Issues in Getting Sober Without Medical Attention

Gillian May
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

As a former nurse and recovering alcoholic, I don’t recommend anyone get sober on their own. For one, it’s challenging to be alone when embarking on such a huge change as getting sober. For two, it can be physically dangerous to DIY your sobriety, especially if you’re a heavy drinker. Attempting to withdraw from alcohol without medical assistance can cause serious health consequences for certain people.

According to research, those who drink heavily, more frequently, and who have had other withdrawal attempts are more likely to have future adverse events in alcohol withdrawal. For this reason, it’s recommended to seek help from your doctor when quitting alcohol.

However, no doubt people are attempting to get sober on their own. I was one such person five years ago when I got sober. I didn’t understand at the time that I could be at risk for withdrawal complications. These complications include seizures, cardiac issues, dehydration, and delirium tremens. If I could have done it over again, I would have gone to a doctor for help.

Nonetheless, I made it through the withdrawal process ok, and I’m sure many others are going through this alone too. To reduce harm, it’s important to let people know some important considerations before they embark on their sobriety journey.

Get a medical exam

It’s essential to know your state of health before you get sober. While you’re at it, you can ask your doctor for any help as you plan to reduce or quit drinking. But at the very least, getting a routine exam will help you know if you’re in a good place health-wise before you attempt to get sober.

Find ways to calm your nervous system.

The nervous system will need time to readjust after removing alcohol from the body. For this reason, it’s good to find techniques or resources to help calm down the nerves. Things like exercise, herbal teas, supplements, laughter, massage, or yoga can be beneficial. However, everyone is different and will need to find what works for them.

Find some support

Support can be anything like AA or a close friend, but at the very least, find one person you can talk to throughout your sobriety journey. Experts say that over 30% of people relapse on their first attempt, but having support can reduce this statistic. Getting sober is an arduous journey so having other sober people to lean on is invaluable.

Find new hobbies or activities

Finding new hobbies or activities to do in place of drinking is extremely helpful. I found that doing puzzles and making jewelry helped my mind calm down and gave me something to do when I was craving. Others find that exercise, crafts, reading, tv, or using their hands helps. Whatever helps you stay occupied and not think about alcohol will be helpful.

These are some considerations if you’re attempting to get sober alone. As I said, it’s recommended to get medical assistance for getting sober, but not everyone may need it or can find it. Hopefully, this article gives some advice and ideas for getting through the sobriety journey.

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I'm a former nurse turned freelance writer. I have extensive experience in administration, frontline care, and education in mental health, public health, and geriatrics. However, after 20 years, I needed a change and always wanted to write. I have personal and family experience in mental health and addictions, so I'm passionate about advocacy and education in those areas. I'm also a traveler, photographer, and artist. I funnel all my various expertise into my writing and hope to provide valuable content that is entertaining and educational. Join my email list if you want to read more of my work - I also have a book on Alcoholic Liver Disease coming out in 2021.


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