Symptom Stages for Alcohol Withdrawal

Real-Life Stories From Days 1 Through 30 and Beyond

For those who experience withdrawal symptoms when they quit drinking alcohol, the two most often asked questions are "Is this normal?" and "How long does it last?" However, there is no "normal" when it comes to alcohol withdrawal.

People can experience a wide range of symptoms—ranging from mild to moderate to severe—that start and stop at different times for each person.

Common Symptoms During Alcohol Withdrawal
Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin 

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Firsthand Experiences

Almost 8,000 responses were gathered to the question, "What were your toughest withdrawal symptoms and how did you cope?" The comments reveal a wide variety of symptoms and experiences, even within the same days, from days one to 30 and beyond.

Whereas some experienced mild symptoms in the early days, others reported severe, sometimes frightening ones. Most of those who experience severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms do so because they're going through their detoxification period "on their own" without the benefit of medical help.


Day One

For many, the first day of abstinence usually follows a day of very heavy alcohol consumption—either a binge or a multi-day bender. As a result, they first experience basic hangover symptoms.

However, as the first day continues and hangover symptoms subside, actual alcohol withdrawal symptoms set in, especially for daily drinkers. Here's how people reported their symptoms on day one after quitting alcohol.

Mild Symptoms

"I am forgetful, have a hard time concentrating, and sometimes find it hard to formulate meaningful sentences."

"I am in my first hours of sobriety. I just took the quiz for withdrawal symptoms and scored 60% moderate to severe. Funny, because my average hangover is usually worse than this."

"I'm shaky, jumpy, and anxious today. I'm really afraid of how I'll feel tomorrow as I can't miss work, but I know I have to do this. I can't imagine that I won't have a bad withdrawal, given the high volume of alcohol I've been consuming on a daily basis."

Moderate Symptoms

"I'm about four hours away from the 24-hour mark, and my symptoms are finally beginning to subside. The shaking/tremors and pounding heartbeat are gone. My head feels a little cloudy, and I'm tired. And I still have the itching/tingly feeling in my legs and feet."

"Tried again today, but it was severe this time—bad shaking, sweating, rapid heartbeat. Instead of going to the hospital or doctor, I tried to wean and reduce for a few days."

"I went to the ER yesterday because I knew, after my last binge, this wasn't going to be easy. They gave me Librium to take home. I hope the Librium helps and I can make it into work tomorrow."

Severe Symptoms

"I had to miss work again because I didn't sleep again. I have had sweat pouring off me all day, I'm shaking so bad, and my chest is hurting. I know if I drink it will go away, but then nothing gets better, I feel like I'm going to die right now."

"Uncontrollable shaking, hallucinations of people and spiders, all my vision cutting out or going into a tunnel-like view, and a fear of falling over dead at any moment. Scared. I went to the hospital. Blood pressure was 200 over 130 and heart rate [was] 150 BPM lying at rest. They stabilized me with a bunch of IV meds and admitted me for alcohol detox."

"Shaking so bad I can hardly type, can barely stand up, can't eat or sleep. Might be time for a trip to the ER."

Your body and mind are undergoing enormous change as you adjust to sobriety. A healthcare provider can prescribe medications that can help you manage symptoms such as shakes, anxiety, and insomnia. Those who sought help from their healthcare providers and were given medications to alleviate their symptoms reported milder, shorter-lived symptoms overall than those who quit on their own.


Day Two

Going into the second day of abstinence from alcohol, people typically report a wide variety of experiences. For some, symptoms already start to subside, while others begin to experience more severe ones. Those who seek medical attention tend to feel better than whose who do no.

Mild Symptoms

"I am bored, folding laundry, and craving a glass of wine. My anxiety is high, and I hate it!"

"Most of my withdrawal symptoms are gone, but I still have sharp pains in my head, can't sleep, and get night sweats."

"I got through day one with hot and cold spells, increased pulse, high blood pressure, and headaches. My jaws hurt as well, but possibly that's from tension. Already, I feel better and hope every day continues that way."

Moderate Symptoms

"Throat still hurts a bit from the vomiting, still sweating and clammy, can't sleep, have a bit of heartburn/indigestion. Visiting the toilet is becoming less frequent. Even managed to get a small meal in."

