Alcohol. It’s socially acceptable. It is something most of the world has done well before the legal drinking age here in the United States. Commercials of the stuff are on TV and they promise so much. They promise clubs, beautiful women, glitter, and gold.
But the truth looks nothing like that.
The truth is alcohol can be ugly. Alcohol is the snake in the grass. It is the one substance that creeps up on you. Alcoholics probably, after a certain point, can see it coming, but they can’t picture the way that alcohol will become a part of them. Physically (penetrating every cell), emotionally, and spiritually. Their liquid courage, their social lubricant, their comfort after a long day suddenly becomes the thing that is killing them quicker than anything else.
Drinking? Eventually it turns against you. It’s so captivating and so imprisoning, that for some, without the help of a hospital or a medical detox facility they are safer continuing to do the one thing that is killing them rather than stopping. What is that? Drinking.
If you are physically addicted to alcohol chances are your better off if you continue drinking rather than trying to stop on your own. Why? Because alcohol withdrawal symptoms, they can kill you.
Alcohol is a subtle foe. It is a deadly one. It is the one that asks you every morning to continue to poison yourself or risk the shakes, the sweats, the seizures and hallucinations.
This is alcohol withdrawal. And for the alcoholic, it isn’t a choice to go cold turkey–it is dangerous to go cold turkey. Get outside help.
Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. The reality.
- Headache – general, pulsating
You have had a hangover at some point in your life right? You know that headache? Yeah, well, imagine that times ten and it doesn’t go away no matter how much water you drink. In fact, in a cruel twist of fate, the only way that it might go away is if you start drinking again. It is your heartbeat in your head. It is your head on fire. It is a world where you wish no noise and no light exists because it just hurts.
- Sweating, especially the palms of the hands or the face
It is like all of a sudden you just finished running a 5k–but all the time. You are that clammy and sweaty 16 year old holding hands with their crush. And you feel sick. And it won’t go away. You’re clammy, you’re moist, you’re sweating.
- Nausea and Vomiting/Loss of Appetite
Oh yes nausea and vomiting. The severity varies but chances are you won’t want to eat. You can’t. Nothing sounds good anymore not even your life.
- Insomnia, sleeping difficulty
All that stuff you did while drinking? All the texts, all the arguments, all the people you slept with, all the times you drove, every time you risked your life and your own. It comes flooding back. There is no comfort, there is no sleep. There is no escape. Tossing and turning, sweating through your sheets, too hot and too cold, mind is racing. Sleep is nearly impossible.
- Abnormal movements
You know the string marionettes? Puppets? That’s what your limbs feel like. Your movements are twitchy and off. It is like the smooth movement or rhythm of your body has been totally thrown off.
- Tremor of the hands
Your hands shake. Have you developed Parkinson’s? No. It is just alcohol withdrawal. You sometimes will shake so bad that you can’t even write a check.
- A state of confusion, hallucinations and instability of the autonomic nervous system – known as delirium tremens
This is what puts most people in the hospital. You will feel like you have gone insane and maybe you have for the time being. This is extremely dangerous and should warrant an ER visit at the least.
Seizures. These can happen at any time. One minute you can be sitting there and the next you will black out. You wake up on the ground, your head may hurt. That’s because you probably hit it real hard going into your seizure. If you haven’t seen what a seizure looks like–that is fortunate–they are scary. The whole body tenses up and just shakes. This can be fatal if it goes on for too long. Get hospitalization.
It is going to seem like you can’t go on. Your thoughts are going to be unclear, foggy, hazy. You wonder how something as simple as drinking managed to get you to this point. You might beat yourself up wondering how you let it get this far. Not understanding why you couldn’t just stop drinking–it hasn’t been fun in a long time so why do you keep doing it? The entire world drinks. You’ll know in your heart you are an alcoholic but you won’t want to say it out loud. Alcohol is your comfort. What will you do without it? All of these thoughts about your life and how you can’t go on without drinking will creep up.
You will know that if you keep on the way you are you will die like this, but you can’t figure out how you are supposed to live life sober. Both alternatives seem hopeless and also terrible. You are in a rock and a hard place. You don’t know which way is up or which way is down anymore. Life has become so unmanageable, how did this happen? You will hurt inside of your soul. You may feel beaten. You may feel like you have no way out, that you may have to live and die like this.
But that isn’t true.
Alcohol withdrawal is no joke. It is one of the most severe and dangerous withdrawals there is. Luckily with outside help it doesn’t have to be dangerous nor does it have to be as painful. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms vary in severity and they also vary in length. Chances are you won’t feel right for quite awhile if you have been drinking heavily for quite some time. But you can get through it. And you can come out on the other side sober and happy at the same time. Withdrawal is just the beginning not the end. Get help!