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Balancing Moderate Drinking Goals vs Going Alcohol-Free
I have a friend with the nickname of Byrdie who wrote this about moderate drinking. Byrdie is an alcoholic with 9 years of sobriety. Three years ago, I posed the question about moderate drinking in an online forum. I’d been alcohol-free for a while and I wondered if I was ready to just drink on weekends, with defined rules, and here was her response. These words may help you if you are struggling to commit to stop drinking or if you’re tempted by trying to “moderate”. I admit that her words fell on deaf ears for me 3 years ago, but today they ring true. Today I am 6 months alcohol free and that means FREE!
Sticking with a moderate drinking plan is exhausting to do. Plus, it rarely works, so there’s that. You have a very slim chance of success. If 99 people walk off a cliff and die and you are #100, what would you do?
Have you played this out in your head, what “just drink on weekends” really means? If you think being AF ( alcohol-free) is deprivation, just wait until you start trying to limit yourself, to moderate your drinking. EVERYTHING you do will begin to revolve around WHEN you GET to drink. When does the weekend start? When does it end, what happens when there’s a holiday? How much do you get? If you stick to the rules, you are going to be one of the very few people in history to do so long term. I know only one or two.
You know what I found? When we start making RULES about drinking, when we start to plan, to organize, to measure and moderate our drinking, it’s likely time to stop. You KNOW you have a problem with alcohol so you stopped drinking, and now you are about to reintroduce it. So what has changed? More knowledge? More self awareness? What happens to heroin addicts if they just use on weekends? Or smokers if they pick up one cigarete at a party after quitting? It doesn’t take long before you are right back in that pit. Your brain knows where you’ve been. There is real science behind this. Knowledge is power.
Yes there are people who try to moderate, but how many do you know who were once heavy drinkers, habitual drinkers, drinkers who “lost control”, who successfully moderate over the long haul? To really check the reality of that sucess you must speak the language….it goes something like this:
“I am really happy with my moderate drinking plan, I have only blown it once this week and had only one hangover. The rest of the time, I was really good. I only drank 4 beers. I didn’t feel great the next day, but that might have been the sugar in the beer. Over the last month, I have done great, I have not drank more days than I have.”
Translation: You are now a binge drinker. An occasional binge drinker but a binge drinker none the less.
Denial is the strongest stage of grief, and one that is tough to break thru. If you don’t think you have a big problem with alcohol today, let’s talk again next year and see where you are. I’d bet my last dollar it’s worse than ever if you are still using.
Moderation rarely works. It can’t. What happens when you have a couple drinks? You let your guard down. What happens then? You have ANOTHER drink. And so it goes.
I know that no words of mine can change someone’s mind about trying this….and that’s a real shame. I had to find it out for myself too, and it nearly cost me everything I’ve worked so hard for all these years. Now with some GOOD distance between me and alcohol, I can see it for what it is….a powerful drug that will do anything to get back in your life.
This is ONE POWERFUL ADDICTION.
I have never experienced anything like it…the only force to equal it is love, and sometimes, even that’s not enough.
If you have been lucky enough to have an easy quit, take it and run with it, because they get harder every time. You can take that to the bank.
You can have the life you want, or you can drink. That’s about the size of it. I hope you remain alcohol-free. Moderation has about a zero percent chance of working …..we are talking about the rest of your life trying to fight this battle. When I threw in the towel and accepted that I am an alcoholic, a huge burden was lifted. No more fights…no more rules…no more guilt, shame and remorse over this substance. Stopping drinking and staying sober is the BEST decision I have ever made.”
Protect your quit as if your life depends on it….because it does.
More thoughts on Moderate Drinking Goals :
Thinking about Moderate Drinking
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Welcome to AF Airways, your flight to happiness. The Captain has done all of his pre-check flights and predicts that there may be a few bumps upon take off. He wants to reassure you that this turbulence is normal and not life-threatening.
While you are seated at the window, you have the opportunity to look down and see the progress you’ve made on our journey. Sometimes, a fear of heights may cause the view from your seat to appear daunting. If that happens, kindly check the security of your seatbelt and shut the window shade.
On AF Airways, we are socially correct but we permit our flight crew to hold your hand. If you ever feel challenged along the journey, know that there are fellow passengers that are also willing to take your hand too.
Our number 1 priority is to safety. If we happen to come upon unexpected rough air, and the oxygen masks deploy, secure your own mask first before helping others.
Along the journey, AF Airways is pleased to offer complimentary water, nuggets of humor, and flat our sincerity. We will all be on this aircraft together, and we stay united on our journey towards sobriety.
How do you go Sober? ( more reading in blue titles)
B Be accountable Talk to Us We Understand
A Avoid alcohol like the plague Ideas Here
L Let yourself enjoy regular sober treats Ideas Here
A Allow yourself to cry when needed Ideas Here
N Nourish your body with good food Ideas Here
C Create happy & fun memories Ideas Here
E Enjoy the precious moments in your day Ideas Here
W Work hard to get what you want Ideas Here
O Organise things for less stress Ideas Here
R Realise you can’t control it all Ideas Here
K Keep going & prepare for success Ideas Here
S Sleep enough for body & mind rest Sleep Solutions
If you’re “sober curious” … If you are drinking too much too often and want to stop or take a break…or if you have stopped drinking and are trying to stick to sober! Talk to Us. Start with 30 days. Try a Dry July, Sober October, or New Year’s Dry January Challenge.
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Don’t let the shame of the stigma keep you from saying
“I think I have a problem with drinking”
More by this Author :
Beyond the Bottle – Loving Living Without Alcohol
Play the Tape Forward – Protect Your Quit
Letting Little Miss Sober Take the Wheel
2 responses to “Balancing Moderate Drinking Goals vs Going Alcohol-Free”
[…] Balancing Moderate Drinking Goals vs Going Alcohol-Free […]
[…] I understand self care and self compassion, I no longer crave alcohol nor do I have any interest in moderation, and I’ve been successful in meeting all my “firsts“ with staying alcohol-free. I thought […]