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Today is Day 41 having stopped pretty much cold turkey.  I had researched and planned on doing a taper but because I had been so sick much of the first part of the year, my drinking was down a bit although still very much a daily thing.  I woke on the Monday and didn't feel like drinking and by evening had only had two drinks.  I went to bed.  The next morning, I felf fine so didn't have anything but by then I had already decided that today was the day.  By late morning, I took my blood pressure which was well into the danger zone and yes I should have gone to the ER.  Convinced I was going to drop dead any second, I went to the health food store and got a hawthorn tincture and hawthorn tea to lower my blood pressure.  For some reason, the only thing I was concerned about was the blood pressure nothing else although I should have been.  By evening my blood pressure was just at the danger zone and by bedtime it was in the high warning zone.  I continued with the hawtorn and my blood pressure stayed in the high to mid-warning zone for two days then suddenly dropped to the normal range where it has remained.  I took the hawthorn tincture for a full week and continue to drink various herbal tea blends with hawthorn in it at least once a day.Despite being a heavy drinker for years, the most concerning symptom for me was the blood pressure spike.  I had spells of anxiety for a couple of hours starting around noon until about 3 p, my normal time to start drinking for the day.  I didn't have much in the way of shakes.  I had a fuzzy, tight band, semi-headache mainly on the right side of my head with tingling on the right side of my face that still comes and goes but not so much now.  I really felt spaced!  My appetite was zero and I still don't feel much like eating.  My sleeping was hit and miss for the first few days but is considerably better now.  Now, I have little in the way of anxiety but I am quick to anger and a bit on the irritable side BUT it is a stressful time of the year to begin with which is likely causing some of these feelings and not just abstaining from alcohol.My symptoms could have been a lot worse considering the length of time I have abused alcohol, well over 10 years of pretty much daily drinking.  The two things that I think kept those symptoms in check were a healthy diet maily free of food additive, junk foods, processed foods and fast foods combined with dietary supplements (milk thistle, vit C, Vit B's, lecithin, alpha-lipoic acid, fish oil, glutathione SL, cranberry extract).  I have been taking all these supplements for a good year but before that was taking most of them especially the milk thistle for several years.  In short, the supplements were supporting my liver, kidneys and brain even though I continued to damage them with the alcohol.  I never told my doctor or anyone else how much I drank.  My husband knew but while others may have suspected they never really knew for sure.  I was quite functional, even earning more than one degree, kept the house neat and tidy, and for all intents and purposes acted normal.  I wasn't into the bar scene.  Ninety percent of my drinking was done at home and a good portion of that by myself.  I had no legal problems due to alcohol, no DUI, no hospitalizations, no emergency medical treatments due to alcohol and no real social problems other than being the life of the party No, really means just not caught because I did have a couple of nasty falls that likely should have been checked.  I always drew the line at driving when I had been drinking so that was a non-issue.   The whites of my eyes never really turned yellow although they have been bloodshot on more than one occasion.  I never vomitted blood but my stomach was a mess.  Both scopes were normal something I found quite surprising.  I'm sure my doctor suspected as my liver enzymes were up at one time, a CT showed fatty liver and my BP has been rather high a couple of times but other than that there nothing concrete that I was abusing alcohol.  TFrom what I have read, my liver enzymes should be close to normal by now or will be shortly as long as I don't drink.  My BP is normal and my liver should be on the mend.  I likely won't say anything to my doctor regarding my former heavy drinking unless there is some compelling reason to do so.I have no intentions of going to AA.  I know others have had success and for that I'm happy but it is not for me.  I don't want someone negating my progress or telling me I'm doomed to go back to heavy drinking if I don't go to AA. Denial is part of the problem but I know I have a problem that was my doing and I'm the one who has to make it right.  I'm not going to say I will never drink again because from what I have read relapses are common.  I will say I do not want to go back to drinking the way I was.  I went 30 days with absolutely no alcohol.  After that, I tried a couple of brands of non-alcoholic beer.  Beck's non-alcoholic is 0.0% alcohol/60 calories per 355 ml and the other brands are less than 0.5% alcohol, the same amount of alcohol that can be found in a glass of orange juice or Mountain Dew.  I found one store brand at less than 0.5% alcohol and only 35 calories per 355 ml can so at least if I have one I'm not packing in a lot of calories.  