The road to a life free of alcohol addiction is a long but fulfilling journey that anyone struggling with drinking should pursue. Since alcohol has such a heavy impact on our body, the withdrawal and healing process takes time. Alcohol changes how our body balances the chemical production within our brain and nervous system. Once you stop drinking, your body begins the process of adjusting back to a life of no alcohol.
What Happens During Week One
There’s no getting around the unhealthy relationship alcohol and your body develop over long-term use and just like other relationships, it takes time to adjust after a breakup. Symptoms that you’ll feel during the first week of alcohol withdrawal include nausea, anxiety, insomnia and migraines.
More severe cases of alcohol dependence, often present in heavy drinkers, present a new set of concerns for your brain and nervous system. Delirium tremens, or DTs, can produce hallucinations in those going through withdrawals while also creating clouds of confusion and inability to process complex thoughts.
The Weeks Leading up to One Month Sober
So week one was rough but rest assured that the hardest part is now over. The focus of the first week is to physically rid your body of alcohol and keep it that way. If alcohol is consumed, the detox clock is essentially reset and your body won’t start the healing process until it gets another window of alcohol-free existence.
Physical detoxing means that the symptoms such as fatigue and constant headaches will start to subside. Next will be unlinking alcohol consumption from your brain and nervous system. It will take much longer to combat these symptoms, but it’s all part of the body’s healing process.
The symptoms from our list above that show up more prominently during this period are anxiety and other mental health concerns. Depression is one of the more common side effects of withdrawal making it difficult for those already suffering from depression to push through withdrawals.
Imagine it as growing two trees in the park. Each one will need a seed and they will both begin to grow. Now introduce alcohol which hinders the natural growth of the tree by presenting it with outside substances. These make the tree stop producing its own chemicals to regulate mood. Removing the alcohol also removes the outside substance that was propping the tree up, leaving it possibly shorter than it’s counterpart but still able to heal and recover to even greater heights.
From One Month Onwards
Once you’ve been able to abstain from alcohol for a month, you’ll start to make noticeable strides in mental and physical health. Feelings of being groggy will subside, energy returns to your muscles and your brain can now focus again. Insomnia also starts to subside thanks to your mind finally being able to calm down instead of working overdrive to regulate your body during withdrawals.
While this isn’t the end of your journey, it’s the hardest part and finally behind you. The urge to drink may never fully disappear, but with proper detox and addiction treatment, you’ll have the tools and resources to keep those urges at bay. It’s never too late to regain your independence from alcohol.