11 Things To Expect When You Get Sober (Good & Bad)

11 Things To Expect When You Get Sober (Good & Bad)

Alcohol addiction recovery and process of getting sober, has been a roller-coaster ride over the past 8 months. Yes, 8 months without a single drop of alcohol. I can’t say my recovery has been easy, more often I have “off” days than “on” but as a sobriety devotee, alcoholics anonymous and all, I understand that it’s all part of the process. I am constantly googling what to expect in sobriety and if what I am experiencing is normal, reinforcing the fact that I am finally on the right path in my life, at 30 years of age.

Over the past few months, I have gathered a list of things that I experienced and observed while in alcohol addiction recovery and hope that it helps you if you’re going through recovery or thinking about getting sober. Look, I am no expert nor will I ever be but I feel that a few of my insights may help someone out there struggling with alcohol addiction. I found when I was seeking sobriety, I looked for random ordinary individuals who had already walked the path before me and really bared their soul with brutal honesty for what alcoholism is and how to overcome it.


My first 6 weeks in alcohol recovery were the hardest mentally and physically because my body was freaking the hell out, it was no longer getting its daily alcoholic fix. What would then happen was that my system would crash at around 4 pm every few days and I’d need a nap even though I had slept perfectly well the night before. I literally felt like a ton of bricks had hit me and needed to rest. So I listened to my body and rested.

Better sleep

Imagine waking up without a hangover?! Imagine an uninterrupted sleep, consecutively night after night? As weeks passed by, my sleeping patterns improved and when I woke up each morning, I felt fresh instead of sluggish and slow. At 8 months sober, I naturally fall asleep by midnight whereas when I was drinking, I relied heavily on sleeping pills or blacking out.

Sugar cravings

For years I’ve been boasting on my blog how I would skip dessert, well now I know why. That sugar I wasn’t getting from dessert, I was getting from my alcohol and storing it all over my body. In London, having a pub on every corner came in handy, now in Zagreb having a bakery on every corner suits me just well.

Weight loss & clearer skin  

Imagine what 11 years of alcohol abuse started to look like on my body? In the first 3 months of sobriety, I didn’t exercise much, only a few yoga classes because I wanted to see how my body would change naturally. There was a huge difference and I physically saw where my body was storing all the toxins from drug and alcohol abuse over the years. Quitting alcohol has definitely improved the way my body looks and my skin has cleared up significantly.

Thoughts of relapsing

If I got a dollar for every time I considered relapsing, I’d have my rent covered monthly. In addiction recovery, you’re most likely to relapse within the first 90 days. I was still struggling at 6 months and hopelessly crying in despair asking ‘why me? why me?‘ I couldn’t believe that for the rest of my life I’d have to say no to the one thing that made me feel most comfortable and cool. But willpower is a muscle you learn to flex and exercise each and every day and by remembering why I started my road to sobriety, I grow stronger each and every day for it.

Willpower is a muscle you learn to flex and exercise each and every day and by remembering why I started my road to sobriety, I grow stronger each and every day for it. 

Mental clarity

When I was drinking, I had this constant ill feeling inside of me, for obvious reasons. I would get anxiety and frequently, my depression was fuelled by all the alcohol I was consuming. If I had to compare how my body feels now to then, it was sick. I’m still in the honeymoon period of being sober but I can feel the difference within myself, I feel lighter and cleaner.

Replacing “I can’t be bothered” with “I will…”

So many times I just couldn’t be bothered to do anything when I was drinking, the only thing I could be bothered to do was to keep drinking and socialising around alcohol. This meant that I whacked my priorities out of order and often procrastinated because I wasn’t “mentally fit.” Well, no wonder.  Once I got sober and became comfortable with the idea of living each day without my chemical addiction, I started setting goals and required actions in order to meet them. I started to be proactive about making everything come to life and quite quickly they did, instead of procrastinating. There is no more, “CBF” but “Make it happen” in my dialogue.

You un-numb

I started to feel feelings, the good, the bad, the ugly. I felt it all and I loved it. As much as I wanted to destroy one boy for telling me that “he’d never marry me,” I smiled on the way out of his flat and rejoiced that I felt these words that I wouldn’t have felt a year ago because I was clouded and impaired. My past senseless lack of boundaries was met with a more honest version of myself, one who said ‘no’ more often and didn’t put up with nonsense.

I also noticed I became increasingly irritated by people or situations that once never would have bothered me, however during sobriety, it was as though they were crawling under my skin. Not a bad thing, all part of the process.

 [blockquote]” My past senseless lack of boundaries was met with a more honest version of myself, one who said ‘no’ more often and didn’t put up with non sense.”[/blockquote]

Face the trauma 

My drug and alcohol addiction was triggered by two traumas that occurred to me within 12 months when I was in my late teens. I have openly spoken about one but the other remains online without the finer details. Alcohol and drugs were tools I used to numb myself from having to deal with the PTSD and trauma associated with those two incidents, instead of processing the pain with a psychologist. Getting sober meant many breakdowns, sometimes while I was alone, other times in public places like a yoga class. I would just randomly start crying as waves of pain would surface but I understood that this was part of the process.

Depression diminishes, sort of.

Look, I can only speak for myself and I know there are many other people who support my argument but many who don’t, which is fine. I understand that depression, anxiety, PTSD etc. are mental illnesses that stay with you for life and come and go kind of like HPV. For me personally, getting sober has reduced my battle with depression significantly. Disclaimer, I’m someone who has never had a desire to try anti-depressants, I’m self-aware enough to know that this would only start another addiction (I did have a problem with painkillers in my late teens before my overdose).

