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Old 09-11-2018, 07:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Two weeks sober


Hi, this is my first time doing something like this so I'm not really sure how it goes. I'm just over two weeks sober now; I think needless to say alcohol was killing my life. I've been drinking heavily for the past 7 or so years, I'm 27 now. I drank from the early hours every weekend, drank whole bottles of vodka before meeting friends down at the pub for a few casual pints, whenever I saw an opportunity I drank. I KNEW I had a problem, but I was weirdly ok with it, I would romanticise it, look at alcoholic characters on TV and see their struggles and think it was so cool that we were both going through this together. Anytime I had a health problem, when I went to the toilet and it looked weird or a hair fell out or I got spots or random pain, I would be terrified it was because of all the alcohol, but then i'd find out it's something else, and then I'd feel waves and waves or relief, and then of course, I drank, because drinking was a celebratory thing, it was a comfort, I did it when I was happy, not when I was sad. It was a great reward. I thought I was keeping it a secret. Then one night I messed up, and the next day my friends told me that they knew and that I needed to seriously stop.
And I immediately did. I haven't touched a drink in two weeks. For the first few days it would plague my existence, a voice would randomly pop up and say, DRINK THAT BOTTLE, but I could consciously put it away. This sounds terrible but at the start, it wasn't that hard really, and I thought I was doing ok....and then I started thinking, well if its not that hard, then I obviously don't have a problem, and that terrified me. It's like there's someone else in my head that's not me, convincing me it's ok, telling me, oh you'll drink someday, just go a year and then you'll be great. That'll prove you don't have a problem. Thankfully I know that will never be the case, and that's what's really kept me going. Romanticising being sober is also getting me through, I'm trying to turn it into something to be proud of.
Oddly though, it's been the past few days that its started getting harder, not the not drinking, but these like side effects. I'm having the WEIRDEST dreams, not nightmares, but they're so real and vivid I sometimes don't know what's real. And my anxiety will randomly shoot through the roof. I'm also sleeping for such long periods of time, I'll get into bed at 8:30 or 9 and won't wake up until 7 the next day, and I'll be exhausted. I'm not always thinking about drinking and yet I'm always thinking about drinking, I'll be plagued with thoughts about how my life is now different, what happens the next time I meet friends from years ago who want to go for drinks, how I'm going to handle birthday parties and dinners, how am I going to get past such horrible social anxiety without the crutch I'm used to! It's so weird.
I'm just wondering if this is normal? Is it different for everyone? I thought online might be easier to post, I tried AA but I'm not even remotely religious and meetings just weren't for me. I wanna do this on my own, or at least with some close friends, but I'm afraid that people will think that's stupid, or that I shouldn't be trying it like that. I've also read horrible things about alcohol withdrawal that has me scared, does that really happen to people?
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Old 09-11-2018, 07:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to this forum, Birwin! Thank you for sharing your experience. Everything you are describing is normal and par for the course with quitting long term heavy drinking. The first few days of no drinking can include horrible physical withdrawal symptoms for a lot of people. After this, you start to feel stronger and this feeling will grow for a week or so. Then that voice in your head, the alcohol voice, will start messing with your mind, telling you you never really had a problem to begin with and that you can go back to having alcohol in moderation - just that one or two drinks. Except it’s not actually possible. Because the brain goes through some major chemical changes as a result of habitual heavy alcohol use. Going down that path, thinking you can control an addictive substance, is the wrong idea, and will just perpetuate the cycle. Please stay the course and consider never picking up the first drink ever again while you are still so young. Learn from the mistakes of many of us here, like me who is now over 50,who took years of relapsing and progressively bad consequences before learning all this. Even after the physical withdrawals are gone, it takes a lif time of relearning and reprogramming the brain and learning emotional sobriety to stay sober. I hope you will keep coming to this forum, read others posts and seek help. Most of us have not been able to do this alone. Consider outside support as well. I did not join AA but I have recently begun 12 steps on my own even though I’m almost two years sober. I’ve also done individual therapy. Stay strong! And yes, those vivid dreams are also very common in early sobriety. I still have them occasionally.
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Old 09-11-2018, 07:27 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Congratulations!!! Two weeks is HUGE! I remember when one day felt impossible - 2 weeks is an amazing accomplishment.

Everything you said sounds familiar and normal. Romanticizing alcoholics- did it. They were often the coolest, most interesting people in the story. Tortured, brilliant, funny, talented - thatís me, right?? Lol. The shows never tell the end of the story, when theyíre alone in a hovel or on the street or wasting away in a hospital bed.

As for the dreams, anxiety - total normal ime too. It just shows how out of whack your body had become with so much alcohol. It should all settle down. For me, itís still settling down at 3 mo sober. The bad news is that if you take another drink, it will all go right back to where you are now. The anxiety got worse every time I tried to go back to drinking.

Sleepiness - let your body recover. All of its systems are readjusting. You wonít always be so tired. And if you think about it, how much good rest did you actually get when you were actively drinking? Passing out doesnít count. Your body may be making up for lost time. The best thing that you can do is listen to it and stay hydrated. Your body knows what itís doing.

