5 Tips for the Newly Sober Alcoholic

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For many of us, mornings are tough. There are so many decisions to be made and tasks to complete. Get out of bed, shower, wake the kids, pack lunches, make breakfast…..on and on. Most of us try to pre-prepare everything we can to make mornings easier. When I commuted to work I would shower the night before, choose both the children’s and my own clothing, prepare lunches and prep dinner for the next evening. This allowed me to slow down the morning routine and make it less painful for everyone.

Imagine for a moment if your mornings were even more painful; imagine being greeted by gut wrenching shame each morning. Each day suffering with a misery deep within yourself; the certainty that you’re a failure and unworthy of life, unable to rise above to become who you thought you would be. Feeling like your life is slipping away from you and you’re unable to save it.

Each alcoholic is different but we all will agree that we’ve suffered from guilt and shame which slowly eats us alive. When someone is a practicing alcoholic they aren’t processing emotions as they would if they were sober. We run from them; we duck and evade however possible. This is true for any addict. Wether you’re a workaholic, shopaholic or any other type of addict, more than likely you will get to the point where any emotion you have is overwhelming.

 Remembering these feelings and my state of mind on those mornings, I feel so blessed to have found the freedom from them. Sobriety didn’t come when I stopped drinking, it has come to me through giving my will to God and exploring who I am and learning to deal with life on life’s terms. It’s not an instant change, but an ongoing journey which often isn’t pretty. It’s messy and awkward at times but each minute instance of progress has been worth the effort and tears.

Today I am thinking of the person who is just beginning this journey and their family. I want to ensure you that you’re not alone, there are many of us here in the blogisphere, just look at my Blog Roll to see others. There are AA meetings around the world, you can access lists here on the Alcoholics Anonymous website.

 You are NOT alone.

**If you are physically dependant upon alcohol there will be physical symptoms which occur when you cease drinking. Please consult your doctor regarding the best way to deal with these. **

Withdrawing from Alcohol

When you drink heavily and frequently, your body becomes physically dependent on alcohol and goes through withdrawal if you suddenly stop drinking. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal range from mild to severe, and include:

  • Headache
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Stomach cramps and diarrhea
  • Trouble sleeping or concentrating
  • Elevated heart rate and blood pressure

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms usually start within hours after you stop drinking, peak in a day or two, and improve within five days. But in some alcoholics, withdrawal is not just unpleasant—it can be life threatening.

Call 911 or go to the emergency room if you experience any of the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • severe vomiting
  • confusion and disorientation
  • fever
  • hallucinations
  • extreme agitation
  • seizures or convulsions

 The symptoms listed above may be a sign of a severe form of alcohol withdrawal called delirium tremens, or DTs. This rare, emergency condition causes dangerous changes in the way your brain regulates your circulation and breathing, so it’s important to get to the hospital right away.

Assuming you’ve admitted you’re an alcoholic and have overcome the physical dependency, what’s next?

1 – Take care of your body. Eating right and getting adequate sleep will help you avoid mood swings, combat cravings and build up your health.

2 – Surround yourself with people who understand. While it would be fantastic to spend time with all of the people we know, in early recovery it’s important to surround yourself with those who have a positive influence. Again I urge you to check out an AA meeting, there’s nothing like spending time with another alcoholic to see yourself clearly. We should spend as much time and effort on getting sober as we did drinking.

3 – Get active! Find new or old hobbies, volunteer opportunities and interests. Being active in body, mind and spirit will rejuvenate you. When you find activities you enjoy and find fulfilling you are more likely to see yourself in a positive light and your thoughts will drift to drinking less.

4 – Do the work. Join a support group such as AA, see a therapist, find your spiritual solution/God. Get your spiritual side healthy and build a foundation which will support you on your journey with a clear mind. Becoming complacent is a sure-fire way to fail; before long your ego will tell you that you can handle a drink. Remember that you’re in ongoing recovery, it never ends!

5 – Establish healthy ways to deal with stress. Life isn’t easy and we’re bound to encounter stress. In the past we avoided these emotions by drinking, now that tool is eliminated we’ll need to learn to use other tools. Meditation, exercise, communication, breathing techniques, changing our sense of self and deprecating thoughts are all good choices.

 Alcoholism is an insidious, deadly disease which robs us of our lives before our last breath is taken.

There is a cure, begin by living life ONE DAY AT A TIME!

Any man can fight the battles of just one day.

AA Big Book – Pg85 ~ We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.

Heb. 10:22 – Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

 

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