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

Responses: 7810


Updated April 10, 2014

Still Getting There

It's really hard not drinking because I feel kind of strange like I've lost something out of my life. Today I went for a walk to get rid of the hyperactive feeling. I also stay up much later at night so I can manage to sleep without the grog. I'm still getting cravings but I think it's more to do with feeling anxious. The best thing is all the money I'm saving and being able to cook a decent meal at night as I'm not half cut at teatime and disinterested in eating. Also not waking up wondering who I abused the night before.

Day 6. So thankful for this site

So I've made it to day 6 for the first time in a long time, and I'm proud to say that I'm through the worst of the withdrawal. No more sweating and headaches, and I've actually had 3 nights of sound sleep. It's amazing how different I feel. Right now I'm trying to stay focused on a daily goal to "NOT DRINK," and neither get ahead of myself or over-confident. Thank you to everyone for sharing your stories here. It has helped me feel not so alone in this process, and given me hope that recovery is real.
—Guest ladien

Just stopped

I was drinking a couple of beers or a few glasses of wine everyday, whether I wanted to or not. Then it was 4 beers or 5 glasses of wine. A few weeks ago I thought how ridiculous is this? So I just stopped, because I really didn't want it, it was just something to do. The first few days I slept the clock around, but I felt fine. I didn't even want anything to drink. Yesterday I visited my neighbor who drinks a lot of wine and turned down her offer of a glass. But today I picked up a bottle of Merlot for $2.89 from Aldi's. I'm not sure why I did it. It makes me nauseous to think about even opening it. I really don't want to start drinking again. Usually I bought wine by the box, so maybe this is my way of keeping it in the house in a bottle but not drinking it. I hope.
—Guest GeckoGirl


Don't know how to stop in times of stress, little things set me off. I am wired differently.
—Guest housewife42

Day 24

I quit drinking on June 1. I drank a bottle of wine every day after work, more on the weekends. It filled up the time for me. I found this site when I had my last drink and it was a life saver. The withdrawals were bad for 10 days and then they stopped. I wrote in my journal every day, I recommend this. You can get through it! I HAD to commit to never having a drink again. Once I decided that, I really have not had any major cravings. During withdrawal I took advice from this site and drank lots of water, Vitamin B, Melatonin 5g and just lived through the anxiety, depression and bloating. Finally the bloating is going away. I already suffer from anxiety and depression and take meds. I'm finding that I don't need them as much anymore and my Dr. said it was because of all the alcohol in my system. As for Campral I tried it a year ago and it worked perfectly for 12 days and then it stopped and I drank. Not sure why but maybe because I wasn't totally committed to my sobriety?
—Guest Hope


After four days sober I am sipping on my favorite red wine. I hate to admit it but it tastes and feels so good. I know I need to quit for my health but I also suffer from depression and anxiety. I know there are no excuses. I am guilty as can be even with this wonderful temporary retreat from my pain and loneliness. How do I do this?! I'm despairing.
—Guest Hopeless

Went to my PCP the first day...

Got my lab work done, high transaminases - AST was in the low 400s, ALT was 250. Kidney, BP, Pancreas fine. Cholesterol not great but not abysmal. I'm 32. Night sweats, shakiness, couldn't go through that nightmare again. She wouldn't give me benzoid, but she did give me a beta blocker for symptoms - high heart rate, sweats, shakes, etc. It's not perfect but at least I can manage 4-5 hours of sleep and not feel like my heart is exploding in my chest. You guys should look into it. It helped so far with the anxiety which was always worst for me.
—Guest Day 3

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

I wanted to say to all the young party girls that may be pregnant to do some reading about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. It is a very sad way to abuse unborn children and the life long effects they have. Drinking = sex and lack of memories and doing really stupid stuff we would not do sober. If you think withdrawals are bad try your hand at taking care of a child that you yourself gave a life sentence to of learning disabilities and motor skill problems. Boyfriends and husbands and future fathers take care of your unborn children too, don't feed them alcohol, feed them lots of love and safety, this world is hard enough as it is. This is my thought for the day after meeting a beautiful child with FAS. This was not his fault! Think beyond yourself, drink responsible this child could be yours. Hugs Clue

Rock Bottom

Last year, after 9 months sober, I relapsed. I didn't see that relapse coming. I felt great, in my mind alcohol belonged to the past, the old me was gone. I won't forget, ever. Coming back from a walk, my tricky alcoholic mind told me that having a drink won't harm, kind of rewards of having been sober for nearly a year. I did. I was ok, well, I thought I was. Not worth it, that was my last thought when I went to bed. I had a horrible nightmare, I woke up with indefinable guilt, shame, remords, anxiety. I needed another drink to stop the pain, the fear, I lost control, I lost my mind, and I drank for 2 weeks non stop. Back to square one, back to hell. I am powerless over alcohol. Period. Did I need that last drink to know it? I think now I did to know that I am an alcoholic for ever. "I won't drink today, it's as simple as that". You said it all. Never forgetting how bad it was. "One drink is too many, a hundred is not enough" I forgot how true it is. I am happy for you. Yvan.
—Guest Yvan

