The early days of sobriety
When I gave up drinking alcohol seven years ago, I researched as much as I could about what to expect in sobriety. I never came across the term Post Acute Withdrawal Alcohol Symptoms from Alcohol, or “P.A.W.S” back then. Here is what I want to share it with you.
What is Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms?
Wikipedia defines it this way “Post-acute-withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), or the terms post-withdrawal syndrome, protracted withdrawal syndrome, prolonged withdrawal syndromes describe a set of persistent impairments that occur after withdrawal from alcohol, opiates, benzodiazepines, antidepressants and other substances. Infants born to mothers who used substances of dependence during pregnancy may also experience a post acute withdrawal syndrome. While post-acute withdrawal syndrome has been reported by those in the recovery community, there have been few scientific studies supporting its existence. Because of this, the disorder is not recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or major medical associations.”
Why you should know about it
I believe it is crucial for you to know about this because it can help explain the incredible highs and lows of early sobriety which most people never endure.
I felt like I was on a roller coaster the first year of sobriety, my emotions, thoughts, behaviors and actions were all over the place without rhyme or reason. I think knowing that I was going through Post Acute Withdrawal Alcohol Symptoms would have helped me understand myself better.
Many people comment and tell me of the difficulties of being newly sober, it is a true struggle and sometimes it can feel like there is no end in sight, P.A.W.S explains that many of the symptoms we go through are not going to last forever but that it is a necessary and inevitable process when withdrawing from alcohol and other drugs.
What you should do
Read everything you can about Post Acute Withdrawal Alcohol Symptoms, recognize these symptoms in your own experience of sobriety and work your way through them knowing that there is hope in sight.
Educate yourself so that you can prevent relapse and get the help you need at each stage of sobriety.
PAWS has helped me to understand what I was going through in the early days of sobriety. I suffered extreme irritability, insomnia and practically everything else mentioned. At the time I remember trying to diagnose myself with everything from Borderline Personality Disorder to Hormonal problems to just being completely mad!
Today I don’t experience what I went through all those years ago so I know that it is possible to have hope for the future. I am not free of issues but who truly is? Knowing that the symptoms we go through is part of the recovery process helps me and I hope it will help you too!
Please share any other good resources you find about this topic and comment below with your own experiences!