Physical and emotional changes after quitting alcohol

Hey, I was just wondering if anyone with some more time off alcohol could describe how they felt the first few months.

I’m at 2 months and I’ve started working out, eating really well (clean, nutritious, calorie deficit). Started a new job. Trying to be positive about things but I’m getting frustrated with a couple things.

Sometimes I go through emotional swings, I’ll feel positive, happy and loving then swing wide to pissed and depressed and negative… to just blah… and back again. Sometimes several times a day. Sometimes I’m in a sort of brain fog, sometimes I overthink things. Has that evened out for anyone beyond 2 months not drinking?

As far as physical health, I’m working out with weights, walking a lot and eating about a 1000 calorie a day deficit but I’m not noticing any changes in strength or weight after 1.5 months. In the past I’ve lost weight a lot faster with less exercise (mid 20’s compared to mid 30’s)… am I just being impatient?

I know these things are different for everybody but I’d just wanted to hear about your experiences and to know if things will continue to get better going forward from 2 months. To ME it feels like forever ago, and so I’m sitting here wondering… where the hell are all my changes? But is 2 months really too soon to tell?


Alcohol wasnt my DOC but for me. But with getting clean off drugs, it took probably around 6 months for me to really see some sense of change. I noticed the biggest change with my mood swings. Things began to even out slowly around 6 months… maybe 8. I felt like I was on an emotional rollercoaster in early recovery lol

Physically, your body is probably still slowly healing itself from when u drank. I think ur doing all the right things health wise, but ur body may still be adjusting to its new way of life. Also…do u take measurements… as opposed to just checking ur weight? You very well may be losing inches without even knowing it :slight_smile: progress pics for urself are good too. Makes it easier to see the change when the scale says differently.

In early recovery, i think its very common for us to want to see change immediately. Youre on the right path tho! Keep at it and things will sort itself out and ull see greater change overtime.


Alcohol and any other drugs really, when abused for years, it can take a year or two to get back to normal. The brain fog feeling can last several months after quiting. For me, lasted maybe 6 months at some level.

As far as working out goes, honestly, you shouldn’t have a calorie deficit if your lifting weights. Muscle needs protein and amino acids to grow and build, you should be getting around 150+ grams of protein a day, thats 600 calories in itself. Then all the other nutrients and all. If you are not getting enough protein, you risk losing muscle and actually gaining fat. Pretty counter productive.

What are your workout goals? Do you have access to a trainer at all?


This is all completely, totally normal for two months. I’ve heard plenty of people describe very similar things at this stage.

Alcohol used to affect your emotions, whether it was used to deal with them or just happened alongside them. Taking alcohol out removed the harm of alcohol itself, but it didn’t restore the balance. That part takes longer, usually in the order of months.

If you’re going through any kind of significant events in your life (and most people who quit drinking are… heck even quitting is an event in itself), that means it’s harder for your brain to figure out what “balanced” should look like, since its surroundings are in motion.

Imagine a pilot in a cockpit with a million dials and flashing lights. Forget having the vessel go in the right direction, he’s been working day and night just to keep everything not on fire. Get rid of all the warning lights and alarms he can. Then you smash a hammer into the really fat dial on the left. It wrenches it all the way to one side and jams it so it can’t be moved. The ship starts going in the right direction! Unfortunately, relieved as he may be about the ship’s course, the pilot now has to readjust allll the other dials to return things to at least somewhat normal.

Your moods might swing this way and that as your body gently (or less gently) tries more of this hormone, or more of that neurotransmitter, or resensitize this group of neurons, etc. There’s a million dials to turn this way and that until everything lights up the way it should.

Balancing aside, there are other temporary factors too. Quitting is stressful. And I don’t mean only feeling stressed. Just that your body is having to do a lot of adapting, new experiences, and if you have just started working out, that is a very worthwhile source of stress but is stress on the body nonetheless. This isn’t a problem if you are able to handle it. However, it will put a temporary damper on your ability to lose wait or gain muscle.

Also, as a guy in his mid-30s who was very lean all throughout his 20’s, I can say that even this age difference in itself is huge in terms of the rate you replenish energy, regenerate muscle, tendency to deposit energy as fat vs. muscle, etc. Mid 30’s is still young so I think people get surprised sometimes by it. I’m running a calorie deficit at the moment that in my mid-20’s had me start to become underweight, but is definitely not having that effect on me now.


Thanks guys. I’m really hoping for some improvement in my happinesses, mood swings soon. I’m going to try meditating again… Hopefully that can help. I used to, before I ever started drinking to begin with and I found it made me more peaceful but it’s really hard now when my mind is going 1000 miles/minute.

Working out is weird. I feel good about it afterwards but then I’m upset I’m not doing more, so I’ll do another set. And again. Wound up hurting my shoulder today. Oh well. And for the one who asked I’m not eating that much protein, about 80-100g/day. Mostly just trying to prevent as much muscle loss as possible while losing weight. Maybe I should just focus on one or the other, idk. I know nothing about fitness except fitness whole pizza in my mouth.

I guess I’m trying to do things a little too fast and too drastically. I gotta try to find peace with the fact it’ll take time. I’ve 0 patience and it’s FRUSTRATING.


@FoxMcCloud hey, I’m 3 months AF & generally I’m happy. Haven’t gotten to into a proper exercise routine or even eating super healthy so fair play. I am making better food choices but I am eating a lot of snacks especially chocolate. I can be tootling along, really happy, loving life & then bam! my mood does a 180 turn and I’m angry, annoyed, pissed off at everything & everyone, no reason. I don’t have advice on this, just wanted to let you know you’re not alone. I figured that I’ve been numbing my emotions for over 13 years they are bound to be a little screwy right now.


I don’t have much to offer but interested in this so watching with interest. What struck me was that I was the same as you, a few months progress and success in the gym (I am 42 and had never been to a gym so this was huge). I wasn’t sure of the progress being made due to sobriety etc. and then I relapsed and now I am very aware of how much progress I lost.

Obviously I am not suggesting a relapse to test your progress, but just wanted to say you are making huge steps and probably don’t realise all of that right now. I don’t think recovery is a straight line, I think you can seemingly stall for a bit at times and then make a huge leap.

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Thanks. The Field of Dreams quote actually helps a lot.

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Rome was not built in a day. We destroyed or damaged ourselves with our addiction. In my case, for decades. It takes time to repair that. It takes time.

The good news…if you keep sober, keep working on you…every day there is positive progress.

Grant yourself grace, and find peace in the fact that you are making a positive impact.


I felt this a lot! SO frustrating, oh my goodness lol. I don’t miss that feeling at all. But you will get there. Time does pass. Sometimes when out my window it looks like I’m crawling at a snail pace, it can help to glance in the rear view mirror. Not to dwell on the past by any means, but to show myself that progress is happening, even if things appear stagnant while I am in the midst of it.

Sounds like the working out is great up until a certain point. I think it might just take some trial and error until you figure out where it feels best to stop, and how much is too much.

There’s a fitness thread you might find helpful: Gym selfies, weightlifting & fitness 🔥 (TW gym attire. Keep rules #6 and #7 in mind) It’s a good place to find motivation, ask questions, share your ups and downs, selfies or not.

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I was asking myself the same Q… Like, what are those mood swings…I am sober, is it not supposed to be happy all the time? And than I realised…well, all the people have mood swings…and that is normal part of life…:smiling_face:
So, now I just say to myself…ok, you are in bad mood, and that is OK…you want a snack, crying, walk, sleep, TV show?

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