I have bad days and days where I doubt myself etc. but I don’t spiral down into an arena of helplessness and spend days trying to recover from suicidal thoughts. I no longer have this shadow of sadness hovering close by, or confusion that’s triggered by substance abuse, I just have a sense of inner peace.

I got sick, many times 

When I was drinking, I didn’t get sick often, maybe once every 18 months. During my sober recovery, I got sick (proper sick, like bedridden) 3 times in 7 months. The first two times I didn’t think too much about it but the third I was investigating on Google like a madwoman. Getting sick was my body’s way of getting rid of toxins so it was perfectly normal, 3 times in 7 months- imagine how dirty my insides were. Gross.

My path on sobriety has been a complete lifestyle change, one I partly owe to the family and friends around me who go out of their way to ensure I don’t feel inferior or the need to relapse to conform to the environment around me. Another reason for my success so far is the countless stories that have been told before me. Stories that not only inspire me to keep going down this path but also encourage me to share my own struggles. This is the ugliest side of me, for 8 months there were days where I wished I wasn’t the one to have these stories, other days, I am most grateful.

If you’re struggling with alcoholism, I encourage you to get help. I am just one example of how life can change for the better with a shift in mindset, a dominant “no” and improved environment.



  1. Dan G.
    May 16, 2017 / 8:43 am

    Mood swings.
    It’s one day at a time. Just get through this day, hour, minute, second at a time. You can do that. You’ve gone through worse or you wouldn’t be here. Don’t drink.

  2. Brad D
    May 17, 2017 / 10:36 am

    Adriana..1st congrats on getting sober and sticking with it Yes, the Recovery Rollercoaster has it’s Ups & Downs but we are here with you and for you.
    Below is a link from Psychology Today on what foods can help with Mood Swings. Thanks for sharing.
    Also, over at http://www.xa-speakers.org there is an AA Speaker giving a talk on Emotional Sobriety–enter those words in the search box.
    I find listening to other AA’s speak about their recovery helps with my recovery. Brad D
    psychologytoday.com – Alcohol Withdrawal Mood Swings: Might Eating Carbs Help?

    • June 1, 2017 / 5:54 pm

      Hey Brad,
      Thank you so much for your comment and sharing what you did. The path is a lot easier knowing there are supportive people around me. I’ll definitely watch the videos you sent through. Regards, Adriana

  3. Pablo
    June 21, 2017 / 11:25 pm

    EXACTLY!! grateful recovering alcoholic and addict. Hi my name is Pablo

  4. Jonny
    June 22, 2017 / 4:40 am

    So helpful. Thank you for sharing!
    A.A. meetings can be excellent channels for truth. This is why I attend.

  5. alcoholic nick
    June 27, 2017 / 11:05 pm

    Tru stuff Adriana, im sticking and stayin, FACTS!!!?????

  6. November 7, 2017 / 10:08 am

    You’re most welcome xx AA helped me more in the beginning to understand it all

  7. November 7, 2017 / 10:09 am

    Hey Brad,
    Thank you so much for your comment and sharing what you did. The path is a lot easier knowing there are supportive people around me. I’ll definitely watch the videos you sent through. Regards, Adriana

  8. Glenn Mountford
    May 5, 2018 / 5:38 am

    Hi adriana , just been reading your blogs , i am now 8 months sober and i must say i feel great , your article is very insiteful and i have experienced.many of the same thoughts and feelings , hope you are still winning the battle – glenn

  9. Josh
    September 29, 2018 / 3:05 pm

    Thanks for this. I found the post after searching for why I feel so exhausted and why I’m experiencing so many highs and lows emotionally. I’m about two months sober now and when I was drinking I always thought I’d be super fit and happy two months into sobriety but instead I’ve developed an ice cream addiction and want to nap everyday :/ Still, I wouldn’t have it any other way, for better or worse. Keep sharing, it helps.

  10. Cynthia Hake
    October 20, 2018 / 8:01 pm

    A great improvement for you, congratulations. Many people can improve mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression by making various interventions in their lives such as therapy, exercise, learning improved coping skills from good self help books etc. However, taking appropriate psych meds as prescribed for a mental health condition by a qualified professional is a COMPLETELY different thing compared to addiction. Addiction to alcohol and street drugs (or inappropriate use of prescription medications) changes your brain chemistry in a harmful way. Taking appropriate psychiatric medications as prescribed can alter your brain chemistry so that you function better. Think of how insulin can help a diabetic. When “do it yourself/with therapist” interventions to improve mental health conditions do not work it would be wise to consult with a qualified mental health professional about psych meds. I have observed in myself and many, many others what a huge positive change can result from appropriate use of psychiatric medications. We deserve to be our best selves and appropriate psych meds can make a world of difference for many.

    • John Tormey
      March 18, 2019 / 9:29 am

      Good morning that article had been a great help just reached 6 months sober been a bit of a roller coaster only for the help I get from a good friend who I went to last year and the aa it would not have been possible I have good days and bad days but one day at a time ??

  11. March 7, 2019 / 1:17 am

    Hi there! Such a nice short article, thanks!

  12. Aly
    March 31, 2019 / 4:05 pm

    I still feel really horrible every morning I waken up.
    I’ve not had a drink for six months and I am wondering when this feeling will go away?
    Stay strong everyone.

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