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

Responses: 7854

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Updated April 10, 2014

Any Advice?

Juddyau, I've experienced the falling asleep and waking up short of breath and gasping for air. I think it has something to do with wet brain or thiamine deficiency. Very scary. I'm almost 25, on day number 2 (just drinking 1 beer a day), afraid to quit cold turkey because in the last 4 years it's progressed to the point where I'm drinking a 12 pack or more daily. Just realized how serious it had become. I still get up somehow and make it to work. The shakes, heart racing and palpitations, general confusion and ability to sort my thoughts or speak logically when I stop drinking (usually worse by the end of the 1st night or 2nd if I can go that long) have been so much worse. It feels like my body is deteriorating. Does anyone have any advice? If you decrease the amount of alcohol consumed gradually will the withdrawals become less severe? I can remember a time in my life when I was happy and lived and alcohol never crossed my mind.
—Guest KatieW

Day One - Ugh!

Day one of my 4th time trying to quit for good. I used to be a heavy vodka drinker and had my very worst detox ever off of that about 2 years ago. Full blown cartoon-like hallucinations and everything. God, how awful and humiliating! This past time it was wine that I was tossing down, lots of it and my family pretty much said get help or else. I know my daughter will take my sweet granddaughter (almost 6 months) away from me if she feels like I'm a danger to her and she should. So, I saw my doctor today and she put me on Citalopram and recommended an outpatient program which I'm starting on Wednesday. Right now I'm sweating and feel like I want to scratch my skin off, fluttery heart, headache, tired but can't sleep, nauseous and would just about kill for a drink. This stinks! Reading the stories and words of encouragement is really helping and I'm glad I stumbled across this site, I hope to have some good results to post soon. Stay strong everyone.
—Guest Trying To Stay Sober

I had no idea

I went through detox twice in the month of June. This occurred because after the first time I left the facility so messed up from the drugs they detox you from that I wound up in the ER at another hospital. I wound up going back in for another 5 day detox. They were way more conservative and everything seemed fine when I left. Once I got home, the horrible nightmares, hallucinations (when trying to sleep), anxiety, tiredness, no sleep and depression kicked in. I went back to drinking again thinking it was the detox place not doing their job and the meds making me nutty. I now realize through this site that the meds were there to help me and I was experiencing normal withdrawal, but no one warned me about it!
—Guest cw

Drinking is bad

l just stopped four days ago. l cant sleep. l don't feel good, but its much better than killing myself.
—Guest tony

Sober Day 3 8-1-11

Overall I am feeling alright, I itch a bit and I am a little irritable. The thought of returning to the demands of children and a husband (as much as I love them) is a bit much. Detox was a challenge however; I know the real work starts now. I refuse to go and purchase a pack of cigarettes because I know I am not ready to step foot into a store with access to beer. I have everything I need here at home; fear of alcohol will not hold me hostage forever. But, this is what I feel I need to do right now. I look forward to AA tomorrow, I pray with all my heart that this is the beginning of the rest of my life sober. Thanks Buddy T. and all posters, reading these post kept me sane and positive during detox. I will continue to read them daily. God be with us all.
—Guest Out of Detox

To: Merritt25

Today is Day 6 for him and he seems much better. He's able to keep down soup and fruit. He's talking to me more and can't wait to feel normal again. I forgot to mention that he's 58 years old and in good health otherwise. I appreciate your concern and I have also been reading a lot about cold turkey alcohol withdrawal lately. If things turn to the worse I will definitely call 911.
—Sernesky12

Intense fear of withdrawal

After reading these responses it really concerns me about the withdrawal. My significant other has to quit drinking due to a DUI. That being said, I said I would quit with him (if I can). Quite honestly I am the one with the real problem -- hidden bottles, waiting for the clock to strike noon so I don't have to bear the stigma of going to the liquor store before the doors are unlocked, etc. I really do want to see this through, but where I live has a strong "drinking culture" and most of my friends drink, at times to excess. I am a professional and out of work so I am terrified of the boredom. Drinking is my hobby now and I feel it is now difficult to even start the day without a few beers. My intent is to do a high vitamin gradual withdrawal before the 15th of August to prepare for the next two years and beyond. This site I believe will be the best support for my efforts. Heartfelt thanks to all!
—Guest Masoniceye1

Be careful....

