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Overcoming Addiction and Relapse Triggers

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Clear Minds Sobriety Haven Blog Series about overcoming binge drinking and tips to stay sober.
Overcoming Addiction Triggers

Triggers and cravings for alcohol when you are trying to stop are the main reasons someone relapses. How do I avoid triggers and what should I do when I’m craving alcohol during abstinence?

Stopping binge drinking has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It seems like there are triggers everywhere. Football games and parties, big “drinking” holidays and celebrations, and watching everyone else around you enjoying their drinks can be so hard for someone who is fresh in their sobriety journey. Things like this can be a big trigger for someone overcoming addiction. Sometimes just hearing someone playing music will trigger me to want to fall back into my old routine of playing music while I get drunk. This is the last thing I want though. To fall back to the way I was before, would be devastating to me, and thinking about that is so scary. I decided to write a few tips on how to avoid triggers and keep you sober even in the hardest situations. 

What are common triggers for relapse?

  • Stress is the most common cause of a relapse. Whether it be work-related, family issues, or financial matters, stress can be a huge trigger to make you want to drink or use drugs when you are being obstinate. 
  • People or Places Connected to the Addictive Behavior. Going to places where you used to drink or hanging out with friends after work or family members who drink a lot can be a trigger. Not wanting to “let them down” by not drinking can cause you to relapse without really even thinking about the consequences. 
  • Negative or Challenging Emotions. These emotions can come from trouble in relationships, death in the family, or even in our own minds. It’s important to not jeopardize your sobriety because something bad is happening in your real life. 
  • Seeing or Sensing the Object of Your Addiction. If you still have alcohol, beer, or drugs in your home or living space, get it out now. Give it away. Throw it away. But having it near you gives you a “Can’t have”. It’s just within reach. This keeps it directly in the back of your mind. It’s like keeping your “fat jeans” after weight loss, just in case you get fat again. It’s better to get rid of that “fallback” to prevent it from happening in the first place.
  • Times of Celebration. You can celebrate just as easily without drinking as you can with alcohol. Celebration should be a happy time so why would you ruin that with a drink? Celebrate YOU being sober EVERY DAY! 

    Abstinence Stage


    The abstinence stage of recovery typically is the first and second year of your sobriety. The main focus of this time is to deal with cravings and triggers that you will encounter on a daily basis. You can’t avoid people and living your life forever!

    These are the steps in the Abstinence Stage:

    1. Accept that you have an addiction. You don’t need to call yourself an alcoholic to admit to yourself that you have a problem. If things are triggering you to want to drink, if you have cravings for alcohol, or if you are like me, and binge drink, you already know you have a problem. Admitting this to ourselves is the first step to recovery.

    2. Practice honesty in life. Being honest with friends and loved ones about your abstinence from alcohol (or drugs) can help them understand where you are coming from and possibly make them less likely to pressure you to drink. You will be surprised at how many people don’t really care if you drink around them or not, as long as you are there. People who do not support you in your sobriety are not really your friends. 

    3. Develop coping skills for dealing with cravings. A typical craving only lasts 3-5 minutes. You need to find something else to do when you feel that craving coming on. Whether it’s doing a few jumping jacks, cleaning out the refrigerator, or leaving the situation altogether, find something else to do when that craving hits. Go outside and take a few breaths of fresh air. You can do it. You are stronger than these cravings.

    4. Become active in self-help groups. You can read self-help groups, join self-help groups, AA groups, or download an app that will help you get through some of your triggers, Blogging is very helpful in keeping me from relapsing. These are a few great apps that I have personally used and they are available to download and are free of charge unless you want to upgrade your service.
    I AM SOBER   

    5. Practice self-care and saying no. Whatever your personal self-care is, reading a book, taking a bubble bath, exercising, or taking a nap, take care of your mental health in any way you can. Practice saying no. It will get easier in time. Once people get used to you saying no they will stop asking and it will become normal for you to not drink around them.

    6. Understand the stages of relapse. There are three stages to relapse: emotional, mental, and physical. The main reason someone has an emotional relapse is poor self-care. If you do not practice sufficient self-care, eventually you will start to feel uncomfortable in your own skin and look for ways to escape, relax, or reward yourself. Mental relapse is where you want to relapse but part of you doesn’t. I fight with myself a lot on this aspect. I know if I drink I will spiral out of control in no time but a small part of me still wants it. Physical relapse is where you actually go ahead and drink again. 

    7. Get rid of friends who are using. If your friends do not support you in your sobriety they are not really your friends. I cannot stress that enough. It is highly possible that they too struggle with addiction and are jealous of you because they don’t want to stop yet. You need to avoid these people completely. 

    8. Understand the dangers of cross-addiction. This is when you replace one addiction with another. You stop smoking cigarettes and start smoking pot. You stop drinking liquor but switch to beer. Replacing one addiction for another is never a healthy choice. Try looking for healthy alternatives to replace your addiction. Hobbies like yoga, exercise, hiking, playing an instrument, painting, find your niche. 

    9. Deal with post-acute withdrawal. This is when you are still experiencing withdrawal symptoms long after you should be. A lot of times this is just in your head but your body still feels the symptoms. These feelings can last for months and up to years in some cases. Speaking with a therapist or at group meetings can help you with these issues and sometimes medication is necessary. 

