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

Responses: 12925


Updated April 10, 2014


i have been drinking for 8 months everyday basically all day, and sometimes at night. My oldest kids hate it and I have a 20 month old,. I didn't feel this was a problem till I tried to stop. I hurt so bad at night, puking every 5 minutes in a trash can by the bed. My baby held my hair sometimes. I sweat I get these cramps in my feet and legs, and can barly stand. I don't know how to quit at this point. I'm trying to cut it out of my day slowly and eat regularly and take my vitamins. I feel more hopeful with a good night's rest, although I sweat, I can deal with that. The shakes were bad but have gone away for the most part. I would love help, but I just have no one to help with kids, so it's all me, and cold turkey isn't a option, just slowing down day to day. I hope it works and god bless.
—Guest miserable

To: Skydog

I really feel for you and what you have been through. You have done it before and you know you can do it again, you will come out the other side. Don't waste time beating yourself up, I can understand the pity party, who wouldn't. please make sure you keep hydrated and try to eat even if it's only small amounts.
—Guest Mary

72 Hours!

After all these years of drinking heavily, I have 72 hours of sobriety under my belt! This is the longest I have gone, unassisted, in probably 10 years. I went almost 3 months last year but I used pot to combat my cravings. I generally have felt fine during the day with the exception of the first 24 where I was EXTREMELY irritable and had waves of anxiety. The anxiety had subsided substantially already, but I do feel it somewhat substantially during the past two days' 'drinking hours.' I have also had VERY, weird and vivid dreams the past 2 nights. I so very much want to keep this rolling and don't want to EVER drink again.
—Guest FailureIsNotAnOption

First day off the sauce

I'm a 23 self-confessed alcoholic. I know it's a problem, both to my wages and health. It started off as 4-5 cans every night, but then that just didn't do it, so went up to 7-8. My work has suffered as my memory is really bad and the speed of my work has deteriorated. I'm fed up with constant hangovers and embarrassing myself. So I've stopped drinking. Now I have the shakes, a bad headache, dizziness, lack of motivation and an upset stomach to contend with. Just need something to take the edge off, but don't have a GP as I have no ID.
—Guest Steve-O

This Time I Am Going To Quit

I drank heavily for 6 years and in the end, all day, watching the alarm from 6am until 7am, when the local corner store opened. After a mild surgery I made a promise to my wife to quit. I was 72 hours sober and the symptoms started. Mild confusion, soaking the sheets at night. Then I started having severe headaches, dry mouth, and severe body shaking. I have a methadone prescription for pain from pancreatitis, and that has helped. But more than anything, the love and support of my family, especially my wife. I have said I was quitting before many times; this time I am going to do it. I love my family TOO much. God bless, best of luck
—Guest Robert

To: Yvan

Great job on your 5 months. As Mary always said, you have to stay bloody minded! To all of you just getting started, it is really worth the fight. And it is a fight, for your life. Beat the bottle, your mind can and will say no, you must follow through with your heart, soul and hands. Stand firm, live a real life.

Body Buzzing

The waking up after only a couple of hours of sleep and my body buzzing. Throwing up the yellow bile. Just trying to hide in the bathroom and choke down the scourge that is alcohol. Horrific and shameful to be a slave to this legal poison..
—Guest Ro

Day 1 and scared as hell

Been drinking heavily for close to 10 years, progressively drinking more and more. I am currently finding 750ml of Tito's will last about 48 hours. Sometimes more, most of the time less. Blackouts occur about once a month and I am a freaking ninja about keeping it secret. No one knows. Not even my wife. Suddenly I am finding a pint of 100 proof of vodka doesn't make me feel drunk and I am waking up and immediately doing shots in order to fall back asleep. I mean, how can I be an alcoholic? I run 80 miles a week and love marathons? (Sarcasm) Anyway, am scared to death. I am 40 years old and my liver aches. Almost all the time for the past 3 months. Did research and it is NOT GOOD! Scared as hell. I am done. I cannot fail again.
—Guest FailureIsNotAnOption

