Kudos on choosing sobriety! Celebrate your decision to quit alcohol with pride. Now, as you navigate this new phase, discover strategies, support, and healthy habits. This guide offers encouragement, insights, and practical tips for a fulfilling life without alcohol, focusing on positive change and personal growth.

Getting The Help You Need

Booking into a detox centre is probably the best decision you can make for yourself. Even if you just book in long enough to have medical help at hand when it could be needed. Remember that withdrawal symptoms may begin 6 to 24 hours after the last alcoholic beverage. Many of these symptoms may be life-threatening and being in a facility where people are trained to help you through the worst part could make this time the last time that you stop drinking. If you quit and go “cold turkey” on your own without medically trained and experienced people to help you, and then choose to drink again, you may “binge” in excess than you previously consumed alcohol. This “super-binge” may be life-threatening.

Common Symptoms When Abstaining From Alcohol Use

Deciding not to drink is only half the battle. There are quite a few symptoms you can expect to experience during the process. Below are the most common symptoms.

Anxiety

This is a prevalent symptom during alcohol withdrawal. It can range from mild uneasiness to severe anxiety attacks, often accompanied by feelings of restlessness or nervousness.

Nausea or vomiting

These symptoms are the body’s way of reacting to the absence of alcohol. They can contribute to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.

Autonomic Dysfunction

This refers to disruptions in the autonomic nervous system, which controls involuntary bodily functions like heart rate, blood pressure, and digestion. Alcohol withdrawal can cause irregularities in these functions, leading to symptoms like rapid heartbeat, sweating, and fluctuations in blood pressure.

Insomnia

Sleep disturbances are common during alcohol withdrawal. Individuals might have trouble falling asleep or experience frequent awakenings throughout the night, leading to fatigue and irritability during the day.

Severe withdrawal with seizures

In more severe cases of alcohol withdrawal, seizures can occur. These seizures typically happen within the first 48 hours after the last drink and can range in severity.

Alcohol withdrawal delirium (Delirium Tremens or DTs)

This is a severe form of alcohol withdrawal characterized by sudden and severe changes in the brain and nervous system. Symptoms include confusion, hallucinations, agitation, severe tremors, and in extreme cases, can be life-threatening if not medically managed

Given these factors, it is strongly recommended that you seek medical help for this very brave journey that you have decided to embark on. Remember that only the brave can do what you are now choosing to do.

The Counselling Aspect

Once the initial part of the journey is over the facility that you booked into will refer you to counsellors who can help you the rest of the way. There are many programs offered by organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Mustard Seed Tree has seasoned counsellors to help you on your journey to recovery. Here are some steps that can help you on your journey to recovery.

Honesty

The moment that the addicted person acknowledges that they are dependent on alcohol or a particular substance, they start breaking with denial and it is at this moment where they start connecting with their family and friends. It is also important that enablers, who have made this addiction possible by funding the addiction and overlooking the negative behavior come to a point of truth admitting that they are part of the problem.

Faith

The addict must cultivate faith in their own ability and inner strength and willpower and know that “if I am to be free it is up to me” Many addicts put their faith in a deity and relinquish all responsibility to overcome the addiction and end up feeling rejected by their deity if or when they relapse.

Surrender

When the addict surrenders their independence for a short season by reporting to a friend, counsellor or overseer of sorts, accountability sets in and not wanting to disappoint this person becomes a valuable tool in the healing journey. This sponsor must realize that there is a possibility of relapse and that it is at that moment when the addict will need their support most of all. This does not mean that the relapse must be overlooked or that a relapse will result in the sponsor withdrawing their support. Rather it should be a save space where honesty, faith and surrender starts afresh.

Soul searching

Taking inventory and accountability for the pain, heartache, and disappointment that the addict caused loved ones over the years.

Integrity

A new moral compass with new rules that the addict sets up for their own actions cultivates a re- birth, reset, or start over. Accountability aid very strongly in developing a sense of integrity.

Acceptance

When the addict can pinpoint the moment that they relinquished their own free will to be controlled by a substance will also take them to the root of the addiction which will most probably be rejection of some sort. Accepting that someone rejected them and accepting that they placed to high a value on that person or persons’ acceptance of them can lead them to a place of complete self-acceptance, warts, and all. In this phase the addict face negative comping mechanisms and to let them go.

Humility

As the addict recognizes that it was by his or her own free will that the addiction started and continued, the realization that in humility of accepting responsibility, being accountable to someone and to the self the former arrogance is replaced by their fallibility in this area of their life. This humility will become their greatest strength.

Willingness

Putting pen to paper and writing down the names and hurts that the addict caused every person in their addiction season is not easy as it requires looking at the self without any illusion or excuse.

Forgiveness

Once the list of offences has been made the next step will be to approach each person who was offended and hurt by the addict person’s behaviour and apologize to each person. Some people may no longer be alive to apologize to, in that case, the empty chair conversation is an alternative. Asking for forgiveness and forgiving those who offended or rejected the addict is equally important.

Maintenance

A new lifestyle with new friends and even a new area, or job may me helpful to maintain sobriety. It may be necessary to review how far you have come and to regularly commend yourself for what you have overcome. Remember how hard it was and remember that realization that “If I am to be free it is up to me” should now become “ If I am to stay free it is up to me”

Making Contact

Inner dialog is very important. It was inner negative dialog that pushed the addict on to the path of addiction, now positive inner dialog will keep the addiction the path of sobriety.

Service

Once the addict has maintained sobriety volunteering to be a sponsor for another addict empowers the addict to feel a sense of self pride. Many organizations will be only to happy to take on the volunteer service of an overcomer and this will become a lifelong service .

Conclusion

Sobriety represents a life unencumbered by the constraints of alcohol, free from its inhibiting influence. This comprehensive guide aims to provide a pragmatic approach to navigating the journey toward lasting recovery. We anticipate the opportunity to acknowledge and commend your achievements on this path to sobriety.

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