"I feel totally horrible. Shakes, sweats, and insomnia. I am hearing noises that don't exist. Anyways, I talked to my doctor, and she prescribed a small dose of Valium to help me pull through. It seems to be helping. I hope tomorrow I won't need it."

"Thankfully, I'm able to sleep, and the shakes come and go, but the anxiety and the dark places are tough."

Severe Symptoms

"I quit two days ago and have just had the unfortunate experience of a seizure, as well as many visual and tactile hallucinations. Massive sweats and tremors."

"I think I've seriously damaged my brain. Maybe a seizure. Sudden sharp pains in the head. Visual, auditory, and tactile hallucinations. Confusion. Couldn't walk right."

"Spent day in ER, heart rate of 160, dehydrated, and generally just sick. Shaking so bad I couldn't walk. Anxiety attack that convinced me I was having a stroke."

"Last night was horrible. I was soaking wet with sweat, I jumped a few times in my sleep, and I had very vivid dreams."


Day Three

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms begin to ease for some and just begin to get intense for others. Some have the same symptoms as on day one and ask, "How long does this last?" The urge to relieve those withdrawal symptoms with a drink can be overwhelming.

For many, it's very difficult to get past the third day of unrelenting shakes and sweats without picking up a drink.

Mild Symptoms

"My worst symptoms so far seem to be lightheadedness, minor irritability, and insomnia."

"Doing OK. No major symptoms. This is to let folks know that not everyone has severe physical symptoms."

"The physical symptoms aren't so bad, but my mind seems to be trying to figure out how I can have just one drink. I have plans to get some yard work done, so that will keep me busy."

"I have weird ringing in the ears and dizziness (moderate). I also have cold, clammy skin while feeling hot flashes. I feel sometimes as if I have earmuffs on."

Moderate Symptoms

"The shakes aren't that noticeable, and my anxiety/chest pain has gone, but my pupils are huge!"

"Went from shaky to wanting to scream all day. I almost talked myself into 'just one more' several times, but somehow made it through."

"I realized when I couldn't sleep last night that all day I had been sweating for no reason, and it dawned on me that I was probably having withdrawals. I looked at my hands and was shaky ... earlier, I checked my pulse because it felt like my heart was racing."

Severe Symptoms

"When I was heaving my guts out, I knew something else was going on. I called my doctor, and she sent me to the ER for fluids and blood tests."

"It's been really tough, constant inner voice trying to persuade me just the one-night drinking again would be OK. I have just had to surf the urges, keep busy, and use all my strength."

"I actually slept but still waking up drenched in sweat. The shakes have minimized. I actually ate three meals yesterday."

"The third day sober feels like I'm in a big black hole and under great pressure—hard to breathe, future feels bleak, lost an old trusted friend in alcohol, can't find an alternative."


Day Four

Day four for many brings relief from their most severe symptoms. For some people, however, it's just the beginning.

Those who experience the most severe withdrawal symptoms, such as hallucinations and seizures, don't begin to have those symptoms until days four or five.

Mild Symptoms

"Withdrawals seem to be gone, except for not being able to sleep, but I have never been very good at that."

"Feeling better. Best night's sleep in some time. Weird dreams but not too nasty and scary. Feel a little weak, but I did avoid food for about four days. Very reflective still."

"It is absolutely wonderful to wake in the morning with no hangover at all. No tummy upset. No headache. No rundown feeling. Yay for day four!"

Moderate Symptoms

"Feeling a bit better. Luckily, my biggest withdrawals are insomnia and very itchy skin all over (face, arms, legs, back.) One concern I have is my swollen abdomen."

"Insomnia is the worst thing now. The anxiety, sweats, and nausea in the morning have lessened."

"Fortunately, not near the hell the first three [days] were. I am hoping that means I may finally sleep tonight. For me, the toughest parts are the vomiting (dry heaves), insomnia, and anxiety."

"Trying to exercise really helps with the anxiety and sleeplessness. I still have trouble sleeping and crave alcohol (especially at night), but I finally am beginning to feel like a human again!"

Severe Symptoms

"What scares me the most is my inability to think. I am very paranoid and don't know why, peeking out windows and not thinking rationally."

"Last night, I felt like I was coming out of my skin. I woke up this morning with a nasty headache and nausea."

