drink mix for the jacked digestion. Typically I’m avoiding sugar, but if I am feeling particularly awful I’ve found a bit of pasta (simple refined) or rice with a sauce to be a good pick me up to get past the moment. EXTREME fatigue is my personal nemesis. Some headaches. Panic attacks have been controlled with a benzodiazapem, smallest dosage.

    I drank “normally” over a holiday weekend, finishing a 5 litre wine box in 3 days. Returned home and drank a solid 36 hours. Then had to work. First time I ever felt “done” with this habit. Truly done. Day 3. So far I sleep, eat, hydrate and work. The only things I truly believe in at this moment is the nutritional support, rest, and the attempt to move forward accordingly. Keep trying everyone, I’ll do the same.

  • James August 22, 2015, 1:19 pm

    A wonderful article on the subject and valuable contribution from readers. Thanks! I am 60. Been drinking quite heavily for about 30 years. Since last two years, a bottle has been lasting just about three days. Been regular on work, fully functional civil and family life, in general a happy go lucky life so far except some mood changes occasionally. Drinking might have had effect on health but not on work and family or law.

    However, off late I started having pain below right rib cage, more so when lying on right side, intolerant pain on right side while getting up from bed or chair, sometimes pain traveling to even left side as if tightening of a muscle. An medical examination showed just about OK status SGOT/SGPT with a fatty and slightly enlarged liver. That was six months back.

    I have now been off drinks for about 1.5 to 2 months without any withdrawal symptoms. (Oh, yes just forgot to mention that I had a seizure, during day time (I have drinks only between 8-10 PM at night) resultant fall, head injury, small concussion and hemorrhage last Nov, resulting into dizziness, loss of memory, headache, disorientation, delirium, feeling of as if my brain is moving anti clock wise inside my head (which it still does), tiredness, loss of appetite and general feel of not being well. I was on medication for some time, now off other medicines, except for depression which occurred after the fall).

    I am now off drinks last three days, no withdrawals symptoms as on earlier occasions of abstinence from liquor. No craving for drinks, or any problems. On reading this article, since I had a fall as well, I was just wondering whether I should consult an hematologist and neuro surgeon or neuro physician again (I had consulted neuros after the fall). More so since post this pain, I am cold turkey of leaving drinking! Incidentally, I am diabetic and have blood pressure for last ten years.

    Valuable suggestions are solicited, thanks in advance for your time to go through this. May God bless you and your family with health and happiness!

  • Kate August 23, 2015, 3:02 am

    I stopped drinking 22 days ago, and I’m still having sudden bursts of crying spells and debilitating depression… I thought I’d feel better not worse! But, this article explained why and also shed light for me that I’m not alone in experiencing this! Thanks.

    • Gail September 3, 2015, 1:56 pm

      Kate, today is my 22nd day of no drinking! I was doing very well until a week ago and then started feeling like crud! Mostly body aches and no appetite! And yes this article and everyone’s replies on here are so helpful. You can do this! I am sending you strength! I wish for you peace. And like me, just know in the end we will feel so much better! Blessings to you!

  • Kimberly August 25, 2015, 7:12 am

    I just turned 45 and have drank heavily for about 30 years. Over the years I have lost jobs and relationships. 4 days ago I decided to quit for those reasons. I quit cold turkey and it was the hardest thing I have done. The shaking, dizziness, mild hallucinations and now voices in my head are the worst thing I have been through. I did not sleep the first 2 nights at all and today I managed to sleep an hour at a time with bad nightmares.

    I did this alone at home and do not recommended it. I looked on line and it says if you are doing this alone please have some one with you for the first 3 days. All the other symptoms I have as well tremors, itching, sweating all suck. I will not give up though and I have no urge to drink.

    I would like to know how long the voices in my head stay for. I can control them for the most part and make them say what I’m saying. But when I’m not doing anything like talking on the phone or watching TV they get annoying . I know I’m not crazy…I’ve done my research they are a symptom, and that just goes to show how much damage we can do to our brains with alcohol. I just wonder if anyone knows? Thanks for listening.

    • paul January 30, 2016, 3:04 pm

      I had this too. It was when I went to bed a day later. My girlfriend at the time booked me an appointment to the doctors, the doctor told the DVLA which is the English driving license governing body, and they took my license saying I could be prone to seizures. I hear the same song in my head constantly until I nearly go mad. You are suffering massive withdrawals… BUT you are nearly over the worst. It’s a horrible thing and screws with the mind and body like no other drug. Please keep going as it’ll change your life forever.

  • Leann August 25, 2015, 7:14 pm

    Must be nice for everyone who can say they’ve even gone one day without a drink. I’ve been going through what appears to be kindling for about a year. Right now I can’t make once hour without a beer. Have to drink in the middle of the night due to shakes. I keep vomiting, diarrhea, tired like a zombie. The only docs around here I’ve already been to. They give me few days worth of meds that help them I start all over again. A lot an hour ago I got sick and could tell my pulse got higher. My BP machine had me at 185/90 with pulse of 140. I’m trying to taper with beer again. Down to about 18 a day.

  • Tammy August 26, 2015, 7:28 am

    I am on day five of no drinking after 18 years. I used to consume a few glasses of wine after a long work day nightly. I was always a go getter and highly motivated. After losing my job last year I turned to alcohol to numb the pain, I ruined relationships and went into a deep depression in return. I am very grateful to still have my Husband and Sons at my side, I would hide my wine in cabinets in shame and later found out they knew and I looked like a fool. In just these first few days of recovery I feel better than ever. Going to the gym every day helps! I don’t always feel the best but I can see a big difference in my appearance and I have been losing weight without all of the calories in wine and beer…which by the way is never listed on the bottle!!! Hour by Hour…Day by Day is key to Recovery:)

  • Sandy August 28, 2015, 3:58 am

    It’s been 8 days now since my last cigarette and glass of wine. Feeling fatigued but can only sleep in short bursts. Dreams, very vivid and sometimes terrifying. Aches in joints easing up, muscle weakness in legs diminishing too. What I’m really praying for is the ache under the right side of my upper quadrant, and more specifically, the back. Pretty sure my liver is swollen a bit. BP getting better already, down to 120/90.

    I was getting up to 1 1/2 bottles of wine every night and smoking 6 to 8 cigarettes along with that. No drinking or smoking during the day though. This has been going on for about 2 years. Prior to that I had managed to quit smoking and would really only drink about a bottle of wine every few days. I’m hoping I will be feeling better soon but realize that this is the journey. I’m 51 and just not ready to check out.

    Tapering off just didn’t seem like the path for me. So far so good. I even managed to have dinner with my Daughter at Hudson’s on Monday night. I got through that okay. I think that if your withdrawal symptoms are really horrific, tapering off slowly is the way to go. I’m glad I found this site. Everyone needs support through this!

  • Gene August 30, 2015, 9:08 pm

    Greta website here. I am trying to Detox myself its really tough. It seems like I get to the 5th or 6th day and I give in and buy a bottle of Vodka. I have not had a good sleep in the last 5 weeks. My withdrawal symptoms are:
    Cravings — extreme
    Sweating — extreme
    Headache — still but getting better
    Fatigue — still but getting better
    Sleep disturbances — extreme
    Insomnia — extreme
    Nightmares — somewhat
    Muscle weakness — somewhat
    Mood swings — moderate
    Joint pain — moderate
    Itching — extreme, and digestive disorders.

  • wade August 31, 2015, 8:46 pm

    Great article! It definitely talks about all the symptoms. A little broad and vague on the time aspect, which is understandable because everyone’s body is different and length and amount of alcohol is different. I would like to see some info about the withdrawals after 2 weeks, which is the amount of time it takes for the body, not the mind, to recover and return to somewhat normal.

    I’ve been drinking a good amount 5 or so maybe more a day for the last 2 or so years and 3+ for the last 5. Started out with the occasional binges getting a bottle but then not drinking for a few days or till the next weekend. Big life break up caused it and sent me down this road. I’m now clean for one week but still have fatigue big time and a splitting headache. Caffeine in the morning helps. My recommendation while detoxing is continue to do what you did before with minimal change just don’t drink.

    Then eventually introduce better workout and eating habits and then taper off caffeine. I actually feel pretty good, sweats and shakes are gone. I even got a mild fever the first week. If anyone has made it past 2 weeks I’d love to know how they feel and what their symptoms are. I can’t wait for the brain fog, fatigue and feeling depressed to go away. That’s my motivation to not drink now. Good luck to everyone.

  • Paudie September 1, 2015, 10:32 am

    I’m a 32 year old male I have been a binge/heavy drinker since I was 17, in January 2014 I went to a GP to wean myself of alcohol during the process I was prescribed Librium & Phenergen to help me sleep. I continued to see my GP once a week for 4 weeks I took the Meds for 6 weeks in total, and I was sober for 6 months afterwards sadly alcohol came crawling slowly back into my life as I thought I could control it. What I never comprehended was that the reason I went there in the first for place was that my alcohol abuse was out of control.

    Another year has passed and I’m in the same predicament, only this time I did not see my GP I feel very embarrassed, I have decided to go cold turkey today is Tuesday & last Tuesday I had my last drink! As most will know of the withdrawal symptoms mine are not as severe as I have been here before. I feel very cold all the time and cold sweats too, I feel restless & sluggish maybe that’s fatigue? My sleep pattern has got better over the last week and I’m focused and more determined to do this on my own. Best of luck to you all. ☺

  • Matthias September 6, 2015, 5:07 am

    I have been completely sober for 9 months & nearly drank tonight. I feel like I dodged a bullet. I was a heavy drinker for 25 years. Lost a lot because of alcohol. The biggest was my marriage. I’ve been divorced for a year. The good thing that came of it was realizing what I lost. True love. It got me sober. Lost a career, house, friends, etc. But nothing compares to losing an amazing woman. What do they say? Don’t miss the water until your well runs dry.

    I’d give it all, to go back in a DeLorean, & do it all over again. She gave me so many chances to get clean & I never could do it. When she left I had nothing, was suicidal, all because of booze. So I kicked it. Full on Delirium Tremens…it sucked. Can’t believe I almost bought a bottle tonight. So easy to forget. That’s how I found this article, looking up what I went through…alcohol withdrawal. Wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Good luck all & may peace be with you & to me for remembering!

  • Jay September 8, 2015, 2:42 pm

    I’m on day 5 after 18 years of heavy drinking and the primary withdrawal symptom I am experiencing is extreme itching. Combine that with eczema and this heat it driving me crazy. I quit without tapering because I tried that and it doesn’t work for me since I don’t stop at the set limits.

    • Tonia October 12, 2015, 9:32 pm

      I am experiencing the itching to the extreme. I am on day number 19. This has been very hard. I have have went about a month before but starting again. I was even admitted to hospital under psych watch some years ago. I was hallucinating very badly. They said I had alcohol poisoning. The itching is not a typical itching to me…but it feels like I walked into a spider web all over my body. I am determined to make it this time.. I have young children and I don’t want them to be teased about their mom being the neighborhood drunk…

  • Tara September 10, 2015, 6:06 pm

    I’ve been in denial. Didn’t think it was so bad, but really appreciate what I’m reading here. Had convinced myself that working my way from 2-4 glasses of wine/night, with occasional nights that involved something harder, like vodka, to at least 1- 1/2 bottles wine most nights did not make me an alcoholic. Now, I’m not so sure. I definitely think it’s time to stop. One glass of wine 4 nights ago, and nothing for the last three.

    I had been wondering why I was so very tired and a little nauseous. The fact that my body is reacting this way tells me everything I need to know, that it’s time to quit. Thanks to everyone wiling to share their stories here, you have only further solidified my reason to make this change, before I get even further down the wrong path. I wish you all the best.

  • Aly September 11, 2015, 5:04 pm

    This has been the best article yet. I drank myself silly Sunday night, felt so horrendous the next day, that I finally made the step to quit drinking. I have been drinking regularly for the last 5 yrs. I am 43. I am definitely feeling dizziness, brain fog, heart palpitations, anxiety, agitation and sweating!! What fun. But now I know that it’s all normal and it will be ok. I will be fine. I will get through this and will be much stronger and healthier than ever. I wish everyone the best of luck in their endeavour to quit drinking.

    • Bruno January 17, 2016, 7:08 pm

      Hi Aly! Exactly the same on me!! Tough symptoms!

  • Marsha September 17, 2015, 11:59 am

    What a great article. I’m 62 and am only on day three of probably over a thousand times attempting to quit. Surprisingly, I have been able to stay alive and “functioning” by paying attention to exercising regularly and maybe just pure luck. I have never been in trouble with the law and have held down some pretty good jobs. I HAVE had two failed marriages but I don’t think alcohol was a factor unless you account for the fact that it messed with my self esteem that I had trouble with since I was a child.

    My marriage seems stable now after 25 years and I learned after all of the attempts to stop drinking, that I will never be successful unless I really WANT IT. That’s where I stand today. My withdrawal symptoms are insomnia, extreme irritability, headaches, and palpitations. I’d been abstinent for over a month before so I knew what was coming. This time I will remain alcohol free for life because I really had to want it and this time I do. I have a lot to live for.

  • Gillian September 19, 2015, 12:01 pm

    Thank goodness I found this site. I have been drinking for twenty years. Not too bad at first but ten years ago when I lost my job it became massively worse. This year it has become even worse again. I know I am killing myself. Have been in loads of rehabs, been to counselors etc but can’t stay sober. I am just off the worst bender ever, drinking 24/7 for about a month.

    What I am experiencing right now today is the worst ever. The reason I am writing is I have never heard the withdrawals described like this…I guess the people I have met over the years haven’t been as bad as me. The insomnia is a killer and the itching I am suffering today is a killer, I feel like I am covered in bugs. Anyone know how long this itching lasts? Thanks.

    • Ron October 19, 2016, 12:01 pm

      Yep. The itching… Day 5 for me and today I was convinced I had bugs for a few hours.

  • Debbie September 20, 2015, 2:14 am

    This article was an eye opener for me. I have been a daily drinker 2 – 6 drinks daily for 30 years. I haven’t gone cold turkey but have one glass of wine at night instead of 2 or more whiskeys. My scalp itches, I feel tired and depressed, my face is breaking out. Tonight I googled feeling tired, depressed and face breaking out.

    This is how I found this website. What a wake up call. I will continue to cut back on my alcohol consumption and am on week 2. Hopefully, I will be able to not need or want any alcohol. This site really helped me so much and I know I can get thru this. I had no idea all my recent symptoms were alcohol withdrawal.

  • Fred September 23, 2015, 5:56 pm

    I’ve tried in the past up stop and ended up falsely normalizing and rationalizing why I drink. This time in, I realize I’m an alcoholic and have been drink free for 3 days. Normally drinking 1-2 bottles of wine an evening, I’ve gone cold turkey as I can’t taper off. Murderous rages, tiredness, odd balance…it’s great fun.

  • mike September 29, 2015, 4:37 am

    I am on day 4. I am 61, have a PhD, work and for the last few years started drinking 4 double IPA beers every night and smoking 10 cigarettes (I kind of like it but know it is a long term loser). My wife absolutely hates it but I do it in the back yard to stay out of her hair. My son who also has a taste for the brew just came home from Germany and he and I stayed up until 5am last Thursday night drinking, smoking and talking loud etc. etc.

    My wife got really pissed at me saying that I am thoughtlessly corrupting my son and she laid into me for 4 hours straight telling me that I am a drunk and I stink from cigarettes and basically she would rather be alone than be with a smelly loser like me… Ouch!!! I went cold turkey. Other than fatigue and some anxiety and weird dreams, I am doing fine. Every time I think about having a beer or smoke my wife’s barrage of rapid fire insults pops into my head and the urge just passes. I knew I should quit eventually buy my wife made it easier to make the decision and stick to it.

  • Janine October 2, 2015, 2:43 pm

    Thank you for this insightful article. This is the first time I have replied to any sort of addiction forum, but I have truly found the comments here to be inspirational. This is day 3 for me with no alcohol. AA did not work for me, but I have great respect for all AA members who continue to dedicate their time, stories and support. Five years of heavy drinking every night has taken its toll.

    This is the longest I have abstained for 5 years, and I was probably borderline the previous couple of years. I’m seeking advice and strength from those of you who have been where I am and can offer hope. I’m a 50 year old woman who is scared to death thinking that if I start again – today, tomorrow, that that will be the end. At my last GP checkup my BP was 170/110, elevated cholesterol greater than 350, and triglyceride levels above 560.

    Alcoholism came later in life for me. I do remember seeing family members, friends, random people like I am now and wondered how could you let yourself get to that stage. Well, I am that person that I once judged. I used to think I was a mentally strong person. However, perhaps I have not been as strong as I once thought to handle the stress & challenges presented to me for the past few years.

    Clearly not. Having 4 beautiful children has been a great privilege. Over the past several months, my youngest 8 year daughter has noticed my problem drinking. When she sees that I am about to pour that first glass of wine early afternoon or evening, she notices and has tried to divert my attention in any way so that I do something different.

    As little as she is, she knows her mom has a serious problem. Tears now. If I can stop, maybe I can be the active, present and clear-minded person I once was and start rebuilding better memories for my children of a sober mother. I do appreciate any kind words and support.

    • Jill March 14, 2016, 8:33 pm

      Hi Janine. I’m just reading this a few months on and I feel very moved that you are trying to stop drinking. I am on Day 3 and very motivated! I wondered how you were getting on? I so hope that you’ve been successful. And if you haven’t – and God knows, it can take many attempts, that you will keep trying. There is help out there and when you have four young children, your attempts are all so worthwhile. Sending you big hugs and hopes for many years of happiness ahead. For all of us.

  • LIZZY October 5, 2015, 1:51 pm

    I am 22 years old and have only been drinking nightly for 4 months. Usually 6 drinks but sometimes more. Like half a bottle of vodka and 3 beers. I only had one shot today and I felt awful. I was exhausted all day. My vision is hazy. My body is weak. I just want to sleep. My abdominal region hurts like crazy. I developed a sore throat and very dry mouth. And worst of all I started hallucinating tonight.

    I could feel someone holding my hand and then squeezing it too hard and then a terrifying screeching sound. I keep hearing scary yelling. I felt a bag go over my head. I saw a flash of light. I have nightmares and am easily startled. This is scary. I didn’t even drink that long and I feel this way. I started drinking as a way of coping with my new life as a stay at home mom.

    It’s how I dealt with the social isolation. It helped for a while, but now it’s so hard to take care of my five month old daughter. Is it possible to have this severe of side effects after only 4 months of daily drinking?

    • Lorissa January 2, 2016, 1:44 pm

      Hey there! Wondering how long ago you stopped or tapered your drinking before you had the hallucinations? I just turned 25 but have been drinking since I was 14. I’ve always enjoyed booze more than most my friends. But after getting anxiety/panic disorder a few years ago I began drinking every night to help me sleep because I was so terrified of having a panic attack again.

      I would have about 1-3 drinks a night but after a year I finally stopped and would only socially drink on the weekends. But after a trip to Vegas in June and having a tough year I noticed my drinking went from seemingly normal to binging all weekend. Whenever I got a hangover I would use the excuse ‘hair of the dog’ and no one batted an eye. But it got really bad last month. Instead of having a few drinks I would start going through a 40 ounce bottle during the weekend and continue to drink until Monday.

      Because of my job being a sales rep I don’t have to go into the office often so I started being bored and would drink other days during the week. I finally decided to slow down and eventually quit drinking after having a week long binge starting on Xmas eve until New Year’s Eve. I had been thinking about it for a while but once I noticed I was starting to hide my bottles and go to the liquor store multiple times a week I knew I had a problem. It’s been two days but so far have had major anxiety, sweating, not sleeping at all, and I’m terrified I will start hallucinating which is my biggest fear.

      Seeing all these posts really help me and I’m glad girls around our age can realize we have issues early on and hopefully kick the habit. Hopefully your withdrawal symptoms didn’t last long. I’m terrified mine will since I’ve been a heavy drinker for the last while. It’s great to see everyone support each other on here and I wish the best for everyone.

      • Jack January 6, 2016, 4:57 pm

        Hi Lorissa, I found your post really interesting – very much a carbon copy of myself. I’m a 24 year old sales rep, working away Monday-Friday. I have been doing the whole weekend binge/hair of the dog habit for a while, and I decided to pack it in over Christmas. I’m suffering from irritability, restlessness and boredom so far. The reason I quit was due to the ever growing anxiety and depression that came along side my drinking.

        I am on day 6, not that it really matters. The biggest hurdle I am facing is the magnitude of abstaining forever. My family, friends, and social life is very alcohol-centric, and I suppose I don’t know if I am ready to give that all up, but I feel like my hand has been dealt. If you want someone to talk to, I’d love to chat and see what you get up to while you’re not in the office to take your mind off things. I am finding the long drives and nights alone in my hotel literally unbearable and could use the tips.

    • Jen December 1, 2016, 10:40 am

      Hi Lizzy, I hope you are coping better now. I felt a little scared for you when you said you have a 5 month old and have been drinking (seems heavily) for 4 months and I was thinking you need to be sharp and clear headed with a 5 month old to take care of. Hope you are well!!

  • Di October 5, 2015, 7:52 pm

    Excellent information on post acute withdrawal symptoms. In 2 days time, I will have been off alcohol for 6 months. Many of the physical and psychological problems I can identify with – malaise, feeling numb, tearful, joint pain etc. However, my main problem is complete lack of appetite. I have had terrible stomach problems (gastritis) caused by not eating, but I just don’t feel hungry. Anyone had this problem? Would sure appreciate any feedback.

  • Justin October 6, 2015, 4:41 pm

    Read every comment here, and like someone said above I’ve been drunk, drinking, thinking about my next drink, or hung-over from alcohol almost every waking moment of my adult life. I have awoken almost every day the last few years worried about what I did the night before due to an alcohol black out. Then I would begin to drink water and eat well all day long just so I could be healthy and hydrated enough to drink myself into oblivion that night.

    On those occasions when I’ve abstained for a day or two, I have spent anxious minutes each of those days standing in the whisky isle checking prices, or trying to justify going to the store to purchase a “small” amount of booze because I’ve been so good. I have intentionally barricaded myself in hotel rooms when I start drinking in order to keep me in the room once I black out because I was afraid of the auto locking doors and being in the hallway in my underwear.

