Confused after 3 months sober


I feel slightly confused since giving up the drink roughly 3 months ago. I would drink between 40-70 units a week and maybe have 1-2 days drink free depending on the stress of the week.

I decided to stop not because I felt I had a physical addiction but because I naturally suffer from anxiety and I was using alcohol to cope which in turn was making it worse. Especially the day after heavy drinking.

I picked a date and gave up …experiencing very few withdrawal symptoms and found it fairly easy.

At the time I didn’t set out to stop forever but to go as long as possible and see it things improved and reset my tolerance and see if I could go back to a milder form of drinking.

To be completely honest I have noticed very few improvements physically and slightly improved mental health. I definitely feel Abit more grounded but that’s about it.

I am confused and maybe even Abit scared to introduce alcohol back into my daily life. I feel scared that my improvement in mental health may be bigger than I am telling myself.

You probably hear this alot but I want to know if I can drink the 10% of the time that I really fancy a cold beer or if it’s a fantasy.


I cannot speak for your situation or experience.

All I can offer is advice to be honest with yourself.

Is drinking an issue for you? If you are completely honest and transparent with yourself and answer “yes”, then you know the answer.


Thank you for the reply

If I’m being honest with myself I would say I don’t know.

I would say 10-20% of the time I love drinking and have no issue with it and the rest I either drink because I want to feel something or because I’m bored.

At this point in time I do not think I have a physical dependency but maybe a mental one.

What I do know is I wouldn’t be on this forum right now if I didn’t think I had some kind of problem with my relationship to alcohol.


Hi Alan,

Of course I wont speak for your experience, and whether or not you have an issue worth enough to stop. Totally up to you of course.

I will say that quitting drinking alone for many of us doesnt fix anything (necessarily! It sure helps not make thinga worse or to keep burying things, and for some of us this mere act is really game changing in terms of our daily, but its different for everyone. Im super happy im not drinking anymore and feel more clear, but Im also dealing with the shit I was usung alchohol to cope with. Drinking is a symptom, its not the actual problem…). My anxiety, trauma etc is stuff I have to work on and dealing with why I would feel the need to drink when bored or anxious. Simply putting down the drink is an amazing first step for me, and allows me to stop the cycle of trying to self medicatw (and of course for some of us there is a cery real potential of harm to self or others, to varying degrees). For me putting down the drink allows me to figure out my baseline, it allows me to actually deals with these things.

Now i know for certain alcohol doesnt have a spot in my personal life, so I came to this place with that in mind. Can people work through their issues while they are actively drinking, i think it depends on why and how we use alcohol. If we are using it to cope, and medicate ourselves then we have to deal with that. Anyway, i hope tjos helps. Its very normal not to feel transformed or like WOWZA just after 3 months. In fact it can feel uncpmfortable, get ick, and all the ugly or crap feels because we arent using that stuff to cope and now have to find other ways to deal. Everyones experience is so different and unique, but I think what youre feeling makes sense. Keep getting to know yourself. Xo.


Often times, drinking is the symptom of a greater issue, not cause of it.

Of course drinking causes issues, but drinking, in of itself isn’t the reason why we drink.

Until the underlying issues are dug up and dealt with, they will still be there, sober or not.

Also, considering it takes 1 to 2 years for your brain to return to pre-alcohol state, I’d say give it at least 2 years to make the call on whether or not alcohol had an impact. :wink:

Now, this is what I call the alcoholic’s folly - you quit for a while, was pretty easy, life didn’t to seem to change one way or another, and so the conclussion is that alcohol wasn’t an issue. So you try to moderate. It works out well one, two, maybe three times. Heck, maybe for a few weeks, then it starts creeping. You drink more and more and all of a sudden, you’re right back to where you were, or worse.

I’ve seen this scenario play out hundreds of times here. I’ve been a victim of this too, not once, not twice, but thrice!

You quit for a reason, yeah, it was easy and sure life may not have improved as much as you hoped it would, but some time not too long ago, you probably at the point where you’d give anything to be where you are now. Is it really worth going back to that?


Usually worse


Hi Alan1967. Your post struck a chord with me.

