On average, around 88,000 people die of an alcohol-related incident every year. Alcohol dependence is defined as when someone has lost control over their drinking; they can’t stop or cut back.
It can be the way someone acts when they are under the influence of alcohol too. This can include having a hangover after drinking, needing to drink more and more alcohol to feel the desired effects, or feeling irritable when not drinking. It can also be aggressive and violent behavior, blackouts or memory loss, and problems with work or school. Alcohol addiction looks different for everyone, but there are some common signs.
It can be a very difficult disease to recover from as it is considered a physical, mental, and emotional addiction. Alcohol recovery takes time and patience to be successful. However, there are typical steps that most people go through in their alcohol recovery journey.
Recovery from this addiction is a process that takes time and effort. It’s not something you can do overnight, but it is possible to make steady progress over time to overcome alcohol addiction. The recovery timeline below should give you an idea of what to expect in terms of recovery milestones.
What Happens to Your Body After One Month of No Alcohol?
The first stage of recovery can be the most difficult. If you are just getting started on your new journey to overcome alcohol addiction, it may feel like you are in over your head. This is completely normal and to be expected. The first few days or weeks may involve a lot of detoxing and cravings. As you begin your first day off of alcohol, it is not uncommon to feel as if you are experiencing a severe hangover.
This is because alcohol has a long half-life in the body, meaning it takes a while for your system to process out all of the toxins. You may also find that you are having trouble sleeping at night. After around a week, this is known to gradually improve as the toxins begin to release themselves from your body. It’s likely you may also experience a lot of cravings in the early stages of recovery. This is your brain’s way of trying to get you to drink again, and it is something that most people struggle with. Alcohol, if stopped abruptly, can be deadly depending on your drinking habits. The best option, if you have been drinking on a daily basis for a consistent period of time, is to check into a detox program. Illuminate Recovery can assist with this process through our trusted partnerships.
A Crucial Stage of Recovery
This stage is known to be one of the most challenging parts of recovery. Relapse is also a very real possibility at this stage. This is due to increased stress levels, increased cravings for alcohol, and withdrawal symptoms. You may also have trouble breaking from routine, especially if you have been drinking heavily for a long time.
As your brain begins to slowly become less dependent on alcohol, you may feel like you are in a fog or are having trouble concentrating on tasks throughout the day. You may also feel irritable, anxious, and depressed. This is all normal and will continue to improve gradually.
Understanding what to expect in the early stages of your alcohol recovery timeline can help you stay on track and know what is normal and expected for you and your body throughout this process. Additionally, your chances of success increase dramatically with participation in a recovery program.
The First Few Months
The first few months of recovery are a time of stabilization. This is when your body and mind are starting to adjust to life without alcohol. You will likely still be experiencing a lot of cravings, which is why relapse is not uncommon at this phase. Many people experience trouble with not having the rigorous coping and recovery mechanisms in place as they did in the beginning stages. However, you can take steps to overcome temptations.
You will also start to develop coping mechanisms for dealing with stress and cravings. This is an important step in the process of overcoming alcohol addiction as it helps to build confidence that you can abstain from alcohol in the future.
You will likely start to see some improvements in your mood and energy levels during this time. However, it is critically important to remember that this stage is about stabilization and not recovery. It can take several months or longer before you start seeing significant improvements in your mood, energy, and concentration levels.
It’s also important to note that there may be many triggers for you during this time. For example, you may find it difficult to handle certain social situations without wanting to drink. This is especially common if alcohol has played an important role in your life for a while. The importance of peer support and surrounding yourself with like-minded people cannot be overstated. A recovery program is a great place to find support.
Your Long Term Recovery Journey
After a year of recovery, you should begin to feel more like your old self again. You will likely feel more confident in your ability to abstain from alcohol, particularly if you have previously struggled with addiction. Your mood should also be improving, and you should start to see an increase in your energy and concentration levels.
However, it’s great to remember that addiction is a lifelong disease. This means you will likely always have to deal with cravings, anxiety, and depression. It is also common for people who are suffering from alcohol addiction to find that they experience a relapse at some point.
It’s important to remember that this is not the end of your recovery journey, and there are plenty of things you can do to help prevent a relapse. However, if you do experience a relapse, it is okay. You can always get back on track with your recovery journey by seeking out help from a professional.
