‘Can I still drink alcohol if I moderate?’ has to be the question that I’m asked more often than any other. It goes along with questions like: ‘Can I have a drink now and then?’, and, ‘Can I just have a couple of drinks when I’m out.’ It’s a heartfelt question full of hope and expectant permission.
It’s a question I asked for a long while myself. Here is my answer…Yes you can. Of course you can.
Theoretically you can, anyway.
Maybe the real questions I should have been asking myself was:
If I want to drink in moderation, why am I not already doing that already?
It’s a serious question. Take a moment, look within yourself and ask yourself that question. What are you hearing back?
In all likelihood if you are asking the question about alcohol and moderation then there are two conditions which hold true for you right now:
1. You’re not drinking in moderation, and
2. You’re worried about your drinking, and don’t know what to do about it
Am I right?
If those two points didn’t apply to you, then I doubt that you would be here reading this and scanning for the answer that you want to find. When I kept asking the moderation question hoping for the answer I wanted, both of the points applied to me.
What I actually wanted was for someone to wave a magic wand and fundamentally change alcohol. I wanted it not to be a highly addictive drug that was causing me misery, and worry. I wanted the perceived benefits without any of the downsides.
Is that what you’re hoping for as well? Would it shock you to know that heroine, cocaine and smack addicts are also hoping for the same answer.
As a society we’re given no information about alcohol and addiction, but stop and think about it for a second…Why do we keep taking a highly addictive, poisonous drug and not expect to become addicted?
I did say that moderation is possible. In theory anyway. Just don’t drink, right?
Here are my top 10 things that you need to do to moderate how much alcohol you drink, and ‘control’ your alcohol consumption.
1. Moderation is something that you need to actively do. You will need to be prepared to be constantly aware, on guard, and actively moderating, every day, and every time you find yourself with an opportunity to drink.
2. You will need be prepared to constantly swim against the tide of addiction. This is because the way addictive drugs affect humans is by confusing our minds and bodies into ‘needing’ to take more of it over time. The fundamental way it cons our minds is that the last drink we had causes stress hormones to be released into our bodies. This feeling of stress caused by the last drink is partially relieved by the next drink. Hence the ‘aaaah’ sigh of relief when you get that glass in your hand. Drinking alcohol is a little bit like the relief we get at the end of the day from taking off a really tight and uncomfortable pair of shoes, only to put them on again.
3. When you moderate you will always feel deprived when you’re not drinking, and on vigilant alert when you do drink. It will cause you worry and concern, which will make you want to drink more because you believe a drink will help. Secret: it won’t.
4. You will need to be prepared for the times that you let down your guard, and forget/give up/change your mind/ about moderating. You will drink more than you wanted to and be back to square one.
5. You will need to live in a constant state of denial, where you repeatedly convince yourself that there isn’t a problem with alcohol, that you can control how much alcohol you drink (sure you can for a while), and that moderation is the way to go.
6. You’ll need to be a master of disguise. This involves pretending that it’s OK not to have the 2nd and 3rd glass of wine even though you are salivating watching your friends slowly getting slaughtered. You’ll need to be super-casual when you’re in the local shop, and act as though the bottle of wine is an after-thought and not the main reason that you’re there, and you’ll probably want to rotate the shops you ‘pop to’ so that the people behind the tills don’t recognise your drink problem.
7. You’ll want to stop hiding the ‘spare bottle’ of wine at the back of the cupboard, and stop ‘topping up’ the actual bottle that you want people in your house to focus on. You might also want to stop pretending that it’s the same bottle being poured from, even thought there’s a warm empty bottle wedged in an empty cornflakes box in the recycling.
8. You’ll need to stop believing that drinking alcohol is in any way pleasurable because as someone trying to moderate it now gives you a combination of feelings of fear, remorse, doom, frustration, stress, guilt. Basically all the negative feelings there are…
9. You will always need to be 1 cm of wine behind the lead drinker in the pack so that you avoid drawing attention to yourself, and keep up the pretence to both yourself and everyone else that you are successfully moderating your alcohol intake.
10. Be prepared to start making yourself crazy rules, and then breaking them, waking up to feel awful. Most of your rules will start with ‘I’ll only drink…’, or ‘It’s OK to…’
10. You will find yourself reading articles like this, Googling site after site trying to find THE site that gives you permission to carry on drinking, and makes taking a highly addictive poisonous drug OK.
We are brought up on phrases like, ‘everything in moderation…’, and ‘a little of what you fancy does you good…’. But, and it’s a big but…
…that does not apply to a cancer-causing, toxic highly addictive drug. Would we say it about heroine? Would we encourage a heroine addict to just inject a bit of heroine because they fancy it? Do you think that would be possible?
Here’s the thing…
If you could drink in moderation, and avoid all the negative anxiety-ridden personality changing consequences, wouldn’t you be doing it already?
Are you ready to try something different? Are you ready to learn to change your mindset around alcohol and get control?
Imagine being free from wanting something that you don’t want to have…
Imagine the problems of alcohol withering in front of your eyes, and you feeling like you’ve come home to a place of peace, excitement, and authentic you.
Find our about The Discover Sober Program here…