How bad is alcohol withdrawal?

I get asked a lot how bad is alcohol withdrawal is, and after being five years sober, I think I can answer most of the questions that other addicts have.

I drink heavily for four years. That may not sound like a long time, but I was going through several bottles of liquor a day. I needed alcohol 24/7, even when I was at work. I use to buy a bottle of cherry Pepsi, dump it out, then fill it with a dark red wine to try and hide my problem. I’d chew gum and eat mints to cover up the smell. In short, I needed help desperately but didn’t know where to begin.

I first started trying to quick drinking on my own. I knew about the shakes and the sweats, but I didn’t realize just how bad they were. My hands were shaking so badly that they were barely useable, and I would sweat through multiple t-shirts a night as I tried to sleep.

Sleep was another hard side effect. I had drunk myself to sleep for so long that it took some time to adjust to sleeping like a normal person. When I say adjust, I mean there were times I went days without sleep just lying awake and staring at my wall. This all took a toll on my mental health, especially knowing that just one more drink would solve the problem.

Some of the side effects I experienced included

  • Irritablity
  • Lack of sleep
  • Night Sweats
  • Seziures
  • Hallucinations
  • Hearing voices

No one had told me about the hallucinations or hearing voices. I simply thought that when I quit drinking I was just going to be shaking and a little short-tempered, but when I started seeing things out of the corner of my eyes and then hearing voices, I knew it was time to seek help.

Getting Help

At first, I checked myself into a hospital. I had several seizures while I was there, but I was in a safe environment where I wasn’t able to hurt myself or access more alcohol. The problem was, the hospital released me far sooner than I needed to be. I was also embarrassed about my alcohol intake level, so I lied to the doctors about how much I was drinking. When I was released, I was still hallucinating and hearing voices, and this led me to become extremely suicidal. I had no idea any of these were side effects of alcohol withdrawal, I simply thought I was losing my mind.

After this continues for a few weeks, I started drinking again. Bad idea, I know, but it made the voices and hallucinations go away. That was when I put two and two together. It wasn’t me that was going crazy, it was all the alcohol abuse I had put myself through over the past several years.

I knew I had to get myself into a rehab program quickly, and thank God I did because it probably saved my life. I thought I’d sound crazy describing all by symptoms, but it turns out these are more common than I had initially thought. I was also truthful this time about just how much I drank, and the doctors and therapists were extremely helpful. They didn’t judge me like I thought they would. Once I was in the right rehab center, I was able to be given the right medication to get me off of alcohol once and for all. I was also taught coping skills to help me once I left the program. It’s very important to learn a skill, be around friends and family, or pick up a hobby. This will give you something to do in your free time instead of drinking.

I won’t lie, the urge is still there, but going to treatment was by far the best decision of my life. I no longer sleep poorly, have uncomfortable bowel movements, I can remember day to day things, and I enjoy life… the only thing I regret is not going sooner.

If you’re considering going to treatment, it’s not going to be easy, but it will be worth it. If you’re ready to start, there are counselors are available 24 hours a day to talk about your options. Simply call 833-820-2922 for help today.