24 Hours and Counting; or Fun with Detox

Posted: September 27, 2010 in Early sobriety
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My purpose here is to record with some detail, much honesty, and hopefully a little humor my experience getting sober. This is not the first time I’ve tried, but with luck and love, it will be the last. I am waiting until the worst of my detox is over to attend a meeting, although I am regularly reading and posting to intherooms.com (which, if you haven’t found that site, I strongly recommend). This blog is not necessarily for alcoholics, but for anyone who has a vested interest in learning about the experience of addiction.

So, exposition aside and one day of recovery under my belt, how am I feeling? I’ll tell you how I feel: like shit! For those of you who don’t know very much about the experience of detoxing, I’ll run down the basic physical discomforts. I get “the shakes” for the first two or three days–which I have right now. I have gotten night sweats (and cold/hot flashes) in the past, but not yet this time: perhaps something to look forward to tonight! I’m not nauseated, but I have very little appetite. I’m drinking plenty of water to help flush the alcohol from my system, so this means I’m running to the bathroom about every 20 minutes. I’m not hallucinating, but my peripheral vision often feels over-stimulated, and this increases my feelings anxiety and paranoia. Every little noise can sound terrifying. 

And, of course, all of this can make we want to drink. I’ve often thought it amusing that so many pharmacies have huge liquor departments: when you’re detoxing, it really IS because your sick, and what seems like the “best medicine” is, of course, exactly the thing that is killing you.

Now, for the emotional consequences. Naturally, now that I’m sober for the first time in days, I’m wracked with feelings of shame and guilt–especially toward my familyj. Interesting aside: my brother just called and left a message apologizing for the rather harsh call he made Saturday (my last day o’ drinkin’). He and my other family members have every right to be angry and frustrated with me. They certainly shouldn’t have to put up with my shit–which they have been doing on and off for years. But, anyone who has been in this early stage probably knows how hard it is to face those conversations. No one could be angrier at me than me–although time might tell on that one–and, as shaky as I feel physically, I feel even more shattered emotionally.

I’m very grateful (and lucky) that my partner decided NOT to kick me out–although I have been riding the hide-a-bed for the last two nights, and my car keys are gone. I snapped a ligament in my foot last week, so I can’t even successfully walk to a liquor store. I’m looking at these as positives, even though I’m disgusted by the fact that I need these unpleasant incentives to remain abstinent.

I’m not looking forward to facing our two kids, who are freaked out and (the older) probably very angry and confused. I see an Alateen meeting in the future. It will be a rough road to the healing of these relationships, and it’s something I barely want to think about.

I’m not going to go into any issues right now. I drink because I’m an alcoholic and, left to my own devices, that’s absolutely what I will do again.

During the next few days, as the alcohol leaves my body (not fully for 10-14 days, and not out of the liver for many months), I’ll keep a note (if it’s relevant) of this experience.

I’m not necessarily using this space to seek advice, though comments and thoughts are very appreciated and welcome. I think this is more for me to “keep it real” for myself and, perhaps, to help someone else who shares my disease or help someone understand the experience a little better.

Thanks to anyone reading this and helping me stay sober for now.

  1. Katie says:

    Just wanted to let you know I enjoy your blog so very much. I have been giving sobriety a go since July, and with in and outpatient rehab and AA, much literature and words of wisdom have been thrown my way. Although I sometimes find myself muttering those annoying AA one-liners, they become so annoying. It’s refreshing to hear someone elses struggles sans the AA rhetoric. Your blog is the proverbial skeptic (though kind hearted) alcoholic that lives inside me. I look forward to reading more from you!

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