Everyone’s approach to recovery from alcohol addiction is going to look different. From quitting cold turkey to weaning yourself off of it, alcohol withdrawals are very real. An entire month without alcohol is a huge accomplishment, but it’s not as easy as one might think.
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, attempting a sober lifestyle can give you an idea of what the recovery process looks and feels like. Some people will attempt a 24-hour cleanse first, increasing to a week without alcohol, and then a month.
Know that your body may react negatively to not getting alcohol, so you should be careful and have support. We believe connection and community are key to any sort of recovery process.
If you are going for 30 days without alcohol and hoping to get many more, keep reading to better understand what to expect.
What Should I Know Before I Quit Drinking?
Quitting alcohol will affect both your mental and physical health. You should be prepared for a long and difficult road ahead — but you can do it. This is your comeback story!
Withdrawal symptoms can be debilitating, with you experiencing intense cravings, mood swings, depression, irritation, nausea, and even fevers. If you are dealing with a severe addiction, it is essential to seek out a medical detoxification program.
This can ensure you are safe during the withdrawal period. Professionals can keep an eye on you so that you don’t have to go through withdrawal alone. Additionally, medication is sometimes given to people during detox to help minimize the side effects.
What Are the Benefits of 30 Days Without Alcohol?
Alcohol is a depressant that works to slow cognitive function. It can directly impact your mood and mental health, even though you might feel great when under the influence. With continued use, your body begins to experience various negative effects.
This can lead to a higher risk of health-related illness, but that doesn’t mean these effects can’t be combated by becoming sober.
Going 30 days without alcohol, you should notice an improvement in your mood and anxiety, you might want to be more social, you will likely start to take care of your responsibilities again, and you can begin to mend strained relationships.
All these positive consequences are related to becoming sober, and you’ll never know how your life can change until you try!
What 30 Days Without Alcohol Looks Like
Every week there will be changes in how your body reacts to having no alcohol in it. The process of quitting drinking can be daunting, so knowing what to expect can ease your anxiety and prepare you for anything unpleasant.
Because everyone’s relationship with addiction is different, how you heal will also be different. Having a support system behind you through this process can make it a lot easier. Joining AA groups or online platforms for sober individuals can provide you with knowledge of different ways to cope.
Plus, having support from those who know exactly what you’re experiencing is invaluable. And you deserve that kind of support.
The First 24 Hours
For people struggling with alcohol addiction, the first 24 hours are known to be a mixed bag of emotions. You may experience acute withdrawal symptoms like headaches, nausea, cold sweats, extreme thirst, and mood swings.
If you experience an extreme reaction to quitting alcohol, you even risk putting your life in danger. It is often recommended to be supervised during this time and not attempt it alone.
However, the first 24 hours can also be uplifting. You have the initial motivation to quit, and if you make it through the first 24, you may feel more confident going into the next day.
Surrounding yourself with uplifting people during this time and around the hobbies that you like can make the process easier. Make sure to take care of yourself and seek medical help if necessary.
In the first week, you may sweat more than you will sleep. Your body is adjusting to the lack of alcohol, so you are likely to experience disturbed sleep patterns for the first week.
You might begin to lose the initial motivation that you had as the cravings begin to creep in. It’s important to practice mindfulness right from the beginning to combat these cravings and emotions.
The first week is meant for you to relax and recuperate. You shouldn’t be trying to do much other than heal.
Don’t feel bad for turning down social gatherings and ignoring some of your responsibilities. Your main responsibility should be your health.
The physical symptoms of withdrawal should begin to disappear at the end of the first week. You might be struggling more with your mental health and having to fight cravings, but your body has been rapidly healing from the alcohol abuse, and the future is starting to look more promising.
After a week, the improvements that you will notice are:
Improved hydration and a more moisturized-looking complexion
Better sleep quality and fewer interruptions
More energy throughout the day and a slightly improved mood
The second week is often accompanied by having more free time. You are no longer spending your days drinking or recovering from drinking, so now you have time to sit with yourself. This might cause more irritation and restlessness with yourself as you struggle to figure out how to occupy your time.
While the anger might still exist, you should begin to notice many benefits to not drinking. You are now experiencing a better quality of sleep, you are dreaming more frequently, and you are feeling energized.
Cravings are still common well into week two, so you should still seek community to push through these moments. It is helpful to share your experience and worries with others to understand how other people were able to be successful during this period.
After the second week, some improvements you will notice are:
Improved mental clarity and the ability to focus for longer
Full nights of restful sleep
Improved digestion as your stomach lining begins to heal: acid reflux and heartburn will improve
Week three is all about finding new ways to spend your free time. You may experience some cravings by now, but you’ll probably feel more confident in your sobriety. Most people are no longer experiencing physical or psychological symptoms; the main challenge is getting back into social situations.
It’s good to find new hobbies that reflect healthier behaviors. Surrounding yourself with sober individuals or people who respect your sobriety makes this period easier. Many feel more productive and happy by week three.
After three weeks, your blood pressure is likely to be reduced, which can be good for lowering your risk of stroke or heart disease. Additionally, being sober for three weeks can improve kidney health and functioning. Overall, sobriety can be great for your health; just three weeks without alcohol can do wonders for your body.
By the fourth week, you will be looking into the mirror, wondering who the young person staring back is! Your skin will likely look healthier and more vibrant, dark circles under your eyes will disappear, and you will be less bloated throughout your body. You will likely feel more active with less joint pain, feeling youthful as can be.
It’s not uncommon to feel anxiety and fatigue while experiencing cravings at this time. Some people take several months before cravings begin to quiet. The fourth week leading up to the 30-day mark can be marked with anticipation.
You might be worried you will fail, but you’ve come so far in your journey that even a minor slip-up wouldn’t be the end of the world. Congratulate yourself for making it this far, and take note of how positive your life has become in just a short 30 days.
At the End of 30 Days
At this point, you should pat yourself on the back. Thirty days without alcohol is difficult to do, and you’ve done it! By now, you’ll probably have had some time to think about abstinence versus drinking in moderation. You can plan what the next few weeks of your life will look like, with sobriety being a much easier option now.
Your mental and physical health will thank you for putting in the time and energy to feel better.
Seeking Out Sobriety
Having a place where you can share your accomplishments and learn from others’ journeys can help you succeed. Sober Sidekick is an app that understands the importance of community guidance during the recovery process. When you download it on Android or iPhone, you can connect with other sober individuals and share your experiences.
With complete anonymity, you can feel confident in sharing and building relationships without any fear of judgment. The benefits of feeling accepted and understood are immeasurable. Try Sober Sidekick out today to continue progressing in your addiction recovery.