I want to stop drinking - tell me about detox

I’ve been drinking for about a decade and my intake has increased gradually over that time to where I can put away a fifth of liquor in an evening and go back to work the next morning. I know it’s not healthy for me, but it helps me relax and it feels good. I’ve always thought I was a high-functioning alcoholic - I don’t drive drunk, I’ve never gotten into legal trouble or missed work because of drinking, I’ve never gone to work drunk, I can stop drinking early enough that I’ll be sober when I wake up for work, I’ve never spent money on booze that I needed to spend on other things.

Recently, though, I had a bout of food poisoning that forced me to go a couple days without drinking. I haven’t been sober for that long a time in a long time, and it wasn’t pleasant. I just laid in bed for hours and couldn’t sleep because my mind was racing. I was sweating bullets no matter how cold the room was or how much bedding/clothing I took off. I started hearing sounds and voices that I knew couldn’t be real which I’d swear were. Even though I was wide awake, I was having “dreams” that didn’t make any sense and terrified me. I eventually had to get out of bed and mix myself a drink to calm my nerves. I’d experienced some of this once or twice before, but never this bad, and it terrified me.

I know that if I keep drinking I’m just going to keep having to drink more and more to make myself feel good and stop those withdrawal symptoms from happening again, and I know that I’ll either do more damage to my body than it can take or I won’t be able to balance it and my work anymore. I feel like I could stop drinking easy enough if it were as simple as just not drinking anymore, but I know at this point that that’s not true.

I’ve been reading up on withdrawal online and I’ve read that the safest way to quit drinking is in a detox program with medical supervision. I think that’s what I’m going to need to do, and there appear to be several inpatient facilities in my area that do alcohol detox. I have insurance that covers detox, though it looks like it’ll probably still cost me a couple thousand dollars (which I can make happen, especially if I’m not spending money on booze anymore). I know there are people on this board who’ve quit drinking in the past - I’m hoping anyone who’s been through one of these programs can share their experience on what it’s like, what to expect, so on.

Getting medical supervision is the way to go.

Frankly, what you describe scares me. When I detoxed I felt like shit for three days*, slept for two or three and was foggy for a while. I drank heavily, like 18 to 24 beers a day. My symptoms.were not as bad as yours.

When I detoxed the first time I was in a month long treatment center. The docs had me on some meds, I don’t remember what they were. There were lots of bp checks, etc.

The second time, which worked, I slept for a couple days. No medical supervision which was stupid but I was at a halfway house with lots of people around.

It is awesome that you want to detox. I do have agentle suggestion though. You need a plan for what you are going to do after you detox. Whether it is A.A., church, therapy, or a combination of things you need to figure out how to stay sober. Detoxing is hard. Staying sober is much, much harder for most folks.

Feel free to pm me and I will offer what help I can.


  • Well, I felt like shit for about a month. However after about three days I could sorta kinda function.

Good advice given here.

Do wanna point out one thing. I got food poisoning a few years back (gas station sushi). It was pretty damn bad. Your experience might have been “extra” fun as it was a combo of that and possible detox effects.

Atomic Mama just came out of detox, but she’s having surgery today (cataracts). I expect she’ll be able to provide some good information.

A friend of mine is a heavy drinker. A while back he had some sort of GI issue (virus, food poisoning, whatever) and couldn’t keep anything down.

I asked him how he handled giving up booze cold turkey. He said, “you’ve never heard of butt chugging, I take it”.

I’ve been looking at websites for some facilities in my area. I haven’t made contact with any of them yet, but I think I want to try a short-term inpatient detox (which sounds like it can take anywhere from 4-5 days to a few weeks) and follow up with outpatient counseling and therapy. (I’m definitely not interested in 12-step or anything church-related.) I can realistically take about six weeks off of work before I burn through my vacation time/sick leave, and longer under FMLA, but I want to be able to return to work as soon as possible so I don’t fall behind financially.

I think that once I get clean, the biggest temptations for me are going to be that I work in the grocery industry and am able to buy alcohol at my work, and that I live alone and there wouldn’t be anyone to stop me if I were to slip up.