"Called my wife to come home as soon as possible. She drove me and the kids to the ER. My eyes had double vision, I was hallucinating, and from what they said, I wanted to bite everything and everyone."


Day Five

People trying to quit are most tempted to take another drink at two key points: 1) when symptoms worsen, and 2) when they start to improve. People forget the pain and tell themselves that one drink won't hurt.

If the withdrawal symptoms persist for five days, many give in and take a drink to get some relief. That's why some people can say they quit for three or four days 100 times.

Some are finally able to get some sleep at day five, whereas others still have problems sleeping.

For Some, Day Five Brings Relief

"Depression is gone, anxiety gone, and all else gone. Didn't sleep great last night, but tonight will be good."

"What finally helped me was exercise. If I was going to sweat as part of the withdrawal, it would be at the gym."

"Now that most of the physical symptoms have gone away, time to work at staying sober. This is usually where I mess up and drink because I am feeling better and think I can handle it. I know I can't."

"Slept in my bed, and I feel good, no night sweats, but prior to going to sleep experienced that my body jumped and trembled. Convulsions maybe?"

For Others, Symptoms Continue

"Still having cravings and thinking a lot about drinking. I'm so exhausted, though, and nauseated, I would probably get sick if I had a drink. I have noticed the cravings for sugar. Raw sugar snap peas take the edge off that."

"Feels like a mild flu, but the tension is unbelievable. I'm having more problems with stress, losing my temper, and generally being horrible to my loved ones."

"My insomnia is still pretty bad. Takes forever to get to sleep, and I'm waking up too early. Worst headache yet today, but I'm drinking so much coffee that I'm starting to wonder if it may be the caffeine. As of yet, not too much anxiety. I've lost a few pounds."

"I get bad sweating even when sitting still, my head feels thick, my stomach hurts, and [I have] lots of gas. It's been getting better by the day, but this morning again, I feel a bit nauseous and am getting hot and cold sweats."

"My head feels funny, as if thousands of ants are running inside."


Day Six

Day six of no alcohol consumption usually brings some relief for the most severe withdrawal symptoms, but some nagging symptoms can persist. Sleep—or lack thereof—plays an important role in withdrawal.

Quitting alcohol consumption affects drinkers' sleep patterns differently. Some are able to return to normal sleep patterns after a few days. Others struggle with insomnia and poor-quality sleep long after they quit drinking.

That could be because they didn't have normal sleep patterns to begin with. Daily drinking can cause disruptions in sleep as well, so quitting suddenly can be a shock to the system. After six days of sobriety, these people report vastly different experiences with sleep and other alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Getting Sleep, Dealing With Cravings

"I've made it to day six for the first time in a long time, and I'm proud to say that I'm through the worst of the withdrawal. No more sweating and headaches, and I've actually had three nights of sound sleep. It's amazing how different I feel."

"Already feeling semi-human. Sleeping much better, bloating gone. Anxiety's still there, but way down. No booze cravings. Clear thinking, social skills improving, lost five pounds, have saved $100 from not buying beer, and can finally stop taking Prilosec for a ruined stomach."

"The more time that goes by, the clearer the picture becomes. I see my triggers, and I work through them. I'm always thirsty and drink a lot of water. I'm still not sleeping through the night."

Mood Swings, Brain Fog, and Anxiety

"I haven't experienced any shakes, pains, or bad dreams. I actually sleep better now than when I was drinking. My problem is the mood swings. I have an irrational rage and sometimes want to destroy everything around me. I have a constant feeling of restlessness."

"I spent five days in the hospital detoxing. The first 12 hours were horrible! Shaking uncontrollably, sweating, couldn't eat, couldn't sleep. The doctor gave me lorazepam to take the edge off. I think I was in a chemically induced coma for those days. I hardly remember anything. I remember having a "fall risk" bracelet on my wrist because I couldn't walk by myself. I was so dizzy and couldn't catch my balance."

"The hardest symptom for me is the anxiety. Every day when I drive home from work, I get a panicked feeling, and I tell myself, 'If I could just make it home, I could have a beer or a glass of wine as soon as I walk in the door.'"

"Anxiety, dizzy, no sleep, exhausted. Does anyone ever feel like an electric current sometimes runs through your body? But it's getting better every day."

"Lightheaded, dizzy, no sleep, pale, weak, and it feels like electric shocks shoot through my body every so often. Crazy anxiety."