    I blame my work and social success not on alcohol, but on luck and that I am very high functioning during the day. I don’t know the kind of person I really am without alcohol as I’ve drank my entire adult life. I’m currently on day 9 and feel really good, a little tired, but I don’t really know what normal feels like…maybe this is it. If so, I can deal with it, it doesn’t suck and beats the anxiety and fear.

    I want to be sober more than I want to drink.
    I don’t drink anymore, I never will again.
    I can’t afford the mental and monetary effects of the alcohol.

  • Nicole October 7, 2015, 12:05 am

    I read all of the comments, and I’m glad I did. I have a better understanding of what’s happening. I’m 39 and I have been a daily drinker for the last 6 years or so. It started off with a glass of wine or two, then the whole bottle, then I switched to vodka and crystal light in an effort to decrease my calorie intake. Nothing bad ever happened due to my drinking, but I noticed that I wouldn’t remember things family members said that they told me, I would wake up groggy all of the time, I felt bloated, and on and on.

    Today is day 7 without a drink. What I’m experiencing the most is anxiety and fatigue. My God, the fatigue is kicking my ass. I will stick to this though, because I know that I’m doing the right thing, and I know that my body will return to normal eventually. Thank you to all of you who have shared. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone. Good luck!

  • Pam October 11, 2015, 3:36 am

    I’m Pam. Im 49. I never drank alcohol in my entire life until a year ago. I lost my house, my mother went to an old folks home and my son to drugs. I started drinking vodka just to go to sleep. I’ve been drinking every night for a year. Last weekend I had to go to the hospital because I was hurting on my right upper side. I was severely dehydrated. I found out I had a fatty liver due to the alcohol. So I’ve quit cold turkey. I don’t crave it, but I can’t sleep and I’m very tired and I cry a lot.

    Thank God I have a loving and caring husband who is beside me all the way. I just want to say that I don’t even like the taste of alcohol. I was using it as I got more and more depressed over my losses. It’s been only 1 week since I had my last vodka. I will never drink again. I just want to feel energy and happy again. I hope and pray that my liver will go back to normal.

  • sue October 11, 2015, 8:10 am

    Thank you for this article, it’s really helped me to understand what I’m going through. I was drinking heavily every day for a whole year after I broke up with my ex and I have just stopped drinking in the week about two weeks ago. I feel so depressed and anxious and generally horrible. This article has explained why I may be feeling like this. I feel more motivated to keep on going and stop drinking at weekends too. Thank you.

  • Alex October 11, 2015, 7:08 pm

    After 3 years of daily drinking, (wine, at least a bottle or two each day/night) I stopped cold turkey. I started drinking in the afternoon and would go to 6/7pm and then eat and pass out. What a life…(I would also use pot at the same time.) I was worried about withdrawal and experienced a few symptoms. (sweats, anxiety, depression, anger To break the habit, I made myself busy when I would normally take my first drink of the day.

    I also used over the counter vitamins that are supposed to reduce the cravings. Not sure what is helping but it’s been a week. My longest stretch in the past was 4 days. Reading the above comments has definitely helped. It has not been easy, I miss the buzz, but I am seeing my world in a different light. I have the same hassles at work and home, but I am dealing with them in a much better way.

    Coherently. I realized I was just drinking to get drunk. I was not fixing anything. Just putting problems off till they got huge. Yesterday, I passed one of my drinking spots. The bartender saw me walk by and came out and called my name, offering a glass of wine. I waved and kept on going. I realized I had been drinking there for 2 years and I did not even remember her name…I sure hope it stays that way.

  • Chris October 12, 2015, 9:29 pm

    I drank daily for 10 years. I quit Sept 13th 2010. The withdrawal symptoms have never stopped for me. It’s been 5 years now & they only get worse. I have severe anxiety, sensitivity to light/sound, extreme hunger, thirst – to where I have to eat every 2 hours, I MUST sleep 8 hours or I will get shaky & start to seize, I cannot stand loud rooms, lots of people, supermarkets, and all my joints hurt. I get chest pains now for the past 2 years, & I will feel faint & dizzy a lot.

    I have seen many Dr’s and no one has been able to help me. I take Xanax, Topamax, & other drugs but they barely keep me going. Sometimes I wish I had never stopped drinking. However, having a drink now – even ONE SIP, brings all the symptoms back immediately times 10. I wish there was someone out there who could help my type of case instead of just with pills. I was never an addict. I just drank to help myself sleep. I never think about drinking. I just wish I had known what I was doing to my body. Once I got sick – I stopped cold turkey and that was that.

    • Joseph March 1, 2017, 2:11 pm

      Chris, I developed all of the symptoms you mentioned above from a nasty tick bite and now have late-stage Lyme’s disease. A lot of people unknowingly give up alcohol after tick bites because drinking makes them feel sick as their liver can’t process the alcohol. Your post is from two years ago so I hope you are feeling much more better now.

  • Taylor October 15, 2015, 7:47 pm

    I am 38. I’ve been drinking every OTHER night for more than 10 years. Vodka- between 2-6 stiff drinks in a night. I’ve noticed that I’ve been embarrassing myself more and more lately. I’ll be at a party and hear my own voice slurring, I’ll drunk comment on Facebook, I’ll ruin an entire Saturday with a hangover and feel so guilty that I’ve ruined plans. Again.

    My husband has finally said something to me about it and it was finally time to take action. I stopped drinking Sunday-Thursday. Allowing myself only Friday and Saturday. This the third week and I cannot tell you how much I look forward to having alcohol tomorrow. I’ve been having headaches, which makes me think this is withdrawal? I always thought I wouldn’t be dependent if I never drank two nights in a row… that really seems foolish now.

    The good things – I have lost a few pounds from stopping the weeknight drinking, and finally every night isn’t a drag from constant thoughts of alcohol. My ex died from alcohol. Complete organ shut down like dominoes. I should really know better.

  • Linda October 17, 2015, 3:24 am

    I guess my story is a little different than others. I drank hard alcohol (mostly straight vodka) from 1997-2012. My consumption would be a 750 ml bottle in 2 days (wow!). In 2012 (worrying about my health) I converted to Merlot wine, 2 liters per day, and had done this until 3 weeks ago. I decided I didn’t want to do this anymore. The next day I woke up and said no more. Since then I have not had any more.

    I feel fantastic! With the exception of some confusion now and then, I have endless energy (while drinking, I sat in the chair all day an explored the Internet), an upbeat attitude and can’t wait to get up in the morning to experience life’s new thrills. I hope other people who are afraid of potential withdrawal symptoms will take this note into consideration and realize that the immediate results can be FANTASTIC!!!!! P.S. You won’t believe how clean my home is now!

  • Simon Ledger October 17, 2015, 11:43 pm

    Fantastic article and like so many others I have experienced many of the withdrawal symptoms. The worst being the following morning where my heart was racing so fast and i felt so hot the only thing that slowed it was a drink. Being the second detox I have done, I believe underlying factors and pyschological problems have made alcohol my support strategy. It got worse with the diagnosis of cancer of my dad who was my world. He died and everything got so much worse that eventually I had a nervous breakdown.

    Anxiety and depression ensued followed by alcohol. I have dual diagnosis for anxiety and stress related issues. Having completed this controlled detox using diazepam I am free of alcohol but take camprol which alleviates cravings. I haven’t been able to work for two years and am terrified at the prospect of returning. My nurse tells me that the neurotransmitters will have to realign and mend themselves which can take between 6-8 weeks. Does that seem right?

    Before detox I was drinking from around 11am until 8pm. Half a bottle of vodka and three bottles of wine a day. I have difficulty remembering things and words come out wrongly at the moment. I am so fearful of getting into an anxious state again. Losing a brother and divorcing my partner of 23 years also occurred during this time along with breaking ribs in an accident. Any ideas would be welcomed.

  • shelley October 18, 2015, 5:09 pm

    I have been drinking all my life, I am 66, my drinking got worse during 2 divorces, the 2nd divorce from an abusive alcoholic that increased my use of hard alcohol. My kids started to reject me because of my erratic behavior. I am 5 days clean. my doctor of 25 years has helped a lot, I finally told him the truth, I have been on wellbutrin, celexa, temazepam and flexeril for years.

    I suffer from PTSD, depression, and stenosis of the spine. I was a dental hygienist for 25 years. Always sober at work, but 3-4 glasses of wine or 4-5 oz of vodka at dinner. So far the temazepam has helped settle my nights but I have the horrible dreams. I am happy during the day, have headaches, and am going back to yoga. My doc switched me to baclofen for my muscle spasms from my stenosis because it helps alcohol cravings as well.

    I am fatigued but luckily I am also a textile artist, so I would suggest getting any hobby, knitting, you name it, it absorbs your concentration. I am not concerned about the other drugs I take right now, alcohol has done the most damage personally, I will deal with the rest after I get well. Don’t be afraid to tell your doctor. you need their support. We will all make it, just remember that!!!

  • Emma October 21, 2015, 9:13 pm

    Day three of not drinking. Was a heavy wine drinker every night for many years and then binge drinker before that. No sleep at all last night- just wide awake all night constantly moving, dry mouth, freezing all night, then sweating all morning, flu like symptoms aching legs and back and sneezing constantly, sore throat. Doc suggested just reducing, but I know that I can’t do that- so have just stopped. Hoping that I will sleep tonight. Reading this article is scary, but also comforting.

  • Greg October 28, 2015, 1:13 pm

    I gradually drank more and more over 20 years and it took over my life. Around 30 days ago I felt really, really sick. Not hungover but ill and weak. Couldn’t look at a drink or cigarettes and so stopped. After a week I felt a bit better but decided that it really was time to stop. So far so good. I currently feel like crap and am very tired and thirsty.

    Itchy around the face and head. Medium headaches that come and go. It is no surprise that something I have done non-stop for years will take quite a while for my poor old battered body to recover from. It takes 4 months for all your blood to replace itself so I’m guessing that these symptoms will be around until next February at least.

    Surprisingly my relations and few remaining friends have not been enthusiastic or that supportive. Probably because I’m no longer such fun (?) and they don’t have a drink-buddy. Meh. On the positive side I have a lot more time to do things, more interactive time with the kids and they are more friendly. The bin isn’t full of empties each week. My red ruddy facial complexion has mostly cleared up and I’ve lost a little weight. More clear-minded and organized also.

    You may be struggling with trying to stop, feeling guilty or apprehensive. I well know that mental game the brain plays – “I want to stop but not today”. We’re all different but remember that alcohol is not our master. It’s early times but what keeps me going is:

    1) keep reminding myself of how much better it is now
    2) understand that the brain will try to trick me back into old habits, at any time, anywhere
    3) I’m the boss, not my brain!!
    3) keep busy
    4) try to empathize with my body and really feel how each part of my body is any time there is a spare moment – waiting at the traffic lights, having a shower – how’s the stomach feel? the legs? the head?

    If you’ve found this website then you’re trying to conquer the beast. Good luck!!

  • Gerald October 29, 2015, 11:29 am

    Great site, I have read all the above comments. I am Day 11 off the booze. It is the fatigue and feeling of emptiness and a general unwell feeling. I have started taking B1 and Vitamin C which even if they don’t help gives me some kind of mental satisfaction. I have been getting up very early and going to bed very early. If I wake up I use YouTube to divert my attention. Someone said giving up booze is like a divorce, unlike a divorce this partner will take you back anytime. So remember the bad times and move on.

  • Michael October 31, 2015, 12:58 pm

    Great article… I didn’t find alcohol till I turned 40 after a professional sporting career. In a few years I became addicted, dependent, gained weight, lost self esteem, had blackouts, foggy memory. Recently I just became so tired of the feeling and the weight gain I spoke to my Dr. A very understanding professional. Low dose xanax script for 3 weeks only plus magnesium, practitioner strength vitamins and a sensible diet.

    Am at day 10 and know I am on the right course. I keep reinforcing that there is zero benefit to drinking. The withdrawal is weird. Agitation, impatience, anxiety, sweating, red irritated eyes and periods of itching and feeling restless. The mornings are good – memory is better, eyes clearer yet after some caffeine my body and mind is all over the place so no coffee anymore. 3 litres of water a day plus walking and keeping a record of the days free of the ‘grip of the grape’.

    Took me 3 years to gain 12 kg yet with halving my calorie intake my cutting booze I hope the effect is positive. Sending strength to us all. Talk about a socially acceptable poison in pretty bottles with fancy labels. Kills more people than heroin a year.

    What is the benefit to me by drinking? None, nothing, nada!

  • Paul November 2, 2015, 12:41 pm

    I have been alcohol and tobacco free for slightly over 2 weeks now. 2 birds 1 stone. For the last 10 years I have had 6 to 8 beers everyday (much more on those “special” occasions) and smoked at least a pack a day. I nearly lost my wife and 2 boys (ages 6 and 3) to the demon alcohol. Not sure how or why I woke up but I went cold turkey. 40 years old…

    I guess I want to watch both my boys graduate at least. My withdrawal symptoms are: not able to sleep at all or sleep 14 hours and wake up tired. I live in a haze and daze and feel bummed almost all the time. My body aches from the neck down. You know what keeps me going? My 6 year old told me he was proud of his dad not drinking beer… God speaks through the mouths of children.

    To all those in our boat leaving Hell… Best of wishes and luck to you all. Keep your chin up and try to laugh (or at least smile once a day).

  • Eric November 3, 2015, 12:26 pm

    I’m 34… Went for few biz trips and drank beers & wines 3 days within a week.. Continued for about 4 months on and off. Rested 2 weeks and came home to feel terrible with a terrible headache, nausea, anxiety and mild fever, warm breath with some diarrhea. Went to see the doctor and thought it was flu. Had medication then went to another biz trip for 3 days. 2 days drinking wine 3-4 glasses and 2 pints of beers in 4 hours average.

    Most of the time the same average drinks. When online to check and found out it’s withdrawal symptoms. It’s my 2 week since my last drink. The tension headaches behind my eyes has stopped. It has last for more than 1 month since my 1 attack (around 4 weeks back) But the tremor of my hands are still a little shaky. Hope it will clear soon.

    Had some sodium and potassium and seaweed extract and orange citrus extract from the pharmacist who advice me to take it, as her husband had the same drinking symptom. Hope you guys can make it! All the best!

  • Jeane November 3, 2015, 10:42 pm

    I am so pleased to have come across this article and all the comments. I’ve been drinking for the last 28 years getting worse since my divorce, every morning thinking I had to stop, but not today, it was always wait till next Monday, no point in starting mid week, have you last brandy Sunday night, but which Sunday? Another week of the same mindless conversation.

    A few months ago a developed a very bad case of nettle rash, nothing I took helped, tried the usual changed washing powder etc, no help, then I realized it got worse once I started to drink! The penny dropped! So last SUNDAY WAS MY LAST Brandy’s was up to just under a pint a day. Day three drink free tomorrow, I live on my own and worry about the withdrawal symptoms, but I have to keep positive. I would like to thank you all for your posts they are a tremendous support.

  • Audrey November 5, 2015, 2:42 am

    Day 3 for me. Insomnia, sweating, and the most intense pressure in my head. I feel like it’s gonna blow my eyes out. Is this pressure normal?

  • Jeane November 7, 2015, 11:48 pm

    Day 6 of no drinking! So apart from a mild headache and some awful nightmares I have not yet experienced any other problems, except of course itching! I’m taking life a day at a time and resisting the monkey on my back that whispers in my ear “just a small one won’t hurt”. I’m drinking lots of water, bitter lemon basically anything to keep me hydrated and distract me. I think about you all that have posted on here and admire your courage on this road we have chosen,, your comments have helped me to focus and keep the monkey in his place, one day he will be gone.

  • Craig November 8, 2015, 4:38 pm

    I m 32 years old and been a pretty heavy beer drinking for at least the past 10 years. About a year ago I quit for 31 days due some some blood test results. I experienced some of the worst withdrawal symptoms such as waking in the middle of the night soaked in sweat to uncontrolled shaking of my hands. Took another test for insurance and all results showed great liver functions so I started on the beer again.

    Usually 10 to 12 beers a night and more if I am off work for the day. Just recently i just became tired of the booze and put it up for a week. I didn’t have any symptoms without alcohol and didn’t even have the urge to open a can. just wondering if it’s possible to still experience some of the symptoms even after a few weeks without? Could I just become a social drinker again without getting back to my routine of pounding countless beers?

  • Caroline November 9, 2015, 11:18 am

    Day nine cold turkey. I have been drinking too much for over 35 years. Got to the point where drinking bottle of wine each night plus a third of a bottle of rum. Out of control late night online shopping. Insomnia. Not remembering how I got to bed. Falling asleep in the middle of the evening. Weight gain. Depression. Became hopeless at work, and worst…arguments with family and gibberish late night emails.

    Now…not feeling too bad…muzzy head, very very tired…could sleep for ten hours easily. I miss the habit of drinking more than anything else so far, family are being great and buying me alcohol free wine…which I think is saving me at the moment. Can’t help it but am still missing the feeling. Determined to reach the month and hopefully forever. Even lost a couple of lb already.

  • Rajesh Kumar November 10, 2015, 9:05 am

    Today is my 20th day of completely abstinence from alcohol, after daily heavy drinking for 12 years and binge drinking for 4 months. Initially things become normal after 2 days, but in the second week I started feeling most of the withdrawal symptoms explained in this article, initially I was scared to death, but after reading this encouraging article, and you friend’s experience.

    Now I am feeling optimistic that I can also manage with withdrawal symptoms. The most motivating words of this article is “symptoms will subside over period of time and body will again start functioning normal” – this is really motivating. I made a promise to myself that I will give 90 days to myself. Good luck to all my friends!

  • John November 19, 2015, 2:06 am

    Curiously one of my symptoms is weakness in the legs, especially the back of the legs, but it doesn’t really interfere with walking. The problem is more apparent when I stand still trying to cook or something. I guess you could just call this weakness but it is not really fatigue. I still walk for over an hour every day. Hope it gradually improves.

  • frank November 20, 2015, 3:29 am

    Bless every one of you brothers and sisters! The devil is a liar. I’ll keep mine short, through faith and prayer you can overcome anything. It won’t be easy but I hope this steps help. Prayer. Steam rooms to detoxify all poison (1 or 2 times a week). Take magnesium pills. Drink a lot of water everyday. Drink relaxing teas at night. Omega-3. Drink non alcoholic drinks if you have to.

    Exercise! Sleep well. Yoga. EGT taping. This stuff helped out a lot. And trust me, it’s true, once your on your way to sobering up, you sleep better, you’re stronger, your vision is better. Little by little the effects will go away. I still get a little of anxiety. but almost done with it. And don’t give demons power, your not an alcoholic! We just got caught up with fun and poison when we were younger. Time to enjoy life! God bless!

  • Mark November 22, 2015, 9:06 pm

    I’ve been a heavy drinker for 25 years. I have 21 days sober but feel terrible. Can’t wait for this to let up!

  • Chris S. November 27, 2015, 2:23 am

    Hi all; I’m a 31 year old veteran that has been drinking since I was 17 years old. I got into heat drinking as of 21. I’ve been drinking hard at home our out in town all throughout my twenties, and into my early thirties here. I have been out of the military for 4 years and my drinking has increased over the last 4 years dramatically. I drank to forget and to have a good time, which I did.

    I have a little girl now, and more responsibility of someone’s life, and I just lost my job. Instead of burying into alcohol I am giving it up. As I said I am 4 days into this, point of this comment? I binged drinker so heavy last weekend from Thursday into Sunday, that I literately felt death creeping on me, hence me being 4 days into this.

    All the symptoms and steps hat you feel into withdrawal I am truly feeling. joint pains, extreme fatigue, extreme depression, agitation, lack of appetite, trembling, confusion…it’s all there. I am ready have a happy new me into a new life that I don’t know where it is headed, but I do know I want to be level headed and positive. Thanks for the article.

  • Chris November 27, 2015, 9:07 pm

    I did not consider myself an alcoholic or having a dependency. I am 40 and on average would drink 1 bottle of wine (usually red) every night, virtually without exception. If I picked up a good spirit then a bottle would go in three days. Some days would be 2 beers and a bottle of wine – so I was not an alcoholic, right!

    Recently I was getting some aches in my side so I thought I would give up during this week and only drink at weekends. I have given up for a year before and a couple of months here and there (over the 15 years). This time is different, the tiredness during the day is intolerable and yesterday (day 4) I got the first headache and nausea and when I got home, serious heart palpitations. So, my dilemma – I am obviously an alcoholic/have built up an alcohol dependency and this website has been phenomenal in identifying the systems of alcohol withdrawal.

    I do still want to drink, I like the flavors of the wine and my plan on Sunday was to give my body a break over the week and then enjoy a glass or three tonight and over the weekend and see how we go next week. I want to be a social and responsible drinker (not during the week and if then, only at a social event) but I am now quite scared of touching a drop again, having experienced withdrawal symptoms for the first time. So I have questions, and all the lovely people in this site seem to have overcome much worse than me.

    Question 1) If I am on the path (90 days to recover, according to this site is a good time frame) – can I still get ‘better’ (not be dependent) if I only drink at the weekends?

    Question 2) If you have managed to control your drinking to ‘social levels’ what tricks or tips can you give me?

    Anyhow, great site and has made me aware that I am dependent and understanding that is massively helpful to self help. Best wishes and good luck everyone on the journey. Chris

    • Sue January 9, 2016, 1:29 pm

      Hi Chris, I am on day 7 and my story sounds somewhat like yours. I have the same questions you do… As much as I hope social drinking is possible, I’m just not sure it is… One day at a time for me. Right now I am just staying home and not putting myself in drinking situations… Good luck!

    • Joan December 17, 2016, 2:26 pm

      Chris, you sound like me. I did for years. I am now 58 and just had a cancer scare, liver enzymes elevated forever, recovered from Hep C a few years ago, and it finally dawned on me that I really HAD to quit drinking. I thought I could taper off, but I’ve never been one for rules or limits. Only tried once or twice and was back at it within a day or two.

      I’m now in my 5th day and know that this has to be forever. If you are like me, there is NO social drinking possible. I love my wine, have for 40 years, but if I have one glass, I am tempted to have a second. After the second, my judgement is impaired and that bottle is gone and the next one opened.

      Perhaps some people can do it, but I’ve not heard of one and it seems like many of the brave souls who have posted here tried to do just that and relapsed. I wish you luck and know you will succeed as will all of us who have come to the realization that “A thousand drinks are not enough, and one is too many”. Thank you to all who have posted here.

