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

Responses: 12919


Updated April 10, 2014

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

Feeling Good

After 20 years of excess my doctor put me on Antabuse that makes you violently ill if you drink. And librium to deal with withdrawal and ambien to sleep. I feel like i have my life back, my willpower couldn't get me through. Woke up smiling today for the first time in forever.

Day 18... And counting!

I have been drinking for a very long time. In fact up until 18 days ago, I can not tell you when was the last time I had NOT had drink for a full month. Don't be scared. I am proof you can do it. I am a 42-year young female. I have a great job in the city, love my friends, have hobbies and one of them was happy hour! I drank an average of 2-3, up to 4 beers, or up to a bottle of wine a night! I would meet friends after work, have cocktails then head home & drink more! When I left my purse unattended on a rack while shopping because I was drunk, well yes that was the wake up call to quit! Can't leave the Coach bag behind! Believe in yourself and don't let websites scare you about withdrawals. The worse is the smell of detox. My bedroom wreaked of old beer smell. It came out of my pours all day long, I could smell the remnants in my office area at work! After a week it went away. A few cold sweats in bed, like I got out of a shower. I have more energy! You can do it! :-)
—Guest Cold Turkey

I Want My Life Back

I have been drinking on and off for the past 10 years, sometimes very heavily and daily. I am scared of the extreme anxiety and panic attacks I am feeling. I have tried to quit but end up in the ER feeling like I am going to have a heart attack with the panic attacks. Nausea, throwing up for days and shaking sucks to go through but this time I am going to quit drinking. I have too, it's affecting my health, weight and work.
—Guest AD

Day 35

35 days so far, cravings were strong today. instead of buying drink I went for a long walk. It helped a lot, I'm starting to feel better. Every time I mess up it takes longer to feel ok, still have a dull panic feeling and have no energy, but it's getting better. Thought I may never come back from it this time, so don't give up, it gets better. I keep telling myself 12 years of alcohol and it won't get better overnight.
—Guest jerrychef

Been wasted too much of my life

I'm 39 and Iv'e been drinking pretty heavily since I was 22. Sometimes a pint of spirits with a case a beer to help wash it down every night. I've owned 2 businesses and have been drunk at work on many occasions. I never thought I was an alcoholic until my wife took the kids and left me. I binge drank those high octane 12% energy drinks for 4 days solid. Next morning I thought I was going to die. The pain, the vomiting and suffering for 5 days. Told my wife that I quit for good and she came back to me. Since then I have become a "closet drinker" and have been drinking pretty hard and hiding it from everyone to avoid those horrible withdrawals. I was on the freeway the other day (Sober) and I felt like I had no control and was going to crash from the panic attacks/shakes. I'm on day 2 now. Stomach pains, anxiety, shaking so bad I can't even hold a cup of coffee with one hand. Been reading all of our posts and it's helped me realize I'm and alcoholic and it needs to end now.
—Guest Pathfinder

Day 3 sober

Sometimes I am so clueless to the fact that I have a problem that I let myself forget. Immense headaches and fatigue today and the last 2 days. I have considered myself a functional alcoholic. I am only just admitting these issues to myself now. I drink 4-6 days a week, never in the morning but always early evening to late. I hide bottles in which my boyfriend finds and questions. We have fought I don't know how many times when I was drunk I would get angry. I really want this to stop. Four years is enough.

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

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