• Chapter 5- All that's left is Vodka

    Detoxing is not a fun experience. Even though I myself have never experienced it, the symptoms to me are enough to keep me away from ever experiencing them. My mom suffered from the DT's on a very regular basis. The symptoms are agonizing and painful. But that drive to drink was way more powerful than the horrible feelings she endured during detoxing. Here is a list of symptoms that you experience when you detox:

    Symptoms of DT's (Delirium Tremens- a severe form of alcohol withdrawal that involves sudden and severe mental or nervous system changes. )

    • Body Tremors
    • Agitation, Irritability
    • Confusion
    • Disorientation
    • Decreased attention span
    • Deep sleep that lasts for days
    • Delirium
    • Excitement
    • Fear
    • Hallucinations
    • Increased activity
    • Quick mood changes
    • Restlessness
    • Stupor/Sleepiness/Fatigue
    • Seizures
    • Cramps
    • Headaches
    • Vomiting
    • Pins and Needles
    • Fever/Chills
    • Insomnia

    So, that list alone should be enough for you to never want to experience the DT's. That didn't stop my mom though. She wrote on a weekly basis most of these symptoms down that she was having. Yet somehow never wanted to put the bottle down and not experience these symptoms ever again. Alcohol is one powerful creation. My mom used alcohol to self-medicate which only made her feel worse in the end. My mom would drink knowing the outcome each and every time.

    One time my mom detoxed at a hospital for three days without telling anyone. She had broken up with her boyfriend at the time which led her to drink and drown the pain away. She had drank too much and consciously recognized that. The part that is disturbing to me is that she drove herself to the hospital, in this case drunk. Thank goodness she made it there without seriously hurting anyone or herself. They had pumped her stomach and gave her sedatives for two days to get through the pain. She felt better after three days and checked herself out of the hospital. That incident didn't change her though. She still continued to drink. She did try to get help but instead of using it as a permanent solution she used the hospitals as bandaids. She just covered it up and let it help her temporarily.

    Near the end she tried getting herself back on her feet once again. She ended up getting herself a job at the local grocery store's deli department. She started her first day back to work in over four years one February afternoon. Her shift lasted five hours. She had the DT's when she started work that day. Her legs were shaky and gave out on her at times. She had one fifteen minute break where she needed to sit and rest just to get through the next couple of hours. Her boyfriend at the time picked her up from work at 6pm. She was so shaky and weak that she could barely walk to the car. She ended up needing to use an electric cart feeling embarrassed, just to get her to the car to go home. She felt she couldn't continue working. Her last attempt at going back to work lasted one day, due to the negative effects of alcohol withdraw.

    When she did go through withdrawal I can remember her craving sugar in any shape or form. Sugar is something that alcoholics crave if they are withdrawing from alcohol. Alcohol has a very high sugar content. Therefore, when someone is trying to cut back on alcohol they are not getting their "high" any longer. They turn to sugar to replace the "high" they are missing. Although a sugar high does not last very long and it only leads to a sugar crash. Making the person crave more sugar to get passed the sugar crash. As time passes the person will only need more and more sugar to get the same "high" just like they do with the alcohol. I remember my mom could eat a big bag of smarties sweet tarts in one day.

    Alcohol abusers set limits on how much they want to drink. Their alcohol consumption is self-destructing, they are very dangerous to themselves and others around them. If you or anyone you know experiencing these symptoms from alcohol withdrawal it would be best to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Detoxing should not be done alone. It is painful, scary and uncomfortable. There are medical facilities that specialize in helping people to battle withdrawal and detoxing. There are medicines to keep you calm and out of pain and there are trained professionals to talk to and council you.