    10. Develop healthy alternatives to using. Drinking water is the best thing we can do for our bodies. Instead of alcohol, you can drink water with fresh fruit added like sliced strawberries, lemon, lime, or cucumber. Your skin will thank you for the added nutrients and moisture and you will feel great. Not waking up with a hangover and puffy skin rewards you each morning. 

    11. See yourself as a non-user. At first, this can seem scary and out of reach but we can manifest our future selves by seeing ourselves now, as non-users. 

    As always going to treatment, even for 30 days or on an outpatient basis is the best way to control triggers and avoid relapse. Find a meeting in your area or call Addiction No More today. One of their counselors can get you in contact with a treatment center, detox program, or meetings near you if you need help controlling your cravings and the things that trigger you/us. 
    Sobriety Blogger Anna Marie Skye

    Author: Anna Marie Skye
    Follow Anna Marie Skye as she discusses her struggle with binge drinking and her sobriety journey HERE.


    Dreams of Relapse

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    Clear Minds Sobriety Haven Blog Series about overcoming binge drinking and tips to stay sober.
    Dreams of Relapse and Non-Alcoholic Dreams

    Hello friends! I am a few days past my 90th sober day! I’ve noticed that I’ve been having dreams about avoiding alcohol. Never in my life would I expect to be dreaming about saying NO TO ALCOHOL! But here we are. Most of these dreams are about NOT drinking however a few of them have been about having a relapse and getting drunk. In the past, as a binge drinker, I do not ever remember dreaming about alcohol. Now that I have refrained for over 3 months, it seems to happen a lot. In these dreams, I will often be with my friends who are drinking and I am trying to actively avoid the room, or I tell them “no” or I am panicking trying to remove myself from the situation. This seems to be a common occurrence for people who are in recovery from alcohol or drugs. Several people in my online support group have also mentioned having “Dreams of Alcohol” too. So I decided to research the reasons this happens and give you some information about dreams when trying to stay sober.

    Why Do We Dream of Drugs or Alcohol When Sober?

    There are many reasons that a recovering alcoholic will experience alcohol dreams even though they’re ecstatic about their recovery success. If you have been a heavy drinker for many years, then it was an important part of your life. Once you stop drinking, you probably still think about getting drunk pretty often and remember details. So does your subconscious mind while you sleep. Those memories and thoughts influence dreams.

    Dreams are usually inspired by events that happen throughout the day. Even a late-night TV show or book before bed can influence your dreams.  If you were triggered by a beer commercial, that might cause alcohol to creep into your dream. There is also a greater tendency to experience relapse dreams during the time of stress. This may indicate that you need to find a more effective way to manage a situation.

    Dreams are random images your brain creates to respond to things that happen throughout the day or memories of the past. When people are drinking or using drugs on a day-to-day basis, that becomes “the norm” in our brains. So dreaming that we are relapsing or refraining from alcohol will most likely be our brains either remembering something that happened in the past or avoiding or succumbing to our biggest fear (relapsing).

    Dreams prepare the mind for possible future stresses. This is the reason someone might dream of relapsing. This is our biggest worry as an alcohol dependant people. When you work hard to get where you are today, knowing having just one drink can destroy it all can be a lingering fear in the back of your mind. Dreaming you are going to relapse or dreaming about what to do in a situation where alcohol is offered is a way of your mind conditioning itself to handle things efficiently.

    Dreams are a way for you to contact your subconscious. In doing so, your dreams could be telling you ways to avoid uncomfortable situations where your waking mind might be too overwhelmed to figure it out otherwise. In many of my dreams, I am at a friend’s house or at a party where everyone is drinking alcohol. I feel afraid to relapse and I am trying to tell them I don’t want to drink. In the waking world, this is something that I have been worried about. I can’t avoid people forever. How will I be able to go to a friend’s party where alcohol is abundant and not drink without drawing attention to myself? This makes sense as to why I dream these things. My mind is trying to work out a way to avoid the alcohol without avoiding the entire situation. One theory behind dreams is that they are your mind’s wish-fulfillment system. This is a means to finish things the subconscious wanted to do but didn’t. Some psychological theories believe that dreams are your mind’s way of ensuring a future destiny can manifest.

    Relapse Nightmares 

    Addiction treatment professionals often say that these dreams are a positive part of recovery. These dreams can seem very real but are a normal part of your recovery. These nightmares about relapsing might show you that more work needs to be done in your recovery. You may have decided to stop drinking, but your subconscious may still struggle with the change you made. Your relapse dreams should be shared by your counselor, support group, or a sober friend so you can have the support you need while working through the subconscious feelings you’re having. 

    Dreams of the past when you were still drinking or using drugs can be guilt-inducing and can shake your confidence in recovery. It’s important to remember that a bad dream about relapsing is not a premonition of the future. Usually, a dream like this shows your biggest fear. Sometimes relapse dreams will be so realistic that they are all you can think about for days. Whether a relapse dream is the result of a trigger, your mind adjusting to your new sober life, or a mental reminder to take your recovery more seriously—a bad dream is only a bad dream. Find peace in the fact that you are sober and able to prevent this bad dream from becoming your reality. No one knows how long each person will experience vivid alcohol withdrawal and relapse dreams. Returning to a normal sleep pattern usually takes between one to two weeks after your last alcoholic drink. Be aware that the process can take longer for some people. You may need a full three weeks to a month or longer to end the cycle of vivid dreams.

