Depressed After Quitting Drinking

Depressed After Quitting Drinking


Some people complain that they are depressed after quitting drinking.  This is especially true for people who are still in the “fun” stage of their alcoholism and have not really progressed to a point where they are miserable almost all of the time.  Of course this is deceptive, because even those alcoholics who are almost always miserable will stay stuck in denial, convincing themselves that they are actually happy most of the time “as long as they are good and drunk.”   The fact is that the window of happiness gets smaller and smaller the longer the alcoholic drinks, and eventually they are always miserable or completely blacked out.  The part where they are drunk and loopy and happy gets squeezed out entirely.

Now if you claim that you are depressed after quitting alcohol, then you should perhaps see a doctor and look into the possibility that you suffer from depression.  But in all reality it might take a few weeks before you really bounce back and start to live again.  Alcohol is a depressant and when we sober up it takes a bit of time for our system to really get back to normal.  It does not happen overnight.  Acute detox may take 3 to 5 days but there is a longer form of detox in which our body is taking the time it needs to readjust over the next few months.  For heavy drinkers, their body might not be entirely back to normal for a few years even.  For example, our sleep patterns in particular generally take quite a long time to self correct.

It took several years in recovery, but eventually I figured out that regular exercise was one of the pillars of my sobriety.  This is often overlooked and if you tried to mention this in traditional recovery circles (such as an AA meeting) you would probably not be taken very seriously.  But for recovering alcoholics, especially those who are depressed, regular exercise may very well be one of the most important aspects of their treatment plan.  If they force themselves to exercise vigorously every day, or even a few times per week, this will have a tremendous impact on their overall health and well being in recovery.  In addition, it will naturally help them to sleep better at night, and thus feel a bit better during the day.  The benefits of regular exercise cannot be emphasized enough here.  If you are suffering from depression in recovery, talk with your doctor, but also get out there and exercise.


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