What Happens if You Quit Drinking Alcohol?

Patrick
  • By Patrick

    A reader writes in and asks: “What happens if you quit drinking alcohol?”

    Well the first thing that happens is that your body will respond physically to this.  Depending on how much you drink every day and how long you have been drinking for, this may or may not produce a dangerous withdrawal from alcohol.  If you are seriously addicted to alcohol and your body is dependent on it, then you will go into a serious withdrawal while your body starts to detox and you will require medical attention.  Without getting medical help you could have a seizure or even die.

    Now of course many people are not that dependent on alcohol and will not require detox, but you should watch out for the possibility.  If your hands start to shake when you go to long without a drink, then that is an indicator right there that you probably need medical help.  Try to get into rehab or a treatment center if this is the case for you.

    Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon Shotglass with Jameson's
    Creative Commons License photo credit: slgckgc

    Now aside from the physical effects of quitting drinking, the next thing that happens is that you may go through a psychological withdrawal.  You will have a tendency to want to drink when you are in situations in which you used to drink all the time.  This is normal and you just have to make it through those situations a few times in order to get used to it.

    If you are smart then when you quit drinking alcohol you will take massive action in order to insure that you do not relapse.  If you have struggled to quit drinking alcohol in the past and not had much success, then you definitely need to make a greater effort this time.  The key is to take massive action.  When I talk about taking action, I am talking about things such as:

    1) Going to 12 step meetings such as AA or NA.

    2) Going to rehab or treatment or living in long term rehab.

    3) Going to see a therapist or counselor on a regular basis.

    4) Using other friends in recovery to help you stay clean.

    And so on.  Early recovery is all about support.  You need support in order to stay sober so you should take action every day to get that support.  If you really want to stay sober then you are going to need to put in the same amount of effort into chasing this support in early recovery as what you used to put into your drinking.

    Later on in long term sobriety, external support becomes less important, and the focus is on personal growth instead.  Why?  Because if you do not continue to grow personally, then complacency sets in, and you will eventually relapse.  So the focus has to shift towards one of personal growth as you stay sober for longer and longer.

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