    Ways to Relax Before Bed

    Adjust Your Bedtime Routine: Allow your mind to unwind before you fall asleep by doing light meditating. In a quiet place, sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Take a few soft breaths, in and out. Begin tensing groups of muscles one at a time as you breathe. Hold the tension as you inhale, then release it as you exhale. Light stretching or yoga, listening to soothing music, or taking a relaxing bath before bed are other ways to relax. Make sure to turn off tv’s and stay off of your phone or computer at least 30 minutes before bed. Try to go to bed around the same time each night and wake up around the same time each morning. This resets your circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythms are the physical, mental, and behavioral changes an organism experiences over a 24-hour cycle. Light and dark have the biggest influence on circadian rhythms, but food intake, stress, physical activity, social environment, and temperature also affect them. Having a clear head before bed eases any rising anxieties at night.

    Surround Yourself with Positive People: Surround yourself with positivity and people who are going to support you to make you better. Stay positive and happy. Work hard and don’t give up hope. Surrounding yourself with positive family members and friends is essential for a fulfilling life. Positive people can have a huge impact on your mind, mood, and overall well-being. Negative people can bring you down and drain your energy. Positive people are a source of inspiration and motivation. Listen to how your body and mind feel in different environments and around certain people. Take note of who encourages you during recovery and anyone who is not supportive. By building a positive support system, you will have the encouragement to handle any challenges that come your way, relapse dreams included.

    Recommit to Your Recovery: Experiencing a relapse dream doesn’t mean that you are going to relapse, but it can be a reminder that you need to work on your sobriety. When you consistently recommit to your recovery, you’re choosing to stay sober even when life is hard. It never hurts to attend an extra meeting, go from bi-weekly to weekly therapy sessions, start journaling, participate in more sober events, and spend quality time with loved ones. Recovery is more than just staying sober; it is actively investing energy into living a fulfilling sober life.

    Ask for Help: If you are worried that your dreams are indicative of a larger problem, reach out for help from a trusted professional, family member, or friend. There is no such thing as getting help too early. If you think you need detox or inpatient help, you can call and speak with a counselor anything at 1-800-513-5423.

    Sobriety Blogger Anna Marie Skye

    Author: Anna Marie Skye
    Follow Anna Marie Skye as she discusses her struggle with binge drinking and her sobriety journey HERE.

    Sober New Start

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    Clear Minds Sobriety Haven Blog Series about overcoming binge drinking and tips to stay sober.
    Sober New Start

    Happy New Year 2024

    Happy New Year 2024! We had a great holiday with our family and friends. Christmas and New Year’s Eve are huge party times in a lot of our lives and it can be really hard on people who are fresh in their sobriety or for people with depression. I hope you all had a happy holiday season and were able to refrain from drinking alcohol. I made it through as well. Some days were VERY hard and yes, I did have one day of meltdown where I almost decided to have a beer…. but I didn’t. Getting through the holidays sober for the first time in so many years was one of the hardest things I’ve done to date. Some of my friends are also getting sober so together we made it through by making mocktails, talking about how we are feeling, giving each other tips to stay sober, and just keeping busy. The friends and support groups on the app I AM SOBER are great and really help when you need some support as well. I highly recommend this free app if you are struggling to stay sober.

    I am looking forward to continuing my sober journey by posting blogs about the struggles of becoming sober and giving tips to you in real-time as I go through the process. Together we can avoid alcohol and enjoy life in a fresh new sober way.

    * Many people make resolutions to stop drinking alcohol or go on a diet to lose weight or vow to be a better person at the beginning of the year. New Year, New You, they say. The new year is a great place to start a new resolution of being sober from alcohol or drugs. Getting sober can be hard if you don’t know where to start. If you feel you can’t quit drinking on your own, there is help. You can call 1-800-513-5423 to speak with someone today.

    Sobriety Blogger Anna Marie Skye

    Author: Anna Marie Skye

    Follow Anna Marie Skye as she discusses her struggle with binge drinking and her sobriety journey HERE.

    Mocktails and Non Alcoholic Holiday Drinks

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    Clear Minds Sobriety Haven Blog Series about overcoming binge drinking and tips to stay sober.
    Mocktails and Non-Alcoholic Holiday Drinks

    The holidays, especially Christmas and New Year’s Eve/Day can be hard on many people but it can be even harder on someone who has just begun their recovery. Being around a lot of people who are drinking alcohol can become a triggering situation if you aren’t careful. Large family get-togethers where alcohol is flowing can be very tempting to someone who has recently stopped drinking alcohol. But we can’t let those temptations get to us. We can have fun without alcohol. The alcohol wasn’t what made us have fun. Sure it makes us feel more outgoing and like we are “part of the group”, but we can still be a part of the group without ruining the sobriety we have worked so hard for. If you do not feel comfortable asking your friends and family to keep alcohol out of the party this year, there are other options. You might even feel like avoiding the entire situation altogether and this might be the easiest way to stay sober. If you feel this way, it is perfectly ok. I have been avoiding friends who drink for the past 2 months, myself. We all have to do whatever it takes to stay sober during Christmas, or really any day of the year.