      The article was good, but your comments are what has given me the courage to act on what I’ve intellectually known I MUST do for many years.

  • Kate November 29, 2015, 1:59 am

    Hey…forget the booze. It only increases risky behavior and contributes to physical problems. I have 27 (almost 28) years off alcohol. You don’t need it to have fun, travel, or be creative etc. Give your body and soul a break and learn to live sober. AA has been wonderful for me. It works. No, it isn’t easy but there is a lot of alcoholism in my family and I know where I will end up if I drink again.

    Never have seen an alcoholic who can drink just on weekends. Controlling alcohol is a never ending task…just quit it. Take your life back, get counseling and see a good doctor. Be straight with your doc and tell the truth. And never give up. Good luck.

  • babs December 1, 2015, 1:33 pm

    I have had drinks every night for only 3 months… problem is, it’s my friends homemade moonshine so it’s dang potent! How do you taper from such a strong source of alcohol?

  • Theresa December 1, 2015, 8:08 pm

    I am a 54 year old female 2 months sober from alcohol and 15 months sober from opiate and benzos. Horrible sweats, chills, burning and tingling in back and extremities, temperature deregulation, and feeling of depersonalization. Has anyone experienced these persistent symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol? I am 2 months clean and sober from alcohol.

  • Chris December 2, 2015, 4:15 am

    I just quit drinking 7 days ago after about 10 years of heavy alcohol use. I tried many times before but could never deal with the withdrawal symptoms on my own. I finally called my doctor and discussed a plan with him. He gave me a prescription for Lazorepam. This combined with a heavy daily dose of vitamins and minerals actually made it quite easy to deal with the withdrawals.

    I had actually started the vitamins and minerals a couple weeks before finally quitting. I’m not a doctor but I firmly believe that this really assisted in the process. After 4 days I was able to ween off the prescription. I try to maintain a steady diet and keep little snacks on me throughout the day. I’m not saying it will work for you but it can’t hurt to incorporate some of this into a daily routine.

    Oh, and the vitamin regimen I am on consists of the following: a daily multi-vitamin, vitamin c (up to 5 times daily), L-glutamine (3 times daily), zinc, magnesium, calcium, and a super complex B vitamin.

  • Amiok December 2, 2015, 11:25 pm

    Can someone please help is this all normal or am I going crazy!! I’ve drank really heavy and sometimes just heavy for about 20 years maybe four times a week and obviously more at parties!!! I kind of had a health scare luckily no real damage to liver so I just decided to quit. I had no idea on how to quit so just went cold turkey didn’t feel that bad at first, but it’s day 25 and I don’t feel normal. I’ve had insomnia and my appetite is still weird I haven’t had cravings I just don’t feel like my normal self am I losing it or is this normal!! Thanks to whoever is listing out there.

  • Sublime December 4, 2015, 1:41 am

    I drank a lot every day for over 20 yrs. 8+ beers every day. In the past 2 yrs added Bourbon and would have an occasional shot… Some nights a lot of shots. 5 days ago I woke up and decided I was going to go 30 days without. In 5 days I have had no cravings.

    I have a half case of beer in my fridge. I’ve been to 3 bars with friends and had absolutely zero cravings. The only struggle I am feeling right now is not being able to go to sleep until very late. I have always been very athletic and exercise regularly. I also eat fairly clean for the most part.

  • MT December 11, 2015, 4:01 am

    Been sober five days, and begin 2month outpatient program tomorrow. The first 2-3 days my withdrawal symptoms were pretty bad. I have been drinking anywhere from 2-4 bottles of wine a day or the equivalent for the last two years, but drinking heavily on other boozes for well over a decade daily… Plenty of fluids (3L of water plus tea, soups etc.), and eating good food, as well as vitamins has helped tremendously.

    Today I feel night and day. I know it is just the beginning but it sure is encouraging. At this moment I cannot imagine going back. I have found tea with cayenne, turmeric and lemon has helped with cravings A LOT. A good support system, and distractions are clutch. I can’t wait for tomorrow and the next day and the next etc. Sleeping still sucks, but I try not to fight it. Being tired the next day beats the hell out of shaking, sweating, nausea, etc.

  • MM December 12, 2015, 1:29 pm

    Your situation resonates with me greatly. I too have been drinking quite heavily and regularly since I was a teen and am almost 40 now. When I was just out of college I fell into a depression but did not seek treatment. A few years later, it happened again and I reached out. Started AD’s but, like many do, stopped once I felt better.

    I played this game drinking the whole time, until I got married 13 years ago and decided my wife deserved the best I could give her so I stayed on them. I even stopped drinking for a year. All was good. Naturally, I started dabbling with the booze again. Fast forward 11 years. Still married, work is good, making money, drinking two to three nights a week but in excess (8-12 beers). I decided to try to go off my meds and relapsed hard. Very scary, stopped drinking for several months until I got well, then you guessed it, started up again.

    So here I am now almost three years later. Honestly, my drinking has ramped up but I never really thought about it. A week ago today I woke up after a hard night out extremely foggy and anxious. Those old feelings were coming back and I am shit scared. I have not fallen into a depressive episode so long as I’ve been faithful with my AD’s. So this leaves me wondering, did the meds stop working or did the booze finally catch up to me? Either way, I am off it for one week now.

    I am suffering low mood, anxiety, fogginess and poor sleep. It’s hard to tell if this is all alcohol withdrawal related or if my funky brain is acting up again. I really want to stay away from alcohol this time for good. My health has deteriorated quite a.bit these last few years and I have my want to find myself with chronic illness. Anyway, thanks for posting and listening. Any advice or.suggestions are greatly appreciated.

  • Heather December 13, 2015, 2:33 am

    I need someone’s reassurance that this eventually goes away. I believe I’m on day 3 and I’m scared it’s never going to go away and I’m worried I’ve gone crazy from drinking. I’ve always gone out drinking but somewhere along the way I started drinking by myself and I knew it was getting out of hand. This week I definitely messed up again and now I’m shaking, I can’t see correctly and my heart is pounding. I’m unsure if I should try tapering off or stopping, anyone have an opinion on that?

    • Sherry December 22, 2015, 1:58 am

      I’m new here and yes I have the same problems… I’ll write more just wasn’t sure if anyone might see this.

  • Bossy December 14, 2015, 6:32 pm

    Hi everyone out there. This article has really helped me a great deal during my sober period…that I was almost reading it everyday. Unlike many write-ups on the internet that are quite misleading…writing that alcohol withdrawal symptoms would have subsided within 2 weeks of abstinence or thereabout…that is not true and very misleading. I will like to share my experience as well, who knows!

    It might help someone going through alcohol withdrawal symptoms. I drank an average of 5 glasses of beer everyday for about 5 years plus. If I had the slightest idea what I was doing to my body, may be I would have stopped a long time ago. I finally decided to stop 5 months ago. It was really awful!! I thought I wanted to die… I was feeling unreal, I was sick internally and outwardly because I looked pale, I had panic attacks, throat spams, burning sensations from my chest to my back at times radiating to my stomach and butt, muscle pain, insomnia, dizziness, headaches, I got both cold and hot flashes in my legs and feet, I had distorted view, heart palpitations and high blood pressure.

    I was anaemic….just name it! Yes, I remember serious fatigue…I hallucinated briefly. The symptoms at times was like one was about to have a heart attack! When I was going through this period, I prayed for forgiveness from God many times for abusing my body with alcohol up to this level, He forgave me and removed my guilt and gave me hope of recovering well. I depended on him to make me go through the period safely and give me a good health

    So many articles on the internet too helped me recover like this particular one. I took a lot of vitamins, B1, B2, B12, B6, folic acid, B3 in large doses and I also infuse my body with raw vegetables and fruits especially raw and fresh juices such as; onion juice, ginger, garlic, carrot, beet root and top, cucumber, turmeric, vegetable salad. I also took plenty of water and coconut water to keep me hydrated. This is necessary to help your body recover quickly and for any possible damage to the organs.

    I also used some medications from the doctor for the heart palpitations and high blood pressure. Because of the way I felt during the sober period, although, the cravings for alcohol came at times, I just discarded the thought! never thought twice whether to have any drink… I have vowed NEVER to drink anymore. God will continue to help me. However, try to take one day at a time during this period that can be so disturbing and scary.

    You really need the support of people during the sober period to go through it successfully. Also, give your body some rest it requires at this time. I am on the fourth month, the symptoms have quite subsided, but I still get some of it at times but not as strong as before. Remember, the withdrawal symptoms come in roller clusters. Don’t expect your body to adjust within a few days after depressing it with alcohol for years. So don’t be discouraged as you go through the sober period. If your case is serous, please do not hesitate to see a doctor.

    Last advice, after going through this, DO NOT DRINK ALCOHOL, IT KILLS FASTER THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE. God bless you all.

    • Scott July 7, 2016, 7:49 pm

      Bossy, My situation mirrors yours almost exactly (6 drinks a night for 5 years). Your post resonated with me and will help me to continue to move forward. I am at 3 months without a drink and really had no symptoms other than restless leg syndrome until 2 days ago when the anxiety, depression, weakness, and chills came back with a vengeance.

      It was really quite disturbing to feel that bad almost overnight after feeling pretty good for a couple months. I have visited this sight before and came back again to confirm that withdrawal symptoms take much longer to go away than so called experts will tell you. I too have prayed for forgiveness for damaging my body and mind the way I did and will continue to do so along with exercise which, when not overdone, seems to significantly help.

  • Mark December 19, 2015, 12:33 am

    Heather, It’ll get better just give it some time. I know it’s tough, I will be at 6 months this Tuesday but for me the symptoms are about 50% as what they used to be. I really did over do it for several years though. Hang in there and you will get better. Remember everyone’s different so seek medical help if you need it. 3 weeks was the starting point for me feeling gradually better.

  • Deb December 20, 2015, 1:32 am

    After many years of daily drinking (a bottle or more of wine, or several strong vodka drinks) I joined AA and have been sober for 6 weeks. Fatigue has been my worst problem. At first I thought it was related to the poor quality of my sleep, but I’m sleeping better but still exhausted! It helps to know that this is a common withdrawal symptom. I’m also spacey. Hopefully this will pass in time. So tired!

  • Sam December 25, 2015, 6:03 am

    I’m 29 and in the military. I’m still single with no kids. The amount of free time I have and the high stress of work are easy reasons for me to drink. I am on my first day of being sober as I write this. All the symptoms in the above article are true. Though I have not had any seizures, I’ve had/have everything else. It really sucks. Thing is I don’t even want another drink because I feel so sh*tty.

    But I know as soon as I feel better the craving will return. I don’t want to do this anymore. I am frightened if I continue it will affect my job. Thank you everyone for sharing. I can’t wait until I get past the days / weeks part.

  • Julie December 28, 2015, 2:49 am

    Just finishing day 2. So glad I found this article! I tried tapering off and that would work OK, but only for a few days. There’s only hard liquor in the house and I can’t drink it. If there was beer here, I would probably drink. Problem don’t solved, just don’t buy it! I already drink tons of water and exercise daily, but I know each day is different. Just plan on taking one day at a time! Best wishes to all of you!

  • Simon January 5, 2016, 8:58 am

    Reading some of these comments – gives me hope. At 47, I’ve been drinking for at least the last 15 years. What started off as a bottle of wine between us on weekend nights, became a bottle each, then extended out to every night. I’ve supplemented that with Whisky, and really anything else that’s in the house. I’ve always found an excuse to drink – have a good day at work – take a drink to celebrate, rubbish day at work – and a drink to cheer us up.

    I’m now overweight, have little energy, and couldn’t do much at the weekends as there was the fear that any plans may delay, or prevent the start of my drinking. From bottles of wine, to boxes, so that I could hide the amount I’m consuming – of course, mainly from myself. I experience bad sleep – I usually wake at about 4 am, my heart beating out of my chest, sweat covering my body, and a banging headache.

    In the day, the pain in my right side I try to ignore – but suspect it’s connected to my liver complaining about the constant abuse. So – I’ve now been sober for 5 days… I’m irritable, moody, and have a rage in me that keeps bursting out at anyone. I really hope that I can make it through this time and stay dry, and like I said – reading these comments really gives me hope.

  • Victoria January 6, 2016, 1:38 am

    I have been drinking wine for many years. For the past year I have been drinking a bottle, sometimes more per day. I’m done. I want my life back. Today is my second day. Last night I didn’t sleep well and had nightmares. I just came across this site and read about the fact that you should taper of first before going cold turkey so that is what I will do. I really want to do this but the correct way. Has anyone started cold turkey and then decide to taper off instead? How did that work for you? I’m in my sixties so I need to be pretty careful…

  • Jerome January 6, 2016, 9:44 am

    Last Drink Jan 1st/2nd. Been sweating a lot every night, waking up every other hour. Jan 5th and 6th now and I am having these crazy dreams. For instance I was waiting for my friend (who I drink with a lot) and couldn’t find him, all of a sudden I’m being chased by a lunatic lady with a knife who chased me and I couldn’t find my friend. I never found him and was eventually brutally stabbed then…

    Awoke covered in sweat just thinking how vivid it was. I’m not sure if the dream is relevant but I don’t go more than 2 days without a decent buzz, and haven’t had dreams like this since a long time ago so I figured it must be related. I have been drinking about 3/4 of a 750ml min to 3/4 of a handle every Fri, Sat, and Sunday afternoon. Then weekdays immediately after work at 5 pm until midnight. Forcing myself to work hungover everyday and repeat for 8 years.

    I have gone 4 days 2 weeks ago and had bad sleeps, but usually I don’t pass 2-3 days without drinking before. It seems silly, but I’m proud to be at 5 days. I sure hope the sweating and nightmares don’t continue for much longer. The dreams are vivid and very detailed, and the sweats are not fun. I am moody and snappy with everything and everyone and I’m usually carefree with everyone.

    I know I am being a jerk almost right after ending the conversation, sometimes halfway through. I wish I had a sleep aid or a benzo as suggested but I don’t have a doctor so I really don’t know what to do. as it is now 4:34 in the morning and I can no longer sleep at night and my days feel like a disaster. I really want to fight this.

    • Adam January 14, 2016, 2:05 am

      You may want to try Valerian capsules, or capsules that have that and passiflora and or other sleep inducing herbs. Lavender capsules might also help. Camomile tea might also help.

  • Rebecca January 6, 2016, 3:10 pm

    I used to suffer from extreme eczema when I was young, and then it came back in my Uni days when we all ran amuck: SEX AND DRUGS AND ROCK’N ROLL. The itchy agony of eczema all over my body was horrendous. The reason I mentioned the eczema horror, is because the itchiness I am experiencing now much worse than eczema itch, and I didn’t think that I would opt for bad pain rather than this stabbing twitching itchiness.

    I am a chronic alcoholic, I would start drinking in the morning before I could do little things like doing some washing or having a shower. Mostly I did neither. I was absolutely debilitated. Most of my friends drink, and when they found out I had liver disease they were shocked. Because, you see, after about ten standard drinks I was ready to finally walk out my front door. no one knew that I’d already imbibed approx. ten drinks already.

    And it’s like, 10am. Mind you some of my friends knew I was on a steep decline. Takes one to know one and ya can’t bullsh*t a bullsh*tter. So I’d have a couple at the pub – I don’t slur my speech and I’m good on my feet. I’ve been off alcohol now for two weeks but I get worse every day. In the past after I’ve detoxed for a few days, I bounce back and re-gain my appetite and get things done.

    BUT, the sh*t has hit the fan. Two weeks ago my stomach swelled up over the space of 48 hours, and I knew I was stuffed. I have no cravings now. My liver test results were off the charts. A CT scan showed that my liver was grossly enlarged and I was suffering from ascites, and scar tissue. My Doctor told me point-blank that if I didn’t stop drinking IMMEDIATELY, I may not make it to new year.

    It scared the shit out of me. I have two beautiful daughters and I don’t want to die. Alcohol is an absolutely evil poison, especially for those of us that may have a particular gene or constitution that predisposes us to alcohol addiction. Many variables I guess. It’s late but I’m not going to try and sleep because of these itchy (I need a word better than ‘itchy’). It is torture.

    • Tammy January 23, 2016, 2:51 pm

      Hey! I am dealing with the itchy as well. I find it helpful to take a hot bath before I go to bed and wear clothes that are loose and not with itchy material. I hope this helps. Might want to try some anti-itch creams as well and massage your legs and arms to get the blood flowing. I am sure exercise would help get that blood flowing as well. Good luck! Keep it up!

  • Brittany January 6, 2016, 11:56 pm

    Thanks for that article. I started drinking when I was around 21 years old. Was fun at first, just started out as plain old partying. I wasn’t unhappy either. I was with a big who I was deeply in love with and boy did he take good care of me. He bought me all my clothes, food, including my booze for a good while. He had no idea what he was in for.

    I drank for those two years straight until he saw dishes piled up to the ceiling after coming home from working on probably 10 cars all greasy. Haha. He couldn’t even wash his hands off! Needless to say he had enough and broke up with me. I had to go through our apartment and find all the jack Daniels 5th bottles I had been hiding around the house.

    I continued to drink on for four more years. The codependency and “love” I had for this man was too strong. I numbed myself. I drank either a half pint or a pint of jack Daniels a night just to get through my days. Make a long story short, I have a new man now that motivated and helped me to stop drinking. I was 138 pounds the last time I weighed myself drinking. I now weigh 104 pounds. I know I am malnourished, most definitely.

    I have been sober now for 2 years and 8 months and I don’t know how to say I feel about it. My mind is not happy. I deal with severe depression, and anxiety/panic attacks. Feeling of doom. Not to mention I had to come back to live at my fathers who is a horrible alcoholic and doesn’t support or help my recovery in any way. He is very sick himself but I have no where else to go.

    My boyfriend and I are stuck until we can financially get out of here. I have never been a “suicidal” person, so thinking about it for the firsts time scared the sh*t out of me. This is a definite process. I would like to go to aa meetings, but I don’t have much support around that understands how serious this disease is. Im hoping things get much better soon.

    • Jill March 14, 2016, 9:20 pm

      Hi! It’s awful when there’s a lot of alcoholism in the family and they are not supportive of us stopping. I have that. I think it makes them feel threatened. I hope you manage to find an AA meeting and go. I haven’t gone to any (although did go to Al-Anon years ago when my Dad was alive; he died 7 years ago of liver failure) but I think they can be helpful and provide support. I am on Day 3 and doing well – very very tired but otherwise I’d say my dominant emotion is relief! Wishing us all well!

  • Zoe January 10, 2016, 5:30 pm

    Hi, thank you so much for posting this it has helped me a lot. However I am still very worried about my withdrawal symptoms. I’m 39 years old and have abused alcohol on and off for the past 19 years. Over the past 7 years I have drank between 1-1.5 bottles of wine every night. At the time I didn’t think I had a problem, it literally became a habit to open a bottle after I got home from work to help me wind down after a stressful day.

    I think underneath it all I knew I had a problem but couldn’t quite face it. I decided to stop drinking 15 days ago but feel like absolute crap! My short term memory is dreadful which is quite frankly scaring me as I can’t remember half the things I need to do anymore. My job is quite stressful and I need to be on the ball but I’m definitely under performing.

    Insomnia is ridiculous then when I do sleep I’m having awful nightmares, even though I’m tired most of the time. I’m dizzy and generally feel spaced out 75% of the time, my vision is also mildly like double vision @ times. I’m irritable and cry almost every day for the smallest of things. I’m snappy with my husband who doesn’t understand I’m withdrawing from alcohol as I managed to convince him that of course it’s ‘normal’ to drink a bottle + of wine every night…

    Of course I don’t have a problem darling! I feel anxious but can’t understand why as I’m usually pretty confident which is slowly slipping away from me. The nausea comes and goes but my appetite has remained the same. It’s the confusion, short term memory issues, feeling spaced out and dizzy parts that I’m worried about the most. Keep thinking I may have a brain tumor or early onset dementia.

    Does anyone else have the symptoms? Does anyone know how much longer they will last? Really need some advice before I lose my job and husband. I have been to my GP who diagnosed me with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo which I’m pretty sure I don’t have. Out of my mind with worry

    • Kaka January 12, 2016, 5:24 am

      They told me I had BPPV, too, about a month ago when the ‘dizzies’ began. I had no idea I was having a symptom of alcohol withdrawal. It’s been 17 days without a drop for me, and though the symptoms are awful, I do see a light at the end of the tunnel… How long they last is different for everyone, there’s no cookie-cutter detox for all…

      The itching, rash and headaches/brain fog have been the worst for me… Also, not sleeping… Just keep forging forward… NOT drinking, though uncomfortable, will ultimately be much better than going back to being a slave to the alcohol. Good luck!

    • Laurie February 3, 2016, 3:03 am

      Zoe, I completely understand what you are saying…I too have drank too long and been in denial…all my friends drink too…lots of wine, dinner parties and cocktails at home every night. I thought I would quit drinking in an attempt to lose some weight and started experiencing high anxiety, some weird vision issues (I went and got my eyes checked!) and fatigue the first week.

      I found this site while searching for connections for anxiety and lactate/lactic acid build up thinking that my recent foray into swimming was somehow causing my panic/anxiety issues. Wow… had no clue that what I thought was a tolerable level of drinking (I didn’t drink to get drunk) could have such withdrawal symptoms… I actually thought I could quit drinking for a few months to lose weight and then occasionally enjoy a glass of wine or cocktails again in moderation.

      The thought of never drinking again does give me some anxiety but so does getting old, dying or change of any kind. I too have been experiencing the case of the stupids… spacing out… needing people to repeat things to me and I’m at the beginning of week 4. I guess I need to rethink drinking again. I’m getting older and clearly my body isn’t going to tolerate that level of drinking forever anyway.

      On a good note I’ve lost weight and am on track to reach my goal and I’m happy I found this site because it sure opened my eyes up. I really had no clue I was in withdrawal.

    • James January 10, 2017, 10:09 pm

      I’d be interested to know how you got on. I’m suffering similar symptoms at the moment. Constant dizziness, swimming vision, lack of concentration and my coordination feels slightly off. Very disconcerting, but I’m sure it will pass in time. Six days in I had my first (half) decent night sleep last night so hoping I’m over the worst.

