Giving Up Alcohol – What To Expect

Alcohol AddictionGiving up alcohol due to ill-health or a habit will be a big decision. It can in fact be a life-changing decision if executed correctly.

Whilst there are many benefits linked to getting clean, there is a thorough process that must be worked through in order to safely withdraw and learn to live without alcohol. Knowing what to expect is therefore important, to prepare for the positives and to plough through the challenges.

Alcohol withdrawal can be a tough process. Withdrawal symptoms, cravings, lifestyle modifications and new commitments can all be challenging to digest. Yet with the positive end goal of sobriety insight, the process will be worth it, especially whilst completed with professional support.

Here’s all you need to know through our guide on giving up alcohol – what to expect. At Rehab Clinics Group, we’re here to help you through your decision, your alcohol withdrawal, and your long-term recovery journey.

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Benefits Of Giving Up Alcohol

Withdrawing from and breaking the cycle of alcohol consumption will offer up many benefits. Immediate short-term benefits are expected, as are some long-term positives. Depending on your reason for giving up alcohol, such benefits may in fact be life-changing and saving.

If you’re looking to cut down your consumption to benefit your health, you can expect to do just that by giving up alcohol. Alcohol is a disruptive substance that impacts how the body and brain operate. Through long-term consumption, organ damage is common, addiction risks are high, and ill-health is expected.

Negligent lifestyle choices and unruly behaviours are also common through binge drinking or consistent exposure. Breaking the cycle will help to restore physical and psychological functionality and wellbeing.

If you’re giving up alcohol due to addictive behaviour, reflective of alcohol abuse or alcoholism, significant benefits can be expected. Alcohol abuse and addiction can disrupt a multitude of areas, across a lifetime. Health and wellbeing, relationships, finances, careers, and personal value can all deteriorate through alcohol problems. Restoring and rebuilding all, along with saving years upon years of struggles will be benefited from.

Short term benefits of getting cleanShort term effects of giving up alcohol

  • Improved mental health
  • Better quality sleep and rest
  • Healthier appearance
  • Less bloating and digestive problems
  • Increased energy levels
  • Clearer thinking
  • Increased productivity
  • The start of healthier habits
  • Financial savings


Long term benefits of getting clean

  • Reduces the risk of cancer
  • Heals the vital organs
  • Restores physical and psychological functionality
  • Stabilises mental health
  • Overcomes addictive behaviours
  • Rebuilds relationships with oneself and others
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Ingrains healthy habits and lifestyle choices
  • Significant financial savings
  • Life-saving effects


Now you’re aware of some of the likely benefits, here’s some more insight into giving up alcohol – what to expect.


How to prepare to give up alcohol

Before stopping the cycle, it is important to prepare for alcohol withdrawal. Again, your reason for getting clean will impact the type of planning that you’ll need to complete.

For example, if you’re giving up alcohol to improve your wellbeing, you’ll need to make some small lifestyle choices to support your change in behaviour. Yet if you’re withdrawing to overcome an alcohol addiction, you’ll need to be mindful of how you go about the process.

Alcohol withdrawal should be completed with medical assistance. It is very common to experience some form of withdrawal symptoms whilst giving up and cutting off all exposure. You should prepare for this commitment by finding a suitable alcohol rehab clinic.

If you are experiencing the signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction, there’s also a strong chance that you’ll need to complete additional treatment. Addiction treatment will be recommended to support your recovery journey, secure relapse prevention and help you stay on track. You should prepare for a greater investment of time, money and energy whilst giving up alcohol.  Completing the rehabilitation process via a residential treatment centre will be encouraged.

Due to possible complications and challenges, always prepare and always reach out for professional support. A successful withdrawal process will be more likely through direction and through knowing what to expect through the entire process.


What happens when you give up alcohol? – A timeline

The withdrawal process will pan out differently for each person. The amount of alcohol that has been consumed, gender, age and overall health will affect the process. An average timeline of giving up alcohol follows as:

Initial hours post-consumption: The start of withdrawal symptoms, including excessive sweating, anxiety, and irritability.