    I know it is not ideal to avoid all family and friends during the holidays for most people. Sometimes, even when your family doesn’t drink alcohol at all, just being around certain people will still trigger that old feeling to just get drunk and forget about it until tomorrow. If you are around people who give you anxiety, you can make up an excuse to leave early if you need to. If your family and friends all drink, there are ways for you to join in on the fun and not relapse.

    You can read more tips and information on how to stay sober during the holidays HERE

    Tomorrow I will be exactly 60 days sober! In celebration of this milestone, I thought I would give you all a few non-alcohol mocktail recipes to enjoy during the holidays. Sometimes at night, we will just have Sprite, or cranberry with some lime juice and a little grenadine in it and that will help me not crave alcohol at all. Replacing alcohol with fun fruity drinks not only makes you healthier but can help with alcohol cravings at night, and when in mixed company, it makes you feel like you are still “in the group” without jeopardizing your sobriety. This year, thinking about not drinking for the holidays seems so strange, scary, and new. I don’t know what to expect because I’ve always been either waiting to drink that night, already drunk, or hungover. I will be around a few people who give me anxiety and will make me want to drink. But I’m not going to this time. I still have cravings for alcohol, almost every day. Having a ” fake drink” like the ones listed below really helps every now and then. Non-alcoholic drinks are fun to make, taste great and leave you with no hangover and regret. There are a lot of recipes online as well.

    As always if you need help withdrawing from alcohol or drugs or if you require treatment for alcohol dependency call Addiction No More today. 1-800-513-5423

    🎄 ❄🎅🤶 I wish you all safe, sober, and happy holidays, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

    Mocktails and Non alcoholic drinks


    Non-Alcoholic Holiday Drink Recipes

    Listed below are a few recipes for non-alcoholic and mocktail drinks that you can enjoy during the holidays.

    Christmas Punch

    1 orange sliced
    1 cup cranberries
    ½ cup pomegranate seeds
    2 cups Cranberry Juice
    2 cups orange juice
    1 cup pomegranate juice
    2 cups Lemon-lime soda such as Sprite or 7UP
    fresh rosemary sprigs for garnish
    lime wedges for garnish

    Instructions: Add the slices from 1 orange, 1 cup cranberries, and ½ cup pomegranate seeds to a large pitcher or punch bowl. Pour in 2 cups cranberry juice, 2 cups orange juice, 1 cup pomegranate juice, and 2 cups lemon-lime soda. Serve in glasses over ice and garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs or lime wedges.

    Non-Alcoholic Mint Julep 
    3 cups club soda
    1 cup sugar
    3 tsp lime juice
    6 oz thawed lemonade concentrate
    6 tbsp creme de menthe syrup (this is non-alcoholic)
    green food coloring
    mint leaves for garnish
    lemon for garnish
    cherries for garnish

    Instructions: In a medium pot, dissolve sugar in club soda by stirring constantly on medium heat. Add lime juice and lemonade concentrate and bring to a boil.
    Remove from heat and add creme de menthe syrup and food coloring. Chill. Makes about ⅔ gallon.

    White Grape Punch with Cranberry Ice
    1 c. cranberries (fresh or frozen)
    24 mint leaves
    2 c. white grape juice (or Cran-Peach)
    3 c. seltzer
    1/4 c. lime juice (from about 3 limes)
    You can use other fruit as a garnish for this recipe. Peaches go well with this drink. You can also substitute cranberry-peach juice instead of white grape juice.

    Instructions: For the ice: Divide the cranberries and mint among the holes of a large silicone ice cube tray. Fill with water to cover the fruit and herbs and freeze until solid. For the punch: Before serving, mix the grape juice, seltzer, and lime juice in a large pitcher. Put a few ice cubes in each glass and pour in the drink.

    Cranberry Cooler
    1/4 cup cranberry juice concentrate thawed
    1 tbsp simple syrup
    2-3 drops peppermint extract
    1/2 cup ice
    12 oz. club soda or sparkling water
    sugared cranberries and rosemary for garnish
    Instructions: In a cocktail shaker, combine concentrate, simple syrup, extract, and ice and give it a couple of shakes. Separate evenly between two 8 oz. glasses. Top off with club soda. Garnish with sugared cranberries and a sprig of rosemary.
    Make sugar cranberries fast by placing three on a toothpick, dipping them in simple syrup, and rolling them in sugar.

    Peppermint Julep

    1 cup of Crushed Iced
    1 oz of Peppermint Simple Syrup
    2-3 oz of Cranberry Ginger Ale
    A sprig of Fresh Pine (or a sprig of fresh mint)
    Candy Cane for Garnishment

    Instructions: Add 1 ounce of Peppermint Simple Syrup to the bottom of a glass. Add the crushed ice. Top off with the Cranberry Ginger Ale. Add a sprig of fresh pine, mint, and a candy cane for holiday flair.

    Sobriety Blogger Anna Marie Skye

    Author: Anna Marie Skye
    Follow Anna Marie Skye as she discusses her struggle with binge drinking and her sobriety journey HERE.

    Phantom Hangovers

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    Clear Minds Sobriety Haven Blog Series about overcoming binge drinking and tips to stay sober.
    Phantom Hangovers

     Today is day 50 for me without touching a drop of alcohol, whiskey, beer, or wine. To say it’s been easy would be a lie. Yesterday was very hard for me. I decided to do some of the things I normally do on a relaxing Sunday afternoon while enjoying a drink, but I did them all sober this time. I kept looking for my drink out of habit, but I had water and green tea instead. And I made it through. I am proud of myself for not drinking on Thanksgiving as well. I hope that you all had a great and SOBER Thanksgiving with your loved ones and family. 