  • Adam January 14, 2016, 2:16 am

    Can’t stress enough that nutrition and supplementation can be a big help. Try green tea or capsules. Try GABA supplements, L- Theanine, etc. Have helped me tremendously. It is important to know the biochemical reasons behind withdrawal symptoms and try and address them with natural substances first. All of the forgoing depends on, and is subject to what your MD, your nutritionist, or your naturopath advises. Don’t be a passive victim – attack past destructive behaviors with present and future health supporting behaviors. Autosuggestion can also help. Try a “multimedia” approach. Good luck to all!

  • Jay January 17, 2016, 5:44 am

    Great thoughts and comments. Some advice from a life-long alcoholic: tapering doesn’t work, it just makes your body crave alcohol. If you want to quit, go see your doctor and be painfully honest about your addiction. He/she can put you on a five day script of benzos that will taper you off. You have to get the alcohol out of your body.

    Another great option is Gabapentin. It takes the edge off your withdrawal symptoms, including seizures. It is also not addictive. If any of you have doctors that have you on benzos long-term, they don’t know what they’re doing. Benzo addiction/withdrawal is worse than alcohol, especially if you’re doing the two together. Good luck!

  • Meechell January 17, 2016, 8:28 pm

    I have quit drinking a few times and it’s never pleasant to say the least. I suppose I should start by saying I am a highly functioning serious alcoholic. The equivalent of twenty beers was a very normal day; not a heavy one. Heavy days were thirty-forty+. My friends would always ask if I even got drunk (I have a very calm demeanor). I would always start the day with four-five beers before I did anything.

    I would take a mixed drink with me to run errands afterwards, I would take a strong vodka Gatorade with me to work, hit the bar afterwards, and go back to my place with friends to really get going afterwards. It was all bad and very taxing on my body, but I kept it going for about ten years; with three breaks during that time period.

    The only time I have stopped is when responsibilities have faltered and I have done so cold turkey each time. So, there’s my addiction level. Now, for my advice for anyone who is about to attempt to quit: First off, if you aren’t ready to quit than don’t bother. No amount of social support, time off, rehab clinics, medication, spirituality, plan, regret, etc. will work if you are not ready.

    If you really are heavily thinking about quitting and you’re serious, get prepared. Read every website on withdrawal, such as this one, that you can get your hands on. Memorize and understand every single withdrawal symptom so you can be mentally ready when they hit so you don’t freak out; believe me it only makes it worse. It’s hard not to panic when your heart is beating out of your chest and seconds feel like hours, but it always subsides.

    One thing that always helped me calm down was thinking about exactly why I was doing it and knowing 100% that it would go away. Do not advertise that you are quitting. Don’t put that garbage up on social media, you’re only inviting attention that you won’t want during the process. If you feel the need to tell anyone, pick one or two people and leave it at that. Most people only have two days off, some only one.

    My process works with two days off. I go to work the first day because that is when symptoms are the most mild. Once I’m off I go home, put my phone on silent, surround myself with water and just lie down. Let the fatigue grab you and let your body rest. Drink small amounts every time you’re thirsty because you will be incredibly thirsty all the time.

    It won’t even feel like you’ve drank anything but that’s normal in my case. You will have crazy dreams, headaches, and you’ll constantly wake up covered in sweat. Once again, it’s all normal. Exercise self talk during these periods. Reaffirm to yourself that this is how this process works, you aren’t dying, and remember why you’re doing it again.

    If you’re getting depressed, get up and move around a bit. Fatigue will hit you so fast you’ll be able to lie back down and pass out quickly. Remember that while you’re held up in your cave, SHOWER! Showers will never, ever feel so good and you should never ignore cleanliness for any reason; ever. One thing I always do when I start to get anxious is clean. It’s not a strenuous activity, you are making a positive improvement to your living space, and you can go to the extremes with it if you’d like.

    Just remember not to start anything too major because if you stop halfway through, there is a big chance you could become demoralized looking at it later and that is something you don’t need. I have said many a times to myself, “I feel horrible, but at least I have this” while looking at my clean apartment. It’s a way of controlling a situation that you feel powerless in. Don’t be afraid of the confusion or the crazy vivid dreams that do not make sense.

    None of your dreams will make any sense for a while. This is not the term for it, but I call it ‘Memory reorganization’. I like to believe that you have spent so many nights drinking yourself to sleep that you have not processed things correctly, now memories spanning months-to-years are coming back crashing together now that they are uninhibited by alcohol and you’re finally consistently entering R.E.M. That’s my two cents at least.

    They get better after about a week. Just try to shrug them off when you wake up and cope with the headache that is already there. This might sound strange, but monitor your urine. I remember the first time I went on the wagon I had drank well over a gallon of water and I managed to make about a cup of very dark urine. I thought, “Damn, how dehydrated am I?! This is what I’ve done to myself?!”

    It gave me extra motivation to keep going. Once your urine is consistently normal you should notice that your headaches go away. The biggest sign to me that things were back to normal is when I could wake up after sleeping for at least six hours and my urine wasn’t dark at all. Also you’ll notice the color coming back to your face. Lastly, please know the difference between tremors and delirium tremors.

    Everyone gets tremors but very, very few people get delirium tremors. I have had DT’s and I should have called someone when I started to hallucinate but I did not. I survived but that was such a very, very foolish decision. If you have them, do not panic but call someone immediately. My stubbornness could have left me seriously hurt. I apologize if this seems unorganized because it’s more of a on the fly rant and not a well structured post.

    Thank you to anyone reading this and I hope that any of this helps just one person. Stay strong and remember that everything passes. Once it does, you will have so much more energy, focus, and you will have more confidence in yourself after enduring such a trial.

    • Rose January 21, 2016, 12:40 pm

      Meechell. Awesome advice… thanks.

      • Tammy January 23, 2016, 2:59 pm

        I agree with you on sleeping. When sleeping your body should go through several stages of sleep. When you drink yourself to sleep, you only go through one stage.

    • Ron October 19, 2016, 12:43 pm

      Merch, thank you. Great advice and delivery, I feel galvanized after reading your post. I’m 5 days in, been watching myself, itching/sleeplessness all of that. Worried about the urine, good to know it improves. Biggest thing is been aware of my drinking self that tries to trick me into going and getting a bottle of vodka! Am on to that bastard now and am prepared for the tricks. See you and thanks.

  • Natalie January 19, 2016, 5:18 pm

    I have been a heavy drinker for 10 years off and on… heavy consistently for two years. I stopped once for a week 6 months ago and didn’t have bad withdrawal symptoms… then started again. I began tapering 3 days ago and the tapering feels like it is what makes me feel sick… I had one day of no alcohol (2 days ago) and felt like I had a bad case of the flu.

    I then started reading this chain and drank 3 shooters yesterday and 2 shooters today…no flu, but today I feel nauseated from the 2 shooters. Should I just go cold turkey starting tomorrow, or taper to 1 shooter? I am lightheaded and have insomnia, but no joint aches or flu-skin feelings. Thanks – and best wishes to all of us working on this!

  • Bill January 19, 2016, 11:26 pm

    It’s been three weeks since my last drink (New Years Eve). I just woke up on the first and said NO MORE. There was no reason other then I was drinking a pint of rum everyday for 30 years and I didn’t want to anymore! As far as all of the problems I expected to have, all that I am suffering from is feeling tired a lot of the time!

    Hopefully as time progresses I will be able to get more sleep and wake to feel refreshed instead of like a book was just dropped on my head! I am retired so I have a lot of time on my hands, trying to exercise a little more and working in the yard, gardening or cooking more! I am waiting for the first 30 days and then I am going to jump for joy! Right now I am asking God for daily help and so far I have had NO cravings or any interest in drinking!

    I was involved with AA many many years ago and did NOT like it! I just didn’t fit in at THAT time. I am thinking of giving it another try. I was wondering if anyone out there that reads this has any of the same things happen to them that has happened to me! I know I am going to continue on this sober journey! I want this for me! I would love to live to a hundred (59) now! Wishing all of you sober good times!

  • Rose January 21, 2016, 12:15 pm

    Hi there. Thanks for the info and to the other readers who have commented. Day 8 for me after a good 14yrs of binge drinking (red wine) two and a half bottles a session. I would have drank everyday but for the fact I worked nights where I never drank on those nights but at my worst I would drink as soon as I got home in the morning if I wasn’t working that night… sleep it off then drink that night.

    Then finally I woke up last week feeling so seedy and having many things I had to do that day plus work that night and I thought “thats it… I’ve finally had enough.” I have mostly suffered sweats, fatigue, nausea, headaches and loss of appetite. What helped me was to try and figure out when and why I started (drinking) and I did by writing down my life’s events thus far.

    Common sense tells me I need to apologize to certain people which I have done at this point on paper (in person eventually) including apologizing to myself for the self-abuse. I did that yesterday saving grace was the power went out for hours so I grabbed pen and paper and wrote then cried for along time… something I never do. Today I feel lighter and brighter and when four o’clock this afternoon (my own personal time to start drinking) came around I was happily meditating.

    (Thank goodness I had been practicing that for a couple of months already). If you don’t know how, use YouTube. They have a range of meditations including guided ones. Well it’s one day at a time (moreover hour by hour), but I know why I started drinking and I’ve forgiven myself for that so now I can stop numbing it out. Actually that’s incorrect. The numbing out became secondary to the craving for the alcohol itself.

    I wish all the readers who have posted here every success in their new journey of sobriety… Thank you for sharing.

  • Cory January 22, 2016, 7:10 am

    I’m at the point where I am scared to sober up, my symptoms are so bad that I feel my hangover is going to kill me… I sleep maybe 3 hours in the night now and constantly have to wake up and have a few drinks to feel better. I need help and I don’t know where to start :(.

    • michele February 3, 2016, 2:19 pm

      I drink gatorade in the middle of the night. If your body is dehydrated, the feeling of that will cause you to wake up. I am only 5 days sober, I just woke up one day and saw myself in the mirror. I am almost 42, the wrinkles around my eyes, the bags. By the 3rd day of no drinking the sadness, the crying, the depression of all the damage I’ve done to others, why I’ve never been able to hold on to a relationship, blaming others for my own faults.

      Last night the feeling of anger, today the crying again. But, I do know this, I don’t want to drink. I live with an alcoholic who is still continuing to drink, which makes things worse. Watching them stay up all night and realizing we have nothing in common except alcohol. Whatever your lifestyle is at the moment, must change. Only you have to want that change. Best of luck.

    • Anonymous September 3, 2016, 5:20 am

      I’ve been there. Trust me, a medical detox can and will help you. It’s really miserable and extremely dangerous to quit on your own; it can be fatal. Please reach out to an alcohol detox facility in your area. Best wishes to you!

  • Yme January 22, 2016, 8:50 pm

    I’ve been drinking daily for the last four months. I started drinking heavily after a traumatic experience that has left me with anxiety and depression. I’m in my mid 30’s and female. I started off drinking a bottle of wine every night, more on weekends. I get anxiety prior to any social outing (including work) so I usually slam a Heineken or chug a glass of wine just to get ready as the traumatic event affected the way I look.

    I always feel like crap as soon as the buzz wears off and crave more to keep the buzz going. I sit in my car during my lunch break and drink some more.
    My tolerance has increased so much I started buying a box of wine every other day. I recently saw a photo of myself and my face is huge now due to the weight gain and alcohol consumption. I decided yesterday I don’t want to do this anymore.

    I was going to quit cold turkey until I saw this article. I started tapering yesterday, I only had 2 large glasses of wine before bed vs 10. I will do the same tonight. Only symptom so far is a headache and temperature fluctuations. Yesterday I was ice cold, today I’m cold but my face is all hot and red. Alcohol should be illegal.

    • Jordan June 7, 2016, 7:36 pm

      33 year old male: I’ve been drinking heavy everyday for the past 6 years at least from what I can actually remember… I’ve decided to taper after a few days of doing cold turkey…worst feeling I have ever had puking all morning, shakes so bad ANXIETY THROUGH THE ROOF! Today I went to the Dr and got calazapone to help for the first 30 days and started a med called Pristiq. I must say right now I’m feeling way better and I see a light at the end of the tunnel… it won’t be easy but it’s do-able.

  • Tammy January 23, 2016, 2:47 pm

    I have been drinking heavily since January 2008. My husband and I upped our alcohol consumption from a 12 pack of Bud Light to 24 pack and on a good night about 36 beers. Just recently (21 days ago) he decided to quit. I have been wanting to but I needed his support as well. I have experienced a lower heart rate.

    Mind you I quit smoking cigarettes and I am vaping at the time but plan to quit this as well. My doctor wants to see if I can wean myself off blood pressure medicine due to the drop. The other is my skin is tight, tingling and itchy. It is rather aggravating. I hope this will eventually stop as I am prone to hives.

    I feel much better about myself. Lifestyle change has been the biggest issue and I tire faster but sleep very well. Overall, I am happy about our decision. I wonder all the time how I managed to get myself to this point. Something I said I would never do with two alcoholic parents.

  • Tess January 26, 2016, 3:05 am

    I am on day 13. I started drinking daily approx 6years ago. I never really got drunk an disorderly because mostly I was using it to cope and a couple to a few glasses of wine made me sleepy and gave me permission to duck out and disappear. In those 6 years I had a lot I wanted to run from – terrible self-esteem, a difficult marriage, the death of a beloved sibling and my own breast cancer.

    The drinking was placated by everyone including health care providers… I know compared to some of these stories that no one is thinking 3 glasses of wine s a big deal. But it was everyday – every day. If I missed a day I made up for it the next day. Always the same amount of bottles in the recycling – the recycling I tried to hide. I have been experiencing a low grade, but constant headaches – it is very worrying to me – not because the pain is overwhelming…

    From reading this I think maybe it is a symptom of withdrawal and then maybe it is my cancer back- and this makes me want to hide again and numb the pain- I am trying to be brave and not go there. I read here about the itchiness to and I have been so itchy – head and neck mostly, but it wasn’t something I would have thought could be a symptom.

    I think because no one, including me, thought that my drinking is was a problem – or at least not much of one – then probably it wouldn’t be much of a problem to stop. I am shocked. I am struggling.

  • Susan January 26, 2016, 2:48 pm

    I am in only my 2nd day of being sober and am so scared of relapsing. I have tried quitting several times but every day stressors of being a single mom and a care taker for my elderly mom has made it so difficult. I too have stopped for 2 to 3 weeks at at time but go right back to drinking since I feel like it is the only thing to help me forget about my problems, but they are there the next morning along with a terrible hangover.

    I actually just started yoga and working out at home and I am hoping to get the courage to start AA. Wish me luck everyone and thanks for all the encouraging comments and I pray we all can one day get sober for good!!

  • Tui P Cook January 27, 2016, 1:29 pm

    I have been a occasional to heavy drinker my whole teenage (occasional) to (heavy) adult life with a spike to 12 heavy beers a night (4.9 percent) so 16 standard drinks a night for the past 10 to 12 years. I am a 34 year old female that weighs 54 kilos and is 5’4″ tall. My father was an alcoholic, consuming a few bottles of wine a night and I grew up watching that.

    I recently had an epiphany and tried to quit taper dramatically only to have a full blown seizure. I am not epileptic and had no knowledge of this symptom of long term alcoholic abuse when going cold turkey. Luckily my best mate was present and although drunk, knew what to do and cleared the area for me, checking airways etc. After reading up on google (my constant companion these days, thanks anxiety…).

    I realized a taper would work much better for me. I was trying to taper… and was doing well and had gotten from 12 to 8 in two weeks. However yesterday was Australia day here and I drank way too much resulting in me getting so drunk that I lost my my visa card, my sh*t and my best mate all in on swoop. When I discovered that my wallet was missing, I literally threw a toddler tantrum on the street, inclusive of smacking my head on the pavement and screaming.

    My best mate walked off, he is still not talking to me. I now have more than just a hangover to deal with. Anyway I have been getting liver and kidney pains, anxiety, sleeplessness and then weird dreams, sweats and shivers, horrible depression and suicidal thoughts, feelings of hopelessness and general unease, pains and tightness in the chest, heart palpitations, confusion, panic attacks, crying fits, fatigue, a stuffy nose, twinges of pain in the gut and groin area, FIA attitude, urges to do horrible things, but what is most disconcerting is a disconnect from everyone else…

    I’m walking around and I don’t feel human anymore. I’m sitting here tonight with only 3 beers under me. It really feels like poison now and it has for days..I don’t really want to drink on a daily basis anymore but Im so scared about a seizure. I’ve have been really careful about my alcohol reduction over the past two weeks, reducing by a 3 beers, but Australia Day sorta messed it up for me.

    I thought I could hack it but I got way carried away. I call environment and peer pressure. It’s hard on a holiday that encourages drinking. I WAS being productive and making jam that morning. I made a beautiful apple and blackcurrant jam. I should of stayed home but I ended up on a roll with what I was justifying as “before beers” and was telling myself that I was not going to drink heaps out.

    That turned out to be bullsh*t, didn’t it? Anyway, this article is BRILLIANT. The comments are BRILLIANT. I have gotten a lot of great advice and am going to be bookmaking this for future reference. Any advice anyone could give me regarding my recovery would be greatly appreciated, but I am just blown away that I found a comment thread that might actually help me. Thank you!

  • Jason January 29, 2016, 6:56 pm

    I have been drinking on average a six pack a day for about 3-4 years. I cut back and pretty much stopped drinking everyday for about 2 weeks now. I am suffering from nausea and mild headaches. It is uncomfortable sometimes.

  • john January 30, 2016, 3:18 am

    I’m itching still… 90 days sober. It’s not as bad, but it’s driving me mad. Could it be liver disease?

    • Pete February 9, 2016, 4:21 pm

      Have your liver enzymes tested? I have fatty liver and they go up and down some. Also got tested for HEP as doc was worried. That was NEG.

  • Russ February 4, 2016, 6:36 pm

    I was a heavy drinker for 20 years (8-10ounces per day). I am approaching my third month of sobriety. I go to the gym 5 days a week, have been for the past year. I feel like I could sleep all day and it is very hard to focus. Is this ever going away? I feel like I have aged 10 years…

  • Alex February 6, 2016, 2:41 pm

    Great article, summarizes the method, symptoms of withdrawal and possible solutions. At nearly 61, after drinking for 30 years, towards end 250 ml every night, I left cold turkey one fine day. It has been 21 days, there has really no urge to drink even socially. No withdrawal symptoms except less appetite and constipation, which may be inter related due to decreased intake of food.

    I do however suffer from forgetfulness, fogginess, generalized disorientation, confusion and a few such symptoms, which I was thinking may be age related, due to long alcohol abuse as well as due to a seizure and resultant brain hemorrhage (when sober) episode that I have closer year and a half.

    I feel it is more of mental make up and less of physical, firstly to indulge and then to leave. For example, one day, in place of alcohol, I poured a small drink of water, then soda; drank up a few pegs, have my dinner with no difference. I did not feel I missed out on my drink quota for the day, the reason I say, it is mental!

    Leaving drinking and staying sober is doable, just forget about drinking and get involved in other things! God bless you all who are on your way to stay sober! With best wishes!

  • Pete February 9, 2016, 4:18 pm

    Currently on day two with nausea, diarrhea and mild shakes. Horrible dreams too. I know in a few more days things will be lots better.

  • z February 13, 2016, 12:51 am

    Hello all, I have been drinking for 8 month only beer. usually 6-7 5% beers daily only after 8 pm. Now I have decided to quit because I feel it is hindering me to function as I used to do. Even though it is just beer, but I still go through bad withdrawal symptoms as some of you guys mentioned.

    Such as my body temperature changes out of the sudden, my whole body start tingling, I feel many weird sensations on my chest like pressure, or sometimes electric shocks. Do you guys think it is due to alcohol tapering symptoms? Thanks.

  • Carla February 13, 2016, 1:10 pm

    I’ve been living in Tuscany Italy for the last 26 years. The normalcy of alcohol on a daily basis is overwhelming and highly accepted. And great wine is cheaper than any kind of pop. I have been on the roller coaster of sober for a few weeks to a few months, to starting my morning with a Belgium beer and then sipping on wine all day. Until it gets out of control.

    And repeat cycle. The withdrawal symptoms are very familiar to me. So yes, I am a functioning alcoholic. One sip and I start again. I’m only in 5 days but the benefits are starting. The night before I stopped, I wrote on my computer (so drunk I couldn’t spell): When you drink you are: Incoherent, Unmotivated, Bloated, Nasty, Intolerant, Fake, Emotional, Aged, Delusional, Unproductive.

    You are stronger than your demons. I printed them out and posted them in every room. I keep adding to the list. And I took my waist measurement. This has been an effective inspiration and I accept the withdrawal symptoms easier. It is so important to take vitamins (for some reason too lazy to take when I drink) and eat well (easy here in Tuscany).

    I discovered that taking Magnesium pidolate before bedtime helps sleeping. I hope one day I will be able to say “I’ve been sober for years”.

  • Scott February 15, 2016, 7:51 pm

    Very helpful article, and I’m amazed at the number of comments (too many to read all of them). I’ve been drinking since I was 16 or 17 and it’s been 99% beer and never daily. But I’m 52 years old now and I drank every other day pretty much and had 6-8 pints… unable to stop when I knew I’d had enough.

    In the last month, I’ve had multiple nights that I was lucky to get home safely and significant blackouts. That scared me enough to commit to stopping or at least reducing the amount I’m consuming a lot! Only on day 10 right now and had one day that I had two light beers at a social/work dinner. I set up a good support network and let them know on days that I know might be dangerous for me… if you can do that, it helps!

    Anyways, I searched this article out because like a lot of you, I’ve been incredibly tired, constant dull headache and my sleep patterns are not normal. I’m so glad to know this is normal and I can not wait for my body to adjust… I just hope it doesn’t take as long as some of you out there have been suffering. Keep the faith!

  • Lesley February 21, 2016, 12:21 am

    Very informative article. I’m coming from a slightly different angle – I’m married to an alcoholic, he left the marital home in May after 2 years of exceptionally heavy drinking – I couldn’t live with him anymore, I love him with all my heart but his alcoholism was controlling both our lives. For him it was his life, for me I was watching the man I love turn into a monster while he slowly killed himself.

    He seemed to reach an epiphany around Christmas time and sought help. He has been attending an addiction unit for 2 months gradually reducing his alcohol intake and has had no alcohol now for 7 days. I always made it clear that when and if he decided to “find sobriety” I would support him all the way. He has shared everything with me and we have talked openly every step of the way since Christmas.