In my own case:

I’m just coming up for two months sober after close to twenty years of problem drinking. There is part of me that would love to have a drink—and drink “moderately” or “occasionally” like most other people seem to do without even thinking about it. But I know from experience that, for some reason, I just can’t do that.

I have finally accepted this after a decade-and-a-half of failed attempts to moderate. I would impose rules (only on weekends, no more than X drinks per night, only with friends, etc., etc.), have sober months (during which I counted down the days, thought constantly of drinking, and after which I rebounded back to square one in a matter of days).

For me, if I choose to drink at all, my relationship with alcohol will never be an easy one. I think I have lost the ability to have that. When I am not drinking, I will be thinking about when I can. When I do drink, I will drink to excess, and usually regret it. It will preoccupy me and become predominant in my life.

I have only finally come to accept this after many years of trying almost every way I can to have alcohol in my life in a way that is not too intrusive or detrimental. But whatever I tried, it just never worked. For me that “drinking for the 10% of the time” that you mention really is a fantasy. It makes me sad to accept that, but after—what, 50, 60 failed attempts?—I can’t really deny it anymore.

Like you, I have found becoming sober somewhat mundane, but it has, in a small but significant way, made me feel “free.” I don’t have to be constantly thinking about alcohol and trying to factor it into my life. I feel like I have taken a few small steps back towards returning to my true self again—the me that could enjoy life (and deal with its hardships) without booze, and I think that was what I really wanted by becoming sober.

So, those are just my own thoughts about myself upon reading your post. As others have said, your own experience and circumstances will be different, but I hope I am not being too irrelevant.


Thanks everyone for the replies.

It seems what I am experiencing is a quite common experience and maybe just by thinking the way I am indicates that I do have a bigger problem with my relationship with alcohol than maybe I realise

I am very torn what to do next. The thought of Christmas without drinking is maybe one step too far for where I am on this journey.

I think the main problem is when I gave up I had no plan or thought process about where I was heading and I’ve now come to a crossroad of “never again” or “in moderation” and it’s overwhelming.

At the moment I am thinking about drinking over Christmas, seeing how I feel and taking a view on whether to give up permanently in January if I fail.

I dont feel I have hit that wall of knowing if it’s “All or nothing” or just a period of overindulgence due to life stresses.

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Thanks for posting and being so honest. I am in recovery now for almost 20months, with years being me before that trying to stop and stay stopped and failing miserably in the process. Each time i went back out it got progressively worse…Heres the thing though.

I was just trying to stop drinking because it was causing me problems in my life. Thats all i was focused on … stopping drinking! So i was telling myself that if drinking alcohol is the problem then once i stop the problem goes away. However i managed to stop so many times but couldnt stay stopped. I too convinved myself in the early years that sure if i can stop for so long that means im ok, im not alcohol dependant.

Fast forward, 12 years. Here is what i was missing and whats important for you to consider.

If alcohol is causing you enough problems that you feel you should stop then ask yourself why then after you stop is alcohol becomming an option again? Usually because Alcohol isnt your problem, its your solution! So whats consuming alcohol giving you? Escape, numbness, changing the way you feel, stopping how you feel, confidence…most alcoholics become alcoholics because alcohol gives them an escape from self. So usually if you look at relationships past and present, feelings and behaviours the answers can be found as to why you turned to alcohol in the first instance as a solution and there also lies the key to changing thr behaviours that have been learned.

You get your power back and choice.
Alcohol is no longer needed as a solution.

This has been my experience anyway, recovery isnt simply stopping drinking its a journey of self discovery and with that comes unconditonal love for self.


Mental health and addiction can be related to each other but are ultimately two different things. There could also be other factors affecting your mental health that are not related to alcohol.

You guys are definitely right. When I first gave up I did it because I always felt exhausted and mentally cloudy without meaning in my day to day life.

I gave up alcohol to help with this and while I definitely think more clearly and my mood swings have improved I still have physical symptoms that could be explained by Anxiety/depression or just a bad work life balance.

It’s true when you say alcohol is the solution I think I need and maybe I need to attack underlying causes at the same time.

I definitely use alcohol as a crutch to cope with feelings and to escape reality. Whether I am physically addicted im not so sure. Maybe mentally?

