I’ve been making the stupid mistake of trying to learn as much about this process of recovery I’m about to enter – and what to expect – by googling the shit out of it.

Bad. Idea.

Don’t EVER GOOGLE health related anything.

I’m absolutely terrified of the detox and alcohol withdrawal. This morning I came across an interesting chart that plots me as “high risk for major, life threatening withdrawal” based on volume per day and length of consumption.

Um, how about 18 drinks a day for at least the last 10 years…

You know. All the fun withdrawal symptoms, like seizures and DT’s. Hallucinations, blood pressure issues (which I already struggle with). Confusion. Agitation. Nightmares. Fever.

Fun times.

Then again – I could be fine. I could pop right out of detox and into the program with nothing but some insomnia, night sweats and knowing me, uncontrollable sobbing.

All this overthinking.


I’m trying to figure out which is the chicken and which is the egg. 

Did my mental health cause the addiction? Did the addiction cause and compound my mental problems?

Is it all part and parcel, each feeding on the other, growing fat and heavy in each others company like two gluttons just waiting to eat me, too?

I’m a “the more you know” sort of person. I love to learn. But damn. It can totally work against me sometimes. Too much information, too much mis-information, too many possibilities…I need to just let it be.

Because it’s going to be whatever it’s going to be, and the only thing I can do about it is accept it and embrace it.

And breathe.

It’s part of the process.



Written by SJ VanDee

Recovery Blogger. Sober AF. Photographer. Storyteller. Writer.


  1. Sometimes you just need to do it. It is the going through that’s tough . But, you will be better at the other end. And you should absolutely NOT detox alone and without medical treatment. My husband is an ER nurse and deals with this regularly…and with patients that drink less than you. All the best😊👍

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I always worried about detoxing at the end. I too read things. The rehab place ‘should’ be qualified to monitor you. That is their job. I went to a hospital and did it in three days but they check your vitals constantly etc. You are going to be fine. Just keep them informed on how your body is feeling. I think the only unsafe place to detox would be at home by yourself.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I should know better! (I still kept googling after I wrote this this morning!) I think I’m just trying to figure out what to expect during the medical detox part. And that’s hard when every place is different and everyone’s journey is different…


  3. Such a great question… which came first, mental health issues or addiction? For me, I think it was mental health, which led to physical problems (migraines), which led to pain killers, which led to addiction, which led to horrible mental illness, which led to stronger addiction… and you get the picture. Glad you are at the “start from the beginning” phase and I like your thoughts about not doing too much research and just going with whatever comes at you. Best wishes ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! ❤ Yep…I'm as at the beginning as it gets right now (explains the otherthinking, a little bit, at least!) I agree…I'm leaning towards the mental health issues leading to the addiction(s) as well. And then more mental health stuff…then more addiction…fun cycle!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, such fun! I’m glad you are getting healthy now, the sooner the better. I feel like my addiction caused so much mental damage… I will be working on it forever. I can only speak for myself when it comes to addiction, but staying sober for me means my mental health comes first. I just wrote my first post about addiction… a brief summary of my first visit to rehab. Glad to have met you here 🙂


    1. Thank you so much xo I’m hoping to keep writing daily while away in the time I have (looks like they’ll have me on busy schedule) – but writing is like therapy for me…so I’ll find a way to squeeze it in haha! Your support is sooooo appreciated!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Speaking from experiance; the best remedy is to simply take each minute…each hour…each day at a time; they turn into weeks and at some points years… I occpied my time with new things that I wanted to try; some advertous like bungy jumping to which was a bit liberating and some more placid; like hiking up to a view with a thermos and wait for the suns hello…Hang in there and remember every walk is different; results of others are not yours as your jouney is specic to you. ♥♥♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great advice (except for the bungy jumping LOL! I have a heights-thing…but who knows, maybe one day!) I think the learning to take things as they come and one minute…hour…day at a time will prove to be the best thing to come out of this 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Isn’t that the truth. Thank you 🙂 how sad that I’m looking forward to the meds so I can hopefully sleep through the worst of it lol. Not anticipating that I will – but it’s something helping me get through until I get there lol

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, I wish you the best!
        I just found your blog, and I am glad I did so I can support you on your journey!
        I stopped drinking 2.5 years ago.
        I went into the hospital about 4 years ago for overnight, as I passed out and needed fluids I guess.
        Then I put myself into outpatient treatment.
        Still took me a few more tries before I finally was able to get to where I am now.
        You will get strong and healthy, and you will have lots of support!
        That’s a really wonderful gift you are giving yourself!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wow – congratulations!!! And thank you. Scary stuff. I haven’t wanted anything more. And am getting very impatient just wanting to get there (physically) so I can start moving forward. This blog was my first step – and finding so many wonderful people, like yourself, is helping me more than I ever imagined. And I didn’t even expect it. #grateful

