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Readers Respond: What Were Your Toughest Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms and How Did You Cope?

Responses: 12862


Updated September 22, 2012

Remembering what we are leaving behind

Reading your stories, those starting out and those reaping the benefits, it is clear to me how important it is to stay close to this site. After 10 weeks and beating the worst, I've landed in "just the one to see how it feels" territory.. but all it takes is one to be back where we started from, and the battle to get here is too hard won to throw away. Once past the first couple of weeks there is elation, physical restoration is underway, the most amazing gifts sobriety gives start to grow. No more physical cravings but that mental voice is a real b**ch, its subtle and manipulative and it changes form every time you say no! Wow! Talk about persistence! @Marilyn, your message to bullet is spot on.
—Guest Louise

Day 2

I have been drinking on and off for twelve years. It has now starting affecting me physically with a swollen stomach and dry skin. This is the first time I've made it through day 2 in 3 months. My toughest symptoms are insomnia, severe anxiety and shaking. I am coping by reading this site so keep posting everyone, also trying to distract myself when I get a craving.
—Guest slimkim

To: Kate

In my findings tapering my drinking did not help. I had to look at my life and what part drinking played a role in it. Was I able to manage my life when drinking? If I had to taper or stop was not the question. It was about my actions. Was I happy with my drinking, could I drink like others, was it effecting my family, my job, my health and my happiness? Was I only happy when I was smashed? I was never able to just have 2 or 4 drinks, I had to get to a place where I was out of control and make excuses for why I drank to much. Alcohol is just a side effect of why I was drinking. I was either addiction or I had emotional problems I did not want to face. Either way I had to face the fact that drinking didn't fix anything. I had to choose me or drinking and I knew that would be a tough choice. All the support in the world would not help me if I kept denying that drinking was a huge part of my problem. Keep reading and see that when your done drinking you have to be done. Hug Clue


I drink a 1.75 L weekly, I feel like I need it for relaxation when I get off work, but deep down I know I need to stop for my sons, Im in tears now while Im writing this, after reading all the responses. It feels like its the only thing that helps me go to sleep, sad I know, but that's where I'm at..I would like to thank you all for your support. Beloved
—Guest Beloved

Wide awake

It's 2am and I still can't sleep my body twitching hot and cold sweats. This is only day 2. I think it's going to be a rough few weeks, months or years maybe but I am determined to do it.
—Guest Angelina

My Story

I have been reading your stories all day. My husband called me an alcoholic last nite. I am or was till today. I am very determined to break the habit. I would wake up have one and still be drinking at nite. Have a business from home so that made it easy to do. Was grateful for all the honest stories out there. Thanks I will read more everyday.
—Guest Angelina

Beautiful Alcoholic

I was drinking every other day (flavored vodka and water), then the headaches got more intense so I drank more to get rid of them. Then one day at work I started having a feeling that overcame my entire body, it felt like I was about to have a seizure, I couldn't think straight and when I looked in the mirror I could only see half of my face (it was very scary)...turned out I was having visual hallucinations. My husband rushed me to the ER. I was about to die. They injected me with tranxene (a benzo). It put me to sleep for a few hours, when I woke up, I was sore but knew God gave me a second chance. Keep drinking and is not the alcohol that will KILL you, it's the withdrawals that will. Ask any doctor.
—Guest lora

All that matters is your next day.

