Make no mistake about it, you’ll definitely feel the physical effects when you first quit drinking after many years of alcohol abuse.
What will happen? That depends on how frequently you drank, how much you drank, and how long you’ve been drinking; your body’s physical reaction will vary. For some, quitting drinking can result in a dangerous withdrawal from alcohol.
If you experience serious withdrawal and you don’t get medical attention (detox), you could suffer from a seizure, or even death. Severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:
- Confusion and hallucinations (delirium tremens)
- Tremor of the hands Hands
- Black Outs
In most cases, the symptoms will be less severe and you won’t need medical attention. However, you may still experience some unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. These may include:
- Jumpy or nervous feelings
- A “shaky” feeling
- Nausea and vomiting
- Clammy skin
- Eyelid twitching
- Heart palpitations
Aside from the physical effects, you’ll also experience psychological withdrawal. You’ll find yourself craving alcohol, especially in situations where you would normally have a drink in your hand.
Preventing relapse will take a significant effort on your part. Overcoming chronic alcoholism is extremely difficult. If you’ve failed in the past, you’ll have to really make sure you take more action this time to ensure that you stay sober. To quote Einstein:
“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”
Listen to Einstein, if you’ve failed at quitting alcohol in the past, make sure you don’t just go through the motions again. Seek out support and take steps to make sure your recovery sticks. Some important steps you can take include:
- Going to AA or NA
- Attending rehab
- Schedule regular visits with a therapist or counselor
- Build a network of friends in recovery to support your efforts
Long Term Effects
Chronic alcoholism can cause damage to the liver, brain, and cardiovascular system. In the long term, your body and brain will start to repair some of the damage caused by excess drinking. You’ll find that you have more energy, and you’ll feel better overall.
Mentally, you’ll always be a recovering alcoholic. Don’t expect to drink in moderation successfully. Over time, you’ll find yourself relying less on external support groups. You should switch your focus towards your own personal and spiritual growth – this ensures that complacency and the eventual relapse will never set in.
By striving for constant self-improvement, you’ll be naturally motivated and driven to maintain your sobriety.