Withdrawing From Alcohol
Some people can stop drinking on their own, while others need medical supervision in order to withdraw from alcohol safely and comfortably. Which option is best for you depends on how much you’ve been drinking, how long you’ve had a problem, and other health issues you may have.
Once you decide to quit drinking, you will be faced with a number of withdrawal symptoms that can be difficult to cope with and could lead you on a quick path to relapse if you aren’t prepared to deal with these symptoms.
When you drink heavily and frequently, your body becomes physically dependent on alcohol and goes through withdrawal if you suddenly stop drinking. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal range from mild to severe:
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms usually start within 7 -14 hours after you stop drinking, the symptoms peak in a day or two, and improve within five days. However withdrawal is not just unpleasant—it can be life threatening.
- Mood swings
- Bad dreams or Nightmares
- Sweats, Cold clammy skin
- Insomnia or trouble sleeping
- Rapid heart rate
- Poor appetite
- Anxiety and restlessness
- Stomach cramps and diarrhea
- Trouble sleeping or concentrating
- Elevated heart rate and blood pressure
Call 911 or go to the emergency room if you experience any of the following withdrawal symptoms:
- Severe vomiting
- Confusion and disorientation
- Fever that spikes rapidly
- Confused mental state
- Extreme anger or agitation
Do I Have To Go To A Detox Center
If you have been a long-term, heavy drinker, you may need medically supervised detoxification. Detoxification can be done on an outpatient basis or in a hospital or alcohol treatment facility, where you may be prescribed medication to prevent medical complications and relieve withdrawal symptoms.
Talk to a doctor or an addiction specialist to learn more.
Steps to Assist In Recovery
Cravings for alcohol can be intense, particularly in the first six months after you quit drinking. Good alcohol treatment plans and carry through prepares you for these challenges. You need to develop new coping skills to deal with stressful situations, alcohol cravings, and social pressure to drink. When you’re struggling with alcohol cravings consider these overall strategies:
- Take care of yourself. Concentrate on eating right and getting plenty of sleep.
- Build your support network. Surround yourself with positive influences and people who make you feel good about yourself.
- Develop new activities and interests. Find new hobbies, volunteer activities, or work that gives you a sense of meaning and purpose.
- Continue treatment. Your chances of staying sober improve if you are participating in a support group like Alcoholics Anonymous.
- Avoid the things that trigger your urge to drink. If certain people, places, or activities trigger a craving for alcohol, try to avoid them.
- Practice saying “no” to alcohol in social situations. No matter how much you try to avoid alcohol, there will probably be times where you’re offered a drink.
- Talk to someone you trust: a supportive family member or friend, or someone from your faith community.
- Distract yourself until the urge passes. Go for a walk, listen to music, do some housecleaning, run an errand, or tackle a quick task.
- Remind yourself of your reasons for not drinking. When you’re craving alcohol, there’s a tendency to remember the positive effects of drinking and forget the negatives. Remind yourself that drinking won’t really make you feel better.
- Accept the urge and ride it out, instead of trying to fight it. This is known as “urge surfing.” Think of your craving as an ocean wave that will soon crest, break, and dissipate. When you ride out the craving, without trying to battle, judge, or ignore it, you’ll see that it passes more quickly than you’d think.
The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are as follows:
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Alcoholics Anonymous also operates under 12 traditions.
These traditions are as follows:
1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
3. The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.
5. Each group has but one primary purpose to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
6. An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
7. Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
9. A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.
12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
12 Step Programs
Find AA offices throughout the U.S. and Canada.
To find meetings and info in specific parts of the state:
North Florida Area Alcoholics Anonymous
South Florida Area Alcoholics Anonymous
Alcoholics Anonymous Phone Numbers in Florida:
| Anaheim: (714) 773-4357
Bradenton: (941) 951-6810
Casselberry: (407) 260-5408
Cocoa: (321) 633-0052
Crystal River: (352) 621-0599
Daytona Beach: (386) 756-2930
Delray Beach: (561) 276-4581
Fort Lauderdale: (954) 462-0265
Fort Myers: (239) 275-5111
Fort Pierce: (772) 873-9299
Fort Walton Beach: (850) 244-2421
Gainesville: (352) 372-8091
Homosassa: (352) 621-0599
Inverness: (352) 344-0290
Jacksonville: (904) 399-8535
Key Largo: (305) 852-6186
Key West: (305) 296-8654
Kissimmee: (407) 870-8282
Lake City: (386) 758-4283
Lakeland: (863) 687-9275
Largo: (727) 530 0415
Leesburg: (352) 360-0960
Marathon: (305) 743-3262
Marco Island: (941) 394-6401
Melbourne: (321) 724-2247
Miami: (305) 371-7784
Naples: (239) 262-6535
New Port Richey: (727) 847-0777
North Port: (941) 426-7723
North Beal: (850) 243-4590
Ocala: (352) 867-0660
Okeechobee: (863) 763-1006
Orlando: (407) 260-5408
Palm Coast: (386) 445-4357
Panama City: (850) 784-7431
Pensacola: (850) 433-4191
Pinellas County: (727) 530-0415
Port St. Lucie: (772) 873-9299
St. Augustine: (904) 829-1737
Sarasota: (941) 951-6810
Spring Hill: (352) 683-4597
Stuart :(772) 283-9337
Tallahassee: (850) 224-1818
Tampa: (813) 933-9123
Venice: (941) 426-7723
Vero Beach: (772) 562-1114
West Palm Beach: (561) 655-5700