After you wake up hungover and late for the third time in two weeks, you make the life-altering decision to change your relationship with alcohol. But you are anxious because you don’t know what to expect. What will the next few hours, days and weeks bring?

Drinking heavily takes a toll on the body. Making the decision to cut back or stop drinking can make your body have a unique reaction. Here is a breakdown of what could possibly happen after you take your last drink.

2 - 12 hours

Alcohol withdrawal can begin as soon as two to 12 hours after your last drink. Symptoms vary in their intensity, but are generally unpleasant. Common symptoms may include tremor in the hands, nausea and frequent retching, excessive sweating, restlessness or difficulty sitting still, and feelings of intense anxiety.

12- 24 hours

Cutting back on your alcohol consumption can be a difficult process- especially in the first 12 to 24 hours after you stop drinking. This is when withdrawal symptoms tend to reach their peak. You may experience cravings for alcohol, reduced energy levels and feelings of depression. Sleep disturbances are also common during this period, making it especially challenging for those trying to adjust or break old habits.

12 - 72 hours

Withdrawal symptoms are not just a minor annoyance; in some cases, the danger period of 12 to 72 hours after quitting drinking can be extremely challenging for the body. During this time, the body is adjusting from being regularly exposed to alcohol. It may cause an increase in blood pressure, as well as a dangerously high heart rate that could lead to further health complications.

The most severe withdrawal symptoms occur within this timeframe and the former drinker could even end up having seizures, which can have serious long-term effects. Medical intervention during these hours is highly recommended if you suspect you or someone else is going through alcohol withdrawal.

48-72 hours

After abstaining from alcohol consumption for 48 to 72 hours, relief typically sets in. This is a pivotal period where many experience the receding of withdrawal symptoms, making them more manageable.  Noticing these effects may provide further motivation to continue, as further improvement can be made toward your physical and mental health.

Abstaining from alcohol allows your body and brain to return to their natural state without the influence of a depressant substance. Although this process may feel uncomfortable at first, taking an active role in seeking sobriety is an achievement worth celebrating.

3-7 days

Many people who have been heavy drinkers for an extended period of time experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit. While, generally, the symptoms are expected to stop in the three to seven days after you stop drinking, there is still a chance for them to worsen and become a medical emergency known as Delirium Tremens (DTs).

DTs can cause disorientation, confusion, and profuse sweating, and because of this potential danger, it is important that all heavy drinkers should seek professional supervision before making the decision to quit drinking.

1 week

Cutting out alcohol can have huge positive impacts on your overall well-being, with research suggesting that within a week of quitting, you'll notice improved sleep patterns and quality. With no more disruptive night-time trips to the bathroom or restless sleep caused by dehydration, your body will start to recover.

It might take a month or longer before you finally experience the full benefits of going alcohol-free. If you're struggling to get used to life without alcohol, don't worry - it won't be like this forever. With patience and perseverance, you will soon be sleeping through the night.

1 - 2 weeks

The first two weeks after you stop drinking can be quite a challenge, especially during the clinical detox period of three to seven days. During this time, your body is slowly getting used to functioning without alcohol and you may experience certain cravings as it adjusts to its new state.

After just one or two weeks, these symptoms will start to dissipate and usually become much more manageable, leading to complete recovery. This point marks an important milestone in the journey of sobriety and serves as proof of both physical and mental resilience of people who are brave enough to face this challenge in their lives.

2 weeks

Stopping drinking alcohol may immediately offer some weight loss benefits. After two weeks, the physical transformation starts to become even more visible. The liver is an important organ when it comes to processing and breaking down the toxins in alcohol, and prolonged periods of drinking can result in fat deposits in the liver.

If your liver has not been too badly damaged by your drinking habits, abstaining from alcohol for two weeks should be enough to start seeing signs of recovery that often include weight loss. Not only will this change to a healthier lifestyle aid with practical weight-related goals, it may also alleviate symptoms of fatty liver disease, if present.

3-4 weeks

Consuming alcohol can put a lot of strain on the body; its effect on the heart is no exception, resulting in an increase in blood pressure. If your drinking habits have led to an unhealthy elevation of blood pressure, you may find that your numbers start trending back toward a healthier level as soon as you've given the body time to rest, about three or four weeks.

Regardless of how long you’ve been drinking and the state your health may be in right now, breaking the habit could lead to some welcome improvements.

1 month

After one month of abstaining from alcohol, you may notice changes in your skin's appearance. With the absence of toxin-filled beverages from your diet, cells will be able to naturally regenerate themselves more effectively and you will see noticeable improvements within a 30-day period. Skin tone can improve as redness from inflammation and acne decrease, bags around the eyes are reduced, and the appearance of wrinkles may also be minimized.

It is estimated that the full skin health benefits of stopping drinking are usually seen after six months of continuing sobriety. You can look forward to healthier skin.

3 months

When people decide to take on the difficult challenge of quitting drinking, they can expect a large array of positive benefits after three months. Quitting alcohol can lead to increased energy levels and improved mental and physical health. After three months, you will also notice an increase in your concentration levels and cognitive functions as your brain has more time to recover from the toxins introduced by excessive drinking.

The effects on other aspects of your life will also start to show, such as stronger relationships with family and friends or better overall performance at work or school. You may even notice physical changes like extra weight loss or higher self-confidence. All in all, three months after first stopping drinking can bring numerous improvements in quality of life, making it well worth the effort.

1 year

After a year without alcohol, many people find themselves with higher energy levels and fewer anxieties than they had before. They also start to sleep better and feel less cravings for alcohol. At this one-year mark, the above withdrawal symptoms will be mostly gone and individuals can really begin to experience lasting benefits of their alcohol-free lifestyle. They may notice enhanced clarity in thought processes, improved cognitive functioning, and better relationships with the people in their life who have been affected by their drinking.


It can take a tremendous amount of effort to overcome old habits. However, stopping drinking does come with tremendous benefits: improved sleep quality and physical health, in addition to mental clarity and better moods - the list goes on. Reframe is here to help you stay encouraged and supported on your journey toward living an alcohol-free life. With our curated content from experts in the field and reliable tracking tools, we offer users an effective way to keep going when times get tough.

If you’re looking to embark on a healthier relationship with alcohol, Reframe can give you the guidance, understanding and accountability that you need.