To all

I suppose like many, I tried quitting for the others, it never worked, it did when I stopped for myself first. I saw the damages I caused around me for so long, too late to get the past back, not too late for a new start. I can say today, without this site and AA, I would drink still. I wanted to know all about alcoholism, I needed to meet people like me, I needed to know I wasn't alone, I needed to hear here similar stories, to know there was some hope, I needed support, no judgment. I found it here and with the help of AA. It was hard, I had a relapse last December after nine months, a short relapse, but a blessing in a way. Never think the JUST ONE DRINK is ok, it brought me back to square one. Now I have great days, ups and downs like everyone, but I enjoy life, I love being sober. Alcohol was taking me to the grave, I have found myself again. This site 16 months ago saved me. I am again 6 months sober. Never give up, never. We all can do it. We are not alone. Love to all.
—Guest Yvan

Much appreciated

Thanks Igotaclue for the support and wise words you share. It helps so much. I come here at least three times a week sometimes more and it's really great to read what everyone is experiencing and the feedback from those who have been there. I definitely have PAWS but I think they are getting better now that I'm in the third month. I'm a runner and that helps a lot to alleviate the stress. Even just a few miles will really calm me down because my nervous system sometimes goes on overdrive now, especially after 5 pm. And other things that help are ice cream, finding shows on Netflix and watching whole seasons, reading, walking the dog, and researching on the Internet what I'm going through.
—Guest Runner girl

37 days strong

I am so pleased to see Rock Bottom doing well. Keep it up and to everyone else taking the right steps to deal with this life stealing addiction. We are stronger than it. I Have to say the first 3 weeks were ok, but I hit week 4 and I could have sold my soul at times. But at the worst, this weekend, where I paced the house, cried in frustration and knew that if there was alcohol around I would not have resisted. But there was none and I did not go out for any. I drank a liter of fizzy water and a cup of tea [my favorite tipple these days]. Mood dip really bad in week 4 and doubts, no fear, crept in. I can not go down that path again. I read my journal from day one and that helped. Feel on track again but the message is that i think i stopped planning how to handle 'my recovery'. I am in recovery and it will tie at least three months to feel any kind of normal before my future really begins and I really break free. Clue love your posts, you're an inspiration. Love to all.
—Guest Bernie

Day 19

Going really well, feel great. I wouldn't say I have had any real tests yet though, no parties etc. One thing I'm thinking about today though is how far away the withdrawal symptoms feel now and I know this is dangerous thinking. I can't imagine how I felt when I was on day 2, but I know it was horrific. Sweating and shaking was just the start. Depression, anxiety, really scared. Scared to sleep, not that I could. Seeing things when closing my eyes and the worst dreams in the world. This is what I have to remember and nothing would let me go back, no matter how great I feel today and how unimaginable those debilitating feelings seem to me right now. I'm just going to stick with my tried and trusted "I won't drink today" it's as simple as that. Love and support to all.
—Guest Rock Bottom

Tools I use while going throug detox

I made a plan. I bought flavored sports drinks and lots of bottled water. I bought fruit, candy and snacks I liked to eat. I ate a lot of soup to sooth my stomach. I had Melatonin for sleep. You can buy it at a health food store. I took vitamins b12-zinc D to get my body jump started. I started a journal to bitch in and tell my feelings to. I changed my grooming habits and tried to look human again. Also I prepared myself for some serious cravings by taking a walk, exercising, cleaning up messes, making a list of things I needed to do for years and sticking to it. I made sure I ate, drank and rested as much as I could. I knew sleep would not be my friend. I did things like put puzzles together, read about alcoholism, painted a room and gardened. It took a lot of pushing because I had no energy at all. Most of all I took some me time to sit and talk to myself about my real goal. It took a lot of deep breathing during the panic attack and patience with my body being so out of whack

To: runner girl

64 days is awesome! The ups and downs that now are happening are normal. Its important to eat, drink, rest and keep away from boredom. These feeling can make you think you are craving. Look up P.A.W.S. it was very helpful for me to read about it. Your Brain and body are now healing and your sides effects of drinking will go away. My feeling of doom was from many things. My best friend was booze and it had left me with many scars. I had emotions that I had no idea what they were or where to put them. I started a journal and wrote my feelings down to get them out. I joined a woman's AA group and that really help me a lot. To hear that others understand me and to see that many have beat this addiction gave me the strength that I could to. To me the quitting drinking was easy but the emotion part of staying sober is what I needed a lot of help with. I need to understand Why I drank and what I found out was not pretty but I could get past. I just didn't want to feel. I do now! hugs clue

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

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