The first few weeks of recovery were not only difficult because I was trying to settle into my new life, but also because I was experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms. Perhaps the most disturbing feeling I experienced during that time was the sensation that my brain is made entirely out of wool. Simply put, when I started facing life without the help of alcohol my thinking was rather fuzzy and I had huge problems remembering simple things.
The Mental Blurriness in Early Recovery
Although my first thought was that my brain suffered damage due to excessive alcohol consumption, my counselor reassured me that I was going through a very normal process for the early stages of recovery. To be more precise, over the years my brain had adapted in order to survive the massive alcohol intake. Now that the chemical assistance was gone, it would take a while before it can readjust to the new situation.
Moreover, because alcohol tends to diminish the appetite, I was also suffering from nutritional deficiencies. Looking back, I admit I wasnít able to eat when I drank and, when I could actually eat, I always preferred junk food. While the brain can adjust to the low nutrient/massive alcohol intakes, the truth is that it canít provide you with mental clarity.
PAWS and Early Recovery
Even though I was clean and sober for almost three months and made sure to watch my diet very carefully, I continued to experience memory problems and mental fuzziness. As I was about to find out, the main reason was the post acute withdrawal syndrome, a condition that is likely to develop when you abuse alcohol for years.
The PAWS symptoms include episodes of insomnia, inability to concentrate, emotional overreaction, or alternatively, numbness, memory issues as well as the failure to solve simple problems. While the impaired cognitive capacity can play a number on you Ė particularly when a minor inconvenience feels like the end of the world Ė the best thing you can do is learn how to recognize the symptoms and bring them under control as soon as possible.
The Mental Ambiguity Can Lead to Relapse
Because I wasnít able to concentrate, experienced memory problems, and wasnít capable of solving problems I found easy before, I was really worried that I was never going to get better again. In fact, I was starting to question whether or not recovery was a viable option for me at all.
Since I wasnít able to deal with the simplest of problems, I strongly believed that I couldn’t face my entire life being as useless and powerless as I felt at that point. I was rather depressed with the perspective of my new life and the thought of committing suicide crossed my mind a few times.
The Darkest Night is Just Before the Dawn
Regardless of how difficult the situation may seem at this point, you need to remember that your goal is to remain abstinent. Even though you feel that your inability to think straight is never going to go away, trust me, it will. All it takes it some perseverance in staying true to your goal and a bit of patience. If you canít do this alone, donít hesitate to get professional help.