How to Detoxify from Alcohol (with Pictures)

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How to Detoxify from Alcohol (with Pictures)
How to Detoxify from Alcohol (with Pictures)

We can estimate the number of alcoholics in Brazil at around 20 million, many of whom need help to stop drinking. A very important step towards achieving sobriety is detoxification, a period of about a week in which the body eliminates all the alcohol from your body. This very difficult process often requires medical facilities, however, as long as a doctor says it is safe, you can try to detoxify yourself at home using the following Steps.


Part 1 of 4: Making the Decision to Detox

Self Detox from Alcohol Step 1

Step 1. Assess your lifestyle and drinking habits

Although many people are able to consume alcohol occasionally without having any problems, others develop a very dangerous addiction. If you have one or more of the following symptoms, you may be an alcoholic and should stop drinking:

  • Drink in the morning.
  • Drink when alone.
  • Feeling guilty after drinking.
  • Trying to drink hidden from other people.
  • Difficulty stopping after starting to drink.
  • Withdrawal symptoms after not drinking for several hours, such as sweating, trembling, anxiety, and nausea.
Self Detox from Alcohol Step 2

Step 2. Evaluate your goals

Once you've decided that you need to cut down on or completely stop drinking alcohol, you need to focus on your goal.

  • If your goal is to stop drinking completely, write on a piece of paper "I will stop drinking that day". Specify a date on which you will stop. This will serve as a target you can focus on.
  • You may not want to stop drinking altogether, but for health reasons you have decided that you would only like to drink on Fridays and Saturdays. This procedure is known as "harm reduction". Write down your goals, such as "As of today, I will only drink on Fridays and Saturdays." Once again, it is important to set a specific start date for this step. Develop your ability to be aware of the number of drinks consumed and how you are feeling in a given period of time. Instead of choosing a maximum number of drinks allowed for your consumption, increase your ability to be aware when you are drinking too fast or drinking more when you are in the presence of others. The more you know about your drinking habits, the greater your control over your drinking will be.
  • If you're just planning a reduction in drinking, you may or may not need a full detox. Depending on the amount of alcohol currently ingested, detox may not be necessary. Any significant reduction in addiction to a substance can lead to withdrawal.
Self Detox from Alcohol Step 3

Step 3. Publicize your goals

Let the people around you know of your plans. This way, you can begin to form a support system for beginning detox.

  • Let people know you will need them. This can be as simple as asking them not to offer drinks or not to drink in your presence. Whatever your needs, be clear about them.
  • It's very important to make your goals clear to the friends you used to drink with. The pressure exerted by friends can cause many people to give in to it, having relapses. If these people can't stand your decision and put pressure on you to drink, you may need to distance yourself from them.
Self Detox from Alcohol Step 4

Step 4. Remove any alcoholic beverages from the house

Once you start noticing withdrawal symptoms, you may not be able to control your cravings. Avoid this temptation by removing any alcoholic beverages from your home.

Self Detox from Alcohol Step 5

Step 5. Get help from others

Go to and attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings and get the support you need to stop drinking, and get to know others with problems similar to yours. You can start going to these meetings before the detox starts, and continue to attend during the process.

Part 2 of 4: Preparing for Detox

Self Detox from Alcohol Step 6

Step 1. See a doctor

Detoxification can be quite dangerous if done improperly. Therefore, it is advisable to consult a doctor before starting it. He will be able to tell you if self-detox is a good idea for you. If your alcoholism case is severe, you may need a doctor to detox. The doctor may also prescribe medication or suggest vitamins and supplements that can help during the process.

In addition, he also has the authority to fill out a medical certificate with which you can take time off work without losing it or not getting paid

Self Detox from Alcohol Step 7

Step 2. Ask a friend or family member to stay with you during the detox period

This procedure should not be done without some kind of follow-up. There are numerous dangers associated with a detox, and you may need medical attention. While some people plan a detox alone and call 911 if they need help, this is not a safe plan. Withdrawal symptoms can proceed quickly and you may lose consciousness before you even get to the phone. This means that you will need someone close by in case of an emergency. This person will need to accompany you 24 hours a day for at least the first three days of detox, and check your status regularly for the rest of the week.