    So here I am at day 50. My mind is a lot clearer and I am starting to feel happy. Like, generally happy. I am not sure if I’ve ever felt entirely happy in my head. Alcohol is a depressant and will actually make depression worse. My joints are not hurting as bad and I can see a physical difference in my face. It is not swollen anymore. Even though my body is beginning to look and feel better, I still wake up with headaches at times. The first thought I have is “Ugh, I’ve got a hangover!”. But I don’t. I have not had alcohol at all since October 8th. So why do I still feel so bad in the mornings on most days? I did a little research about this. The feeling is called having a “Phanton Hangover”. I think a lot of the phantom hangovers I’m experiencing are from me walking up with a hangover pretty much every other day of the last 30-odd years. My body just expects to wake up feeling terrible. I think it is a bit of a learned behavior from dealing with hangovers on a repeated basis for many many years.

    I just saw this comment on someone’s post about having these mini fake hangovers “This is totally normal and, in my experience, continues to happen for months. It’s not fun, but I believe it’s an important part of your psychological recovery. These little hangovers serve as useful reminders. They remind us how much better we are without that poison in our bodies. Keep your chin up. This is OK. :+1:“MrCade

    Let that be a helpful reminder to you, and to me, that it could be way worse. Waking up with a small headache isn’t as bad as the hangovers that kept me in bed until 6:00 p.m. at night. Life is better now. You can do it. We can do it.

    Below is some information on Phantom Hangovers. 

    50 Days without alcohol milestone

    What is a Phantom Hangover? A phantom hangover is a term for the symptoms that your body creates after abstaining from alcohol for a certain amount of time. These symptoms often start after 48 hours, despite not having had any alcohol during this time. The phantom hangover is usually experienced by heavy drinkers who have stopped drinking. Symptoms can occur anywhere from a few days to a couple of months after quitting alcohol.  

    Phantom hangovers happen either as a psychological effect of quitting alcohol or as a chemical imbalance in the brain while it is trying to recover from alcohol abuse. After you have stopped drinking alcohol for a period of time, you might wake up one morning surprised that you feel like you have a slight hangover. This symptom can be psychosomatic. Due to a chemical imbalance that creates side effects resulting from suddenly leaving a heavy dose of alcohol your body still expects to be hungover. Many people recovering from alcoholism often say that it is a part of this process you should ignore it.

    Symptoms of a phantom hangover:

    Headache or Migraine
    Muscle Ache
    Brain Fog
    Nausea, Sick to your stomach feeling
    High or Low Blood Pressure
    Insomnia, Sleeplessness

    The Medical Science Behind Phantom Hangover: Alcohol metabolism: Alcohol is metabolized by the liver, which breaks it down into acetaldehyde and then into acetate. Acetaldehyde is a toxic compound that can cause hangover symptoms. The liver needs time to break down the acetaldehyde, which can cause prolonged hangover symptoms. Acetaldehyde damages your DNA and prevents your body from repairing the damage. DNA is the cell’s “instruction manual” that controls a cell’s normal growth and function. When DNA is damaged, a cell can begin growing out of control and create a cancer tumor. A toxic buildup of acetaldehyde can increase your cancer risk. The rate of alcohol metabolism is constant. Heavy drinkers metabolize alcohol faster than light drinkers or non-drinkers. However, the rate of alcohol metabolism drops substantially in advanced liver disease. While the rate of alcohol metabolism is constant, the rate of alcohol absorption can vary. First, ADH metabolizes alcohol to acetaldehyde, a highly toxic substance, and a known carcinogen. Then, acetaldehyde is further metabolized down to another, less active byproduct called acetate,1 which then is broken down into water and carbon dioxide for easy elimination. Irrespective of the pathway of alcohol metabolism, ethanol, and acetaldehyde are the key compounds researched in relation to alcohol hangovers. There is, however, ongoing debate about their role in the pathology of the alcohol hangover, and given the paucity of empirical data, theoretically, both ethanol and acetaldehyde concentrations could have a direct influence on hangover severity. Many core hangover symptoms (e.g., headache, nausea, apathy, and concentration problems) likely involve central processes. While systemic processes clearly play a role in aspects of alcohol hangover, exposure of the brain to ethanol or its metabolites may ultimately determine the pathogenesis of alcohol hangover (symptoms). Given this, it is important to investigate the capability of peripheral ethanol and acetaldehyde to enter the brain and exert central effects, including a hangover. This is why some of us will have phantom hangovers.

    Ways to feel better: If you are replacing your alcohol with sodas, stop now. Carbonated beverages are very unhealthy for you and can cause headaches and dehydration. Eat a large, hearty breakfast first thing in the morning. This will give you energy and keep your body fueled throughout the day. Drinking water throughout the day is also important. Hydration can ease nausea and headaches brought on by the phantom hangover. Physical activity has been the best solution. Don’t just drag around. Get your blood moving and drink water to rehydrate. Your body is repairing itself from the long time it has been unhealthy. 

