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

Responses: 12925


Updated April 10, 2014

Quitting Again

After a week dry, most symptoms are gone, my insides feel better, and I'm sleeping. Going from a pint to a fifth of vodka or tequila each day, I expected worse symptoms than what I experienced. I had the racing heart, shakes, irritability, and loss of appetite. That's mostly behind me now. The problem I always have though, is that when I get to this point and feel better, I start to think that I can handle a drink. I know that I need to stay away from it, stay busy, etc., because the first drink is the one that starts the cycle all over.
—Guest Bullet

Disfunctional alcoholic

I'm 35 years old I started drinking since I was 13 my first time I got drunk I had a blackout I've had hundreds of them since then, for the grace of god who's my higher power I haven't killed my self or anybody but I've had some many embarrassing and serious incidents I've hurt so many people specially my wife and my loved ones who had put up with so much cause of my problem I lost so many jobs and now I'm home I stopped drinking 2 days ago from A 10 day binge and now I'm in a bad withdrawing I need help so Bad!
—Guest Verdugox

63 days sober

I'm a 22 yr old male been a heavy drinker for 3 yrs just out of the blue I woke up with feeling breathless and as I couldn't feel my heart beat . I had shakes that will come and go that I could not control nights were scary I felt my chest tight like if I had knots in the veins of my heart uhhh it was horrible . That was just the first week. As the days past I got anxiety attacks where I felt as I needed air to breath I couldn't breath right felt like I was drowning. First month was hard. Second month i felt out of place still dealing with breathing problems but it's all getting better slowly it's been 63 days since my last drink dr put me on lisinopril 10mg for my blood pressure and As of today I still feel little fear but I'm fighting to make my self feel better I hope this story helps somebody
—Guest Jose

Feeling lucky

Hi everyone , I consider myself a moderate drinker but would like to completely stop for awhile. Although I rarely drink more than a half a bottle of wine a night the fact that I am doing that more nights than not worries me. So I am going for 30 days without alcohol. Today is day 3, so far so good. Had a bit of a headache yesterday . I have been starting each day with hot water and lemon juice and taking melatonin at night to help me sleep. I feel lucky that my withdrawal symptoms haven't included shakes, or vomiting . I know I'm not an alcoholic at this point in my life but I feel like if I don't try to stop now I will become one.
—Guest Wine lover


I started drinking hard for 4 years starting in my late 20's. Im 30 right now and have been to rehab and made multiple hospital visits. The worst i ever felt was puking, staying up all night, and the worst even worse then puking was the auditory and visual hallucinations. I need to quit for good.
—Guest Clif

One week

The last drink I had was while watching the Olympic Hockey finals at 5am last sunday. I have been exercising every day since and feeling pretty good until the weekend hit. I had made a promise to myself that I would not drink alone and only drink on weekends. Its Sunday afternoon and I have been irritated and aggressive all morning. Its been very frustrating. I am usually smiling and a very social person but I moved back to my small town to live with my parents to help me sober up and it is bringing me down. My drinking replaced all the things I used to do that brought joy to life. This post has no point but its helped to calm down a bit. Time to go exercise some more.
—Guest Keith

Drink a ton of nonsugar liquids

Detoxing is what has harmed my body the most as an alcoholic. Ive detoxes over 7 times, 3 of them was fully successful, with two of those successful being medically treated and supervised. If you are detoxing stay calm and make sure you have someone with you, at least in the house so you can be checked on frequently. Taper off the alcohol if you can to the point where you are only drinking beer, and if you are already only drinking beer see if you can get yourself down to a place where your not having the shakes. Keeping hydrated is most important. Drinking gatorade or putting very light salt in your water will help your cells retain it. If you have the ability try to exercise. Get out into the sun or outside and try to stretch and move around. Eating is most difficult though if possible will helps you bounds and means you are on the road to recovery Stay positive and if you really can't handle it then its no worry. If all else fails get yourself to the emergency room.
—Guest jd

Lost in NOLA

I've been on this site for 3yrs now. Been to rehab twice and I just fall back into the drama of drinking. It is a culture down here, always a party, parade, or function to attend and we never close our bars; at least not most of them. I have spent too much money on help, and the bottom line is that I do not know how to live a sober life. I taper off and then get scared that my heart is going to explode, so back to square one again. I had to change my linens every morning because they were soaked from my semi-detox the night before because I did not drink enough. Of course sleep eludes me and the nights are horrible just laying there and perspiring. I cannot wait for daylight, then I wish for the night. I really have come to the end of this rope I have been dangling from for too many years. Everything I read here is a mirror of what I have been through these last three years. I do not want to die; my face is puffy and I feel horrible most days. I look in the mirror and hate me.
—Guest Lost in New Orleans

