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Giving up drinking - what should you expect...?

(12 Posts)
amisuchabadmummy Tue 07-Jul-09 17:21:44

in the way of side effects?

If you had been drinking about a bottle of wine a night for the past two years, sometimes more, sometimes (although not often) less and then suddenly stopped altogether?

Do symptoms vary between people and some have no side effects at all?


amisuchabadmummy Wed 08-Jul-09 09:30:40

bump please

loopylou6 Wed 08-Jul-09 10:52:33

i have no idea but i am about to find out. tonight will be night 3 of no alcohol

TarkaLiotta Wed 08-Jul-09 11:18:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MIFLAW Wed 08-Jul-09 15:33:30


I bow to Tarka's superior professional knowledge. I should also point out that I am a man, although not a particularly big one - about 10 stone over 6 ft at the end of my drinking.

Nevertheless, I drank double or more what you drink, for longer than 2 years, and gave up suddenly (I did drink again, but not because I planned to) with no side effects that required medical attention.

Symptoms you should expect are sleeplessness; heavy strong-smelling sweats; loss of appetite; dry skin and/or spots; "washing machine head," an inability to switch off the flow of thoughts; listnessless; increased use of other mood-altering drugs which you may happen to use (especially nicotine and caffeine) and the short-term side-effects arising from that; a feeling of "fragility"; generally being out of sorts. You may also get mild tremors. This stage typically lasts for a few days and then starts to get noticably better.

Heavier, more sustained drinkers sometimes get delirium tremens (shakes with hallucinations); serious mental and nervous problems; and fits.

I would also fully agree with Tarka that, if you are at all worried about this, do involve your GP and do follow his or her advice. This is especially true if you attend AA meetings. Some well-meaning alcoholics (who forget they speak only for themselves, not for AA) will tell you not to use drugs, even on prescription. In fact, this is a massive and potentially fatal distortion of AA's message which is that you should have no fear of using drugs if they are taken for a real purpose and in accordance with your physician's instructions (ie not self-prescribed or gained decitfully).

Hope some of this helps, happy to chat further.

MIFLAW Wed 08-Jul-09 15:35:53

Actually, thinking back and reading your post more carefully, it was double what you drink and then some.

To put it another way (bearing in mind that problem drinking tends to escalate rather than stay level) I drank at the level you are talking about or greater for about 7 years.

amisuchabadmummy Thu 09-Jul-09 18:32:11

Thanks for the responses. Sorry i didnt come back to the thread earlier, i thought no one had responded.

Well, I didnt drink Monday or Tuesday night at all, then had two large glasses of wine last night (prob 2/3 of a bottle).

I actually feel fine, although quite run down because I have tonsilitis at the moment.

Thanks for that perspective Tarka, I had no idea about the heart rate thing. MIFLAW, I think its probably as I suspected that symptoms vary between individuals. I dont use any other stimulants, rarely drink coffee even.

When might symptoms occur if Im likely to experience them? Im wondering if I've got off lightly or whether just two days of not drinking is not enough for it to be out of my system IYSWIM.

MIFLAW... are you drinking now? what prompted you to stop? ...if you dont mind my asking.

Mintyy Thu 09-Jul-09 18:40:54

I was drinking 5 bottles of wine a week for at least four years and gave up completely with no side effects whatsoever.

But I must say I am not qualified to give any sort of advice on this subject. Just posting my personal experience.

amisuchabadmummy Thu 09-Jul-09 19:09:20

Thanks Mintyy... what made you give up? What helped you to stick to it?

Mintyy Thu 09-Jul-09 19:23:11

1. Worried I was drinking too much.

2. Decided not to drink at all for 6 weeks. Announced it to DH and just stuck to it. (Didn't find it too difficult, to tell the truth. Not as hard as giving up smoking and I've done that lots of times wink).

Since I started drinking again (about 7 months now) my consumption has halved. I now have at least 3 but sometimes 4 alcohol free days per week.

There is another current thread on this subject here which is interesting.

MIFLAW Thu 09-Jul-09 23:09:35

I don't drink any more and haven't for a little while now.

I stopped because bad things just kept happening in my life. Only one of them would probably have registered on the public "bad things" list - ie I crashed a car - but lots of spoilt dates, bad feeling at work, friends not keen to see me, life not turning out how I'd planned it, as well as the hundred small indignities that all drunks keep private ...

The car crash was important, though, in that, believe it or not, that was my first convincer that drink was squarely behind all this bad luck. I went to AA.

For me, it didn't work immediately, principally because I didn't take my problem seriously enough and didn't follow advice. When I did, it worked like a charm and the comparison between my life then and my life now is night and day. You could not pay me enough to take another alcoholic drink. My new life, full of trouble as it is (because that's what life's like) is fantastic.

Why not give it a go? What have you got to lose?

MIFLAW Thu 09-Jul-09 23:13:18

Re symptoms they would kick in pretty much immediately.

Unless you get DTs or fits, though, in some ways "symptoms" is a misleadingly grand word. Not because they're often mild - they can be horrible - but because you're essentially riding out the biggest hangover of your life and not drinking to take the edge off it. As such, only you know what makes a hangover for you. Just expect a 3-5 day intense hangover, complicated by a lot of self-doubt and fear, and you won't go far wrong.

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