    Please remember that this is a blog and not actual medical information. If you feel you cannot stop drinking on your own, you may need medical detox to safely come off alcohol. Struggling with alcohol dependency and overuse can be dangerous and even harder to quit if you try to do it alone. If you feel you need help, find a local AA meeting, or call Addiction No More to help you find a detox or local rehab center near you. 


    National Library of Medicine

    Sobriety Blogger Anna Marie Skye

    Author: Anna Marie Skye

    Follow Anna Marie Skye as she discusses her struggle with binge drinking and her sobriety journey HERE.

    What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Drinking Alcohol Over Time

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    Clear Minds Sobriety Haven Blog Series about overcoming binge drinking and tips to stay sober.
     What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Drinking Alcohol Over Time

     Over the past month, I have had a lot of extra time on my hands. So I searched for information on what each day, week, and month of sobriety will look like. It’s helped me to have something to look forward to. However, it was pretty hard to find all of that information on how you will feel after not drinking for 24 hours, or how your body reacts to not drinking alcohol for one week, 3 weeks, 4 weeks, etc. I have researched and compiled all of that information here for you to make it easier for you to find.

    In my personal experience, I was expecting drastic changes to happen overnight and that has not been the case. However I have taken a photo of myself on every weekly milestone and I have noticed less facial swelling over the past 6 weeks, the bags under my eyes are not as dark the circles are less puffy, my face is not as pale, my mind is clearer and I can rationalize better. I am not as panicky and have had less anxiety. When trying to stop drinking it is important to try to stay positive. Do I have bad days? Yes, almost every day. Little things trigger me just the same as they did 6 weeks ago. Something goes wrong at work and I want a beer. I have to take an uncomfortable phone call, I want a margarita. But the difference now is, I don’t do it. I have begun to crochet at night and read more. I started a series on Netflix that I’ve been putting off or have been too drunk to pay attention to the other 3 times I’ve tried watching it. Find mini wins in your sobriety and don’t focus on the negative. This is odd coming from me who is the world’s most pessimistic person. But maybe not drinking is changing that for me. Maybe it will change for you too. I in no way feel like I’m over my drinking problem. Not at all. The future without alcohol seems like a boring and strange place, but it’s a place I’ve never been before so I am going to continue to look forward to it. 

    As always, no information in this blog should be taken as medical advice. This is a blog that documents my sobriety journey and gives others tips and information on getting sober. If you drink every day or if you have withdrawal symptoms if you do not drink, please consider at least going to a detox center to get you past the withdrawals of alcohol. Alcohol treatment centers can also help you get to the root cause of your alcohol dependency and can help you overcome it without being alone in your recovery. 

    What happens to your body during the first 3 days of not drinking alcohol?
    The first three days of not drinking are the hardest. This is typically when withdrawal hits. (If you are experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms please do not stop drinking alcohol. Contact 911, go to the emergency room, or call to speak with one of our specialists at Addiction No More to see if you need a medical detox to come off alcohol.)

     Sweating, increased heart rate, tremors, insomnia, nausea or vomiting, agitation, and anxiety are the most common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Severe symptoms include hallucinations (i.e., seeing, feeling, or hearing sensations that don’t match reality) and seizure activity, including delirium tremens (DT). When these symptoms happen it can be tempting to give up and start drinking again. Don't do it. I personally had cold sweats, shakes headaches, felt like I had the flu and couldn't sleep for the first week of my sobriety, and the depression "WHEW!" (that is a blog for another day). But you can do it. Take it one day, one hour, one minute, one second at a time.

    What happens to your body after 1 week of not drinking alcohol? 
    You made it through withdrawal and have now made it a week. Good job. Now what? Going 7 days alcohol-free has several benefits such as better sleep, better memory function, more energy, better mental health, better skin health, and much more. All of your body's systems are back to their usual working levels. You may find that you have more energy and better concentration. Even if you toss and turn a bit at first, when you do drop off you'll get better-quality sleep and probably wake feeling more refreshed the next day. Your skin's hydration begins to restore. 

    What happens to your body after 2 weeks of not drinking alcohol? You may still be having trouble sleeping but you should feel more refreshed when you wake up. Dreams may seem more vivid. I know my dreams have been way more memorable and weird. A few people in my online AA group have also mentioned their dreams. Your emotions may be stronger. You might get a little more agitated than usual. This is totally normal! You might notice that you don't have heartburn and upset stomachs as often if at all anymore. You could be losing a little weight. Be careful not to replace alcohol with sweets like I did. Now it is a challenge to avoid not only alcohol but cookies too! You could still experience long-term withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, phantom hangovers, nightmares, night sweats, or insomnia.

    👍 Positive things that happen to your body after 2 weeks of not drinking alcohol include better sleep and hydration. Alcohol is an irritant to the stomach lining. After two or three weeks you will also see a reduction in symptoms such as acid reflux where the stomach acid burns your throat.

    What happens to your body after 3 weeks of not drinking alcohol? By now, you have successfully reduced your risk of heart disease, including stroke, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Your kidney health and vision may improve too. Your blood pressure may reduce to normal levels by the 3rd or 4th week. You may start having even more emotions especially if your drinking problem was sprung from traumatic events (common). (I am in week 6 of my sobriety now and trust me, this does get easier as the weeks go by. My third week was hell.) Isolating yourself from people you love while in recovery can lead to relapse. 