"Every day, I felt sure I was dying from either heart failure, liver disease, or kidney failure. My blood pressure was 151/106 on day two of withdrawal. On day six, my blood pressure is normal again. I still have a tingly numb sensation in my arm."

"Gradually, it's getting better. The only symptoms I seem to have now are occasional goosebumps/skin crawling, lack of focus, and anxiety. Still experiencing strange dreams and nightmares, but I remind myself they’re not real and it helps."

"Feeling much better. Very slight discomfort in the chest occasionally. No sweating. Disturbed sleep? Yes. But I guess in a few days, I should be fine."


Day Seven

For the vast majority of people, the physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal have passed by day seven. The main symptom is a craving for alcohol.

The battle now becomes more psychological than physical for most. Professional counseling and/or a support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous can help.

However, for some, the physical symptoms will continue even after seven days. If you're still experiencing physical alcohol withdrawal symptoms after a week, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Many people who were still having physical symptoms after seven days regretted not seeking medical help.

Cravings, Stress, and Staying Sober

"This disease is certainly as cunning as people say. I'm fighting little voices today that say, 'Look, you did a week, you proved you can stop anytime you want, but why should you have to? Just pull it back a little.' I'm just trying to focus on not this drink, not today."

"The recent nine months' sobriety [has] done great good for my body. That said, I hope never to forget how much damage I felt in four days of drink."

"Going back to the office was a little stressful. My physical cravings are somewhat subsiding. I have the psychological urges. More like a bad habit. I'm used to stopping off to buy a couple of bottles on my way home from the office. Even though I don't have an alcohol craving, these little reminders sometimes bring my mind back for a few seconds."

"My eyes and face are less puffy, my mind is clearer, and the anxiety and depression are lifting. I actually made it through two evening events this week, one a dinner meeting with excellent wine flowing, and the other a hosted business cocktail reception—and I stuck to sparkling water at one and Diet Coke at the other. I would never have before."

Seizures, Panic, and More Insomnia

"I can't believe the luxury of sleep! After a really hard time, I slept for two nights! Not all night, but great sleep."

"Just laid on the couch and went into a full-blown seizure. Woke up on the floor sore all over. The only thing I remember is extreme tingling all through my body. I was alone and called 911. A paramedic on each side holding me up, I felt like my legs were rubber bands."

"Starting to feel a little better. If I had the money, I would have gone to a 30-day rehab. I am still having shakes now and again. My head is in a fog constantly."

"The depression is deep, and racing thoughts are hard to control."

"It's the mood swings that scare me. One moment up, the next down, and no concentration. It's hard to pretend to be happy and normal."


Day Eight

By day eight of abstinence from alcohol, many begin to see the health advantages of quitting. For most, the craving for alcohol remains a challenge.

Seek medical assistance if your physical symptoms last for a week or longer. The symptoms you're experiencing may not be the result of alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Only your healthcare provider can tell for sure.

Better Sleep, Lower Blood Pressure

"I feel incredible. I woke up this morning and was just so happy to have no head pounding, no sweats, no guilt, no 'Can I make it the four hours until liquor stores open?' feelings."

"Haven't listened to the little voice. Thinking about all the money I'm saving. The only issue besides the little voice is insomnia, but [I'm] getting some sleep. My blood pressure and heart rate have come down to just about normal."

"Physically, I feel fine now, but I still crave alcohol like crazy. That's going to be the worst part."

"My biggest challenge over the last few days is dealing with people who won't take no for an answer where drinking is concerned. People at my new workplace keep asking me to join them for after-work drinks, and even though I've managed to say no, it's not that easy."

Headache, Nausea, Disrupted Sleep

"When I got out of bed this morning I felt so ill. My head had been aching all night. I feel flat and find the evenings difficult, feeling restless, with alcohol consuming all my thoughts. I can't imagine my life without a drink just yet and look forward to feeling better."

"My worst withdrawal symptom is that my brain does not seem to work very well. Lots of spelling errors and poor fine-motor skills. I will not even go into the insomnia."

"I can't keep anything down, not even a glass of water."


Day Nine

The benefits of abstaining often become apparent around this stage. Some nagging symptoms might linger, but the benefits far outweigh the negative after nine days.