    I have researched withdrawal symptoms but I guess there’s no better advice than from people that have experienced them – hence this! I’m finding it REALLY difficult dealing with his mood swings, one minute he’s rational chatting away then suddenly the nasty verbally abusive alcoholic is back in the room blaming me for all his shortcomings. This has been going on for a few weeks now.

    He’s grumpy and always on edge along with loss of appetite and profuse sweating which I understand are side effects of withdrawal. He says he feels “disconnected” with himself, no emotion, it’s like he’s watching things going on in his life but feels nothing.. Has anyone else felt like this? I’m finding it hard trying to support him when he’s so unpredictable-does this pass? To all battling with this disease I wish you nothing but success on your journeys.

  • Dawn February 22, 2016, 11:59 pm

    After drinking every evening at home a minimum half bottle of wine for the last 10 years, I decided from 1st January 2016 to only drink alcohol when out with friends socializing. At first I couldn’t relax, I felt agitated, I couldn’t get to sleep and was pacing the house when I would normally have been popping the cork. I decided I needed to replace “one habit with another”.

    Keeping myself busy has been my pastime, sorting papers, tidying draws, baking, anything to keep me from sitting down thinking about that glass. Each week, I have felt better and the need to keep busy has also subsided and I can now relax without the wine and wake up feeling refreshed. Hey you think all is good, however, on Friday night I was out with friends and decided I deserved a drink as I had been good, I had one bottle of wine which pre Jan 16 would have left me with a headache for the first couple of hours of the next day, nothing pain relief couldn’t fix.

    This time I couldn’t open my eyes my head hurt so much, I vomited, my fingers and toes felt numb, I couldn’t look at any form of light. I got up at 8.00pm the following evening and felt ill for the following three days, tired and dizzy with no energy. Am thinking should I, or could I ever drink alcohol again?

  • Jane February 28, 2016, 10:49 am

    I’m on day 59 after drinking crazily for years. I got to the point where I completely hated myself, I was pudgy, couldn’t work properly and was generally hung-over most of the time. I had considered stopping for many years so on New Year’s Eve I decided to quit. My plan was an alcohol free 2016 – although I’m now realizing that this needs to be forever.

    I’ve hated the withdrawals, still do. I feel like crap most days. I have no energy, tired, irritable, cranky, generally feeling low and wondering if it will ever end. I had severe headaches for weeks and frequent migraines. The headaches are slightly better but still getting shocking migraines. I’m truly wondering whether I’ll ever be happy and energetic ever again? I’m not giving up, even though I’d love a social drink but there is NO way I’m living through these 59 days ever again.

    There is true power in our choice not to drink. If we wait out the symptoms we have the potential to be our best selves and live our best lives: and along the way helping others to do the same. This is about more than us, it’s about our families, friends and the good we can do in this world. Keep going, I am. Thanks for all your comments, makes me feel very normal.

  • Mark March 1, 2016, 4:16 am

    I have drank nightly (6-10) drinks 5-6 days a week for the last 8 years. I travel a great deal and it was much less lonely to sit at the bar and eat, drink and socialize (with other drinkers) than sit at a table by myself. After not being able to remember everything that happened one night last week (first time that has happened).

    I’ve had enough. I’ve exercised from time to time but not on any kind of a regular basis. I’m on day 3 of cold turkey and feel great but am wondering if I shouldn’t go with the weaning strategy discussed in this forum? It’s a little scary that some very bad symptoms can manifest themselves weeks later.

  • Fred March 8, 2016, 3:32 pm

    Is hypertension one of the post-acute symptoms? I am 3 weeks post-detox (at a detox facility) and for the last two days my BP has been very high. I have essential hypertension and it has always been very well managed by medication but, for the last two days well, it has been spiking.

    • Lina March 14, 2016, 3:21 am

      Fred, yes high BP is a side effect. I monitored mine and upped my dosage. I’d recommend seeing a doctor.

  • Tim March 10, 2016, 6:46 pm

    I drank pretty heavily over the course of around two years. I quit cold turkey only four days ago. The first day was fine until the end of the day when the alcohol level finally ran out. I had the shakes, had troubles even getting the glass of water to my lips. I also had the cold sweats, felt like a woman who was going through menopause.

    The first night of sleep (Can’t call it sleep, just still). The second day still had the shakes and hot flashes. I had a tension headache that was unbelievable. Sleep was the same, just laid still. The third day the shakes stopped, but still the hot flashes continued day and night. Took a couple of excedrin PM and did get some sleep, my wife said I was talking in my sleep had never done that before.

    Today, I feel much better but still have a tension headache drinking about a gallon water a day and finally started eating right. Feel tired and weak and my vision is starting to return, I do have muscle cramps (legs, fingers and toes) and I did from day one. Looking forward to feeling better soon. A lot of great information on this site thanks.

  • Lina March 20, 2016, 4:51 am

    I am now over a month sober. I’m not counting days. This is the longest I’ve gone without a drink since I was of age to drink, and when I was pregnant.
    I’m on vacation and its the first time in years that I didn’t hide vodka in all sorts of containers. Didn’t go find the local liquor store. Feels good. And now sitting at a wine bar restaurant and just having water with my dinner.

    I found this blog several weeks ago and read it every nite before I go to bed to get inspiration from all of you. Thank you. I had the withdrawals you all have mentioned. Not terrible. Worst was the blood pressure changes. I also quit smoking at the same time. And since I’m not drinking 800 to 1000 calories a day I’ve lost over one dress size.

    I read this cause I’m doing this alone. No one knows. I was a very good functioning alcoholic. The worst was my cancelling plans and not accepting invites cause I was too drunk to drive or too concerned about how I was going to drink and manage going out. Now I just say I quit drinking cause I quit smoking. And yes they buy it. I wish you all stay strong.

    • David April 12, 2016, 4:23 am

      Hang in there Lina… I am doing it alone too… six months sober and it is difficult. I have a longer post on my situation. I just wanted to say every morning that you wake up be thankful you got through the previous day without drinking. I celebrate each night AFTER the liquor stores close because I know I made it through another day!

      • Lina May 3, 2016, 2:11 am

        Thank you David. Stay strong too!

  • Gloria March 28, 2016, 7:26 pm

    I’ve been an alcoholic for about 13 years… drinking hard liquor about a fifth every weekend. I am ten days sober now and I am doing it cold turkey. I’m scared but trying to be strong… if there is anyone out there that can give me any pointers on this… it would help. By the way, I used to weigh 185… now I’m over 300. Will quitting the drink help me lose weight?

  • Shane March 29, 2016, 2:40 am

    Thank you for your article. I’ve been drinking 3/4 of a litre of vodka per day for 15 years and had only a small number of hang overs over that time. I made the decision to give up five days ago. I did it cold turkey and felt fine on day 1 except for cravings. Since then I couldn’t understand why I was becoming dizzier and foggier day by day rather than more balanced and clearer thinking.

    Last night I had itches all over my body and thought one of the animals I had come into contact with during the day had lice. For the last 2 nights I’ve had bad night sweats and interesting dreams. This morning I found your article. It’s too late to reduce slowly. Looks like I’ve got a little way to go and thanks to your article I now have an idea of what’s happening to me. Once again thank you and warm regards.

  • Matthew April 1, 2016, 6:51 am

    I’ve almost made it a week without drinking. I feel completely miserable and god awful… Is it normal to feel completely detached from life? Also, I feel like I’ve lost my “soul”… Everything seems unreal. If anyone has felt this way by all means let me know. I have this impending sense of dread that never seems to go away. I can’t sleep. I’m praying that this will someday subside… It’s either that, or I’ll just crawl back into a bottle and stay there.

    • Lina April 2, 2016, 5:24 am

      Matt, It’s normal. It’s who you really are. In that being sober is more real. I went over 30 days sober til I had a business trip. Went back to my old ways and my body is like… what’d you do to me? I have to stop. I’m now dizzy. And will go through withdrawals again. And now I know what it means to go back. Hope I can get inspiration from all of you. Good night all.

  • David April 12, 2016, 4:11 am

    Six months with no alcohol. I quit 179 days ago because I found out that as a retired guy my health insurance would not cover a rehab program. As an employee I could have had treatment free…but I tired it once in 1994 and it didn’t really help. I am not a 12-step kind of guy. I don’t have any horror stories about missing work, losing jobs, lying, cheating, etc.

    So I decided on a two step program consisting of, 1. Putting the glass (and or can) down and 2. Not picking the glass or can up again. It has worked fine until about day 172. So 7-8 days ago I began to have serious night sweats. Nothing for the first 171 days. I was shocked. That was followed by craving. I found myself wanting, needing a drink.

    My habit prior to stopping was about six ounces of Vodka a night and two-three beers as a chaser between drinks. Used to drink martinis but that graduated to straight neat 2-ounce drinks (maybe even more!) three times a night in front of the Television. I don’t know what is going on now because I thought I was through the “hard” part since I didn’t have DTs or nightmares when I first quit or even now.

    Didn’t have the desire or need early on but now I do. My work has just begun. I live alone and could drive to a liquor store in ten minutes… nobody but me would know. So, during the past week it has been hell but I do not want to drink and am grateful every time I wake up and realize I did not give in. So, I read that you have to get through a full year before things get much better. That is bad news to me but understandable.

    I’ve been drinking heavy 30 plus years so I didn’t ever think I’d be thrilled with my progress at six months (maybe I’ll feel different at six years?) I am also 74 years old. Before I stopped drinking my liver and heart were healthy and I wasn’t obese. There are some pluses I can report. I dropped about 20 pounds. My high blood pressure meds were cut by 50% and BP is in the 120/80 range.

    The best plus is that I can visit and get visits from my kids and my grandchildren at a moment’s notice because I am not drunk. I have lost my appetite now and the night sweats this past week have both been difficult to deal with. I haven’t made any excuses to myself yet about why I can start again. However, I do have a nagging feeling that six months from now I may die of a heart attack and if I had that vision and proof it was correct, I’d start drinking in a minute so I know I have missed one important thing.

    That is that I stopped a bad habit of drinking but I did not replace it with a good habit. That fact is giving me fits. I know I need to replace the habit but I do not know with what. So, here I sit. The liquor stores will be closed in a couple of hours and I’ll be safe until tomorrow. Is there anything else I can do?

    I figure I have saved about $10K in treatment costs for the first six months and I’ve saved my liver from at least 1074 ounces of Skyy and 537 cans of Bud. I realize I started this wrong because I did not “taper off” but I am not a good taper candidate. Still… I need to know how long these sweats are going to last and why did they start six months after I stopped?

    • Anonymouse April 19, 2016, 2:58 pm

      David, Your story is inspiring! Bravo to you for making the decision to quit! You’ll find that those “plus’s” you listed (quite a few of them!) FAR outweigh the cons… you’ll add years to your life, and you’ll feel SO much better the more time that passes! (Sounds vague and cliché, but it’s absolutely true!).

      As far as your night sweats, your blood vessels are still likely dilated, especially at night when you’re all covered up in blankets, and your body is trying to get used to its natural functions again.. Why you did not have night sweats in the beginning but now you do? Perhaps since you did not ‘taper’, you still had enough alcohol in your system to keep the symptoms at bay for a while, but now that a decent amount of time has passed, you’ll notice them moreso now than before.. (just an idea)…

      BUT, don’t over-focus on these symptoms, simply treat them as they come; sweating? Try sleeping in your underpants, or with a fan pointed at you, or with just a sheet and no blanket.. Anxiety? Try doing something else, that you know makes you happy, that releases endorphins, or even try something new! When it comes to cravings, you could try filling your glass with something ELSE, rather than putting the glass down and not picking it up…

      Having that glass or can in your hand is half of the habit, just like a smoker is accustomed to having the butt between their fingers. What I found works is, seltzer water with juice and/or fruit, sometimes I just drink juice (100% juice, the good stuff) out of a wine glass… Could even try a non-alcoholic beer in between juice cocktails.

      And, not to promote one crutch in place of another, but you could try smoking a bit of pot from time to time! :-) It’s much safer, non addictive, and takes off the “edge” in a way that alcohol does, except for it only lasts a couple hours, and the worst that could happen is you get the munchies and everything seems unusually funny! The main thing is, stay positive…

      This is YOUR choice, this is something YOU are in control of, keep trying different things, treat the symptoms, and tell yourself “I’m do not drink anymore”… Good luck and God speed! <3

  • Kellie April 15, 2016, 3:04 am

    Thank you to all who have contributed here. I’m 37, a mother of 3, and a teacher (for crying out loud!) and I haven’t had a drink for just over 3 weeks after drinking heavily for 20 years. The last 5 years have been the worst, with a bottle of wine a night being a normal night for me, and two or even three if I got really bad.

    I have also quit smoking. People close to me have known for a long time about my problem. My husband would say I was in denial but I wasn’t, I just felt justified in drinking to block out some crappy life experiences. I knew what I was doing was bad for me, for him and our children, and the guilt and the shame were difficult to deal with but still, I drank, sometimes not remembering how I got to bed or what I’d said late at night when socialising.

    Still cringing now. Not sure what made me quit, but like others have said, I feel different this time. When I was pregnant I drank rarely and only one glass, but I constantly felt deprived and obsessed over whether a champagne at Christmas was ok etc. The only withdrawal symptom I am struggling with is extreme fatigue. Wow, it is intense! Good luck to all and thanks again.

  • Donnie April 25, 2016, 3:37 am

    I am 39. I have been drinking whiskey every day for almost a year. I drank way too much the week before last and I woke up and I felt fine. I went to work and got really sick at work. My heart started to beat so fast that I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I ended up going to the ER, they did an EKG and a chest x ray and everything was good.

    I did a follow-up with my doctor and both the er doctor and my doctor said to stop drinking alcohol. I followed their advice and the next couple of days I felt like I was going to die. My heart continued to race and I called a detox center and they did not advise quitting cold turkey unless you’re in a facility so they can monitor you.

    It’s been over a week and I am having a few beers a day and I really hate beer but I don’t know what else to do. My heart still races from time to time and I feel like I have no energy. Reading everyones comments on here has really helped me to understand that I’m not the only one who has been through this. I don’t want to drink anymore, I just want my heart to stop racing.

  • Eric April 27, 2016, 11:17 am

    I’m 36 years old and I’ve been drinking heavily since I was 21 years old. I joined the military when I was 17 and was taught by many superiors that alcohol consumption was the way to deal with stress. By the time I was 21 I began to drink a lot since I was of legal age. After returning home from Afghanistan I got back into a reserve military unit.

    Since being a reservist I needed a full time job and figured law enforcement was a good route for a combat veteran. After 10 years in law enforcement I had to resign because my heavy drinking was going to eventually cost me not only my police certification, but my wife and kids as well. I now work part time and I’m still a member of the reserves, but within the last year my alcoholism began to effect my military career as well.

    I admitted myself to a 28 day rehab center, and after only a few hours of my release I was drinking again. I was admitted to the VA hospital for about 2 months and treated for PTSD and alcoholism. I made it 3 months, the thought I had it beat and began to drink again. I am now on my 3rd day of sobriety and am awake at 5 am because I again woke up in a pool of sweat. I have seen my doctor who has prescribed Antabuse (makes you really sick if you consume alcohol).

    Somehow I have found the courage to start again, but this time instead of focusing on my relapses, I’m proud of myself for the length of time I remained sober prior to the relapses. Tomorrow I will be assigned a sponsor at my AA meeting and my wife is helping me remain accountable to my medication to prevent me from consuming alcohol by watching me take it.

    I have been only lucky to not have been in trouble with the law for my alcohol use, but I’m sure that day would be rapidly approaching if had not found the shred of inner courage to get back up, dust myself off, realize I’m a good person with a real disease, and GO GET HELP. I’ve never shared this before and I have no idea what gave me the courage to do it now, but I feel somewhat less burdened by my shame by talking about it.

    Hopefully someone reading this and realize that if I can muster the strength to get up again, then they can as well. We have the disease of alcoholism, but we are not the disease. Remember to love yourself for your accomplishments (however small) and forgive yourself for your shortcomings. Pray for me as I pray for you and we will get through this.

    • el May 10, 2016, 2:36 am

      What a beautiful post. Thank you. I have no idea if you’ll come back here again but if you do I want you to see my acknowledgment of you and your commitment. Here are some things I’ve never said: I was (secretly) married to a retired army officer who, I’m going to guess, suffered from PTSD and (I know this part for sure) enormous guilt for decades and who died of alcoholism, his organs failing one after the other.

      We married late in his life and early in mine. I was not yet a drinker and, while I had enormous compassion for his pain, I didn’t really understand it. We fight about his drinking, I railed against it and my impotence in the face it, trying over and over to be compelling enough that he’d want to stop. I just didn’t understand the way I do now.

      Ultimately, he had a stroke and, wanting to die, was happy to be in the hospital where he would not have access to alcohol. I didn’t know about DTs so I didn’t that either. I held him for the last three days of his life as he slowly drifted away. Our marriage was unusual, me being a young woman with an incurable disease, he being an elderly retired WWII veteran and recent widower.

      We clung to each other in a small isolated town because we were both on the way out and appreciated having company. But then he died and I didn’t. I often think that if he’d had access to AA or any supportive program, or really had wanted to quit, we would have had an entirely different life. I’m so grateful to read your words, so glad for YOU AND for your family that you have chosen life.

      Best wishes to you. Perhaps you, like all the other wonderful people who’ve posted here, will come back and update us on your life after drinking. I intend to, once I myself stop. Peace to you.

  • JB April 29, 2016, 9:27 pm

    I have been drinking 6-8 (3-4 doubles) drinks a night for 10 years and quit cold turkey. I am on day 3 and have experienced no symptoms of withdrawal. Is there a chance I could still get them? I quit smoking cold turkey too and that was 6 years ago… so I know I am stubborn enough if I want it (I do) to never drink again. But the withdrawal part still scares me…

  • Paul May 1, 2016, 7:05 pm

    Have been drinking about 100/150 units per week for nearly 10 years now. This is my second time trying to give up. The first time I lasted 1 month before I could not take it anymore and went back to kidding myself 1 a day will do. After about 3 weeks back on 8-10 pints a day, 3/4 bottle of wine and about 1/3 bottle of whiskey a day. Recognized I had a problem when on my 40th I got 16 bottles of whiskey and I drank the lot in just over 5 weeks on top of beer and wine.

    I have all the symptoms mentioned above especially the depression and the suicidal thoughts. Only today did I break down in the car driving home from the tip and considered having an “accident”. My local GP is great to be honest. I take Acamprosate (stops the pleasure of alcohol working) and at the moment I am on a reducing dose of Chlordiazepoxide that seems to help.

    The sleepless nights and the nightmares really do me in though. I can not sit down or relax at all and this drives me nuts. The withdrawal will in the end be worth it I know but it is so difficult. There is such a massive drive on different diseases all the time but the stigma of being an alcoholic is horrible. We all have something in common and together we can beat this disease.

    Stay strong people. Much love and never stop trying to stop! Forgot to mention, I’ve not had a drink for 6 days now so not driving to the tip drunk or anything.

  • Aims May 3, 2016, 2:01 pm

    You all are amazing!! Keep up the fight. We all deserve happiness and we can make it happen. Minute by minute and day by day. Baby steps…

  • Lina May 10, 2016, 3:57 am

    Update from a few weeks ago. I stopped about 3 months ago. Had a few relapses. Off now mostly 3 weeks but had a bottle of wine a few days ago. Do you know what the relapses do? Make me feel like crap – as in not in control and sick the next day. It reinforces that I’ve made the right decision. Last week, before the wine day, I started to feel the extreme exhaustion you all discuss.

    I didn’t have it before. I recalled I had a cocktail of vitamins and minerals I took last time. Trip to the drug store made me feel almost normal again. I still have issues focusing and decreased memory recall. I am not a doctor or medically trained. Your liver needs a fix and there is plenty of info out there to find.

    Mostly it’s around depletion of vitamin Bs… most of them. Of course a doctor is best to help. I continue to lose weight. Am down 2 dress sizes already! If you all have anything that has helped to improve mental alertness, please share. Keep posting… it seems to work for many of us.

    • Mark May 28, 2016, 10:19 pm

      Exercise. Setting small attainable goals and reaching them in a simple measurable area gives that feeling of control and it has nothing to do with drinking.

  • Someone May 24, 2016, 7:17 am

    I couldn’t sleep do the itching!!! You can definitely say I have a serious alcohol problem as I’ve been in and out rehab and detoxes, so I’ve had my of these symptoms in the past. By this point I thought I had a fairly large amount of knowledge on such things, but had never realized itching was a symptom. Thanks for the info. Maybe now I can actually sleep!

    • Mark May 28, 2016, 10:15 pm

      Itching is not uncommon. Could be due to dehydration. Try drinking water and moisturizer. Could be because your brain and neurotransmitters are resetting.

  • Terry May 24, 2016, 11:21 pm

    Hi, Just read all your comments and they so ring true. I’m 40 and been drinking vodka every night with D Coke for far too long, anyhow last night was a wake up call, I had only two drinks last night due to exhaustion but in my sleep my arms and legs were jerking if that makes sense, so much so that it caused me to wake and I felt shaky, could this be the start?

    Also tonight I have experienced whilst in bed what can only be described as a popping feeling in my legs mainly the left leg, I’m too scared to go to sleep in case I get the jerking feeling again. I googled about popping feeling etc and it can be a symptom of ME or ALS which is more serious and life expectancy is 3-5 years. I’m terrified by this thought and now scared to sleep, I have to be up in 5 hours.

    So my Q is could it be withdrawal? It would seem to have only started last night which seems too soon. Or can it be something more serious?

    • Mark May 28, 2016, 10:11 pm

      Could be muscle spasms from dehydration. Drink more water try gator aide. Milk can also stop muscle spasms. But sounds like anxiety is your symptom. It’s probably nothing. Stop looking up symptoms online it will increase your anxiety. And the blue light of electronic devices increases anxiety and depression.

  • Ashley May 26, 2016, 2:53 am

    It’s really inspiring and eye opening and relieving to see all of these different stories everyone has shared, thankful to have found this forum. I’m 26 and have been drinking heavily to daily for going on 4 years. It started as a way to sleep while working night shift and led to a way to deal with anxiety around people and cope with being by myself a lot. Everything just feels better with a buzz you know?

    I had a period of about a year to a year and a half of no drinking to an occasional drink only because I was working during the day and also didn’t have an ID and didn’t want to ask anyone to buy it for me. Once that was resolved I started again going through about a bottle of vodka every two weeks to a week to a few days. I have never told anyone how severe my drinking is.