    👍 Positive things that happen at week 3 of no alcohol are, that you have more energy, better sleep, more free time, weight loss, better memory, improved skin, reduced anxiety and depression, more money, and improved sex drive. Please know that this doesn't always happen right on cue. I was still having some of the symptoms of week one by my third week and am only now, in week 6 experiencing the positives that should come in week 3. Don't get discouraged. It will happen for you in time. No one person's recovery is the same. 

    What happens to your body after 4 weeks of not drinking alcohol? You may start having a form of sensory overload. Your mind and body have been in a sort of haze this entire time you've been drinking, or even with binge drinking. As you start to really"wake up" you may be flooded by emotions that alcohol or drugs have been holding at bay. Don't let these emotions and memories make you relapse. You are still in control. You should get help from a professional if these emotions are debilitating. We go to the doctor for as little as an infected hangnail. Mental illness should also be treated in the same manner. 

    👍 Positive things that happen to your body when you stop drinking for a month are your liver fat may be reduced by up to 20%. I believe this can be true as my right side used to ache constantly and I do feel less pain now. Your risk of type 2 diabetes has lowered. You may notice that your overall well-being is better. You may have added self-confidence and less anxiety. You may have more energy. Anyone who successfully stops drinking for a whole month is more likely to abstain from alcohol for 6 months or longer.

    One Month Sober

    What happens to your body after 6 weeks of not drinking alcohol?
    We made it 6 weeks! WOW! Great job. So...now what happens? The changes you may be starting to actually see now are weight loss, better sleep, a lower risk for major diseases, an enhanced immune system, healthier skin, and lower cancer risks. For many people, life is just better without alcohol. Headaches and having a dry mouth will decrease, the skin will feel more radiant, and dark circles around your eyes will lessen. Your memory will begin to improve. Alcohol is proven to hinder the part of your brain that deals with memory. Personally, I am at this point now in my sobriety and I can feel a change. My sig. other has told me twice in the past week that the circles under my eyes are lighter. I had dry mouth so bad before I stopped drinking that I ended up in the emergency room for an infected saliva gland. That was kind of my wake-up call. I have really bad chronic asthma and my asthma symptoms are so much better. I don't have headaches as often. I'm actually contemplating getting back into yoga which I haven't been able to consistently do for years because of middle-of-the-week hangovers. 

    What happens to your body after 2 months of not drinking alcohol? By 4-8 weeks after quitting, your gut will start to level out. As I mentioned earlier, you will probably have less upset stomach, less diarrhea, less vomiting, and less acid reflux and gas. Your sleep quality will improve. You may be having and remembering more of your dreams. You are probably waking up actually feeling refreshed. Though we may fall asleep faster when we drink, our brains increase alpha wave patterns, which cause our brains to be more active than they should be while we sleep.

    What happens to your body after 3 months of not drinking alcohol? Binge drinkers, alcoholics, and dependent drinkers will feel more energy and a sense of well-being at the 3-month mark with less self-deprecating behaviors and thoughts. You should have less anxiety and depression. Your critical thinking skills will improve. Saving money! You should be saving lots of money by not spending all of that cash on drinks at the bar and bottles for at home. Your relationships with friends, loved ones, and family members may be better because you aren't having to hide or leave early to go get a drink. Living an honest life is rewarding. Not drinking alcohol reduces your risk of cancer. Because alcohol is a known human carcinogen, abstaining from alcohol will eventually decrease your risk of getting cancer.

    Types of cancer that alcohol is known to contribute to include:
    • Liver
    • Oral
    • Breast
    • Pharynx
    • Larynx
    • Esophagus
    • Stomach
    • Colorectal
    • Ovarian

    What happens to your body after 6 months of not drinking alcohol? Continued reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Mental health challenges that you had before or while drinking, are often reduced by not drinking for 6 months. The intensity of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety can be lessened. Increased quality of sleep has positive effects on many people. For some, meditation, yoga, reading, or other activities such as a pottery class, become more possible. Sleep dictates our energy levels to an extent so exercise or any form of movement can become easier and more enjoyable.

    What happens to your body after 1 year of not drinking alcohol? People should start to notice that you look better, your skin has improved and your mood is better. You will have probably saved at least $1000. People report fewer sick days from work, and your blood sugar, body, mind, and heart are a whole lot healthier than it was 12 months ago. Your immune system is also functioning better. You have a healthy liver. Continue using the strategies, tools, and support team that has helped you get this far. Please reach out for support when you need it to stay on track. 

    Tips: Take Vitamins! 
    The best vitamins for liver repair are listed below. You can get these vitamins through food which is the best way to add any vitamin. If you decide to use a supplement make sure it won't interfere with any medications you are on. It is always recommended to speak with your doctor before adding a vitamin to your daily regimen. If you are taking other medications please ask your doctor if these will interfere before taking them.
    • Vitamin E is a fat-soluble compound that helps protect cell membranes from oxidation and destruction. 
    • Vitamin D Chronic liver diseases are often associated with vitamin D deficiency. 
    • Vitamin C has been suggested to be involved in regulating hepatic and circulating lipid homeostasis
    • Vitamin B Reverses liver inflamation.
    • Milk Thistle protects the liver from toxins, including certain drugs, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), which can cause liver damage in high doses.
    • Dandelion root has been traditionally used as a liver tonic, a medicinal substance that can boost vitality.
    • Turmeric is a common yellow spice that exhibits antioxidant-like effects, which can help protect the liver from oxidative stress.
    • Beetroot, or beets, is a vegetable that is associated with liver and gallbladder health.
    • Ginger contains gingerol and other active compounds that have antioxidant-like properties that can help manage oxidative stress in the body and support liver health.