Getting Things Done, More Energy

"I feel great! A few cravings every day, but I tell myself how bad it was to detox cold turkey, and how good I feel now. I am actually getting things done in my life that I was putting off because I was always drunk."

"The whites of my eyes are white again, my urine is starting to look normal, and my bowel movements are getting normal. My energy level and mental alertness are way up, and it's only getting better."

"The itching has cleared up. I still feel groggy and confused at times, but at other times, moments of extreme clarity. Headaches are clearing up as well."

Cravings, Constant Headache

"I am sure I put myself in danger by withdrawing myself (heart palpitations, night sweats, general disorientation), but most symptoms outside of cravings have subsided. Peanut M&Ms have become my new best friend. It really has helped to have the sugar when I need it."

"It feels good. I feel strong. I am also amazed I have had none of the typical shakes, hallucinations, palpitations, etc. other than a horrific constant headache."


Day 10

The longer you're abstinent, the more time your mind and body have to heal. By this time, people are often beginning to feel better and notice more energy.

At 10 days without alcohol, if you still have any physical withdrawal symptoms, as reported below, they're possibly due to some other condition than alcohol withdrawal. Please seek medical advice.

Advantages of 10 Days of Abstinence

"Feel a lot stronger, eating healthy, and keeping up with everything. Lots of time on my hands I used to spend drinking. My swollen abdomen has already started going down, and I have energy. Plus I have my self-esteem back and don't feel like a loser at life."

"Feeling just OK. I am not sure who I am without the demon on board, but I kind of like who I am at the moment."

"Symptoms are reducing daily, and I have had the best two night's sleep in a very long time. Just loving waking up without counting the hours to the next drink."

"My mind has never felt sharper. I have started swimming and going to the gym."

Cravings, Stomachache, and Anxiety

"I can still feel it talking to me, telling me it's OK to have one just one. How many times have I fallen for that one? I still find it crazy that we can forget or forgive the horrific withdrawals, the head-splitting depression, the aches, paranoia, and raw anxiety."

"What I'm noticing now is real bad stomachaches, gas, bloating, nausea, and loud growling."

"I am starting to feel somewhat normal. I have been keeping busy cleaning the house (which is spotless right now) and staying at work late to resist the temptation. Finally, the night sweats, shakes, and nausea are gone. The anxiety is still there, but I am learning to live with it."


Day 11

If physical symptoms continue after 11 days of abstinence, seek medical attention. Those persistent symptoms might have some other cause than alcohol withdrawal.

The further they get from their last drinks, the better most former drinkers feel.

Healthy Skin, Feeling Better

"I've had aches in every joint, and even now, the periodic taste of alcohol in my mouth. It's the taste of detox, I'm guessing. Already, I'm sleeping better, feeling better, though I'm a little spacey, and my skin already looks healthier."

"Happy to say, most of my withdrawal symptoms are gone. No sweating, no shakes, and [I'm} getting some decent sleep. I have actually never felt better."

"Wow, what a rough night it was last night. I spent what seemed like an eternity struggling with myself not to go and buy beer ... Finally, I got up, jumped in the car, and headed to Walmart to purchase some chocolate and, yes, it did the trick."

Shakes, Numbness, and Rashes

"I still suffer from insomnia and itching, but the rashes are clearing, sweating nearly stopped, shaking's almost gone, and my head seems a bit clearer."

"There are still some tiny tremors in my hands, and the neuropathy (numbness) is down to just the toes instead of half of each foot."

"I needed professional help, as I had severe withdrawal symptoms of a DT nature with hallucinations, a possible seizure, and fear I would fall over dead any second. I went to the ER and detoxed five days in the hospital."


Day 12

After 12 days of abstinence from alcohol, most people who quit have very few withdrawal symptoms. The struggle at this stage is trying to remain sober.

Intense cravings and irritability are commonly reported after day 12.

Cravings, Irritability, Weird Dreams

"I'm past the horrible withdrawal and am now feeling better, at least physically. I see that I am one person when I drink and another reasonable, 'normal' person when I don't. To even consider drinking again after experiencing all the crap that goes along with it and after having survived the anxiety and physical agony of withdrawal just shows how deep this addiction is: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual."

"I feel good today but was very irritable last night. My clothes are fitting better, and my face isn't as puffy."

