Physical changes in early recovery

Old 04-06-2010, 08:51 PM
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Physical changes in early recovery

Hi All-

I am not looking for medical advice. I am just wondering if any of you have any information about the physical changes that happen in early recovery. I have been so busy working a program of spiritual recovery and renewal I just have not thought much about what has been happening physically and I am curious about this. I am wondering how long it takes for the body to get fully adjusted to sober life.

Thanks a lot.

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Old 04-06-2010, 08:59 PM
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Not entirely sure what you mean - I *believe* the book Under the Influence goes into this area a bit but I've not read it. We do have some excerpts tho.

This link may also answer some of your queries 2be
Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) — Why we don’t get better immediately) Digital Dharma

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Old 04-06-2010, 11:58 PM
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Thank you for both links. The second is the best I've ever read on Post-Acute Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome. (:
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:46 AM
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i have been sober nearly a month, the first few days was sweating, irritability, i could smell the alcohol coming out of me. after the first 2 weeks it seems like most physical symptoms are gone. sometimes i do wake up feeling like a day after heavy drinking, that hungover feeling, i don't know i take it a day at a time.
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Old 04-07-2010, 02:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Dee74 View Post
Not entirely sure what you mean - I *believe* the book Under the Influence goes into this area a bit but I've not read it. We do have some excerpts tho.

This was the book that changed everything for me - wouldn't be here without it. Made step one possible reall worth getting - quite cheap as well.

Under the Influence: A Guide to the Myths and Realities of Alcoholism : James Robert Milam, Katherine Ketcham

Last edited by Dee74; 04-07-2010 at 01:53 PM. Reason: removed link
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Old 04-07-2010, 04:22 AM
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for myself, the physical changes came apparent everytime I looked in the mirror....first the bloat and puffiness went away in my face and abdomen, I had incredible thirst and probably drank about a gallon of herbal tea every day the first week....i started sleeping better about 5-6 days and this made a difference too...i started to look well rested....after about 10 days, my BP and resting HR dropped down to more normal levels and i cut my HTN meds in 1/2...i stopped the PM dosing because my BP would get too low....took my B vitamins, multis, liver antioxidants and valarian to help me sleep.

after about 3 weeks i started some exercise every AM. it hleps with both my HTN and my mood is better throughout the day.
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Old 04-07-2010, 04:41 AM
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The book Dee mentions can be ordered on very inexpensively.

And that PAWS link did wonders for me to be able to understand what is going on with my body/mind. I am 11 weeks sober, and I sometimes think that I should be feeling like wonderwoman now. Don't misunderstand, I feel so much better not waking up with a hangover, and gaining clarity of mind...but there are times when I think I should be feeling better or different than I am currently...and then I reread the PAWS link...and it helps me to give myself time. It helps me to be more patient with myself in my recovery.

I wish you the best in your recovery.
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Old 04-07-2010, 05:29 AM
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The physical changes (improvements) do take a while to notice. Give it time. And it could be PAWS. I started noticing changes in my physical health after about a month. I'm at four months now and feeling quite 'normal'.
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Old 04-07-2010, 05:41 AM
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I lost 10 pounds and my skin looks better!
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Old 04-07-2010, 06:07 AM
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I'm only on Day 14, but I'm eating a lot more food (body craves the calories it got from beer), so my body is filling out a bit and I'm stronger. Haven't worked out (plan to start soon), but just by having actual nutrients in my body instead of alcohol I am getting stronger and looking better. Also, I'm sleeping a lot more, and it's good sleep, so I don't have bags under my eyes. And I used to wake up and blow my nose a lot and cough up phlegm; that's not happening any longer. Don't know if I have an actual physical allergy to alcohol (guess anything's possible), but that doesn't happen these days.

I just have a lot more energy. My body doesn't feel like it's being dragged through the muck.
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Old 04-07-2010, 06:13 AM
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I found some inner truths for myself on this topic.

While an active drunk, I was 30 pounds heavier, wore glasses, and dressed 20 years older than my years. These things are really no big deal.

Howwever, I was a mess inside. Completely unhappy about my appearance. Why? Afterall, I wasn't ugly by any means - So what was the reason I felt hideous?:

Because as an active drunk, I was not who I was supposed to be from the inside out. While I looked "okay" It wasn't how ME, MYSELF as an individual was supposed to appear. It simply wasn't my skin. It was someone else.