Congratulations again and hereís to another two weeks and another and another. Life really is better on the other side.
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Old 09-11-2018, 07:31 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Birwin, I forgot to say congratulations on two weeks! That is awesome! I also agree with Eyes - life truly is so much better on this side of the fence
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Old 09-11-2018, 09:48 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Congrats on two weeks.

I just wanted to make a point about AA and religion. I struggled with AA for this reason about seven years ago when I did my first year of sobriety there. I left after a year, had a few more years sober then relapsed for eight months and have recently re-entered the rooms.

I remain an agnostic humanist. I can only speak for my own local area and for myself but, perhaps with a few more years of growing behind me, I have realised this time that most of the issues there were of my own making.

This time around, I am finding that as long as I give the same respect to other people's beliefs as I expect for mine (something I know I didn't do last time), 99% of my previous issues just haven't occurred. I am navigating the rooms and the program as an openly secular person and it is fine. I even have a sponsor now.

"Take what you want and leave the rest" is what I was always told. I hope this post itself doesn't come across as pushy or judgemental. I just wanted to share my own experience as a fellow secular person in recovery.

Best wishes.
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Old 09-11-2018, 10:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Congrats! What you're describing is totally normal, in fact, nearly universal for someone who suddenly stops drinking after periods of really heavy drinking. It sounds like you have, at least intellectually, grasped the problem. Drinking moderately will lead back to extremely heavy binge drinking on weekends...which will eventually turn into every day. Moderation doesn't work. Sounds like you've tried that and failed.

AA isn't for everyone. I am also not religious and despite the "take what you can and leave the rest," even very secular meetings feel too much like church for me. This is ME, by the way, it works for a lot of people. However, there are other methods and groups, and I suggest you browse through the secular forums to check out alternatives. Doing something more formal helps cement your chances of success.

There is nothing romantic about alcoholism, particularly as it gets more severe...and it will. The longer you are sober you will notice that it is actually relatively few people that get tanked at social events, most can have one or two and leave it at that. We can't. But you don't need alcohol to have fun, and you don't need to drink in situations where others are drinking. Nobody really cares if you're not drinking, btw, unless the whole point of the activity is to get drunk in which case it's boring as hell if you're not drinking.

Onward. Please keep checking in.
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Old 09-11-2018, 04:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hi and welcome birwin

yeah I think everyone who gets sober worries about the future and a whole host of what ifs - for what its worth I just tried to keep my head down and focus on each day as it came around - eventually being sober became the new default and a lot of those what ifs lost their fear

I'm really glad you joined us - there's a ton of support and understanding here

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Old 09-11-2018, 04:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Welcome to the family and congrats on two weeks sober!
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Old 09-11-2018, 05:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Hi and welcome!! Iím right there with you around the two week mark. I definitely have the dreams and thoughts and tiredness too. Someone else wrote that at some point youíll feel like you can go back to it and manage being a drinker again but the truth is we canít. That person was spot on. It happened to me the last time I tried and now I know Iím just not able to be a drinker. Iím so happy you shared your thoughts so I knew someone else felt the same and Iím writing this to let you know youíre not alone!!
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Old 09-12-2018, 07:09 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Hi there, congrats on realising there's an issue. I just read some really good replies there so just thought I'd add a bit more. My advice at this point is to just take each day as it comes, if you feel the urge I suggest you find something to do to occupy your mind and try and keep busy. Just remember when you have the alcohol talking to you that the reason you quit is that you DO have a problem. I'm a year sober and I can tell you right now that I have a drink problem, denial is not the way, acceptance is. Be strong and keep it going, support is everywhere, use it. All the best.
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Old 09-12-2018, 08:22 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Welcome Birwin!

I think you've made a great decision to stop drinking and two weeks of sobriety is great. It's not surprising that you're tired and feeling unsettled about the future. Our bodies need time to heal and so do our minds. Try to not get overwhelmed with thinking about forever. And, you will always find lots of support here, so I hope you keep reading and posting.
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Old 09-13-2018, 05:13 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I just wanna sincerely say thank you to everyone for the reply. It's easy to know other people in the world are going through this, but when you get so much support, and people empathise with you, know what you're going through, not just the emotional stuff, but the physical stuff, it sounds weird but in a way I never really realised anyone got it. Seeing it makes all the difference. So honestly, thank you all for getting back to me, and welcoming me and sharing their own experiences. I'll continue to battle on, and there's a catharsis from posting on here I didn't think I'd get so I'll definitely continue posting updates. It really is just dealing with it with day at a time, some days are easier than others, some days I'm on top of the world and hyper and sarcastic and then others I'm doom and gloom and don't want to interact. But so far I'm coping, and I'm hoping it'll continue to that way.
So again, thanks. Your messages mean a whole lot!!
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Old 09-13-2018, 06:19 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Just keep going Birwin. i can't add much more to what everyone already said, except say again that it really does get better. I am only one week ahead of you , and already I feel so much better.

You have the great advantage that you nipped this in the bud at your early age - kudo's to you. You WILL thank yourself in years to come when you see a lot of your drinking buddies slipping down this slope called alcoholism. Keep at it and never, ever give up ! You are doing it !
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