Monday, 9 March 2015

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Before I started on this path (exactly one week ago - yay!) I Googled 'alcohol withdrawal symptoms' and I got loads of scary stuff about DTs and seizures. Now, in my many attempts to 'moderate' I've given up drinking for days at a time and never had 'the shakes', despite drinking an average of one and a half bottles of wine a day, so those information sites didn't really help me. What I wanted to know is what myriad of more minor symptoms a heavy drinker like me could expect in the first week or so. So, if any of you are wondering the same thing, here's my answer:

1. Exhaustion. Getting to sleep can be a bit of a challenge as I'm kind of used to an anaesthetic to help me drift off, but once asleep I'm out for the count - just like my children. No more endless waking up in the middle of the night to drink water and wee. No more tossing and turning while wrestling the demons. Seven hours of uninterrupted sleep. You'd think, then, that I'd be filled with boundless energy. Not so! I feel like I've been run over by a truck! I have to have catch up naps in the afternoon like a toddler. I imagine it's a result of my body using up all its energy repairing the damage I've done over a long period of time, so I'm just indulging it.

2. Irritability. A bit like PMT. Particularly when I'm exhausted (see above!), or wrestling with a craving, I can snap. It struck me yesterday, however, that I used to be exactly the same (if not worse) after a couple of glasses of vino, it's just that now I'm aware that I'm doing it and I feel awful about it. When I was drunk I'd feel justified (for whatever warped reason I'd invented) in being cross. Now I say sorry.

3. Mucus. Weird. Constantly running nose. I see it as a tap draining off the toxins. Nice, huh?

4. Constipation. Sorry, but it has to be said. Apparently it's a result of your poor, endlessly dehydrated body desperately trying to catch up on water.

5. Weight gain. Where is the logic (or fairness) in that? By my reckoning, I was drinking about 900 calories a day. Plus, whenever I drank all my willpower disappeared, so I 'd polish off a bar of chocolate. And everyone knows that the best way to cure a hangover (apart from more alcohol!) is binging on carbohydrates. But, one week in and I weigh more! My assumption is that it's down to the dehydration/rehydration thing again. Despite the weight gain I am able to do the belt up an extra notch, so I do reckon (hope!) that it's water not fat. I'll keep you posted on this one, because I am totally expecting to be size zero by the end of the year ;-).

6. Concentration. This is the biggie! No concentration. None. Nada. Zip. All I can think about it not drinking. It goes round and round in my head. And it strikes me that part of the reason I drank so frequently and so much is to shut the voice in my head up. I suspect that we 'alcohol dependants' (I still struggle with the word alcoholic) are often people with over active thoughts who are just looking for a little peace. But now all those thoughts are back. And they have only one thing to chat about - MORE BOOZE.

So, this blog is really helping me, just in terms of getting the thoughts out of my head and onto paper (screen) instead.

I'd love to hear about your alcohol withdrawal symptoms, and to any of you who have taken the time to read this: thank you. x

14 comments:

  1. I put on weight too!! So annoying! But think mine was due to the fact that I developed a very sweet tooth....I can consume a large bag of mini eggs no problem! But as I see it I will address that in the future, for now my main objective is to knock the booze on the head. After drinking 1-3 bottles of wine every night for at least the last 5 years, I have now been sober for 5 weeks!!! Have taken up Pilates, tea drinking and chocolate guzzling instead - 2 out of 3 ain't bad?!

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    1. Hi Emily! Great to hear from you, and WELL DONE ON 5 WEEKS! You rock! Apparently, developing a sweet tooth is really common as wine is packed with sugar, so we miss it. I've been trying to stick to fruit as much as possible, but have developed a major obsession with hot chocolate! Please stay in touch, and good luck!

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    2. Thanks and all the best to you. Your latest blog was extremely honest - well done xx

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  2. "A little peace." Oh yes, that's it. In the middle of all of the working and children and television and making lunches for tomorrow and tea for tonight and the chaos that surrounds me, a little bit of peace and quiet. Pilates and yoga are brilliant. Also chamomile teas and solitaire on my phone and lavender oil on my pillow and sometimes just saying sod it, we're eating out of a tin. Pick a tin, people, Mummy is done.

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  3. Has anyone experienced low grade headaches for days ?

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    1. Headaches - yes. Now at Day 6 and I have had a constant headache and also the need to nap all the time. I'm now going to bed before my 10 year old! Love this blog.

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    2. Stick with it RD! I remember that tiredness! Think what damage we must have done to make our bodies so totally exhausted! It's a sign that you are totally doing the right thing ;-)

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  4. Day 1 was miserable went to bed 9pm tossed n turned all night feel like I've been hit by a bus day 2 wasn't much better found your blog as I was looking for alcohol withdraw systems,so glad I found you're blog

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    1. I hope you're ok Laura! Stick with it, and e-mail me if you want any help! Love SM x

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  5. This Blog is great, thank you!... I've been starting to loose motivation...I'm on day 10 and feeling shit!
    weight gain, emaotional, knackered...your blog has made me feel better in realising all thats normal...thank you. <3

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  6. Im loving your blog, thank you!

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  7. Quite an informative post regarding alcohol withdrawal symptoms. My sister took her husband to one of good opopiate detox norfolk clinic couple of months ago. Got to know about them online. He not only quitted alcohol but has regained a good health. Thinking of suggesting to same to my neighbor as he is looking for best addiction counselling center.

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  9. Great post. I personally experienced the withdrawals as well.

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