I have a great family life so I have no idea why I feel the need to use alcohol as a crutch. It’s like it’s embedded in my brain even when I’m not physically dependent.

I gave up easily because I had the willpower and hope that things would become easier but after 87 days it seems to have hit a wall where it’s kinda better but its still not brilliant. Only this time I don’t get the release o would normally.

Hope this makes sense!

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I think you are both being honest with yourself --as to whether you have a problem with alcohol-- and dishonest --by looking beyond the problem behaviour to justify drinking (a little, some, a lot, whatever…) over the upcoming holidays, which are, I agree, difficult to face for most people in sobriety. Drinks are just such a habitual part of celebrations, that we stress and fear that we won’t be a part of things if we don’t partake. It’s that crossroads feeling you talk about, on a shorter timeline: “not drink at all, right through the holidays” or “drink in moderation (and face the consequences when we realise that moderation is not possible for us)”. But what if the choice you have to make is simply “not drink TODAY”? This is so much easier than either of the crossroad options you have put before yourself. This is doable, and less stressful, and less scary… And it works.

I think you have it in you to face your own personal situation with honesty and clear eyes. And to make good choices. We are here for you.

This absolutely struck a chord in me; even if I had the best intention and wanted to “control myself - it’s just one drink!” It was a lie to myself - it was never just one, and even if I maintained some modicum of control of myself, I was not in a great place the following day. I would be OK - but not present, not really thinking about how to maximize my time with family or friends - I was thinking about the next “opportunity” to lose myself.

I have had enough and am ready and willing to say no; no more, and not again. I can’t do this to myself anymore, and I can’t do this to my family.

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There is something about milestones that makes us feel this way, and a lot of us went through it.

My hypothesis is that making it to 90 days gives us the expectation that we need to double that and do 180 days, and sometimes we aren’t sure if we want to do that. It’s like being forced into a commitment.

That feeling is normal, and like I said, many of us experienced that on our journey. The thought of quitting for ever is hard to accept, that’s why we take it one day at a time.

I’ve been sober for over 5 years and will I be drinking this Christmas? I don’t know. Right now, I can say I don’t want to, but maybe I will, who knows? That’s not what’s important, what is important, is today, and today I choose not to drink. So whatever expectation I have, it can only be for today.

If you want to be sober, take it one day at a time. We will get to tomorrow when we get there.


Something I have found that I quickly forget after being sober for a little while: the constant thinking about, and preoccupation with, drinking is exhausting. When can I next drink? How much can drink? I wish I hadn’t drunk. I wish I could drink. And on and on and on…


It took me a while to realize it, but one of the biggest things that made me love alcohol was being able to change the way I felt instantly and effortlessly. Almost just like pushing a button. That’s no small thing, and, other than drugs (like alcohol), there isn’t really any other way to do that.

If you are questioning your drinking for me it’s a problem I can’t have 1 drink as i would drink for days and days the way i look at it alcohol is a poison so I don’t want to poison myself anymore hope your well :pray:t2:

There are some very interesting points raised here.

I definitely think that when I started I aimed for 30 days, then 60, then 90 and now it’s kind of like what do I aim for that doesn’t feel like forever.

I think it suddenly hit me that I cant rely on motivation forever to carry me to a distant goal and I need to look at it as part of a lifestyle change.

The idea of approaching one day at a time seems a much easier way to approach it.

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This is a bit hard to explain, but for me personally, the most helpful thing has been establishing a new self-image in my mind as a guy who doesn’t drink–a new identity that appeals to me at least as much as my former “guy who drinks” identity, and framing it positively as someone I actually want to be.

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I didn’t think I had a drinking problem, until I had a drinking problem. Even then, it was difficult to accept, and even more difficult to moderate. Actually, it was damn near improssible.

I had a bunch of short quits, but always went back to drinking. I noticed that it became more difficult to quit each time, and my drinking got worse each time.

Coming up on six years since my last drink. I consider myself a non-drinker. I know I have one more drink in me. I don’t think I have another quit in me. So, sober I shall remain, until the end of my days, and I’m not the least bit regretful of this.

I wish you well, and hope you make the best choice for yourself.