"I'm feeling so much better about my life and my actions. I love life without alcohol. Every day that passes, I realize the cravings are fewer and farther between. I'm not so tired all the time."

"Today, I went to the grocery store, and I cannot believe how clear everything is getting. It's amazing how foggy life was."

"I'm very irritated at times. I feel really good about my choice to quit drinking. I have headaches often and I have weird and bad dreams. Every night I dream that I'm having a drink again."


Day 13

People in recovery continue to report the benefits of not drinking alcohol after 13 days of abstinence.

Uninterrupted Sleep, Good Appetite

"I feel terrific! I'm still having trouble falling asleep, but once I do, it is very, very sound. And I feel so much better than any morning after having the drink. I had some pain in my esophagus when swallowing, and that is now gone."

"Most symptoms are gone except constipation and occasional shakes. Been sleeping really good."

"I am much calmer, anxiety has subsided, stomach better, have an appetite, and sleeping eight hours without waking up at 4 a.m."

"The headaches have subsided, but I'm itchy as hell! When I do sleep, it's uninterrupted eight to nine hours, which is very nice!"


Day 14

After two weeks of total abstinence from alcohol, the most common symptom reported is insomnia, but that could be attributed to other factors, as well.

Insomnia, Irritability

"I realize this is no easy task. I am in my 30s and just now have decided to quit. I am not sleeping right. I snap at everyone."

"Sleep is a problem, but if I sleep at all, it is a good night. I think that I have always had the sleep disorder."


Week Three

After two weeks of abstinence, the benefits of no longer drinking at harmful levels continue to become evident. For some, even the craving for alcohol begins to subside.

Thinking Clearly, Fewer Cravings

"I'm feeling fantastic. I have lost weight, and my skin looks amazing [I suffered from rashes all over my body and face]. My energy and confidence are back. It is wonderful."

"I feel like I am actually going into the honeymoon phase of my recovery. I feel great and am finally starting to be able to think clearly."

"I am starting to feel more human. The exhaustion has gone away, and my concentration seems better."

"By day five, I started exercising, and by day seven, I cranked the intensity up from there. My skin and eyes look better, and the bloated stomach is starting to recede."

Symptoms From Other Causes

"I read other people's withdrawal symptoms and how they seem to be over in a week, but mine are still hanging on ... Just stomach problems and anxiety, mostly."

"I could easily sleep 12 hours a night and still feel tired the next morning."

"I still feel really anxious and panicky and confused sometimes, especially in public."

"I am feeling better than I have in a while, a long while. I still have a few side effects like sleeplessness, anxiety, irritability, and I crave sweets all the time."

"I was feeling great having got over the nausea, shaking etc. within the first week ,but now I am beginning to have what I can only describe as partial withdrawals all over again."

If you're continuing to suffer physical symptoms after two weeks of abstinence from alcohol, consult your healthcare provider. Your symptoms could be caused by other conditions or illnesses.


Week Four

In the fourth week of abstinence from alcohol, the benefits keep piling up, according to the reports of those who remained sober for more than three weeks.

Freedom, Weight Loss, Happiness

"I wish I could sleep, if only for a few hours. The good news: Bloated stomach has gone, along with 10 pounds."

"I hope it helps someone to know the physical stuff will pass. I had a lot of odd symptoms and memory loss etc. but have noticed a definite improvement in the past week. I still crave alcohol, but it's more the mental side now."

"I feel great. To all those that are ready to give up because of withdrawals, hang in there! It does get better."

"No more fuzziness. No more ritual and control, only freedom. My skin is looking fresher and less red and blotchy. The power of being sober is almost overwhelming and calming, a new me, like the me of 35 years ago—only a lot older on the outside but feeling sunny on the inside."

"Quite relieved to say that I am still sober. Some days are like riding a rollercoaster, up, down, up and down."


Day 30 and Beyond

After 30 days of sobriety, physical withdrawal symptoms should be well in the past. The remaining battle is to maintain abstinence and recovery.

It is important at this stage for those who want to remain sober to learn how to develop a healthy lifestyle that does not including drinking.

The cravings and the urge to drink do not suddenly disappear after 30 days of abstinence. Quitting drinking, even without making other changes, can help you return to better physical health, but regaining emotional and psychological balance can be challenging. For many, remaining sober and resisting a relapse take real work.