I sure haven’t, and I don’t think I care to. :slight_smile:

Your Inpatient facility should help you that in their therapies. They should be using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which will focus on changing your behaviors surrounding, and how you perceive, alcohol. Once you know the process of changing your views on alcohol you can implement it at work.

As for a sponsor/accountability, your outpatient process should give you resources surrounding that. There are plenty of national numbers you can call for when you’re having a moment.

If you’re at home and need a distraction or encouragement, there is an entire Reddit thread called r/stopdrinking that people are using as a form of therapy.

“If you won’t take it orally, I’m sure we can find some OTHER way for you to take it.”


Okay, when butt chugging seems like a good idea it may be time to seek professional help.

For various reasons, I have ended up with experience with various benzodiazepines . To the point that I can type “benzodiazepines” from memory.
For withdrawal, I was given Ativan. I recommend it.
Takes the edge off.

For “what comes next”: whatever you want. If you are really disgusted with alcohol, leaving it behind will not be a problem. I can still have a beer with my pizza and wine with lunch. There is a bit of vodka in the pantry. It has been there for 6 years.
All of the scare stories of “never will be able to even be in the same room without ending up in a gutter somewhere” are bullshit.

The most obnoxious people I have ever met are, as a group, those self-professed "Recovering Alcoholic"s. There martyrdom on the Cross of Ethanol gets real old real fast.

Actually, no; the guy I’m talking about is where he wants to be.

Smapti: As far as evening relaxation is concerned, are you in a cannabis-friendly part of the earth? I drink a good bit, though less than you. I could give up alcohol tomorrow and fill its place with marijuana. Just a thought.

At first I thought “replacing one addiction with another”. Then I did a Google search and learned that weed can have a place in withdrawal from alcohol. **Smapti ** lives in my state (Washington) so we do have access to it legally. I asked at my local dispensary about relief for a friend who has chronic pain. There are specific strains that address the pain but don’t give the high. It wouldn’t surprise me if they have strains geared towards withdrawing from other drugs, as well. The people are quite knowledgeable and it certainly wouldn’t hurt to ask.

The very best of luck, Smapti.

My employer reserves the right to conduct random drug tests and to summarily fire anyone who tests positive for marijuana (which they do), regardless of state law to the contrary, so that’s not an option.

Whoa, now that would drive me to drink:(

Wait, let me get this straight. You are advising a person who is showing signs of severe alcoholism and is likely suffering* from delirium tremens, which is fatal 5% to 25% of the timewhen untreated, and your advice is to drink again if he feels like it?


“Hey, last time you stopped drinking it could have killed you but I don’t like A.A.! So dry out then drink up!”

What is wrong with you?

Smapti, don’t worry about your future drinking. Find a treatment center and a doc and follow their advice. You may want to talk to your H.R. department at work as alcoholism is covered under the A.D.A. If you aren’t comfortable with that, it makes sense, but many companies will work with employees.

Good luck and feel free to P.M. me.


  • The main symptoms of delirium tremens are nightmares, agitation, global confusion, disorientation, visual and* auditory hallucinations*, tactile hallucinations, fever, high blood pressure, heavy sweating, and other signs of autonomic hyperactivity. The OP is reporting some of the DT symptoms.

There is literally nothing in this post that should be considered advice other than MAYBE the benzos, but those are just as addicting as alcohol and should only be used under medical supervision.

For the love of God and your future do not do anything said in this post

Is the alcohol used to reduce unpleasant thoughts or memories?

No. Drinking has never caused me to forget or not care about stuff. I started drinking because I thought it would feel good. I kept drinking because it did.

I’m going to make an appointment with my doctor and talk to her about this, and hopefully she’ll be able to point me in the direction of a facility that can help me. I’ve looked at the websites of several facilities in the region, but I don’t personally have the expertise to choose one that will be best suited to me.

You probably need inpatient detox - it would certainly be safer. You may or may not need inpatient rehab.

The difference being that if you want some discretion with your employer, you can take two weeks for “vacation” or “medical procedure” to finish the detox and move to outpatient, which will be more normal life friendly.

Of course, if you think inpatient is a better choice for you to get sober, by all means, do that.

Best wishes.

No need, it’s easier than it seems, especially once you’ve found the proper hose diameter. Plus, afterwards, you still have the alcohol! Albeit slightly denatured.