When I got sober and the internal changes began, an automatic response was also a physical transformation. Shed 30 pounds, glasses no longer needed (this isn't the norm I caution). I tried so hard to appear normal that I was afraid to take risks with clothes. I'm an artist, I was meant to dress like one. It's all part of who I really am. Now I wear tall high-heeled boots and most clothes have glittery stuff of somekind on them! I have red, red, long hair.

It's wonderfully bizarre to finally be in my proper skin.
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Old 04-07-2010, 06:44 AM
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I had a doctors appointment yesterday at 100 days clean to go over some test results and talk about some other things. My last appointment was on 12/7/09 and i was still in the grips of my addiction. My weight was 263, my blood pressure was high, and my liver enzymes were dangerously high.

Yesterday my weight was 205, blood pressure normal, and liver has returned to normal.

Pretty significant changes in a short time. Now it's on to quitting cigarettes and getting the weight down to 180 or so.
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Old 04-07-2010, 08:03 AM
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2be-We gave a lot of replies...but I was wondering what physical thing about yourself you noticed? If you wanna share?

And Aliz--I thought you might have been an artist....Alizaren Crimson and all. Makes me wanna get out my acyrilics...

I am starting to feel that i am in my proper skin and it rocks!
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:22 PM
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I've lost ten lbs in two and a half weeks of being sober and my skin is a different color, which is crazy. I didn't realize it but I was slowly turning yellow. Scary! I have more energy in general, like.. deep energy, and friends have commented on a "glow." This is all great, but being sober is awesome and I would do it even if it meant that I turned into a troll.
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Old 04-07-2010, 02:20 PM
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Thanks for all of your replies! Those links are great D and the PAWS link especially. I did not have anything major precipitating my question, just a curiosity. I am on day 106 and I just started to think about how much stress I put on my body with alcohol. I started wondering how long it really takes for the body to recover from the physical effects of subjecting it to such large daily amounts of alcohol. I have heard the term "wet brain" and was wondering if anyone knew how long it really takes for the brain and liver to recover from alcohol addiction.

I appreciate this information. Reading it is really a buzzkill. I can honestly say that right now, I have no desire to drink. This helps to reinforce that feeling.

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Old 04-07-2010, 02:45 PM
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I gained lots of weight after I stopped using, but I think dependingon the drug/ alcohol whether you lose weight or gain but that sometimes happens in recovery.
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Old 04-07-2010, 10:19 PM
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I asked my doc, whose an addicton specialist, how long it took for the effects of alcohol to leave the brain. She was talking in terms of six months. I'm not a medical expert but I think the neurological effects may be more difficult to quantify in terms of a set period.
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Old 04-08-2010, 04:31 AM
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if you are at all concerned, make an appt. with your doctor to have LFTs done and then do a comparison at 6-8 months....your insurance should pay for the liver function tests as they are pretty routine...if you are concerned about type 2 diabetes, ask for an A1-C test...which is done at 3-4 month intervals.

about 3-4 weeks, i rec'd a compliment from my co-worker, we have worked together for 4 years and he is an older guy, (s/p kidney transplant so he does not drink at all nor does he judge)...he told me there was a vast difference in my personality and my physical appearance....he knew I had stopped drinking, i told him my health was not doing well...I asked him what was different...he said "you move more, you smile and you actually talk to people".
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Old 04-08-2010, 09:26 AM
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Thanks for posting this thread. I have a lot of questions about the changes after quitting alcohol and it's good to hear peoples' responses.
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Old 04-09-2010, 03:28 AM
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Like you, I've been very interested in the physical/psychological changes that take
place in sobrety after a long period on alcohol addiction. Initially, I thought it would be a couple of weeks until total balance was restored, but according to PAWS it seems longer than that. Major changes for me in the two months or so since I've been sober have been.

. A reduction in heart palpitations from almost daily to hardly ever
. Reduced BP; from 140/90 to 110/70.
. Heart rate down from 72+ per minute to 54 per minute.
. Slight weight gain (3 kg).
. Improved clarity of mind.

Like you there are days when I feel kind of fuzzy and other days when i feel just
exhausted. There are strange moments when I find myself thinking of a drink, quite involuntarily. In fact, going to the fridge earlier, the thought just popped into my head from nowhere about having a cold beer. And I spent last Saturday drinking Ginger beer
at a barbeque and thinking, this is really weird, what's going on here? Still, the bad days roll over, and I think the body and mind are doing a major reconstruction job. In fact, two friends have noticed a physical difference -- light in the eyes.

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