    My boyfriend noticed a couple of years ago but that was around the time I had to stop anyways so it worked out, but now I am back to my old habit, hiding bottles around the house, putting vodka in water bottles, taking out cash so it doesn’t show up on our bank statements, rotating stores so no one notices. I’ve recently tried tapering again, it’s been about a week and I feel okay I guess. I have had a few symptoms – dry mouth, night sweats, irritability, and a bit of chest pain which caused me to look up help with alcohol withdrawal, but I’m also dealing with a lot of stressful things going on in my life at the moment (quit my job, left my boyfriend because of reasons that are mostly my fault).

    I was just wondering would it be better if I told someone in my life about my issues with alcohol? Would it benefit me at all to tell anyone? I’ve stopped before by myself, and so far so good on tapering off from drinking daily but I’m not sure whats next for me. Things are looking up both with job prospects and talking with my boyfriend, which helps but I’m just taking things one day at a time.

    • Mark May 28, 2016, 10:07 pm

      It depends if you have someone you can trust. Meaning someone who wont rub it in your face if you fail. I would try to take days off as a nest step as you taper. Say every other day. Then every 3rd day. Then just on weekends.

      Have some goals like finding that new job. Exercise is a good way to keep busy and quell the anxiety. Even if its just long walks. Bring a camera or your dog or a friends fog or whatever. Have small attainabke goals for exercise. Keep a calendar of sobriety.

      Just some suggestions.

  • Dan May 26, 2016, 12:47 pm

    I haven’t had a drink of alcohol for about 7.5 months. I was intrigued to see if my mental state and self esteem would improve, and if anxiety would diminish. The result thus far? It fluctuates. I enjoy waking up each day having not binged on booze the night before. I’m am all or nothing kind of a guy. Cigarettes, alcohol.

    When I drank, I really drank. For 20 years this went on. I remember clearly the day I decided to stop. I’m just sort of sick of it. And I’ve not been tempted ever since. I used to love heading into a bottle shop and stick up for the night. Little did I know it was a sad situation. I’m was sociable, but I’d pretty much always take a few home to drink. Alone. Before bed. I was averaging 6-12 beers a night. For the greater part of 20 years.

    I could still function. In fact, sometimes I really enjoyed functioning the next day after a binge session. Having not done that for nearly 8 months, now I look for the joy in life. I’m more aware of my surroundings I guess. But the big thing, the constant thing, is when I reflect on my relationship, and it was most definitely a relationship, with alcohol. Nowadays, I’m a lot quieter.

    I’m content with that. I’m am ambivert by nature of my personality. But I’d say I’m more introverted and shy than extroverted and loud. I had a bad experience recently, so I’ve been a bit down in the dumps this month. This article said crying was a symptom. Well, I’ve been doing that too. A lot of late, in fact. Overall, to be honest, I’ve been sad quite a lot since quitting.

    Either I’m a naturally sad person and alcohol was numbing that, or I’m sad as a symptom of quitting, or both. But I haven’t gone back to it. Even when I’m in the darkest of mindsets, I seem to come out of it. I’ll finish with a very true common saying with reformed drinkers: “my worst day sober is better than my best day drunk”. Very true. And the reason for that? Control. Day at a time.

  • Mark May 28, 2016, 9:50 pm

    Only 2 days since my drinking break. I drink about 5 days a week. Sometimes half a bottle of wine, sometimes a bottle and 10 drinks if I go out all night. I have always exercised 3 to 5 times a week so I look healthy. This has been a hindrance to me quitting. This has been a lifestyle for 8 years.

    Before that I was sober for 17 years. I quit cold turkey before with sone slip ups at the beginning. Now I have a goal. 6 pack abs in 6 weeks. It’s lame but clear and when I look in the mirror I can see the possibility. So under 10% fat is the actual goal. Now I am at about 12 or 13 %. The point is a clear goal got me through last night.

    Night time is the worst. The craving is my biggest symptom and when it hits is late at night when I’m hungry. So I drink tea and water and have a healthy snack to avoid the guilt of eating crap. I feel that guilt is a trigger to just give in and have a drink. The reasoning is why I’ve not already screwed up.

    Poor sleep and odd sleep habits are the other major symptoms. As well as irritation agitation and anxiety about work money social life. Today is another day. I think if I have some success in controlling other positive habits like eating well and exercising I will have more success in cutting back on my drinking.

    This is my goal not quitting at least for now. 6 weeks no drinking. Then I’ll decide the next goal. Quitting drinking forever I just cant imagine right now. I have a camping trip to go to in 6 weeks so that is the reward.

  • hollyr May 29, 2016, 5:07 am

    Hey there – thanks for the article. 2nd attempt at sobriety. Just nearing my 5th day in. My habit of drinking: up to 6 beers/day for the past 18mo. I weigh about 83lbs – yah I’m pretty tiny. Not a lot of food intake and barely any water. The symptoms I’ve observed: Sleeping issues of course, day 1 & 2 I only had 6hrs of sleep total. Sleeping at 2am and waking up at 5am.

    Day 3, a little bit of shakiness but not much, I was irritable day 4 – terribly and had a hard time concentrating. Today, day 5, I feel like I’m overheated in a 71degree (F) home. I shouldn’t be. I think I’m running a temp. I also have had a headache the 2nd half of the day. I’ve been drinking water and I ate (bean burritos) so I don’t think I’m necessarily dehydrated or hungry.

    I believe the headache and temp is from withdrawal. I’ll take a couple more headache pills. Early today (I’m highly politically involved given that I’m american and its election season) I came across some videos that upset me and I immediately wanted to drink. Thankfully I didn’t. I ate, had more water and calmed myself down and zoned out with a favorite tv show and napped.

    I have ZERO sugar in my house and I know that lack of sugar can be an issue during early days of sobriety. I guess in preparation for day 6 and onward I should get some Sprite (it’s my go-to for pop… it comes in a can and it helped me kick the beer can habit during my first stint). As I was reading the article I caught myself continuously trying to find a reason to drink.

    The idea of tapering and having a safe intro into sobriety was almost convincing me to pick up a beer with the possible falsehood of avoiding a dangerous withdrawal scenario. I wish the article gave more specifics on if you weigh this much and intake this much you are at this much risk (based on general medical studies). That’s probably an unreasonable request for a broad article and I’m sure the obvious go-to advice is – go see your GP.

    Well, I don’t have insurance, not a lot of money and I live in america so I’ve had to stop seeing my doc because we don’t have universal healthcare. I’m now only guessing that these symptoms are just minor and not an intro into anything more severe upcoming. My concern is to avoid panic attacks and seizures, but primarily the former.

    Reason being is that I’ve had attacks in the past 2 years. I’m hoping that if I was going to have a panic attack or seizure that it would’ve happened by now but I know from previous therapy sessions during my first sobriety stint that withdrawal can get worse even weeks into sobriety – equally as noted by some long-time sober contributors to this thread.

    Anyway, I just wanted to provide some medical information here – a comparison of my intake / body weight / regularity and what symptoms I’m going through as others have. Everyone, stay safe and comfortable and whatever you do – just tell yourself the storm will pass.

  • Tim mclaughlin June 1, 2016, 6:10 pm

    It is so very helpful and encouraging to read these posts. I know now that I am not alone in my struggle with alcohol abuse. On day five of not drinking right now. This is probably the umpteenth time I have put alcohol away from my life. I think maybe I am lucky because I have not experienced any of the major withdrawal symptoms.

    Only some anxiety and some sleep pattern changes. I consider myself to be an alcoholic and I am doing my best to leave it behind. It is not fun anymore. I am very OCD and at times it has been hard to not drink. Drink for a month then stop for few weeks. Then drink again because I think I am ok with it.

    This is a deception I am putting on myself. It is very hard for me to break habits but I am determined to end this one. Thanks to all who have posted here and know that it gives some encouragement to all who read them. Don’t give up – recovery is possible!

  • Jen June 5, 2016, 7:28 pm

    I’m on day 7. I got completely trashed on memorial weekend. Hardly remember anything about it! started drinking 5 years ago after never drinking my whole life and quickly became an alcoholic. I was drinking a 5th of vodka a day or more at one point. This is the longest I’ve abstained from drinking (besides the times I was incarcerated due to alcohol).

    I’m starting to feel like my old self again and it feels great! I thought I was dying a few days ago. The withdrawal was horrendous and I had to deal with my daughters graduation thru it. It was so hard! I almost went to the hospital because it was soooo bad. The worst part was the nausea and feeling so fatigued. I slept horribly and had nightmares when I did sleep.

    Woke up sweating in the middle of the night. The last 2 nights I’ve slept pretty well. I’ve had a headache since I stopped that I hope with go away soon. I also had bouts of depression and crying episodes. At one point I just wanted to die rather than deal with it all.

    But yesterday, day 6, I actually went to the movies and today I’m feeling a bit fatigued and tired with a headache still, but the horrible nausea is gone! So hoping I can keep this up. I’m the type that will think I can be like a normal person and drink occasionally, but it never turns out like that.

  • Rose June 16, 2016, 11:18 am

    This is hard. I’m 70, never really drank until joining marketing/sales environment where ‘work hard play hard’ was the way it was. Drinks on expenses, and a company shop where the wine was heavily discounted – and that was back in the 1980’s. I didn’t question it – and (very scary) would drive home (with windows wide open) – no drink drive warnings etc in those days.

    Added to which – I loved it – became very good selecting wines and whiskey, and that is how the years of my drinking began. It made me happy, even when the hangovers were a nuisance rather than a warning. Over the years as life took me through some traumatic episodes, the amount I drank depended on where I was on that journey. Some days – nothing, I never drank until the evening and had a successful career, surviving redundancies and marriage breakdowns.

    Nothing related to drinking I’m relieved to admit! I did try AA once after one awful hangover – actually following a GP visit when I owned up to drinking too much and he suggested I try to cut down! Anyway the group attendance requirement just couldn’t work, and I just couldn’t relate in anyway to the stories or the situations that the others spoke of. I felt like a fraud – the amount and frequency of my drinking was so much less.

    That’s the truth. I have fibromyalgia and arthritis and as much as it’s made life difficult, the pain is eased with evening drink. 24/7 pain is actually exhausting and depressing, without the debilitating awkwardness it brings. GPs & rheumatologist have been great. I’ve tried different pain relief meds over the years too, plus operations on one knee, one foot (I now have titanium in it!) and one shoulder – and yes – I still enjoy life – well, sort of!

    So after another flare-up of my stuff – brought on by stress as it usually is, I had a half-hearted eureka moment – I must live without the booze. That’s the first time I’ve ever referred to drink in those terms – so what brought me to this site this morning? This is day 4 – I couldn’t stop crying yesterday, I’ve a headache without blaming drink, and I’m so weak, but after the weekend I suffered that in itself was to be expected.

    OK – so what should I expect if I go cold turkey? That’s the reason for my Google – and WOW – I’m so thankful I found this site with all your encouraging, clear and honest submissions. Thank you all – and this site for me has been a gift! I don’t know how I’ll manage – but I’m going to give it a go. After all, at 70 I might as well take up a new project!

  • Mark June 21, 2016, 12:54 am

    First off I’d like to thank all of you and the creators of this site for your comments and encouragement. Tomorrow 06/21 @ 6:00pm will be a year. It seems though I’ll actually have to wait until 06/22 since someone snuck in another day for Leap Year. Well that doesn’t bother me too much as I don’t even think about drinking any more.

    I (against the suggestions) of the authors of this site quit cold turkey and man that was quite a ride. I have experienced all of the symptoms here but thanks to the Lord, He pulled me through this. I drank way too much for way too long and I let it get the better of me. Some of you are probably wondering how I feel. Well, everyone is going to heal at different rates and to be honest with you, I’m not 100% yet but I’m certainly getting there.

    My worst symptoms were extremely dizziness and feeling weak. Although I run & workout I can’t begin to explain how weak I felt. This may be caused by damage to my heart muscle but it is almost back. I want you to know you’re in my prayers and heart. If I can do it, you sure can too! Keep the faith and you’ll be OK.

  • Lina June 22, 2016, 4:08 am

    Hello, I think this is my 3rd post here. The comments are very helpful. I did well at first. Sober for a month. Then on a biz trip. Then, well I’ll only do it for a few days and smoke cigarettes. As someone else said here, I have to quit both. So I stopped and started, rinse and repeat. I just can’t do rehab, I’d probably lose my job.

    And as it is, I have a great job, don’t worry about bills, and Im OK at work. But as much as I think I can drink a but any emotional set back, sends me back. No one around me knows of my struggles. Based on the comments here, many of us don’t display any symptoms. I tried AA once, not for me. I couldn’t relate to the member stories and I felt it had a religious spin.

    Just venting… as I seemed to not have a question. Just keep coming here to hear your stories.

  • SpiderNet July 7, 2016, 12:18 am

    Thanks for all the inspiring stories guys! I’ve been reading them all day, on and off. I just had a question: Did anybody else get sinus pressure and pain in their face and tension headaches while quitting? Thanks in advance!

  • Mark July 8, 2016, 12:55 am

    Been drinking 1-2 days a week for 12 years. On day 17 of being sober. Last stretch over 10 days was 8 years ago. Feel good, only withdrawal symptoms are the cravings to get buzzed. Staying strong though. I need to make a change in my life.

  • Emily July 19, 2016, 5:02 pm

    Hi. I am brand new to the no-more-alcohol scene. I just returned from vacation a few days ago, during which time I realized that things had reached the point where I felt I had a problem. By most people’s standards, I have never drank a lot. However, the amount was too much for me personally and my comfort level. I’ve come to realize that it’s an individual assessment.

    I also realized that I had crossed into some dangerous territory — drinking alcohol while taking some pretty potent antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. My wake-up moment came as I was vomiting in the hotel toilet all night after taking my meds after a heavy day of drinking. Needless to say, my last day of vacation was anything but that.

    Since my wake-up call, I have been incredibly tired, and the idea (not to mention the taste) of alcohol makes me nauseated. I am going cold turkey because I wasn’t drinking a horribly heavy amount each day and had only been drinking heavily (again, my perspective) for about 3.5 years. I am currently experiencing the nausea, extreme fatigue, and lack of appetite that folks have mentioned. My heart goes out to everyone who has experienced worse withdrawal symptoms.

    I started drinking during an incredibly bad period in my life, and without realizing it, it became a daily habit. When I realized this, I was horribly ashamed. Alcoholism runs deeply in my family; the notion that I thought I was impervious to it was foolish — I truly never thought I would ever walk that line.

  • TC July 23, 2016, 10:51 am

    Hi I’m Tony and I just wanted to say that these stories are really inspiring. I have been drinking heavily for over 15 years. I have noticed that it has become much worse in the last few years. It’s got to the stage where I need to have a drink in the morning just to try and stop the shaking. The amounts vary and whilst I can go a day or 2 without, once I have the first drink I cannot stop.

    I’ve tried to stop many times before,and suffered most of the symptoms above,including seeing things. It’s ruined a lot of my relationships, and my health and finances have suffered greatly. It’s so bad that my work colleagues know I’m a big drinker and I’ve become the standard joke. I think that from reading the posts above quitting is possible and it’s just making that step to be free from the grip of the booze. So I wanted to say thank you.

  • Barb July 24, 2016, 3:08 pm

    So thankful that I found this website. Have not had a drink for two months now and frequently wake up with a headache, so tired I could sleep all the time, night sweats and weird dreams. I have depression issues anyway but today really bummed. So, long story short, this is normal withdrawal? The article mentioned to wait for 3 months and maybe a year to reset all of our body sensors. Thanks again for the insight.

  • fred July 26, 2016, 2:05 pm

    I drink almost 3 litters of wine every 24 hours. I now have gastritis. I’m on day 3 of trying to taper off. I’m down to about 16 glasses per day. I’ve hit a point where it’s hard to go any lower without intense anxiety. I’m going to keep pushing through this. I feel like I need to take a leave of absence from work to be successful at this. I work at a bar. My goal is to cut down 2 to 3 drinks a day. Any insight?

  • Linda July 28, 2016, 1:58 pm

    Hi, I am 90 days sober. After 15 years of drinking and heavy the last 5. I feel so much better and happier and not tempted. I also had a scare with my liver so that really opened my eyes. I want to live free of alcohol. It was tough with the symptoms and this website really helped and all your comments.

    I did it cold turkey with my doctors help. I did not do AA as it was not for me but read some books and they are a good group. I have the support of friends and family. Good luck to all of you and if I can do it you can. God bless.

  • aly August 1, 2016, 11:22 am

    Reading all these comments have been super helpful. I’m 20- I did my first round of inpatient detox at age 17 only to relapse right after my 18th birthday. The past year I have had a fifth of liquor every evening before going to bed and I am currently 28 hours sober. Feeling okay – more nerves that I could possibly have a seizure – but no shaking just sweats.

    I know it is time to quit, and regret not going to the ER sooner. Although needed this, this detox was not planned- was in the ER last night for unrelated issue and needed to be on pain medication. Got home and was way too afraid to take a drink after being prescribed pain meds. Hopefully I can make this a successful end to this madness that is alcoholism.

  • Rhianna August 7, 2016, 9:32 pm

    Hi guys I am 23 years old. For the past 5 years or so I was drinking every night, usually around 1-2 bottles of wine but mainly about a bottle and a bit to a half a night. I am petrified I have ruined my liver and have cirrhosis. :( I have bad anxiety which is why I started in the first place. But now it’s been a vicious cycle because I would drink to feel better but then I worry about my liver all the time.

    Honestly is it enough to have damaged it and has any female drunk more and for longer than me? Please help. Btw forgot to mention I’ve cut down drastically :) … I sometimes go a few weeks now without a drink but usually just drink on weekends which is a LOT healthier than every night however I’m going to cut it out completely at some point.

    • SS September 1, 2016, 5:05 pm

      The liver is a miraculous organ and is the only one that can heal itself. You need to cut back drastically, which it seems like you’ve done, or quit all together. I would consult your doctor and have your liver levels checked just for peace of mind. Good luck!

  • Vytas, Australia August 21, 2016, 9:32 am

    Drinking more and more regularly and heavily since 1982. Joined local AA September 1995, but continued to binge on regular basis. Great group, focused on 12 steps, not a personal gabfest which I have encountered on the rare occasions I have been to meetings in the past. Now 23 days sober after a 2-week long binge when I decided enough is enough.

    My basic strategy has been to declare alcohol as my mortal enemy that has cost me greatly in the past (and not just financially). I went cold turkey without any support. Probably not the most sensible thing to do, but I’m glad to report I’m still in the land of the living. Let me share my experience of the past 23 days.

    Days 1 & 2: horrendous hand and arm tremors, vomiting regularly, so dizzy I needed support to stand and could barely walk to the toilet to throw up.

    Days 3 – 5: Dizziness, tremors subsiding, but feeling like I was about to fall over when I walked. Barely able to stand up in the shower.

    Unable to sleep the entire time. Minor visual hallucinations. MAJOR audial hallucinations. Whenever I turned on an electric fan(home blow heater or heater in the car, a chorus of voices would begin to sing harmonies. Sometimes whole verses of song were comprehensible.

    Night of day 6: Went to bed at 3am. No sleep, arms and legs jerking uncontrollably, pulse racing then slowing and sometimes stopping intermittently. Clearly a mild seizure.

    Thought to myself: My arms and leg muscles are reacting to out of control brain activity. My heart is a muscle reacting to out of control brain activity. Am I going to die tonight?! This is why detox without medical support is not a great idea. I got off lightly.

    Now day 23. Hand tremors progressively subsiding (would no longer be noticeable to anyone else). Skin itching like crazy the past 3 days. Joints aching. Sleeping wonderfully well the past 2 weeks (asleep as soon as head hits pillow and no less than 8 hours a night). No dizziness. No nausea. Thinking, mood and motivation much improved. Energy returning.

    Going it alone brings the possibility of seizure and/or Delirium Tremens (both potentially deadly). Even stroke.

    1. A reinforcement of AA Step One. ‘I am powerless over alcohol’. The only solution is no alcohol. As someone pointed out in an earlier post, ‘one drink is too many and 1,000 drinks is not enough’.
    2. Having readjusted my thinking of alcohol, I have made some sweeping changes to my life.
    – AA’s fundamental ethos is that you must place yourself in the care of your higher power (God as you conceive him – not necessarily as religions preach). Not much of a one for abrogating responsibility or asking for help, I have found it easier to establish MY higher power and open a dialogue on terms I can deal with. I’m not asking my higher power to relieve me of my burden; I’m asking it to support me in my resolve to battle the bottle. Much more satisfactory from my POV.
    – I am astounded just how rarely I have though of alcohol over the past 23 days. The desire and incessant craving are perhaps only submerged, but the rationalisation (I’ll be more focused / less stressed / less agitated) is under my control; it’s not managing me. Consider this: you can have an army of counsellors advising you how to make changes, and if you’re like me, you might head straight to the local bottle shop after a session. THE ONLY MEANINGFUL AND PERMANENT CHANGE COMES FROM WITHIN. YA GOTTA BE COMMITTED 110%.
    – I’ve made serious changes to my diet. After 30 years of drinking, my blood must be running acid and my body burning up with inflammation. I am now focused on eating foods that fight inflammation and restore a desirable state of alkalinity.

    OK: AA is working for me, but I’ve found myself in a group that I can get a lot out of of. If you want to go that way, you may have to do some searching.
    Diet is working for me. It will likely work for you too if you can go without Big Macs and Cokey Cola. And keep in mind: REAL CHANGE COMES FROM WITHIN.

    • Anonymous September 3, 2016, 5:12 am

      Thank you!

  • Dennis Conrad August 28, 2016, 3:52 am

    Thank you everyone for sharing your stories. Me? 67. I’m a functioning alcoholic. I’m an account exec for a major aerospace contractor. Up until 7 days ago, I would drink close to a pint of 100 proof vodka every evening for years. Throughout my life, I’ve been able to start and stop drinking whenever I wanted… so I kept telling myself. Heck, I kicked meth in my 40s by myself, I can kick this too.

    I too would often awake early mornings with a pounding, racing heart. Hell, I knew why, so I just increased my BP medicine before I went to sleep each night. But, time’s not on my side. I can’t keep doing this or I risk a stroke or worse… and I don’t want to live the rest of my life talking out of the side of my mouth with one side of my body paralyzed unable to function normal and dependent on others… I had to finally quit.