    Increase your antioxidants

    Plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices, and whole grains are among the best sources of antioxidants. They are also typically high in fiber and excellent sources of vitamins and minerals. Some antioxidant-rich foods include blueberries, strawberries, red cabbage, purple grapes, spinach, beets, orange vegetables, avocados, and even dark chocolate. Coffee is also a rich source of antioxidants.

    Alcohol Change
    Alcohol Treatment
    First Month of Sobriety
    Vitamins for liver health
    Benefits of not drinking

    Sobriety Blogger Anna Marie Skye

    Author: Anna Marie Skye
    Follow Anna Marie Skye as she discusses her struggle with binge drinking and her sobriety journey HERE.

    Binge Drinking

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    Clear Mind's Sobriety Haven Logo, pink lotus flower in pink circle

    Clear Minds Sobriety Haven Blog Series about overcoming binge drinking and tips to stay sober.Binge Drinking

      Hello, and welcome to Clear Mind’s Sobriety Haven Blog. This blog is about my journey to become sober and overcome my addiction to binge drinking. Over time I will add tips and things I’ve learned along the way. 

    What is Binge Drinking?

    binge drink·ing
    /ˈbinj ˈdriNGkiNG/
    the consumption of an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period of time.
    “teenagers as young as 16 admit to binge drinking”.

    Binge drinking is the most common and costly pattern of excessive alcohol use in the United States. Binge drinking is defined as consuming 5 or more drinks on an occasion for men or 4 or more drinks on an occasion for women. Most people who binge drink are not dependent on alcohol. However, binge drinking is harmful on its own. It is associated with serious injuries and diseases, as well as with a higher risk of alcohol use disorder.

    • Binge drinking is most common among younger adults aged 18–34.
    • Binge drinking is more common among men than among women.
    • Binge drinking is most common among adults who have higher household incomes ($75,000 or more), are non-Hispanic White, or live in the Midwest.
    • For some groups and states, binge drinking is not as common, but those who binge drink do so frequently or consume large quantities of alcohol.

     I am a binge drinker. I have been for as long as I can remember. At age 15, I had my first sip of a wine cooler and it was pretty much “game on” after that moment. I never really got to the point of drinking daily but I was close and could have easily let it go there. But I knew you were socially considered to “have a problem” at that point so I felt I was still in control over my drinking, but I wasn’t. Binge drinking was/is ruining my life. For over 30 years I have struggled with my love/hate relationship with alcohol. It has ruined real relationships, jobs, and even parts of my body. Enough is enough.

     As of today, I am one month and 8 days into my sobriety and this is the longest I’ve ever gone without drinking. It’s been a struggle, to say the least. I mean, part of me isn’t even ready to quit but I’ve gone this long and am just stubborn enough to see how long I can go. The longest I’ve ever made it in the past has been 21 days. I’ve downloaded an app called I Am Sober to help. This is a free app that tracks your sobriety date and has a wonderful and supportive community. There is an area to do a daily pledge which is the most helpful thing to me. Making a personal pledge to myself each day has kept me strong in not getting drunk. This app is free of charge with upgrades available including online therapy. Addiction No More, nor I am not affiliated with the “I Am Sober” app in any way. I personally don’t even use the paid version. This is just one tool that I have been using in my own personal sobriety journey that is helping me a lot so I wanted to share it with you. This is the link to download for Android and iOS. 

    As always, stopping alcohol without medical assistance can be life-threatening. If you drink heavily and are experiencing withdrawal symptoms from not consuming alcohol you may need a medical detox. PLEASE NOTE: This is my personal testimony about my own journey in stopping getting drunk and binge drinking. No information here should be taken as gospel. If you feel you need help stopping, or if you need a detox center, help finding local AA meetings, or need inpatient or outpatient treatment for alcohol abuse you can call to speak with licensed therapists and addiction specialists at Addiction No More today. 


    Am I an Alcoholic?
    Alcohol Detox
    Alcohol Treatment
    Binge Drinking
    Binge Drinking in Teens

    Sobriety Blogger Anna Marie Skye

    Author: Anna Marie Skye

    Follow Anna Marie Skye as she discusses her struggle with binge drinking and her sobriety journey HERE.

    Anna Marie Skye Blog Contributor

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    Clear Mind's Sobriety Haven Logo, pink lotus flower in pink circle

    Clear Minds Sobriety Haven Blog Series about overcoming binge drinking and tips to stay sober.
    Anna Marie Skye Blog Contributor

    Anna Marie Skye is our newest website blog contributor for Addiction No More. “Clear Mind’s Sobriety Haven” Blog is her personal blog about binge drinking and alcoholism. This is one woman’s journey of overcoming addiction to alcohol, beer, and liquor. Follow her ups and downs in her journey to stop drinking for good and start to re-learn how to live a fulfilled and happy life without the use of alcohol. 




    Sobriety Blogger Anna Marie Skye

    Author: Anna Marie Skye
    Follow Anna Marie Skye as she discusses her struggle with binge drinking and her sobriety journey HERE.