How Do I Know It’s Safe to Stop Drinking Alcohol?

How Do I Know It's Safe to Stop Drinking Alcohol-80

People in true recovery are easy to spend time with.  They are in emotional recovery, not just in a state of not drinking or not using.

They are wounded healers who have found strength through their weakness. They gained wisdom through doing it wrong at first, not by doing it right.

The Cycle of Stress and Drinking

Bev is a medical professional in her fifties.  She used the Coleman Method to detox off of alcohol earlier this year and now has six months of not drinking under her belt.

Bev considered herself a “normal drinker” for many years. She liked partying and began drinking in college.  She paused her drinking when she was pregnant with her 2 daughters, but began to drink more and more as life’s demands and the stress of managing a busy medical office grew later in life.

She woke up daily with a resolution to not drink. Although she was never late or absent from work due to drinking, she often began the day with some fogginess from the previous night’s drinking. When juggling after school activities (pre-Covid) and work assignments, she started thinking about the ‘reward’ of a drink on the drive home every evening. She would walk into her kitchen and open a bottle of wine before she removed her coat.  She could easily drink 3 large glasses of wine while preparing dinner and listening to her kids’ share the stories of their day.

Warning Signs It’s More Than a Bad Drinking Habit

Once her husband got home, Bev sometimes opened a new bottle of wine to create the impression that this was her first drink of the evening. Her drinking increased to 1 and 1/2 bottles of wine on weeknights, and two on the weekends. She often hid the bottles of wine she had bought, and would dispose of the empty bottles away from their house.

Bev developed a bad temper and started having difficulty sleeping. She had little patience with work colleagues. Once COVID arrived, she had a meltdown.

When working at home, she’d open her first bottle before noon. “I felt this bipolar sense of terror and relief that Amazon Prime could deliver wine to me every day of the week.”

A medical worker herself, she began to feel shame. “My daughters started noticing my hands shaking in the morning as I dragged myself around the kitchen making coffee. I had to do something. I knew some people who had gone to Coleman Addiction Medicine and looked you up online. Thank God.”

Fr. Richard Rohr uses the analogy of electricity to describe how a person can transform their suffering into something powerful and useful.

Bev has begun working on a strong personal program. She leverages online recovery meetings and entered an Intensive Outpatient Counseling program (IOP) that our aftercare team helped her find. Through these activities she has found camaraderie as well as tools that are helping her in her management position at work, as well as in her personal life.  She is absolutely transforming her suffering into a vehicle of hope and help to others.

Do You Need An Alcohol Detox?

While not everyone needs a medical detox when they stop drinking alcohol, it can be dangerous to suddenly stop drinking if your body has developed a strong tolerance. Some people experience sweating or have moderate tremors until they get some alcohol in their system. Please consult your doctor if you’re scared or unsure. 

Coleman Addiction Medicine provides a private, safe, and welcoming 3-day outpatient detox program for patients with matching needs in the Greater New York City area. If you or a loved one could benefit from this service and are ready to try living without alcohol, please give us a call at 877-773-3869.

Joan R. Shepherd, FNP

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