Night Sweats. COOL!

Posted: September 28, 2010 in Early sobriety
Tags: , , , ,

I’ve been and will continue to concentrate on physical symptoms of withdrawal, because (a.) that’s my pressing issue/experience at the moment and (b.) there’s no use addressing the poop in my brain without knowing that all the booze has abandoned ship.  So:  on with another fun symptom I mentioned in my first post:  NIGHT SWEATS! 

When (unwittingly or grudgingly) withdrawing before–some might experience this after a weekend binge–I’ve had the dreaded “combination” of night sweats, chills, anxiety, and shakes.  Quite often these symptoms would trigger a sort of panic attack, which would be only one more disincentive to quit for good.  Last night, as I snuggled (for the first time in 72 hours) against my lovely partner, I had every expectation that I would probably have night sweats that night.  Not to let my penchant for always being right down, my body obliged.

These certainly weren’t the worst I’d ever had, possibly because my drinking prior had not been as heavy nor extended as it might have been, but I found myself thinking differently about the physical process in a way that made it easier to get through.  Although I’ve tried to look up the specific medical reasons for night-sweating during detox, I haven’t found anything as specific as I’d like except that it’s a “symptom.”  I can only presume that the hot/cold flashes you can experience especially when in bed have to do with your body’s inability to rest and control temperature without the alcohol.  Something to do with seretonin  maybe?  It may also be your body “sweating out” a little more of that liquid diet, but I sort of doubt it.

At any rate, understanding that this uncomfortable sheet-soaking is only a symptom that will pass in one or a few nights makes it slightly easier to endure.  But, I thought why not just embrace the sweats–why not LOVE MY NIGHT SWEATS?  Although, as I said, I seriously doubt that it’s the body’s way of ridding itself of alcohol, I chose to imagine  that is precisely what it was doing.  I likened it to the fevers I had when I was a kid:  my parents would pile blanket after blanket on me until my fever “broke” (indicated by sweating… this is also kind of dangerous to do with children I later learned!).  So, when my girlfriend pulled me close–and her night time body temperature ranges somewhere between the nose of the space shuttle on re-entry and Vesuvius on a bad day–I just decided not only to recognize the fact that I probably would have “the sweats” that night, but, with her plump, super-heated flesh encapsulating me, I’d have no choice!  (My partner just reminded me that, having been offered finally the chance to snuggle, it would have been pretty rude to refuse.  She’s right!)

All these crazy physical experiences are certainly symptoms of my disease; but, in another, positive sense, they are ways my body is healing.  They are symptoms not just of the illness but of a being in recovery.  It’s just a shame that now I smell like a goat and need to change the sheets!

Thanks for reading and helping me stay sober for now!

  1. orangeutan says:

    Isn’t that the cover of “Bastard Out of Carolina”?

    • soberfornow says:

      Yep. Dorothy Allison is a personal hero. I recall…many moons ago…meeting her and handing her my bedraggled first edition of her book of poetry, “The Women Who Hate Me.” She looked at it, remarking to someone else that she “hadn’t seen one of these in years,” then, looking at my youthful face said, “where did you get this, honey?” I said, sheepishly, “I bought it when I was sixteen.” She put her arms around me and just said, “Oh, you sweet thing,” like she might need to adopt me or give me a crust of bread and fifty cents before she left. One of my favorite memories.

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