Self Detox from Alcohol Step 8

Step 3. Know the risks and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal

Detox is not a pleasant experience, and it can even be fatal for long-time alcoholics. You and your partner should prepare for the following symptoms that can occur within a few hours from the consumption of the last drink until about the third day (may even last a week):

  • Severe headaches.
  • Night sweats.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Dehydration.
  • Trembling.
  • Mental symptoms such as confusion, irritability, depression and anxiety.
  • More serious symptoms such as hallucinations or seizures.
  • Delirium tremens - This usually occurs between 24 and 72 hours after the last alcohol consumption and is characterized by extreme agitation, disorientation and body tremors. This symptom usually affects people who drink heavily for a decade or more.
Self Detox from Alcohol Step 9

Step 4. Know when to seek medical attention

Your companion must know when it is time to seek medical care. If you have any of the following symptoms, the person should call 911 or take you to a hospital:

  • 38°C or higher fever.
  • Epileptic fits or seizures.
  • Visual or auditory hallucinations.
  • Severe and constant vomiting or retching.
  • Extreme shaking or violent explosions.
  • Delirium tremens.
Self Detox from Alcohol Step 10

Step 5. Stock up on food and water at home

You may not be willing or able to leave the house, and your partner should not leave you alone for the first few days. It is very important to have food at home for several days, along with plenty of water. Freeze tupperware with food to make meals easier when you're not feeling too well. Healthy foods help replenish nutrients lost during detox. Here are some food recommendations:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Protein-rich foods like chicken, fish or peanut butter.
  • Oatmeal to help control blood pressure.
  • Soup. Many people often lose their appetite during the withdrawal period, so some lighter foods, such as soup, are great choices.
  • Vitamin supplements. It is common for alcoholics to have a vitamin deficiency, so to stay healthy, you need to replenish these nutrients. Some good options are vitamin B, C and magnesium supplements. Only take supplements that have been approved by a doctor.
Self Detox from Alcohol Step 11

Step 6. Take at least one week off from work

You will not be able to work during the detox. It can take up to seven days for the worst of symptoms to appear. So if you started detoxing on a Saturday, be prepared to stay home for the week. If a doctor thinks this is really necessary, ask him for a medical certificate.

Part 3 of 4: The Detox Process

Self Detox from Alcohol Step 12

Step 1. Write a letter to yourself

During the first few hours of detox, you may want to write a letter from your alcoholic self to your sober self, reflecting on your reasons for stopping drinking and your future expectations. So when physical withdrawal symptoms show up, you can read the letter and use it as a source of motivation. Who do you hope to be? What are you ashamed of? Don't let go of negative emotions. Write down who you are quitting drinking for, who you hurt, how much you hurt yourself, friends and dear family. Write down the values ​​you want to live by, as well as the reasons why.

Self Detox from Alcohol Step 13

Step 2. Practice "grounding" techniques

"Grounding," which is similar to mindfulness, is a series of research-based techniques that can help you overcome extreme urges through focusing on the present moment. When you feel like drinking, use your senses to ground yourself by paying attention to what's in front of you. Do this for as long as necessary until the urge to drink passes. You can change among other techniques if this doesn't work. Practice the following techniques:

  • Describe the details of your environment without judging them. For example, you might notice that the carpet is thick and soft, the walls are blue, there's a crack in the ceiling, and the air is fresh.
  • Distract yourself by thinking of item names by categories, such as types of fruits or countries in alphabetical order.
  • Ground yourself physically by doing a simple physical exercise or running your hands over a textured surface.
  • Think of nice things like your favorite foods or the characters from television shows you like the most.
  • Think or say affirmations out loud that might help, such as "I can do this!"
Self Detox from Alcohol Step 14

Step 3. Drink lots of water

Withdrawal often causes vomiting and nausea, which can leave you dehydrated. Remember to drink plenty of water to replenish lost fluids. You can also have a sports drink to replenish your electrolytes, but you or your partner should limit them to one or two a day at most. The high sugar content in these drinks can make symptoms worse in high doses.

Self Detox from Alcohol Step 15

Step 4. Eat as much as you can

Although you probably don't have much of an appetite, your body will still need nutrients during detox. Don't force yourself to eat large meals as this can make you nauseous. Continue your normal nutrient intake and eat your frozen Tupperware meals if you are too weak to go outside. Instead of snacking on something, give preference to foods that replenish the nutrients you lost during the withdrawal phase.