Better Blood Pressure, Fewer Cravings

"I saw the doctor on day two, and my blood pressure was 160/110. I saw him again on day 30, and my BP was 122/80, and I'd lost seven pounds. Now my biggest struggle is just staying away from the first drink, but the more days that go by without, it the less I feel like having it."

"With hard work and vigilance, I am pleased to be getting more sober time in. I am exercising more and starting to decrease the number of herbs and vitamins I have been taking daily."

"I still have cravings, but they seem to be getting weaker. When I have cravings to drink, I resist them by thinking about all of the bad things alcohol did to me. "

"I am feeling better each day goes by. I am also very happy I am able to stay sober, I never thought I would be able to do it. Cravings come and go, but the belief in God and prayers have helped me stay strong and sober."

Day 36

"Well, what I didn't know, was all of the side effects. I have gone through racing heartbeats, sweats, shakes, crying, depression, rage, panic attacks, and non-stop insomnia. Now, at day 36, I am fatigued all day. No desire to drink—but when will I feel energy again?"

Day 49

"I am going on seven weeks of being sober, and I could not be any happier."

Day 50

"Last week, I was [on] holiday. Several times, I thought, 'Well, I will have a drink tonight," and then I remembered the pain, and it kept me straight."

Day 53

"I don't remember ever feeling so incredible. I wake up looking forward to the day. I sleep through the night and work out every morning. It's a wonderful feeling to be sober!"

Day 62

"I feel like I am getting stronger every day. Things that I have noticed since I have stopped drinking are: better thinking/ judgment, anxiety is a lot better, skin is looking better, and I definitely have better mornings."

Day 63

"I want to stay sober, but the cravings have been so bad this week. I'm not sure why it all seems to hit me at once—problems with family, work, etc. I drove down the street on my way to my old liquor stop, but something told me to go the other way and just go straight home. So yeah, I made it, and I'll wake up sober again."

Day 70

"I had so many emotional twists this week [that] I could have easily found an excuse to jump off the wagon. But I can proudly hold my head high and say I didn't need any alcohol to handle my situations ... I have never felt happier and more complete as a woman. There were others that made me face harsh realities. Through these highs and lows, I learned I don't need alcohol to cope with disappointment."

Day 210

"I'm back working, my skin's cleared up, and I've cleaned up the mess I've made of my life. The sad truth is, I miss drinking, even after all the hell it has caused. But to go back will be my death."

Tips for Getting Help

A healthcare provider can help you navigate or even minimize withdrawal symptoms. Be sure to:

  • Look for an experienced, reputable professional who specializes in alcohol withdrawal.
  • Be completely honest with them so that they can develop an accurate treatment plan for your situation.
  • Follow their advice exactly.

If you try to detox on your own, ask someone trusted, healthy, and responsible to keep an eye on you as you go through withdrawal. They can help you get medical attention should you have severe symptoms.

Either way, consider adding a few of these tried-and-true strategies to your efforts:

As time passes, time with someone close or even a pet may help you tame anxiety, negativity, and temptation.

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area. 

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

8 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Kattimani S, Bharadwaj B. Clinical management of alcohol withdrawal: a systematic reviewInd Psychiatry J. 2013;22(2):100-108. doi:10.4103/0972-6748.132914

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  5. Harvard Health Publishing. Alcohol Withdrawal: What Is It? 2019.

  6. Heinz A, Beck A, Mir J, et al. Alcohol Craving and Relapse Prediction: Imaging Studies. In: Kuhn CM, Koob GF, editors. Advances in the Neuroscience of Addiction. 2nd edition. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2010.

  7. Kharb R, Shekhawat LS, Beniwal RP, Bhatia T, Deshpande SN. Relationship between craving and early relapse in alcohol dependence: a short-term follow-up studyIndian J Psychol Med. 2018;40(4):315-321. doi:10.4103/IJPSYM.IJPSYM_558_17

  8. Brower KJ, Perron BE. Prevalence and Correlates of Withdrawal‐Related Insomnia among Adults with Alcohol Dependence: Results from a National SurveyAm J Addict. 2010;19(3):238-244. doi:10.1111/j.1521-0391.2010.00035.x

By Buddy T
Buddy T is an anonymous writer and founding member of the Online Al-Anon Outreach Committee with decades of experience writing about alcoholism.