To Joe

Consider yourself very lucky you avoided major withdrawals. Everyone is different in their recovery, both physically and emotionally. It really depends on the individual. Myself, I was only drinking everyday, morning to night for four months(my lowest). But I was a weekend binger for most of my adult life. During those horrible 4 months I was also addicted to sleeping pills, so basically addicted to two kinds of sedatives. I got so bad, I had to have a few drinks just to feel normal to avoid the shakes. I'm also a 110 pound female. So to answer your question there are many factors that determine whether a person will go through major withdrawals. It sometimes puzzles me too. I had to go to a medically supervised detox center I was that scared. Yet my uncle who drank at least a liter and a half of vodka for forty years stopped with minor withdrawals. You have made a very courageous decision to put down the bottle and live your best life. Congrats! May you see the many beauties in life.
—Guest Marilyn


I've tried before and got feverish. I know I've got to get this done. My wife is giving me the eye, like she loves me but won't tolerate being with a drunk for the rest of her life. And, she's giving me the tough love. And my job doesn't help, I'm in wine sales...
—Guest Guest Dave


Marilyn, I took your advice and spoke with my doctor, thank you so much! He wants me to continue tapering, I guess I was tapering too quickly. I'm doing well at 5 light beers daily and will go down to 4 next week. You were so right! I don't live in Canada but will get through this with my doctor's help. Congratulations on 9 months! You must feel wonderful. :)
—Guest Blue


I drank heavily for 17 years. It became a 24/7 necessity. I needed alcohol every minute of every day. When I would stop, the shakes would come with vomiting for about the first 48-72 hours and then auditory hallucinations, then visual hallucinations and then it would be time to call 911 to get me to the hospital. There I would recoup. I say recoup because all the hospital did was get me to live through the physical withdrawal. I was not treated for my alcoholism, which consisted of symptoms such as fear, irritability, frustration, anger, but mainly fear. I just had to drink to get rid of these feelings and once I took that first drink I could not stop. I had to get rid of the symptoms that were bringing me to that first drink. The ONLY thing that helped with that was AA. I tried everything from counselors to psychiatrists to meds. After years of trying my hardest to stop I went to AA and asked for a sponsor. I have not had a drink for almost 10 years and my life is incredible.
—Guest Rob f.

To: All

I first found this site 2years ago and it helped me get through those first weeks of hell. Im thankful to say I've been sober since then with only a few slips. The people have changed but it's the same disease,same symptoms,fear and feelings of hopelessness. It will pass, I can't tell you how much better it will get and fast too, just don't drink, it will get better. AA has helped me a lot. You will feel better, that's when it gets hard, when your feeling stable again and forget the hell you went through to get there a drink sounds good, you will lie to yourself "I can handle it now" please don't drink and talk to someone. Its all so worth it. You are worth it. My life is so much better and I feel glimpses of real serenity and peace. Thanks to all here for the chance to live, love and try to help.
—Guest Inspector

How much?

How much did you guys drink before? I've drinking beers 5-6 nights a week for 15+ years. Got a little hammered a few nights ago. Felt kinda depressed and ashamed of myself being a grown man and getting so drunk. Decided maybe I should stop drinking. I was hungover the day after but no major withdrawals and no real cravings. That was 4 days ago. How much were you guys drinking to have that kind of withdrawals?
—Guest Joe

To all

This site is a great site. Beyond the suffering that alcohol has brought to our lives, withdrawals that are painful, very hard to go through, relapses, there is a amazing sharing here, we all know how hard it is to give up drinking, and change our way of thinking, change our lives, sometimes our relations with others, starting from scratch or repairing the past, staying strong and keep going in the journey of sobriety. There is goal, the one to find again some happiness, freedom, some peace after years of darkness, pain, fears, illnesses; the list could go on and on. I just want to say the admiration I have for all of you to have decided to defeat the demon and make life a better life. It is possible, we can live sober. Life is worth it without what we all know, a nasty legal drug. Yvan.
—Guest Yvan

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

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