Self Detox from Alcohol Step 16

Step 5. Breathe fresh air

Staying indoors for days can make you feel nauseous. Getting outside for a few minutes to get some fresh air and some sun can help you feel much better.

Self Detox from Alcohol Step 17

Step 6. Work out

You won't be able to run a marathon or lift weights, but you will need to move as much as you can. Sedentary lifestyle is very bad for physical and mental health. Physical activity releases endorphins, which help fight depression and anxiety caused by detox. Take a few short turns and get up to stretch every now and then, moving your body.

Self Detox from Alcohol Step 18

Step 7. Assess your condition

Always talk to your partner and let her know how you are feeling. This will not only help pass the time, but it will also tell you if you need to call a doctor.

Self Detox from Alcohol Step 19

Step 8. Seek professional help if another detox is needed

Due to the physical and mental symptoms caused by alcohol withdrawal, people often relapse during the detox process. This is not to say that you are a weak person. It just means you have to try again. If that's the case, you may need expert supervision. Visit a rehab or detox clinic to help you through this process.

Part 4 of 4: After Detox

Self Detox from Alcohol Step 20

Step 1. Wait for some residual effects

Although withdrawal symptoms should go away within a week, you may still be able to experience some of them for several weeks. They include irritability, headaches and insomnia.

Self Detox from Alcohol Step 21

Step 2. Seek psychological help

Recovering alcoholics often suffer from depression, anxiety, and a variety of other psychological problems. Therefore, it is very important that you discuss these issues with a therapist or counselor. If you are able to physically detox but fail to deal with mental problems, the greater the chances of a relapse.

Self Detox from Alcohol Step 22

Step 3. Join a support group

Even if the detox has been successful, you will need to build a support network to help you continue to fight alcohol. In addition to friends and family, a support group is a great option. Many people who are part of these groups have been through the same situations as you, and they can help you. Call them if you feel like drinking or need help.

Self Detox from Alcohol Step 23

Step 4. Find new hobbies and interests

Your past activities probably include alcohol, so you need to replace them with others for a healthier life.

  • Think of activities you loved but haven't done in a while. Reviving those old habits can be a great way to give you a positive outlook.
  • Also consider hobbies that involve a higher purpose, such as volunteer work.
Self Detox from Alcohol Step 24

Step 5. Avoid replacing the addiction

Recovering alcoholics often substitute another substance, such as caffeine or tobacco, for alcohol. They can be just as harmful as alcohol. Instead of doing this, focus on living the addiction-free life.

Self Detox from Alcohol Step 25

Step 6. Manage your cravings

Inevitably, you will feel a craving for alcohol. There are a few things that can be done to manage them correctly and avoid relapse.

  • Avoid triggers. If some people, places or situations make you want to drink, avoid them. If your friends pressure you to drink, you may need to cut them out of your life.
  • Practice saying "no". It will not always be possible to avoid all situations involving alcohol, so you need to be prepared to refuse a drink if it is offered.
  • Distract yourself when you feel like drinking. Do this by taking a walk, listening to music, taking a long car ride, or any other activity that can help you forget about your craving.
  • Talk to people. Be open to talking about your drinking cravings; don't hide them. If you have a caregiver or mentor responsible for your sobriety, talk to them whenever you feel like drinking or are feeling weak.
  • Remember why you stopped drinking. When you get the urge, think about how difficult it was to stop drinking and why you decided to do so.
Self Detox from Alcohol Step 26

Step 7. Wait for some relapses

Unfortunately, it's common among recovering alcoholics. However, having a relapse from time to time does not mean that you have failed. Use all the skills you've learned on this journey to successfully overcome any setbacks.

  • Stop drinking immediately and move away from any places you used to go to drink.
  • Call a friend or your sobriety mentor and tell them what happened.
  • Remember that a small relapse doesn't mean you've ruined all the progress you've made.


  • Never attempt a detox without first consulting a doctor. He or she can assess the situation and determine if you are at risk for more serious complications. If so, you will likely need to detox at a medical clinic.
  • Never attempt an alcoholic detox alone. This is a very dangerous procedure and can be fatal. Have someone always present with you for at least three days.

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