12-24 hours post-consumption: Alcohol cravings are common, alongside heightened withdrawal symptoms. Mental health can begin to suppress, as can motivation levels.

Up to 72 hours post-consumption: The risk of chronic withdrawal symptoms, such as increased blood pressure, paranoia and panic, seizures, severe dehydration, and the hazardous risk of delirium tremens.

3 to 7 days post-consumption: For the average person, withdrawal symptoms will begin to subsidies, although cravings can commonly reside. If symptoms do continue and are untreated, withdrawal can become dangerous, resulting in alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

1 to 2 weeks post-consumption: The body and mind will begin to stabilise. Most detox processes will end here, followed by addiction treatment for alcoholics.

3 to 4 weeks post-consumption: Signs of improved health. Better quality sleep, a balanced mind, higher levels of energy, healthier appearance, less bloating and greater stability are common signs.

2 to 6 months post-consumption: Giving up alcohol for a number of months will lead to drastic lifestyle changes. Motivation will be at an all-time high. Averagely, withdrawal symptoms will have diminished. Positives can be taken from the commitment. A sense of normality can be felt.

1-year post-consumption: Being sober for 1 year will display a change in intentions and habits. Physical and psychological health will be noticeably stronger. All areas of life can improve to this point.

To progress through the above timeline, a medically assisted alcohol detox will be essential if you are battling an addiction. Withdrawal symptoms can be challenging and dangerous, benefiting from residential treatment and medical intervention.

For the long-term benefits to transpire, a full treatment programme must also be completed. Via an alcohol rehab clinic, a comprehensive recovery journey can be arranged. Therapy, mental health treatments, relapse prevention and aftercare will help you reach the 1-year milestone of giving up alcohol, and beyond.


When will I start feeling better?

What Are The Different Types Of Mental Health Problems?Once you’ve worked through alcohol withdrawal symptoms, you can expect to feel physically better. Yet due to the impacts that alcohol has on the mind, it can take a much longer period to heal psychologically and emotionally.

If you’re giving up alcohol for any other reason beyond addiction, you’ll likely feel instant benefits. If you are however giving up, to withdraw and reach a state of sobriety, addiction recovery is a much longer process, with small yet positive milestones dotted along the way.

With professional help and addiction treatment, greater progress can be made, to feel healthy, well and happy without alcohol. At Rehab Clinics Group, we can help you get clean, rebuild and plan for a fulfilling sober future. Via one of our CQC registered alcohol rehab clinics, we can help you embark on the entire rehabilitation journey.

Reach out for our support whilst getting sober, or for more insight into giving up alcohol – what to expect. We are here to offer a transparent look into alcohol withdrawal, its benefits, its challenges, and its place in your life.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the difference between substance and behavioural addictions?

    A substance addiction is where a fixation is made on drugs, alcohol, or further addictive substances. A behavioural addiction is where a fixation is made on an experience, feeling or action. Whilst there are clear differences between their development and impacts, both are serious brain disorders, requiring addiction treatment. Various treatments will be used whilst treating each. Medical focus is usually placed more on a substance addiction than a behavioural addiction. Yet both will require therapeutic and holistic therapies and relapse prevention planning.
  • Does addiction affect mental health?

    Addiction is one of the biggest contributors to poor mental health. There is a heavy link between both disorders, known as co-existing. The internal changes caused by drug and alcohol abuse can deplete the production of happy and stable chemicals. The external changes can also impact mood, stress, and lifestyle, all impacting the mind. If both conditions are co-occurring, dual diagnosis treatment will be recommended through rehab.
  • What happens after rehab?

    After rehab, you’ll continue to work on yourself whilst benefitting from additional support. Aftercare services will be on offer to help you adjust to sobriety. Support groups, 12-step recovery plans, personal check-ins and therapy sessions will be arranged to guide you through long-term milestones. Addiction recovery is a life-long commitment, which can be nurtured as soon as you return home from rehab.