As you go through long-term sobriety, you may still be working to establish healthy habits. This may include finding a hobby or activity that you enjoy, practicing meditation or mindfulness, and building strong relationships with supportive people.
How Long After You Stop Drinking Does Your Body Heal?
This is a common question many people ask when they stop drinking. While it can be frustrating to feel like you are not getting better as quickly as you would like, the truth is that it takes time for your body to heal.
You may still be experiencing cravings, mood swings, and withdrawal symptoms during this stage of recovery. However, these symptoms will gradually improve over time. It can take up to a year or longer for you to start seeing significant improvements in your mood, energy, and concentration levels.
There are lots of things you can do to help speed up the recovery process, including doing some form of exercise every day, eating a healthy diet, and practicing meditation or mindfulness. You can also find support from friends, family, and addiction professionals to help you through this difficult time.
Can I Reverse the Impacts of Drinking on My Body?
It is natural to wonder if you can reverse the impacts of alcohol on your body. While there are some ways that you may be able to do this, it is important to remember that some of the damage may be permanent.
As you go through long-term sobriety, there are some things you can do to help reverse the impacts of alcohol. These include eating a healthy diet, practicing mindfulness and meditation every day, having plenty of rest, and doing some form of mild exercise every day.
Male fertility has been shown to be affected by alcohol consumption. If you are trying to conceive a child, it is important to stop drinking alcohol and give your body time to heal. Fortunately, male infertility has been shown to quickly reverse once you abstain from alcohol.
The most important thing to remember is that reversing the effects of alcohol on your body will only work if you abstain from alcohol completely. This means you cannot drink in moderation or only have a few drinks every once in a while. If you are not able to abstain from alcohol, you will likely continue to experience negative impacts on your body.
Support Systems for Sobriety
Finding support systems for your sobriety is an important part of the recovery process. This includes friends, family, 12 step support groups and addiction professionals who can help you through this difficult time. You can also find support online from other people who are going through the same thing as you.
Support systems can offer you practical advice, emotional support, and a listening ear. They can also help you to stay accountable and on track with your recovery journey. It is important to remember that your support systems for sobriety are not meant to replace treatment or therapy. Instead, they offer additional help and guidance as you begin your recovery journey.
Your support systems for sobriety may look different than the support systems you had in your life before. Being intentional about who you spend time with is crucial – make sure your support systems are there to help elevate and encourage your ultimate goal of alcohol abstinence and sobriety. If there were previous friend groups and social settings in your life who encouraged drinking, (even unwittingly) then their company may no longer be healthy for you on your journey of sobriety.
Can I Find Help for Alcohol Withdrawal?
Alcohol withdrawal can be a difficult time, and it is best to do it under medical supervision if possible. There are a number of different, high-quality treatment options you can try when going through withdrawal from alcohol, including medications and supplements.
Alcohol withdrawal can lead to severe health problems if it is not treated properly. This means you should always seek medical help when going through this difficult time. You may also want to consider seeking help from a professional in the form of therapy and counseling.
A therapist will be able to provide you with the support you need to get through withdrawal and start on the road to recovery. It is important to remember that there is no one right way to get help for alcohol withdrawal. If you are struggling, don’t be afraid to seek out the help that is right for you.
Start Your Journey Today
If you are ready to get help, we are here for you. Illuminate Recovery’s Scottsdale and Phoenix addiction treatment center offers a variety of different treatment options that can help you on your road to recovery. Contact us today to learn more about our program and how we can help you start your journey.
Having been on both sides of active addition, both the person using, and the person affected by a loved one using drugs and alcohol, Lucas has been involved in recovery since 2009. He has been working in the treatment industry since 2013. Using his personal experience and wealth of knowledge learned from professional development and immersion in the recovery field, he has spoken with thousands of families and helped hundreds of people attain long-term sobriety. In 2020, the opportunity presented to join in and start Illuminate Recovery. Understanding the importance of personalized treatment plans and the complex nature between substance abuse and co-occurring disorders, has helped Illuminate Recovery build a strong curriculum and a phenomenal staff. Illuminate Recovery now has a medical doctor who is board certified in addiction medicine and a psychiatric medical doctor who works side by side with independently licensed therapists to provide compassionate and effective treatment.