I finally and thankfully have four months sober. At the beginning, or the end, I had the shakes. I couldn't sleep at night for a long time. I felt like I was dying as well, as high blood pressure in the stroke range. I did do a three day detox in the hospital, but I wasn't able to get a straight four months until months later. I have read and just had a friend who had a seizure while self detoxing. My friend had a seizure after abstaining for five days. I do go to AA, and I'm working the steps. It is a lot of work, but I've never been happier.
—Guest lilly

To: HockeymeansParty

I have felt your pain and I feel your pain now. It is not easy to let go of your lover, best friend and career. I read in your post that you you intend to start detoxing today. It will not be easy, but each day will get you closer to your goal of Sobriety. I will pray for you along with the others on this forum.
—Guest Sobereyezd

How do I quit?

I have been drinking for a while now. Binge drinking. But it has become worse now. For the past 3 weeks, I have been drinking every day/every night. I am scared. I have 2 kids to take care of. I don't want to lose myself, my job. I need to stop!
—Guest marianna

Hang in there

I was having a hard time over the weekend sleeping and feeling restless. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me till I realized I was actually feeling some deep, long forgotten emotions. In the past, I would have self-medicated these uneasy feelings with beer. I got on here to share my thoughts. I started counting my days without a drink and low and behold, I have 203 days sober. Wow, did that made me feel better instantly. The bottom line is nothing will be made better with a drink. The shakes and withdrawal will subside with time. Keep your eyes on the prize one day at a time and before you know it they start adding up. And believe it or not -- my worst day sober is still better than my best day drunk and I can remember it.
—Guest elainefromPA

Day 1 zero alcohol (day 3 detox)

So I stuck to my taper, and am no longer drinking. Had problems sleeping last night, was tired but every time I drifted off I woke up feeling like I couldn't breathe. Eventually got some sleep though, feel pretty good today. Anyone else ever had that fall asleep issue? Very scary! Really I will call this day 3 as those taper days were part of my detox. No pills this time. Heart rate settled down with no pounding chest. This is so worth it and thanks to all posters and mod. Reading them has kept me sane - especially fish. I followed your method and it worked. May not work for all, but did for me rather than cold turkey. Here's to a good day everyone!
—Guest Juddyau

To: Sernesky12

I've read a lot about alcohol withdrawal this week, as I tried to stop cold turkey a week ago and my blood pressure went into stroke zone. The dangers of sudden alcohol withdrawal have been in the news this week. Your husband may be going through dangerous withdrawal. He needs to get inpatient detox, cause he has the danger signs and it can cause permanent brain damage if withdrawal isn't supported. Call 911 even if he doesn't want it. He won't remember anyway. Best wishes!
—Merritt25

How to stop drinking

Love the great news how people do it. Why cant I? i have done it for 2 and half years and have relapsed, so what next? Still trying!
—Guest pulley24

AA - Bad and Good

I know that there are some things about AA that I don't like. The higher power aspect sort of freaked me out as an atheist. I also didn't care for many of the rules. But what I loved about it was hearing other people who had the same feelings and did some of the same regretful things. I went to meetings with all women and listened to fellow moms talk about trying to stay sober for their kids and the struggles we face. I couldn't believe people were admitting out loud that they hid vodka in their closet like I did or blacked out entire evenings. It so helped me to know I was not alone and it helped me learn how others cope. I don't see my "higher power" as God but rather as the power within myself to be the absolute best mom, wife, friend, sister and daughter that I can be. My higher power is who I talk to when I'm wanting to chuck it all and buy a bottle. And my higher power is who I thank when I wake up happy and healthy. Keeping all of you close to my heart. Peace.
—Guest Want to Help

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

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