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This is part of my story that I’ll share. In 2007, after an hour and a half talk with a New York State Trooper, he said, “I can take you to detox at the hospital or submit you to a 72 hour psyche evaluation.” I had been drinking at least a 30 pack a day of beer, if not more. I already had the DT’s from not drinking before the NYS Trooper showed up. At the time, I didn’t know how serious of a condition I was in. I spent four days in the detox unit. Honestly I can’t remember anything of those four days because I learned that gave me Valium. The point is, during detox and through rehab, I let the doctors do their thing. I had other issues more important to start working on in my life.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow. So glad you’re doing so much better Mike! Yes, I’m definitely going to stop overthinking and just let them (the professionals) do their thing. And let go. Hard to focus on healing when I’m too busy worrying about what is happening next.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You will be ok. I detoxed at home with no medical supervision. I live in the UK and you basically need to be next to dead with 6 bottles of voka next to you before they will help you on the NHS. My level of consumption really high too. It felt like really bad flu, lots of fevers. first 3 days were the worst. xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Scary – but glad you did it and glad you made it through! I have to go to a paid clinic, because the wait list here in Canada for anything “free” (a full program, not just a detox) is over 2 months. As a photographer, that lands me smack in the middle of wedding season, and I can’t be away for a month at that time. Plus, I didn’t want to wait. I’m ready 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ohh please don’t google as all ailments end with cancer and death. My pet started vomiting yesterday, I panicked and started to google in an instant I had read about seizures, cancer and death. I closed my eyes, took a couple of deep breaths and gave her honey water, today she is fine. So GOOGLING (is that even a word) is a bad idea.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m so happy to hear she’s doing better today 🙂 And I should know better than to google anything health related (my recent google-fest was looking into drug interactions for meds I’m on and possible meds they might give me – apparently I’m going to die haha). I’m just going to (try) and let it come at me as it is going to anyhow. Take that, google!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. DUDE! It is definitely part of the process. Still is for me. I overthink everything.

    The real danger of overthinking, I find, is that it allows space for this little shit thoughts to creep in, like “a drink would fix this”. And if we’re not vigilant we’ll listen to that thought even though it was this brief little splatter of mental diarrhea.

    The only cure for overthinking that I know if is action. Do the next right thing. I call my sponsor and ask him to tell me to do something. Fucking anything. Something productive. Eventually, the mind slows its roll.

    Thank you for putting it all out there. That’s what it’s all about man! You’re doing great.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Suggestion. Hope it is helpful to you.

    You have made your list of all the ugly and difficult things that can happen in a detox.
    Point made. No doubts it could be all of that and more…….Or maybe not?!

    No make a list. The 100 list of all the negative things that addiction has done to you.

    That will make your detox look like a piece of cake.

    For it will only span over a few days or weeks.
    Far less than a lifetime of addiction.

    You can do it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Diana! 🙂 This is wonderful advice…and I’m going to work on that list today. I’ve written the list slowly over the last ten to fifteen years…in my head. And look at it every day in my life and my health. So it should be an easy, albeit ugly, list to write. Thank you!! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  10. As a personal opinion of my own, which can be agreed upon or disagreed with completely given it is merely in fact an opinion. I believe that all addictions root from an underlying fear of facing the issues in front of you. It is as though it is a mask covering the reality of the factor you do not want to face. It nearly swallows it whole so you can forget even if temporarily of that factor and feel at ease, or feel okay. My addiction was an eating disorder. I starved myself to mask the fact that my parents argued every day and in turn would take it out on me and turn me into a messenger owl. I starved myself to forget the fact that I had little to no friends back in high school when the issue was at its worst and that I was being harassed and bullied daily on social media sites anonymously. Everyone has something that plays a key factor into their addiction. However, addiction or not, it is okay to break away from it. It is okay to face that factor head on and deal with it in a healthy positive way even if it scares the living hell out of you. For that, and to take, in metaphoric words, the bull by the horns, is by far the most strongest and bravest thing you can do to better yourself FOR yourself. For that, I give kudos and though strangers, am proud for all the progress you have made and continue to make to become the person you want to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. “Um, how about 18 drinks a day for at least the last 10 years…”
    Brutal. I’ve been there. After 7 residential treatment centers in four states over 11 years, I’ll have one year of sobriety this Thursday. You’ll get it if you want it badly enough. Overthinking it is part of a process. What comes to mind when I ask “What is ONE thing that you can replace drinking AND alcohol with? Something you love that’s healthy? It can be anything.

    Liked by 1 person

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