    I’m determined, but I am having withdrawal symptoms; thus, the reason for my to find and visit this site… it’s been helpful. Wish me luck, but I’m going to see this through. Thanks.

  • Lloyd August 30, 2016, 1:52 am

    Longtime beer drinker and anxiety sufferer. Spent the last 6 years drinking 4-6 pints a night rather than running (like I would have in the past). My anxiety took over after some marital issues, medical issues and stress at work. Found peace at the bar each night to calm my nerves. Over the past 6 months it has stopped working though, and I’ve developed severe palpitations.

    Finally 2 weeks ago I had enough of this disgusting, bloated, lazy, drunk of a person I’d become and quit cold turkey. I’m on day 16 and feeling pretty good. Didn’t have any headaches, shakiness, insomnia or nausea. Cravings have been minimal. The palps and anxiety are still pretty awful though. Wondering how long they will last.

    Two things that I’ve learned that might help: I pulled out the running shoes and logged 60 miles in the last 16 days that has helped tremendously. At the times I would normally be hitting the bar – I ran instead. Also taking .5mg of klonopin each night for the anxiety – that’s helping the sleep.

    Happy to report I ventured into the belly of the beast today (my favorite bar) to meet my favorite drinking buddy. I downed 4 pints of sparkling water and never looked back. Didn’t crave a beer at all. Hoping these palps and anxiety subside soon. Strength to all those in the middle of the battle as well.

    • cj August 30, 2016, 5:53 am

      Good for you Lloyd. That’s a very good start indeed. BUT… if you’re an alcoholic, your will power alone will fail. This is not my opinion. This is my experience having spent 10 years trying to quit both alcohol and drugs. My name is CJ. I did exactly what you’ve done — quit on my own BC I was convinced I could. I often managed to put together 30 days, sometimes 60 days, even 3-4 months of sobriety together. But some ‘event’ (good or bad) would trigger the obsession to get loaded.

      And I’d be back at the liquor store or at my pain doc’s office. Alcoholism has NOTHING to do with drinking or drugs. It’s all about self-centered thinking. And it doesn’t go away. But there is a recipe that works to combat the crazy. I know because it’s working for me. And I drank (and did a sh-tload of drugs — mostly opiates and benzos) for 39 years. Today — I have 15 months of continuous sobriety. I did it with AA, connecting with other alcoholics, being of service, and practicing the Steps. It works. Good luck. -CJ

  • Toby August 31, 2016, 9:39 pm

    I have been drinking only for 8 years (when I was 18), and drinking increased from then to about 20 years old, at age 20/21 I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism of which I’m on medication for. I still drink a fair amount sometimes 3-4 other times 5-6 pints. Been having counseling for mild to moderate depression the last 4 months and that started to eat away about 2 years prior to that point mainly through signing on at the job centre for like the third or fourth time. The job climate in retail is going down hill rapidly but that is a different issue.

    Apart from the tightness of finding new paid work and trying to stay relevant is really hard for most of us. Can’t believe all of this has happened early-ish in my life, as well as others I know. panic attacks have occurred, rare suicidal thoughts but always dismissing the actual action of it. The whole life system is to blame, but hey ho try and get by and improve only to jump through more hurdles if any. I have never gotten over the fact as a kid life was more enjoyable for me back then, but once a certain age we should enjoy, but can’t as much.

    I’m improving slightly apparently to my counsellor, haven’t got too long left for sessions, one tomorrow after about a month off, possibly 2-3 more but thought to share this. Met up with a friend out of my area every now and then, someone else I know is moderate to high depressed and depends what day he has had to meet up. Drinking occasionally makes us feel worse, time someone sorts the world system out.

  • SS September 1, 2016, 5:01 pm

    This was very helpful because it explained a lot of symptoms that were not mentioned on any other site. Symptoms that I’m experiencing like itching and joint pain (my knee). All of this is very strange to me because I have always been a moderate weekend lite beer drinker and have always observed moderation but about six months ago it was like a ‘switch’ went off. I’ve haven’t had anything to drink for a month and am going to wait until all symptoms disappear.

    I’m really new to this and it has been hard to adjust so I was wondering what would happen if I started drinking again, say in like three months, after all the symptoms disappeared? I know the human body is a miraculous thing and can heal itself. And like I said I don’t really consider myself a heavy drinker but would I have to go through withdrawal all over again even if I only had a few beers? Thanks in advance.

  • Sam September 2, 2016, 1:57 am

    Have spent the past hour or so reading literally every comment on here, has helped my anxiety out a tonne, which has got to be the absolute worst symptom I’ve had, terrifying, overwhelming. Just hell. Am 24 now and have been drinking heavily since I was about 19. Four cans of beer a day soon turned into half a bottle of vodka/ hard spirit, then an entire bottle. I could literally get through 75cl – 1L of hard drink a day and no one would suspect a thing.

    Though I’ve had sober periods here and there, have decided it’s now or never I sort this pitiful addiction out, I’ve had many if not all of the symptoms people have mentioned as well. The most startling to me now is the occasional dull pain in my chest I’m getting one week after my last proper drink. It’s reassuring to see at least others have experienced this as well and it should subside and improve along with everything else in the next few days/ weeks/ months/ how ever long it takes.

    Regardless, lesson learned the hard way, praying it’s not too late to reverse the damage and that I can heal, and wish the best to everyone here! My exposure to alcohol may not be quite as severe as some people’s; but have sure been to hell and back a couple of times now. The chest pains, the horrible anxiety, the night sweats, the gory, vivid nightmares that’ll wake you up just as you’re about to fall asleep with a heart-rate that’s through the roof. F*** all of it, single handedly the most terrifying experience of my life so far, and again; hope I can make a full recovery as many of you already have/ are trying to do.

    Thank you everyone for the reassurance!

  • roy September 3, 2016, 1:52 am

    I have sweats for about an hour every morning and sometimes around 5 pm. I quit drinking–except for a glass of wine–5 weeks ago after drinking about 12 ounces of vodka every day for 30 years. How long will I have the sweats?

  • Anonymous September 3, 2016, 4:59 am


  • Jamie September 4, 2016, 12:19 pm

    Day 4 of not drinking and I’m feeling agitated and emotional. I am snapping at my wife and kids for stupid silly things and when I finish ranting at them I feel sad and humiliated that I did it in the first place. I know I have to persevere and fight to move forward and stay sober and be a better man.

    26 years I’ve drank virtually everyday and never thought I could go 4 hours without drinking, never mind 4 days… but reading the comments and finding inspiration from what has been written gives me the willpower to push upward and onward. Thanks guys.

  • Stephanie September 7, 2016, 5:49 pm

    I am choosing not to drink today. I am on day #2. I have been a fairly heavy binge drinker for 22 years now, usually a 12 pack and a few shots within 6 hours at 130 lbs. I always thought I was a fairly functional alcoholic, now that reality is setting in I am realizing that the withdrawals are so much worse than I ever thought they would be. The worst so far is the shakes, anxiety, night sweats, nightmares and insomnia.

    This too shall pass though right? I’m thinking that it is going to take longer to detox that I was hoping now that I am starting to see the repercussions of my actions. I will be attending my 1st A.A. meeting tomorrow with my sponsor. Has anybody else had luck attending meetings and getting help through A.A.? Good luck to everyone else going through what I am right now! Much love.

  • fab September 13, 2016, 8:52 pm

    Man this is so helpful. Everything they mentioned in the article is happening to me right now. I fell in love this summer with a girl and she left like a couple of days ago. I was used to see her everyday and that led to the fact that I had to drink almost everyday heavy drinks to be able to last long in bed (men can relate lol). And after we would go out and I’ll drink more… so the last 3 days I’ve been experiencing so much pain, lack of appetite, nausea, insomnia, depression, mood swings, most of the symptoms they mentioned in this article.

    I’m going through the pain of her leaving, so I wasn’t sure if it was the alcohol or her but I guess her leaving kind of increased the symptoms. I’m glad to see that so many went through this. I was tripping it could be something worse and I hope it’s not the case. Guys we all love to drink and have a good time but lately I’ve made very bad decisions that could not only ruin my life but someone else as well.

    I’m a tough guy but I realized how much it hurts to expose someone especially that matters to you. So please let’s not say that we’ll stop to drink but let’s be more careful and moderate in the way we do it. I appreciate y’all and I hope my message will inspire some the way yours did. Thank you. ☺

  • Jennifer September 20, 2016, 1:29 pm

    Thanks for this helpful article. It provided me with some needed comfort during this hard time. I’m 32 years old. I have been abusing alcohol for past 6-8 years or so. Alcoholism runs in both sides of my family, as does depression and generalized anxiety disorder.

    I began drinking wine to cope with career pressures and stress, and eventually, family/marital problems and then any sort of negative experience. The longest I’ve ever gone since being is 40 days about 4 years ago. Since then I’ve never been able to stop for more than about 2 weeks. I decided to quit for good 23 days ago after I got sick from drinking. I was planning to just dry out for a few days, but I took a hard look at my life and drinking pattern, and decided this was it, this was the end, for good.

    An older friend and mentor had told me a year ago He could see that I was heading down he took at my age, which ended up as full-blown alcoholism, 100 drinks/week and a DUI in his early 60s. I’ve had family and friends die of this disease. I knew I had to deal with it now because it was getting exponentially harder and harder to control with each passing year.

    I’m fortunate to not have suffered much physically from withdrawals, but psychologically it’s been torture. I had intense cravings for the first three weeks, along with irritability, mood swings, lethargy, and dysphoria. Little annoyances that I used to be able to ignore bothered me terribly. I just wanted to avoid people in general. I cried almost every night in bed because I missed drinking so much.

    My psychiatrist prescribed me Wellbutrin in addition to my existing meds (Vyvanse and Lexapro) about a week ago. At the end of the third week, my irritability and cravings started to fade, but the lethargy worsened, and depression set in, the worst depression that I’ve experienced in the past few years. Yesterday, I cried every hour between 5pm and 10pm for no obvious reason.

    The wine bottle was definitely my very best friend, and I miss wine like I’ve lost my best friend. But no matter how hard this is, I’m never going back to drinking, because I never want to relive the struggles of the last few weeks, and I know that if I start drinking again, it will only be harder to quit next time. I want my brain and body to heal from my poisoning it for almost a decade. I feel fortunate I was still able to stop without physical problems; the psychological have been hard enough for me.

    I wish everyone else the best in their efforts to overcome this disease. You are not alone. Take care.

  • Dana September 20, 2016, 2:07 pm

    I have been drinking heavily for years, especially the last 4, and I quit 2 weeks ago. Doing the meetings. Out of the list of withdrawal symptoms above, I have only one: The crawly bug feeling over my entire body. It happens all day long and it is getting really annoying. I keep telling myself that it will go away, but so far it is just getting worse. I should never have got this hooked in the first place. Going to stay strong as long as it takes.

  • Tom September 24, 2016, 8:31 am

    I have drank everyday for the last 10 years, I am 45 and always been a drinker since the first time I got into a pub at 14 years old. I was also a heavy smoker but managed to give up 5 years ago. I have now stopped drinking and am only in day 3 and feel really anxious the same feeling I had when I gave up smoking.

    I have children and hold down a job, no one knows I have a problem not even my wife. I realized I had a problem when I started to hide my empty lager cans from the binmen as I was embarrassed by the amount of empties. I stay away a lot with work and my first thought before I get to the hotel is were to buy lager or spirits from! Well I am now finally admitting to myself that Moobs (man boobs) are not normal and nor is drinking everyday.

    I run most days but today is the first day I will run without alcohol in my system. Hopefully in a few months my Moobs will shrink and I will run faster and longer!

  • Jennifer October 2, 2016, 12:47 am

    Hi I have so enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. My fiancé is an alcoholic and 2 weeks ago he had to go to ER due to severe pain in his stomach. He was diagnosed with pancreatitis and admitted. They immediately started him on the CIWA protocol and was giving him Librium, Ativan, Valium for the detox and morphine for the pain. After 2 days he ended up in the ICU on an Ativan drip for 6 days.

    It is 2 weeks now and he is still in the hospital he is on a psych floor now but severely de conditioned and sedated to the point where he cannot feed himself, walk or use the bathroom on his own. The doctors keep feeding him these benzodiazepines telling me he is still detoxing off alcohol due to confusion and hallucinations. Not to mention he is in restraints.

    I am so scared this is not normal and feel the benzodiazepines are hurting him more than helping. He has detoxed before and had never had delirium tremors and was fine by 1 week. Could the doctors be confusing alcohol withdrawal for benzodiazepine overdosing? I am trying to trust the doctors but it is seeming never ending.

    Now they want him to go to rehab for physical therapy when he gets better because he can no longer walk from being so over sedated and bedridden for 2 weeks. Has anyone ever had experience with this? I cannot believe he walked into the hospital a fully functional man and now he is a vegetable just laying in bed not able to do anything. Please comment if you have any advice and prayers please. Thank you in advance. 💕

  • Faith Heisey October 3, 2016, 3:07 pm

    Working on day 31 haven’t done this in probably 30 years. Proud of myself but the anxiety seems to get worse any suggestions? I am trying really hard.

  • Robert October 4, 2016, 1:41 pm

    I started drinking at 16 years old, and despite some very nasty experiences of utter drunkenness, I always loved the stuff. Then came college, where drinking was socially very accepted, and it was not unusual to go out binge drinking every night. While at first 7-8 beers got me hammered, after several years of that, I required about a dozen high-alcohol pints to become buzzed. This persisted into the years after, until I met my beautiful wife, and binge drinking turned into something you only do sometimes in the weekends, or with friends some evenings here and there.

    But then life changes. Friends go, children come, going out stops, and you “grow up”, gain responsibilities, full-time job, the ow-my-god-love-you-so-much butterflies also wither and die, and with this comes the boredom, the lack of free time, and the frustrations. Still loving to get buzzed more than ever, the opportunities are simply not there so much anymore, so you turn to having a glass of wine in front of the telly every evening. Then two. Then the whole bottle. The wife does not approve at all, as I tend to get a temper when drunk.

    So you “promise” to drink less, to watch out, to not drink to the point of severe mood changes, slurred speech and stumbling around. And then the hiding starts. As she does not like me to drink an entire bottle, you buy your wine in gallon bags in cartons now, as it is easier to take a glass (or 8…) without someone noticing how much has been drunk. The bottles of liquor in the basement also become an interesting target, as you find dozens of reasons to quickly slip into the basement (change the clothes drier, pick up a bottle of milk, “ah forgot the milk, stupid me”), and have a quick sip straight from the bottle.

    You even start to time your groceries: easier to replace empty bottles and wine bags unnoticed when the wife is at work. And I better get some glasses of wine in me before the wife comes home… “no honey I didn’t drink anything yet, must be my deodorant”. Wife goes take a shower, better quickly down some before she returns. Then the discomfort comes, both physical and mental. At that point I am down to half a gallon of wine a day, spiced with some generous gulps of liquor and beer, whatever was available, and every step out of the house with the family was joined by me wondering “where can we get a quick beer?” or “what excuse can I make up to get us into a restaurant or bar, so I can drink something”.

    The first thought when going someplace (festival, family dinner, theater play, movie, anything…) is “yay I have a reason to drink”. Every misfortune, bad-mood-day, small accomplishment, became a reason to drink openly, I had a reason not to have to hide the drinking cause I was celebrating something or sad. Physically, you get used to the hangovers every morning, and driving to work still buzzed from the evening before. Small, nagging pain in the right abdomen which appeared months ago caused me to be anxious about liver problems, but hey, they didn’t get worse, and you get used to anything.

    I developed shaky hands in the morning, afternoon panic attacks, slight agoraphobia, as all of a sudden I cannot have a long conversation with an unfamiliar person without freaking out, and high blood pressure and racing hearth in the morning. But that must all be due to my bad physical condition, or too much coffee, or lack of sleep, or… yeah right. I can tick off every box on the “if you show these symptoms, you might have an alcohol problem” lists, but still wasn’t convinced that there was a problem. I realized these things a couple of weeks ago, and that this was not normal.

    I quit cold turkey 5 days ago, and have promised my wife to not touch a drop of alcohol for one month. I actually plan to quit altogether, but as my wife holds me to my promises, I want an option out. I removed every drop of alcohol from the house, and have told as many people as possible about these plans, so it is harder to back out or fail. But I am so pissed off right now, the slightest argument or wrongly phrased question gets me through the roof. I am also totally sleepy, but when I go to bed I can’t sleep, and see all kinds of colorful kaleidoscope things when I close my eyes.

    I am so dizzy I feel (and look) more drunk than when actually drunk. I am constantly thirsty, and every non-alcoholic drink is so incredibly boring when compared to the real stuff. When I see the bottles of booze in the store, my stomach turns around because of the combined emotions of the urge to drink, and the realization that I HAVE to quit. It hasn’t even been a week yet, and I am already deadly afraid of the coming social interactions and festivities, which all involve copious amounts of alcohol.

    I didn’t really have a point to make with this post, but it is nice to get this off my chest. I have not told this to anyone, and the extent of my alcohol problem is known only to me. I have found enormous positive energy from reading this article and the posts following it, and decided to write my story down and post it as well.

    • Ryan October 6, 2016, 3:15 am

      That was really great to read. I couldn’t agree more with your reasoning. You can be completely drunk, yet you feel more sober than ever. You plan out your next move, when can I sneak a drink…when can I keep myself from thinking of nothing else for just another hour. Alcoholism does so much incredible mental damage to you, but somehow your the only one who doesn’t see it.

      So you get paranoid, and constantly wonder if the people around you are thinking to themselves, “Is this guy drunk”? At least that was one of my main problems. I work in a very close-knit atmosphere and am surrounded by people I know within arms distance at all times. It drove me mad trying to sell the sober guy and not knowing if they were buying.

  • Ryan October 6, 2016, 3:07 am

    It has been nice to find this site and read your stories. I’m currently on day 5 of my fourth major withdrawal, so I certainly went in knowing what I was in for up ahead. I fall into the category of the “Heavy drinker” I suppose. That is to say, I would find myself bringing alcohol to work with me so I could slip out have a couple shots and not yet feel the symptoms kick in.

    I had to have a drink every 2 or 3 hours before I’d feel nauseous and the hands would start shaking. Then go home after work, really hit the bottle hard and pass out, only to wake up 3-4 hours later at 4 in the morning. By then I was even to sober to go back to sleep, so I’d go downstairs and do it all over again before work started the next day. It was an endless cycle of misery that I couldn’t bring myself to leave.

    Anyways, that’s my little story. Like I said I’m on day 5 of what is hopefully the last time. I wouldn’t wish the withdrawals that a several year, all day every day drinker feels on my worst enemy. That said, anyone who reads this, don’t let that detour you. I know it’s easy to hear it eventually gets better and you feel like yourself again. Well, I’m nowhere close to that yet, but I’ve made it in the past, and let me tell you it is worth the pain.

  • Ronnie Lee Reese October 22, 2016, 11:55 am

    I have been a heavy drinker for over twenty years, I got gout so I stopped cold turkey for two days. I though I was going to die. I experienced all the withdrawal symptoms listed on this site. I didn’t know it was so dangerous. I all most passed out in WalMart. My heart was beating out my chest… I thought I was a goner. This site was very helpful. Thank you.

  • Ron October 23, 2016, 4:48 am

    As ever, reading all these posts is a great help and insight into the danger of alcohol. I was drinking heavily, it got a bit out of control and I was in enormous fear that I was an alcoholic. So I stopped, experienced few withdrawals read this article and posts and quietly freaked. Things got better after just a few days and I realized I was near the edge but not suffering as many here have.

    I have thought about this long and hard and reevaluated my life and impulses, and the inner drives behind my propensity to binge drink… vodka my choice of weapon. I looked my inner demon in the eyes and tracked down that voice of compulsion and having done so, I find myself in control. I am very, very lucky.

    I think if I went through another 6 months of blindly drinking I would be very damaged and the physicality of it all would most probably be beyond my control. I have had s go of moderate drinking, and I find I am ok with it… as long as I’m ok with it. That’s the thing isn’t it: staying in control. I think that is ok and good to be very aware of it, as after all, we all stumble blindly on the path of life in anything if we have our eyes closed.

    I think that is a ‘normal’ condition of life? Once again, after reading almost all of these posts again I am definitely lucky and relatively unscathed, and I wish this was the same for those of you who are suffering from the long term and drawn out effects of alcohol. I will keep checking in reading your posts and if I’m well offer support and solace, and if I’m not going do good I’ll do the same.

  • dw October 29, 2016, 12:11 am

    I quit drinking 2 months ago. I drank between 5-8 beers everyday for about 20 years. I decided it was time to stop as I had developed some digestive issues, meaning that my stomach seemed always upset. I wasn’t eating right, in fact, I had recently retired, and often enjoyed a beer with a bag of Cheetos for breakfast. Not a good way to begin the day, so I knew I had to do something.

    I’m 55. I thought maybe my alcohol consumption might have a role in my issues, so I stopped drinking. I set a date on the calendar, and I quit cold turkey. After four days, I ended up in the ER with a huge spike in my blood pressure. My heart was beating out of my chest, I was nauseated, and thought I was having a heart attack. They did a ton of blood work and it was all perfect.

    They could not determine what was wrong with me, but it wasn’t a heart attack. The fact that I had stopped drinking never entered my mind until my husband brought it up on the way home from the ER. I’m writing this to let everyone know it took a full 2 months for me to feel normal again. I even had issues with very low blood sugar, likely because I had no appetite. That has also resolved.

    I’ve lost 16 pounds (that’s the best part) and while I wasn’t overweight, I look better overall I believe, due to not drinking. ALL of my digestive issues have resolved, and it was completely worth the misery. It got worse before it got better, but hang in there. It was worth it! One thing to add…the anxiety was horrible. That has also resolved.

    It was very hard to keep telling myself that I would get better. That was probably the worst part. I’m determined to stay away from alcohol, and the best advice I can offer is if you are going through this, find something you are able to eat and eat it. I was pretty sick for about three weeks, but finally, it resolved. I just added this post because I realized I had left out the worst part, about the anxiety. Blessings to all

  • Salvador Alonzo Galvan October 29, 2016, 1:29 pm

    Mine is quite the dilemma. I’ve been drinking heavily since I was 16 and am now 40. Probably good for 3 bottles of wine per day or more. My health is getting to be awful. The real problem in addition to my Alcoholism is that I am a wine maker and own a winery. I have Thousands of bottles of wine of my own and that I collect. I work as a consultant for other wineries and have days where I have to taste as much as 200 samples.