Chinese say thousand mile journey starts with one step. You have to take that first step. Even Jesus fell, once. Twice. You either want real peace or phony peace. That's it. And real peace is real work. I hope I, and you, can achieve it. Peace and love and I mean it, Alphonse
—Guest Alphonse

Wet dry

First of all, I want to thank everyone for posting. I have been reading a little each day to keep me going. It has been 5 days since my last period of heavy drinking. I have these periods of heavy drinking, then something bad happens, and then I'm dry for a while. The night of my latest drink can be described as, for lack of a more horrible word, HELL. First of all, I could not sleep for a number of reasons: first, I would twitch randomly and my heart was pounding erratically. I went through bouts of hot and cold. But the worst was seeing shadows in the dark that seemed to move. It was so terrifying. When I would close my eyes, I would see terrifying images that would shift from image to image that seemed to be projected on the inside of my eyelids. The final scary withdrawal symptom was that I think would stop breathing for a short period of time and the gasp for air. I quit cold turkey and It took me about 4 days to actually feel somewhat normal again. Can't keep doing this.
—Guest Erik


I am currently 7 weeks sober. I'm 27 and had been drinking regularly for the past 11 years. The past 2 years were the worst for me drinking 6-7 days a week and heavily on the weekends. It would be normal for me to drink a case of beer and a fifth almost every weekend. I just thought it was no big deal that I just had a higher tolerance than everyone. I was getting drunk like all my friends I was the calm one. Then last summer after a night of drinking from 8am to 5am the next at a bachelor party I came home and played with my kids and laid down for nap. Heart started racing, couldn't breath, sweating, and shaking. Went to the ER and was told in front of my mom and wife that I was having alcohol withdrawals. NEVER felt so low in my life. For once I wasn't being selfish and thought about my family and all the great things that god has giving me in my life and how I had just pushed it all to the side for alcohol. Everyday I look at my wife and kids and just FOCUS on all I have to live for
—Guest Derek

Re: Is it to late for me?

He'll no. It(for me) was 7 days of hell after my last sip. Days 1&2 were a piece of cake. Had trouble sleeping that night, woke up with what seemed like a 3 day old hangover day three and then that night was brutal. I'd recommend sending your wife to your gp for a few artisans or any light benzo for 3 & 4. And remember it feeds off night(when you drink) Then day 5 and you're done! It will still leave you groggy for a few, but I never craved since. Sober since 2012.
—Guest Matt

To: Keep Trying

We have the same quit date March 2nd, I would be interested in a support group too. I have been going through various symptoms in the past 12 days. Seems like something different everyday. I am extremely anxious and paranoid. Every time I have a symptom I look it up on the internet and am convinced I am dying. I am very scared that I have done permanent damage to my insides and am scared to go to the doctor to find out. I will be getting blood tests done April 10th which will be almost 6 weeks alcohol free. I am praying my tests come out ok.
—Guest Wine lover

New to me

I've been up all night reading your notes. I'm trying really hard to taper and become an occasional social drinker. If I can't, I'll have to quit all together. I admire all of you and am praying for all of us. I guess if I have any advice it would be to find help and support for the physical and emotional turmoil. It may not come from the sources you want it to come from but keep searching until you find it. And believe that you are worth it. And YOU deserve to be happy. I know this is easier said than done. God Bless
—Guest Kate

To: winelove

Yes all that you spoke about is common when going through withdrawals. My concern is that your symptoms usually are in the beginning. I would say to give your doctor a call, something more be going on. We put our bodies through hell but surprisingly enough we bounce back pretty quick. For me I could not believe how my skin change and the hardness in my face softened. The best part was not having bruises, cuts and blackouts! Be strong you can do this! Hugs Clue.

To: belfastD

My first thoughts are have you seen a doctor. I know it feels shameful to tell anyone you think you have a drinking problem. The fact is that Doctors are there to help even alcoholics. Why suffer if it can be easier? I commend you with quitting drinking for your family. I do feel if you really want to find sobriety you must do it for yourself then others will benefit and truly give you the support you will need. Getting sober starts with you wanting a better life and you wanting and willing to take this really tough journey. It will be a life changing event learning why you drank and how to be happy with out drinking. I found much help from AA because I could not do it alone. It was a great feeling to be with people that know what I was going through and the shame and guilt I had. I suggest that you have a strict plan that has lots of structure and to keep as busy as you can. I wish you much courage and determination because I know you can do this. Hugs Clue

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What Were Your Toughest Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms and How Did You Cope?

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