What to expect during your first 3 weeks off the hooch.
I have to give the interwebs credit where credit is due, I don't think I'd be sober if it wasn't for the Daybreak app and the community of support and love and encouragement you can take part in. Everyone one of us struggles, and seeing that I'm not alone has helped tremendously. AA isn't something I'd ever be interested in, not only because i'm zero percent religious and despise the religious components of it, but because I'm not all about sitting in a circle and discussing my feelings with strangers. Maybe it's a millennial thing, and a part of our social media connected disconnection, or maybe it's a me thing. I'm not quite sure.
As a long-term "introverted" drinker, I worried about the effects on my body while getting sober without the support of a medical professional. Reading about the DT's scared the shit out of me and since I suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder and panic attacks that definitely didn't help ease my fear about what my body would or could endure on this journey.
Luckily, I made it through with the following experiences and benefits- yes, there are benefits already.
The first week: In your first 7 days alcohol free, you can probably expect some pretty gross night sweats, I'm talking the slippery legs, wet hair and under-boob kind of sweats. I'm a single 30-something year-old mom, and I don't have a partner so luckily there was nobody sleeping beside me to gross out. Count on some pretty strange dreams, too.
Your first week sober is all about re-framing your mind and finding new habits to replace old, unhealthy ones. This was a challenge, but I found that decaf tea in the evenings and experimenting with all sorts of flavors really helped me to re-focus and stay away from alcohol. Making the conscious choice to not stop at the liquor store everyday that week was hard, but I did it.
The second week: Give. Me. All. The. Sweets. I literally couldn't get enough, I had to have chocolate or candy of some sort on-hand, especially in the evenings. I ended up baking, I baked two trays of brownies, and two lemon meringue pies that week- and yes, I shared. Don't be judgy. I attribute this craving to the sugar in booze and your body still adjusting to the lack thereof.
I was really hoping to start feeling sunny and bright during this time, but that's not what happened either. I was stuck with a foggy brain- much like being hungover anyway, and absolute utter exhaustion crept in. I wanted to sleep when I was at work, when I was grocery shopping, when I was cooking, driving, eating... All of it, I just needed to sleep, I think I yawned more during my second week sober than I have my entire life. Again, attributed to the fact that you never actually get ANY real sleep when you go to bed passed out drunkity-drunk, so your body is playing catch up.
Holy, shit! Let's not forget about your bowels. This last phase has found it's way into week three and I'm not sure how long it will last, but I'll keep you posted. I went from regular, daily bowel movements- even if they were wet and gross and comparable to battery acid, to being fucking constipated! I hate this shit, literally.
Week three: Here I am, headed into week four of sobriety and I've noticed something nice. It's in my eyes. My eyes are bright, they're white, they're sparkling. And my skin is finally getting back to normal. I was picking off dead, dry patches along my jaw, forehead and cheeks and now it's so minimal it's bewildering. I'm still exhausted, but it's getting slightly better, maybe it's writing this that helps keep me awake, or maybe it's passing. I don't know, either way this week is was a good week other than the constipation and rabbit pellets I'm able to pass.
I've noticed I'm better able to concentrate on what's going on around me, and my confidence has slightly increased. When I was an "introverted drinker" the shame made me feel worthless, and those feelings transferred their way into my every day life. The shame of hiding my alcoholism made me feel worthless. Funny, since I thought I drank to feel more confident and forget feelings of worthlessness.