Reduce stress Alcoholics should avoid excessive physical and emotional stress during early abstinence.

Researchers have found that an important system (The HPA axis) of the body that regulates stress, hunger and illness is “stunned” during alcoholic drinking.

The researchers tested alcoholics in early recovery (less than 12 months) and found that the HPA axis recovers after about 8 weeks.

Any stress can trigger an abnormal response but moderate to extreme stress can be dangerous to abstinence and may trigger a relapse.

Reference; May 2007 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Recovery Bloggers comments;

  • The most dangerous time for recovery from alcoholism is the first 3 months. Many do not stay sober in the first 3 months.
  • Some alcoholics have been known to exercise to extreme attempting to restore physical prowess and then wondered why.
  • Others have been known to attempt to restore money and work related problems by working long hours or several jobs. They too have found difficulty staying sober.
  • Still others have been known to try restoring family or marriage relationships too early and have found it very stressful or a threat to sobriety.

This research may explain why.

Alcoholics Anonymous advises;

EASY_small1 The slogan "Easy Does It" is one way we A.A.’s remind each other that many of us have tendencies at times to overdo things, to rush heedlessly along, impatient with anything that slows us down. We find it hard to relax and savor life.

When one of us is in a dither to get something done or get somewhere in a hurry, a friend may gently remonstrate, "’Easy Does It,’ remember?" Then there’s often a flash of annoyance at the adviser. And that indicates the advice must have hit home, wouldn’t you say?

Page 44 of Living Sober, AA Inc (1975)

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Related Reading:

Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism/Third Edition
The Turmoil of Someone Else's Drinking
Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition
Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book Workbook: Working the Program