When Im newly sober, my immune system crashes

Old 04-20-2013, 08:30 AM
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NewHouse2012's Avatar
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When Im newly sober, my immune system crashes

Whenever I get newly sober, for a couple of weeks, I get sick like a flu or cold and my immune system crashes. I feel totally crappy and pissed off that I feel this way.
Last month I was doing so well but I got this terrible cold, I mean really bad and rationalized that since I was not drinking, that was the cause of it because alcohol can relieve stress and fight off colds and flu. SO last month I just started drinking away instead of fighting the cold sober.
Now, today after 8 days under my belt, I wake up feeling like I have a terrible cold.
I wonder if our immune systems just crash and burn when deprived of alcohol. Any thoughts on this? No medical advice but any similar experiences?
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:36 AM
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most all things get better with time

after a couple of weeks sober one time
I broke out in an AA meeting with some real heavy sweating
it was intense and kind of embarrassing
it was over right after the meeting
so I don't think it was the flu or a cold
what was it
not sure
I just figured it was part of sobering up

sometimes we have to go through a lot to get sober

I also had bad nightmares for many months this last time around

most all things get better with time
we don't drink

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Old 04-20-2013, 09:50 AM
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I think it gets better with time NewHouse. I'm still in the beginning months, on day 81 of sobriety, and the first month I had allergy flare ups, and dry skin and rashes which spanned well into the 2nd month. My body was reacting to my new way of life in many different ways. As each day/week passes, I'm noticing my health improvements are gradually getting more consistent. The skin rashes and allergies are completely gone now. My body is also now responding to my workouts, losing weight and fat and body/mind is feeling far less stressed.
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:10 AM
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I think this is normal. I got sober and less than 2 months later I had the full blown Influenza. I rarely get sick, so this was noteworthy. I had also just started an exercise program and I had to interrupt it for the flu.

Yeah, it was very tempting to hit the bottle because it relieves symptoms and sanitizes everything as well as drying everything out in your respiratory system. There is definitely a certain logic to the idea that drinking wards off germs. Alcohol kills germs, right? So it makes sense that if you're an alky, you're less likely to catch stuff from people around you. On the surface, this sounds like a great break, except when you stop to think that it is also a poison that kills off all your vital organs and destroys brain cells. It's not a good trade off, so I didn't drink, I just felt sorry for myself. It also felt good to tell the doctor that I didn't drink. Once I did tell her that it was easier to keep the commitment NOT to drink in spite of the fact that I really wanted to.

I think the only advice is to just push through the whatever-it-is until you get to the other side. I not only had the 10 days of the flu, I had something like a month of annoying coughing afterwards that didn't seem like it would ever go away. Oh so tempting to lull that away by drinking. NOT. I swear I think your whole body makes major changes to adapt to the fact that you are ingesting this poison on a daily basis. I am totally surprised now that I'm sober about all the differences I've been noticing in myself compared to PRIOR to my 17 years of binge drinking. I keep saying "Wait ... I didn't USED to be this fill-in-the-blank (slow, stupid, tired, inarticulate, achy, whatever)."

I think people are right and EVENTUALLY (eventually being the key word) your life starts to get better once alcohol is out of it. I made a major mistake in assuming my life would be better *within weeks* of quitting drinking. Yes, SOME changes were immediate, but the big ones that I was expecting took time because my body needed to adjust slowly. It is still going on. I am coming up on another small anniversary and now FINALLY (cross fingers) the headaches and cravings seem to be subsiding. So the only advice is to just push through the crap that keeps getting handed to you and tell yourself, "Screw it! I'm going to be SOBER." Maybe someone else has better advice, but so far that is what is working for me.
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:37 AM
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Hi NewHouse -

Since this is a routine with you, why not plan for it? IE load up on vitamins, use the remedies that people use on the early stages of having a cold, etc.

RE: feeling pissed off at being sick. That might be another opportunity. It's ok with other people when we're sick with a cold to slow down and focus on healing so we get permission to slow it down a bit - it's not as understood that recovery takes down time to help heal too.

I hope you feel better soon!
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Old 04-20-2013, 12:51 PM
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hypochondriac's Avatar
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Originally Posted by NewHouse2012 View Post
I wonder if our immune systems just crash and burn when deprived of alcohol.
I think this sentence says a lot about addictive thinking NewHouse. Our immune systems don't crash because we stop drinking. Our years of drinking causes a massive hangover and subsequent recovery from which makes us susceptible to other illnesses. I think we always see it as 'I don't have alcohol so this happens' rather than 'I drank too much and this is the consequence'.
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