Relapsed for one week after 2 years

I can't believe how bad I feel. I've been sober for most of the last 19 years and had 2 years sober after I relapsed 2 months after having a stroke and falling down stairs, experiencing 9 herniated disks, nerve damage, and a traumatic brain injury. I got depressed about all the pain and having to learn to function in the most basic ways. Had 2 great years, became very involved in AA, but I drank while on vacation last week. I just got into feeling sorry for myself after 5 minimally successful back operations and the prospects of a major neck operation later this month. I drank hard the whole vacation, but I've had enough. It's been about 24-hours of shakes, sweats, horrible anxiety, and nausea. I can barely eat at all and have diarrhea. Hope tomorrow is better. I want to get back to my meetings and not lay in bed all day. Gratefully I have some Xanax to help, but I still feel like Hell. Praying a lot and it seems to help. Don't do what I did!
—Guest Skydog13

Cold Turkey

According to how much we drink, how long we have been drinking, how our health is, going cold turkey can be overcome, can lead us straight to hospital, can kill us. I have heard at AA, some ending up in hospital close to death, many on this site telling the same stories, and videos when unfortunately death happened. I went cold turkey, drinking a bottle or more of whiskey a day. The withdrawals were horrendous. Not being scared, yes, but knowing the risks. I should have asked for help! I didn't. I was stupid. There are many helps, and not to be ashamed to get some; I was. Withdrawals can be dangerous, better to have a good knowledge about all of it when you start the journey cold turkey. Alcohol can affect our health so badly, sometimes our bodies react violently when we stop. It can be scary, but help exists if we want to. I survived, I could have died, I know. Alcohol plays with us, we can't play with our health. Best to all.
—Guest Yvan

Can't Sleep

I just don't want to feel like this anymore. I want to quit but can't sleep without a drink. I know I've got a problem. I've got Hep B and loads of other health problems. I feel guilty about my 4 kids but that just makes me worst. Ive done terrible things under the influence but remembering them makes me need a drink.
—Guest sjcrabstick

Two months and still angry/frustrated

Made it 2 months but still struggle daily. As I told my doctor, I am in a crap boat in a sea of chaos, without or without alcohol it is still the same crap boat. So I ask why do I not drink at least I forget my problems. But, I don't because we have a bet, he says after 6 months it will be better He promises, if not, then I can tell him he was wrong and I will choose which life I want but at least I tried to be sober.


I am 55-year-old alcoholic. Many BACs of over .5 due to drinking large quantities in short time frames. My fear of withdrawal led to continuation of drinking I finally was sober for 14 years but then began relapsing around 4 years ago. Needed detox to withdraw even if drinking lasted a few days but never more than two weeks. I last drank about 5 weeks ago and withdrew with much difficulty in hospital then detox for six days. Three weeks after discharge I had an "episode" that lasted three days consisting of inability to get up, period shakes, attacks of dry heaves, intermittent sweating, major confusion, couldn't even figure out how to get phone numbers or use phone. Came out of it after friends took my to ER with all blood work being normal. Four days later had another "episode" in which I could get up but major confusion and extreme fatigue last 4 days. Continue to have balance issues and period shakes/tremors and fatigue. Sorry for the long post - has anyone experienced or hear this?

To: Hope

Congratulations on taking that all important first step. It will be hard and you need to check with your doctor if you start getting bad withdrawal symptoms. In the first few days, forget one day at a time. You may need to think one hour or even one minute, but do not cave in! Aim for one whole week and during this time think about things you can do to keep busy. This is so important. When we stop drinking we have so much time on our hands it makes you realize how much time we spent either planning, thinking apart from the actual drinking itself. I Nearly lost everything. My life, (cirrhosis of the liver) my wife, children and close friends and I managed to turn things round. My last drink was on March 17, 2011. Keep posting we are all here for you. Stay strong my friend.

5 Months

This last month has brought me more payoff; sleep quality, more energy, anxiety and emotions much more manageable. Griffey1, as you say, what a RELIEF! 8 months! I am happy for you. I feel great, and so good to be a human being again. What wonderful is, without alcohol, freedom makes sense again. At least we are not slaves anymore of that sneaky and destructive drug, and it opens again many doors. When you give up alcohol, you don't really see the light yet, but it is there, no doubt. I am happy. Good luck to all.
—Guest Yvan

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

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