From what I have read, some feel that non-alcoholic beer is not for those in alcohol recovery yet others in AA use it.  My feeling is, if it keeps me from drinking the strong stuff when socializing, it is a good thing.  Beer wasn't my choice of beverage to get drunk on, whiskey was so there is no psychological association for me.  The NA beer is just another beverage I can enjoy without getting drunk and the best part is I can use it in cooking the few recipes that call for beer knowing that I can get the flavour in the dish without the alcohol.  I won't be giving up real vanilla for cooking and will still occasionally have a rare teaspoon of wine jelly with my pork.  I seldom cook with wine so that is a non-issue.  My life reality is I am going to be around alcohol both in our home (we do a lot of entertaining) and out socially so I have to learn to deal with those situations without drinking anything stronger than NA beer.  At the same time, at some point I may want a glass of wine with a meal not that I can see that happening for a very, very long time but giving myself the permission to do so if that time arises means I keep control.  The thing is at this time, I don't want to drink so I want to continue strengthening that ideal.  So far so good.  I stopped on a Monday and we had our first large gathering that Saturday night.  I felt like c**p but managed to pull off being a good host and drinking only club soda with no desire to drink anything stronger.  Club soda is the only soda I drink to begin with so it wasn't something different I had to adjust to.I've made a few adjustments.  When we go to someone's house, I bring a few club soda with me just in case and leave them in the car unless needed.  When we go out to a couple with certain friends, I order NA beer.  My drinks of choice at home are coffee, tea, herbal tea and water.  I do have minor cravings for sweets so instead of junky candy, I have turned to organic 72% cocoa dark chocolate.  It seems to curb the cravings and is heart healthy.  I keep Worther's in my purse in case a craving hits when out.  They have no artifical additives.  My food choices are very healthy but my appetite is still poor.  I'm in a different place mentally than I was 41 days ago.  My husband said I should be very proud but I'm not.  Pride comes before a fall and I don't want to fall down that hole again!  I haven't told anyone I have quit drinking and I don't intend to because quite frankly I don't feel it is anyone's business but my own.  I don't feel a need to have to justify to others why I don't want to drink any more than they need to justify to me anything they decide to do.  Besides, my true friends wouldn't pry and those who do aren't true friends.  I have come to realize that the feelings I had are still there, they just aren't numbed by alcohol.  There are parts of the day that I really do feel like I am just going through the motions and other times where I really just don't care.  It's not like I quit drinking so all of a sudden I'm happy go lucky without a care in the world.  I am incredibly angry at myself for getting myself in this position in the first place.  I feel good in the decision to give up drinking and it is hard to explain but that decision is empowering me.  I cannot tell you how scared I was when I saw my BP that high!  That sheer feeling of terror is enough to keep me from drinking again.  I come here to read and re-enforce my decision.  Everytime someone posts about withdrawl symptoms that fear comes back to me just as strong as when it first happened.  So far, I have not really had much in the way of cravings perhaps because of the dietary supplements.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared.  Forty-one days is nothing really in comparison to hopefully a long lifetime ahead.  Right now it is one day at a time.  Each day gets a bit better and at this point, I am very grateful for that.Thanks for listening...

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I had horrible withdrawal symptoms last Friday, I had stopped drinking for three days.

I started to feel bad Saturday and decided to drink again.  I have been drinking

every night since then.  I still feel like I am having withdrawal symptoms.

Like I can't breath.  Is this normal after I started drinking again, and would you

know how long this will last?

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Dear Scared Straight, Your words are the only thing in this long journey that has ever resonated! It feels to an alcoholic that there is no hope. From my experience, I feel more scared to quit than to stop!!! Your story and thoughtful insight is a true inspiration for me to try again. I am certainly terrified of the idea of withdrawals. I've lost everything in my life that I cared about as a result of my decisions...most especially the ONLY man I ever truly loved. I believe there are a lot of underlying issues that I have not been able to face because I don't truly want to, but your humility in writing this post, and your raw honesty has changed my mind…at this moment. Isn't that how anyone beats back this beast? Not one day at a time…but one breath at a time!!! Thank you for your amazingly inspiring heartfelt emotion and thoughtful ideas to help others. Hope you are still well Best wishes, Bryan
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