How to Get Through Your First Days Sober

Those first few days of sobriety are challenging but essential. Stay the course with these tips for getting through those first days sober.

If you have made the powerful and life-changing decision to quit drinking, then congratulations are in order. These first few days sober will be the beginning of a happier, healthier, and longer life.

However, the first few days can also be the most challenging for any struggling alcoholic. Immediately after you stop drinking is when your body will feel the most severe symptoms and withdrawal effects.

However, with the right plan in place, you'll be able to come out on the other side a few days later feeling stronger and more determined than ever. Here are the essential tips for getting through your first 1 week sober. 

1. Assess Your Symptoms 

Your first day after quitting drinking should be spent taking stock. If you have been drinking for a particularly long period, you may not be aware of just how addicted you are.

Day one of sobriety is the time to note your symptoms and assess whether you might need medical treatment. Anxiety, insomnia, nausea, and irritability are all completely normal.

However, if you're experiencing severe shakes, head pains, fatigue, or difficulty moving, you may be having severe withdrawal. If this is the case, see a doctor immediately, as the results can be very dangerous if not treated. 

2. Take Time Off for Your First Few Days Sober 

Your first 3 or 4 days sober should be spent on yourself and nothing else. Having to deal with a stressful job, college, or care duties will make your sobriety journey more difficult.

Take a few days off work and let people know that you will not be available. You can see supportive friends who understand your situation, but try and avoid any situation where alcohol may be present.

This is the time for you to rest your body. 

3. Go with the Flow 

Your first 5 days sober will be when the most intense emotional symptoms appear. You may be feeling depressed, anxious, and highly irritable. You may also be concerned about your lack of sleep, or constantly thinking about alcohol.

Rather than distracting yourself, the best thing is to let yourself be. Acknowledge these feelings as part of the healing process and understanding that it won't last long at all. 

4. Stay Hydrated and Eat Well

It is critical that you stay hydrated throughout these early days. Drinks lots of water at all times, as this will help flush your body out and relieve your symptoms somewhat.

As a heavy drinker, your body will likely be suffering from mild to extreme dehydration anyway, so this is the time to replenish. In addition, remember to eat healthy, nutritious, liver-cleansing foods.

Three square meals a day are mandatory, but eat more if you feel like it. 

5. Never, Ever Reach for that 'First Drink' 

Perhaps the most important rule that applies from day 1 of sobriety up to the rest of your life. Never, ever, reach for that 'harmless' first drink. You cannot get drunk without your first drink, as the saying goes.

If you indulge yourself in a drink during these days, it is highly likely you will fall off the wagon. It will also set your recovery back and your body will have to start the process all over again.

Avoid alcohol completely and any situations where you think alcohol may be present. 

Celebrate Your Achievement 

Once you have passed through those first days sober, you have achieved something exceptional.

Don't shy away from celebrating the fact that you have made it, and commemorate the occasion with an AA Anniversary Coin. This will serve as something to refer to when you feel tempted in the future.