    Starting my company has been very stressful and have found my self not spitting as much drinking more and more. Then I pour myself a glass whenever I want, because I can. My wife is amazing and has put up with a lot for the last 18 years even though drinking has caused most of our problems. She helps me run the business and has a part time job, but our winery is about 90% of our income.

    Yesterday was the first day I only had 2 sips a client asked to try. Going to do a 10 day or so tapering, but really difficult with my situation. Don’t really know what to do after. I have my wife and wonderful employees I am responsible for their livelihoods. Going to make an appointment with my doctor GP who is aware of situation. Positive thoughts.

  • Sally October 30, 2016, 12:22 am

    Hi, My husband is 50, he has been a heavy drinker for most of his adult life. He has been drinking 12 to 18 beers daily for the past 15 years. He generally starts drinking at 4 pm and at 8pm he is pretty much done and passed out on the couch. On weeks ends he started at 11 or 12. He is also a smoker. Over the past few months he has been complaining frequently about pins and needles, circulation problems and ED.

    Typically we didn’t go a day without fighting and always around the 3rd hour of drinking. A couple of weeks ago while walking he fell. Said his leg just gave in. Then a week later he had what I believe to be a TIA. Collapsed at around 7pm after about 8 beers. He couldn’t feel his legs or move them for about 2 hours. His body went into a spasm. He was in and out of consciousness. Could hardly talk.

    We called ambulance, took him to the hospital. Ran all the tests. ECG, MRI, blood tests, X-rays, blood pressure etc. he was very dehydrated. Some minor inconsistencies, cholesterol Just slightly high and ECG had a warning of fascicular block. Doctors said it wasn’t a stroke or heart attack. But he said that it was most likely brought on by too many stimulants, alcohol, energy drinks, coffee and smoking. He stopped drinking immediately and that was 12 days ago.

    He has had headaches, but not too severe and seems to sweat a little more. We are giving him cannabis oil twice daily (2 drops morning and 5 in the evening). He is very calm. He wishes for a beer, but shows no outward signs of any major discomfort or unusual behavior. I am hoping that it will continue with such ease but I am trying to learn as much as possible so that I can recognize problems he may be experiencing that may be associated with him coming off of the alcohol.

    Can anyone confirm if it will become more difficult in the coming weeks/months or is the worst already over? Also let me know what I can do to make this as easy as possible for him. On a last note. The past 12 days have been amazing. I always knew that the drinking was a major influence on our marriage and triggered all the fighting, but I had no idea how bad it was until he stopped. He is so kind and so much happier.

    We are no longer walking on egg shells and afraid to talk in case something we say gets taken the wrong way. Most of our fighting while he was drinking was sudden outbursts as if someone had literally Flipped a switch and he would go from happy to mad without any warning or reason. Thank you to everyone on this site. I have learnt a lot already. I look forward to hearing your advice.

    • Gman December 2, 2016, 3:27 am

      Sally – the EASY part is the acute withdrawal symptoms. The hard part is keeping it going once the acute phase has passed. Given his length of drinking and possible health consequences (and psychological withdrawal), I would suggest an outpatient rehab program. They can monitor his vitals too.

  • Shelly November 1, 2016, 5:07 am

    I am currently struggling with cutting down/quitting. I love my job, I love my family, and I want to quit drinking. I’ve been to the hospital and told them I’m an alcoholic. I’m going to a cardiologist next week. Tonight, I had to leave work early because my palpitations were so bad, I was dizzy, lightheaded and out of breath. I have a strong work ethic and it took me a half hour to decide I was useless at work until I could get it under control.

    I know the reason I had issues was because I tried to cut down too quickly and the symptoms arose earlier than they would normally. I feel bad, because I left my co-worker to deal with the kitchen close that really takes two people to do. I’ve been to the hospital and confessed that I’m an alcoholic…all they did was a few tests and prescriptive valium to ‘take the edge off’. It doesn’t really help.

    I’ve been an alcoholic for many years now and it’s gotten to a daily large consumption over the past couple of years. I want to quit or at least cut down to social amounts…but every time I try, this happens to me. So now I’m going to take the advice of this article and cut down slowly…something has to work!

    • Gman December 2, 2016, 2:53 am

      Shelly – one day at a time. The secret is that you won’t drink in the now. Don’t even think about tomorrow or the future. You might drink tomorrow but not now. And not now, and not now.

  • Devin November 4, 2016, 4:30 am

    I’m currently on day 4, after several attempts before going cold turkey. I lasted a month earlier this year, but experienced a ton of insomnia, nightmares, hallucinations and vomiting -compounded by what I think was a bleeding ulcer. Psychotherapy can help – I had to stop to a layoff, but even a few sessions can help.

    I can’t stress enough how important it is to see an addiction specialist. Mine found out I’m comorbid with bipolar disorder. Medication for that (lamictal) helps reduce cravings a lot, though the habitual “just one won’t hurt” thing came up. That always let right back to daily drinking and frequent binges. It led me to lose a girlfriend I loved daily and it took a few months, but not remembering 75% of the things we did, which was the motivation.

    So far all I’ve had are the itching, diarrhea, nightmares. Insomnia and tremors I’m used to, had both long before I started drinking. Just take it a day at a time. Don’t blame yourself for times you failed before, they don’t matter. Forget that, focus on this this attempt; it will get better.

  • Eric November 14, 2016, 10:54 pm

    Keep up the good work everyone! 16 years old to 32, beer to scotch and back again. 3 to 5 a night and more on the weekends. Kids forced me to slow down and I kicked it all over a year ago cold turkey. Lost over 10 lbs of water retention weight in the first two weeks.

    Funny thing is I have dreams about partying and wake up with a hangover in my dream and am so mad at myself. Then I really wake up and enjoy my life. Alcohol doesn’t have to be a way of life. Now that you’ve woke up enjoy your new way of life.

  • Gman December 2, 2016, 2:50 am

    The best thing about stopping drinking (I binged for 15 years) is that you get Spidey senses. Your CNS has been depressed for so long your body has overcompensated. When you remove alcohol, every feeling is enhanced for awhile while your body re-calibrates. Actually, forever, I still feel the difference.

  • David December 9, 2016, 6:48 pm

    Hi I’m David… I’m 39 now and been drinking heavy for bout 10 years. But about 5/6 ago began heavy. I could sink a bottle of Havana rum in one night and then go straight to work the next day without a hangover. But that wasn’t every night. Now I have started having binges where I will bunk off work for 3 weeks and just sit at home for 24 hours a day.

    I’d go to the shop and buy a bottle of vodka a bottle of wine and 4 cans a day. Bad I know. I have had a liver check not long back and it came back fine. How I do not know. I gave up about 4 months ago and went through some pretty horrible 5 days. Then I went to Peru about 7 weeks ago. got on the beers and then when I got home I hit it hard again. For like 4 weeks.

    I’m just coming off now using Diazepam and not drinking at all. I had cut down a little before start the Diazepam. Feel dizzy. Sweaty. I’m just scared of the DT’s and having a seizure.. Feel like crap and am never doing this again. I haven’t got the trembles anymore after taking the medication. Hoping it keeps the seizures away and the DT’s.

    See how it goes. I’ve had a full day without alcohol and I know the bad parts can kick in after 48/72 Hopefully the medication is stopping the gaba or whatever it is kicking me in… trying to stay hydrated and minerals. Fingers crossed

  • L s December 10, 2016, 1:07 pm

    It’s a good read article… I’ve been drinking intermittently for the last 7-8 years. But I’m a heavy drinker and I’ll consume a whole bottle of 750 ml whisky a day. Sometimes I continue this for 5-7 days without a break. You see whenever I stop cold turkey, the withdrawal begins with a heavy sweat, all day all night, for 3-4 days.

    Insomnia would follow and fatigue and blurred vision is one factor beside nightmares and sense of fright. Nausea and stomach upset is a common experience. Appetite maybe build at later stage around 3-4 days after withdrawal along with nausea still on. Sometimes I recover from it by taking
    medication and it took me around 7-10 days to almost fully recover.

    Other times I would take more than 2-3 weeks to land myself at normal ground… lots of fruit drinks and periodical sip of water is necessary and food diet of cereal origin is stomach friendly, though heavy meal is impossible to take during withdrawal due to nausea. Small amount of diet in small intervals is helpful… Eventually withdrawal symptoms wean off.

  • MANC December 17, 2016, 9:27 pm

    I’m 26 and have had issues with alcohol in the past. Sometimes I can drink socially, within moderation. Other times (most of the time) I like to drink way more than I should. Started daily drinking at the start of summer, anywhere from 3 to 8 beers a night.

    In the past 1/1.5 months I’ve moved on strictly to hard alcohol. Anywhere from 5-15 shots per day. This week I went on a 2-3 day bender. Getting drunk all day, blacking out at night.

    I puked Thursday night after drinking all day, blacked out, and somehow ended up in my bed. Woke up Friday morning at 5 AM, entire body was shaking/having spasms. Took a shot and it calmed everything down for about 5 hours.

    Around 10 AM I got extremely anxious, heart was beating fast, felt light-headed, and nauseous. I decided to take a shot to curb these symptoms. I took 3 more shots, one every hour or so. This helped to calm the withdrawal.

    I stopped drinking around 2 PM Friday. The symptoms weren’t getting worse, and I didn’t even want the shot. I probably would’ve thrown it up anyways. I didn’t eat a thing the whole day, was too nauseous. I drank a lot of water and gatorade though, and took multivitamins.

    It’s been over 24 hours since my last drink. I feel better today. Was able to eat real food. I got outside and worked around the yard. However I know that serious symptoms commonly occur 48-72 hours after the last drink, which makes me nervous. Thanks for the stories.

  • Benny January 2, 2017, 3:58 pm

    I’m off one month after 20 years of heavy drinking and some drugs. If anyone is reading this and thinking about quitting, see a doctor first, don’t feel embarrassed, everything is confidential in most cases (work insurance disclosure laws differ). Cold turkey might kill you or at the very least cause great distress. I nearly bit the tip off my tongue and lips, not a pretty sight. I thought I was out of the woods, 4 days off, and then suddenly, bam! Serious DT’s. Get some medical help.

  • Jenny1971 January 3, 2017, 10:14 pm

    I have been a heavy drinker of Turkey 101 (usually a pint a day) during the week and more on weekends for about 3 years now. I went two days this past weekend without a drink and I ended up in the hospital with spiked blood pressure and numbness in my left arm and a very bad headache. The doctors ran a CT scan of the brain and did not find anything.

    I have had high blood pressure since I was 23 and I am now 45. I guess what I am trying to figure out is did this episode happen because of abruptly stopping the drinking. I have been doing the research on cold turkey stopping and I do believe I will try to taper instead of cold turkey.

  • Rick January 5, 2017, 6:00 am

    Day…I’m not sure! Must be about 6…? Ok, 37 years in UK… sixteen years of drinking beer and gin to excess… attempting to cover the fact I’m probably, in all likelihood, bi-polar. I’m also ASD… mild Asperger. Effects from withdrawal: insomnia the worst without doubt and general sleep disturbance, also apathy, fits of crying and moments of hopelessness (oh joy).

    I quit smoking too but I had one earlier and I don’t feel guilty… one vice at a time! I’ll eventually stop that too… I’m running and playing football (soccer) which helps. And my thoughts are of determination and (almost angry) resolve. So stick with it guys and girls.

  • James January 10, 2017, 9:34 pm

    I’m on day 6 of cold turkey – alcohol, marijuana, nicotine and MDMA, which I was taking increasingly frequently – 3/4nights a week – to self-medicate (it also had the dangerous effect of giving me a huge appetite for alcohol/weed). I had some kind of seizure on Thursday night which scared me into stopping everything completely. I’ve been feeling dizzy and disconnected ever since, suffering from greatly increased anxiety and insomnia.

    On day four I also added violent vomiting to the night time anxiety – that was a pretty dark, sleepless night! I allowed myself half a cigarette last night to see if it calmed me (thought maybe I was cutting out too much at once). It may be coincidence but I did sleep better last night, so I’m gonna keep the cigarettes to a bare minimum and cut them out completely when the other side-effects reduce.

    The most worrying thing for me – apart from passing out with a loud metallic pulsing noise in my ears and blurred hallucinations – has been the constant dizziness, my limbs feel a slightly alien to me, like my brain is somehow a little disconnected. I feel constantly spaced out despite nearly a week free of toxins. I was really worried I’d done some permanent damage to my brain. Reading these accounts has calmed me somewhat – I just need to stick with it and hopefully the fog will lift soon.

    On the plus side, I’m a musician and writer and I’ve been super productive creatively since giving it all up. I haven’t really been able to leave the house but I have written more in the the past six clean days than I did in the past six months of spiraling alcohol and drug use. So, I’m feeling positive about this whole process, despite going a little stir-crazy! Good luck everyone!

  • Tom January 15, 2017, 8:18 am

    About 25 year casual drinker. Like the red wine. Long story, try to be short. Most of experiences talked about in the comments I had. Never made the connection between my drinking and anxiety/panic attacks. What motivated me to stop? First of all I stopped after what I thought was a afib, but in reality was a Panic attack. Had steady even fast HB, and a heck of a lot of anxiety.

    To answer why I stopped. I stopped because I was sick and tired, and mad about suffering through anxiety. I had stress, I had work and family stress. Still do. But now. 20 months after quitting. It’s like the peace I had as a young boy. That’s priceless.

    I quit cold turkey alcohol, coffee, and soda. Through trial and error I tried many different natural remedies. What I recommend. “Bliss” from Market America for low points. Not for everyday. Take Magnesium / Potassium supplements. Work out, pray everyday. I’m grateful for Peace. Sometimes we forget what that felt like.

  • Chris B January 20, 2017, 3:45 pm

    I’m 47. Reside in the UK and have been a heavy drinker for 10+ years started from living in Hong Kong and China in my late 20’s when it was work hard. Party harder. The last 12 months were probably the worst in terms of consumption. Every morning I would wake up with the shakes and my anxiety would just grow throughout the day until I got home.

    Would go straight to the pub and would sink 3-4 double scotches just to actually stabilize and lose the shaking / anxious feelings. I would then pick up half a bottle, weekends a bottle on the way home and drink until I passed out. Any stress situations such as work or dealing with my ex would just make the anxiety worse and trigger the booze flow.

    Over the course of the last 12 months I noticed I would make any excuse to work from home and I noticed I would start on the scotch earlier and earlier in the day to the point I was doing a couple of shots the moment my wife left for work at 07.45 AM just to ease the anxiety and calm the shaking. Just before New Year I suffered a massive panic attack induced by my blood pressure being 220/112 (All down to booze – I eat a healthy diet).

    This is stroke / heart attack territory. On the back of this I was given a liver function test. It came back at 238 when a normal functioning liver is around 60. I stopped drinking 17 days ago. The first 5 days were probably the worst of my life. I couldn’t stop sweating particularly at night. I had no appetite and when I did force something down me it would come straight back up.

    I don’t think I slept at all for the first 5-7 nights and my mood was terrible. My whole body ached. I was convinced the house was infested by flies as I constantly saw black dots flying around. Of course there weren’t any flies. All in the mind. After 7 days I noticed my overall mood improving as my sleep improved. My appetite has now returned with a vengeance.

    I am constantly hungry even 5 mins after a large meal. However my productivity at work has shot up. The days go by much quicker as I no longer constantly think about having or where my next drink is coming from. I feel and look 100% better. friends and colleagues have commented on this and it is a massive boost.

    I’m still taking each day at a time. I am pleased to say my blood pressure (with medication) is averaging around 130/90 and I have my next blood test for liver function at the end of FEB so I do have some incentive to keep on the path. I have got through this one because of the health incentive but also in my mind I can have a drink whenever I like.

    No one can stop me. However today I’m choosing not too! I have felt like I have lost 10 years however I haven’t and there is no point beating yourself up about stuff when you were drinking. Just look forward and take each day at a time. Good luck to all.

  • Brian January 27, 2017, 12:09 am

    Sometimes its just better to bite the bullet and go through a medical detox and then a rehab program. I was a heavy vodka drinker for about 20 years. I tried quitting on my own and just couldn’t. Then my brother and sister did an intervention and got me into a rehab hospital. The doctor said they almost lost me during the detox.

    I don’t remember it. They put me to sleep for I think it was 4 or 5 days. When I came to, the real work began and I spent 20 days locked up in therapy with drug addicts and drunks. The support was great. It turned out to be a very positive experience. I slipped and started drinking a little wine here and there about a year ago but decided to give it up on my own.

    My point is if you have good medical insurance and can take the time away from your family (you aren’t allowed visitors where I was) then go to a good rehab facility. They might just save your life. Addiction sucks.

  • gaz January 27, 2017, 11:03 am

    49 year old male. Always been a “drinker” – recently (last 2 years) bottle of vodka daily. Lost my uncle in his prime and that seemed to teach me life is precious. On day 4 of 1 drink a day (tapering on docs advice). Headaches, uncontrollable shaking and sweats that leave me soaking in bed. Oddly though I feel I am in control and this is necessary to get me where I want to be.

    I don’t want to give a sob story but I was a victim of sexual abuse, lost a child, girlfriend, job, house (way of life I guess). Anyway point is I can’t do anything about yesterday, but can do something about tomorrow. P.S. Get a dog! You have no idea the proven medical advantages both physical and mental. Love you all.

    • LN March 13, 2017, 11:31 pm

      I couldn’t agree more about getting a dog! I am on Day three, and it’s been the toughest one yet. Like my brain is letting me know I’m in for a long, increasingly-difficult fight before it gets any better. The only way I’m making it through this day is every time I think I’m about to give in, I grab my dog and take her for a walk out in the sunshine.

      Three walks so far today, she sure doesn’t mind! I’m still dizzy and suffering from brain fog (this is a horrific struggle since I work as a lecturer), but really no worse than working with a bad hangover, which was a fairly regular thing for the past 8 years. I still can’t believe no one noticed that I’ve been basically drunk for 8 years straight with little windows of sobriety here and there (longest I went without a drink was a week; more than two days in a row without a drink was VERY rare).

      How on earth did I raise two kids by myself, earn a PhD, get a job, get re-married, and maintain a close and supportive relationship with my family and NO ONE EVER KNEW that I was failing to control my drinking every single day? Why did I have to be so good at hiding a two-bottle-of-wine-daily habit? I’m scared and excited about figuring out what the sober me is going to be like.

      I want to cry with relief when I think about not having to hide in shame anymore, to pretend I’m not 4-6 glasses in while making dinner and then helping with homework. In some ways, I think these horrible withdrawal symptoms are keeping me on point. Every blast of vertigo reminds me that even one sip is going to send me right back to square one, and I’ll have to go through all of this again. Good luck everyone!!

  • John February 6, 2017, 6:52 am

    Day 7, after multiple attempts, think I might have to change circles of some mates that could take me back. Just getting dizziness and at times anxiety, headaches, I don’t want to go back. I want to do a month at a time. I wish I read about tapering off if it takes the edge off. I didn’t know cold turkey was bad.

    I’m at a loss now of staying on track or to taper. Tomorrow’s day 8 think my minds set on no booze. I am not a fan of GP’s and have had bad experiences before so am doing it alone. I have been a heavy drinker from teen years up to 7 days ago. Fingers crossed, and good luck to everyone else. We can all do it.

  • Anton March 2, 2017, 10:04 pm

    2 months sober now and feel like s**t. Been a heavy drinker since the teens, 52 now so 30 odd years. 1st month was OK and at first I thought that it would be easy, but at week 5 and on I have experienced several of the symptoms of PAWS. They have been showing up in phases, headache, fatigue, red blotchy palms, feeling of high blood pressure, tinnitus, low self esteem, loss of appetite, brain fog, dizziness, does the list ever end? And now the itching has started. Why the delay?

    I’m scared s**tless that I may have damaged my health permanent. Went to the docs and had my blood work done, and the results were fine. Didn’t expect that! I let the doc know that I had lined my days quite heavy with alcohol so he knew what to look for. Felt really good about telling him that I have/had a drinking problem. Anyway, the anxiety is tremendous.

    I have great support and I love everything in my life so I know I will make it. I just hate feeling this bad and don´t know what to do about my fear of chronic liver damage. Googling symptoms doesn’t help… damn red palms… Anyway, thank you all for sharing your experiences, they do help in a way.

  • Jane March 28, 2017, 5:48 pm

    This article is very helpful. I am a 44 year old female. I’ve given up alcohol for 16 days now. Wondered what was going on with my mind and body. The first week I was not too bad. Then I felt like my sugar levels dropped and I needed sugar all the time. Guess it was from not getting sugar from alcohol. Bought some vitamin-rich, low calorie breakfast style biscuits to get through this craving for sugar.

    Then I had nightmares and weird dreams. That was exhausting. Then I had stomach upset for days. Then a heavy feeling in my chest and my scalp became very itchy. 16 days in – that’s all gone. Now I just have chronic tiredness and my skin seems to be erupting – not too bad – just I always had clear skin and my eyes seem very sensitive too. I feel I could sleep for a year.

    I’ve felt like getting a nice bottle of chilled wine from the supermarket many times and do crave the taste and feel of alcohol. But I’m not giving up. I’m staying sober. So far my moods are so much better- none of the extreme highs or lows I got from drinking. I’m far more patient. I’m getting through this by walking lots, drinking plenty of water, eating good food, getting in to reading and pilates and improving my finances and health.

    I’ve found that doing projects that require focus and/or learning a new skill take my mind off alcohol – this has been the best solution for me. Already £70 better off and I seem to be gaining loads of extra hours in my life. I’m determined to do it, as I know my body is trying so hard to repair itself. My advice is to treat yourself like a baby, that needs loads of physical and emotional care and certainly no alcohol or junk food.

    I stopped watching news and instead started reading more. I also sat with friends that had 6 pints or more whilst I drank sparkling mineral water. Was amazing to come away with a clear head and no need to put anything off whilst my hangover or drinking blur subsided and I didn’t do the bar shuffle or the zig zag walk home.

    I’m attending a wedding in about two months and I’ll be doing that sober. Stick with it and you’ll find out you are much stronger than you realize. Also great to know that my decisions come from my true self and not from chemicals in alcohol messing with my brain. It’s freedom.

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