Many alcoholics and addicts try many times to give up alcohol and drugs before finally making it. To start with, although many of us get into some embarrassing scrapes and cause pain to the people we love, we are still getting more from our drinking or using than we are losing. So, it feels worth continuing. As the balance begins to shift, we cause more pain than the pleasure we receive. We still find it hard to give up because the addictive need is there. Finally, we recognise we have a problem. Our drinking or using makes us and those we care for utterly miserable. We seriously start to try and give up.

Several attempts

We then go through several attempts but last only a short time. This is because we are not really serious, and the lure of our drink or drug is strong. Finally, we get serious and we start trying hard to give up. We might even manage it for several days (if we get through the first difficult 24 hours). However, having got through the first 24 hours and then through the next few days, we find that while we have proved we can stop, we can’t stay stopped!

‘The first month is hard’

The first month is really hard. You will probably find yourself clinging on for dear life. There is an obsession about drink or your drug of choice. The best way to get to a month is to just concentrate on getting through each day. If necessary, just getting through smaller chunks of time within the day. You will probably feel restless and unable to concentrate.
A word of caution here. If you have drunk heavily or used drugs for a sustained period, it is possible that just to stop suddenly will be dangerous. Your body could go into shock – little shakes could become a serious life threatening fit. You may need to seek a doctor’s advice and take medication to prevent this happening. The safest way to detox is under professional care, such as in rehab. If this is something you are able to do, it makes your first 4 weeks off the drink or drugs a much more comfortable experience – both physically and psychologically.

Building your strength

Your body may feel weak in these early days. Focus on basic survival, trying to build up your strength through eating properly and establishing a good pattern of sleep. Enjoy a bath now and again to relax and let toxins leave your body. Don’t worry too much if you smoke more or drink more coffee in your early days. Tobacco is not a mind altering substance and you can redress the amount of your smoking and caffeine intake once you have got through your early days.

Start trying to establish a healthy routine which can encompass a little quiet time in the morning preparing to face your day and getting in the right frame of mind not to drink or do drugs that day. Eat well, take exercise and try and get to a meeting or other recovering addicts (AA or NA for example). Just focus on the day in hand and staying clean and sober – and although the time will probably not pass quickly, your first month will soon be achieved.

If you have an alcohol or drug related problem, please call 01462 851 414 for free and confidential advice and help.