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Thoughts on Moderation

Old 02-15-2017, 10:37 PM
  # 41 (permalink)  
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My idea of moderation for the past several months has been to monitor my bac with a breathalyzer. When I drink I start in the morning ( I work from home often) and once I reach .06 I stop, usually around 11am or so. I won't dare face my wife until I'm back to 0 (negative consquences and all), even if it means heading out of the house and driving around aimlessly until I'm back to 0.

I used to be a heavy drinker then found sobriety for several years before relapsing. It was a bad relapse and after several starts ands stops this is the mode I've settled into. I wouldn't call it moderate or controlled drinking, more like an insidious attempt to conceal my active alcoholism.. All these gyrations and for what? It's insane.

'Incomprehensible demoralization' is so painfully profound in how it describes feeling of shame and guilt at hiding and sneaking, and more importantly how I feel about myself. My sobriety when I had it was for me, and it's like I no longer want good things for myself after all the gifts I received in sobriety.

I've been sober several days and haven't been 'drunk' in several weeks, maybe months but I know t will only be a matter of time if I carry on like this.

So yeah...that's my version of moderation. Had to put it writing somewhere to see how crazy it actually sounds.
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Old 02-19-2017, 12:24 PM
  # 42 (permalink)  
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I have been drinking more than a bottle of wine pretty much daily for more than half of my adult life. I have never been able to moderate it.
I stopped for each of my pregnancies, and when I finally accepted that I have a serious problem several years ago, I stopped for 5 years, with the help of Allen Carr's book. Then a severe trauma happened to me, and I started again---- I picked right up where I had left off and it continued for a few years until last spring, when I quit for a month. After I passed the 1 month mark, I told myself that I could have "just one"----that I could moderate it.
Of course it didn't work.
Each time I started again, I was drinking even more.

For me, it is torture to try to moderate.
Now, I have just passed the 2 week mark again (for the 3rd time)
and I feel so free from the chains of alcohol. No more arguing with myself, no more shame, no more anxiety.
It is so much easier for it to be a non issue.

Now begins the hard work of working through the pain and grief
that I have been trying to numb and drown with alcohol.
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Old 02-19-2017, 01:06 PM
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If I started drinking today it would be a silly idea that I could moderate my drinking for I realize I'm a true alcoholic.
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Old 02-19-2017, 02:20 PM
  # 44 (permalink)  
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People have described to me their efforts to control food intake and weight loss...by drinking flour mixed with water.

People have described ways to control self harm...cutting thighs and stomachs only, nothing visible.

There are 'harm reduction' programs where people can practice 'safe' and controlled use of heroin.

All of these things seem outlandish to me because I don't obsess about those particular issues. I, personally, see all of them as dangerous and harmful practices.

Playing with alcohol, trying to control it is dangerous for me. Despite the severe and repeated harm it was doing me, it took me a long time to see that. Because, I was obsessed with alcohol.

P
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Old 02-19-2017, 02:25 PM
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If I could moderate my drinking on this Sunday afternoon I would be doing some heavy moderation. In other words -- drinking plenty.
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Old 02-20-2017, 11:36 PM
  # 46 (permalink)  
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I've got to a point where I can 'moderate', yet moderation itself isn't doing me good.

Last weekend I was completely sober, and I was doing a lot of research as to next steps in my career. I had a restful weekend, and I still overslept a bit and stayed up later then I wanted, but I felt good Monday. I felt way more positive about my life.

Fast forward to this weekend, I had three drinks on Friday night with this girl I've been dating, and two drinks on Saturday night at my family house where I go every few weeks. Along side the drinks, my diet wasn't great (it does seem to be a perpetual cycle of not feeling good about myself when drinking, and eating junk food).

I feel awful at the moment. Like I've hit rock bottom somehow. I've got awful hay fever already, a cold I'm dealing with, and a low mood from my choices over the weekend. I am reminded that sobriety is really my 'calling' in life.

I've made my mind up that I don't want to do AA. But I need to find something, someway to help me. In general I've moved away from drinking by playing sports on Friday nights, and spending time with my religious community on Saturday afternoons, and focusing more on hobbies and self development. And that's mostly been working.

But it's insidious how it can sneak up on me, for example I have been injured recently and that has meant stopping my Friday night sport, and as soon as it stops, it can be much harder resist peer pressure. I even have family pressure to drink alcohol. I feel like if I was to stop and 'own' it, then it would be easier. But because I haven't 'officially' gone sober, but just got too 'busy' to drink, eventually it catches up with me.

Given my job is very high pressure, and I am in a junior position where I'm under a lot of pressure to deliver, coming into work tired, hungover and looking awful is not something I can pull off, nor want to. I'm in the wrong profession, I'm trying to escape, and sobriety seems like it could be the ladder to pull me out, where as alcohol is keeping me stuck and I feel like I make some momentum on a sober weekend and then my efforts are reversed the following weekend.

I'd consider hypnotherapy as I stopped smoking almost a 1yr and a half ago without any problems, and I think It works well for me, so I'm wondering whether I could give that a shot.

I'm tired of trying to moderate to be honest, **** moderation. Time to put myself first. I don't want to moderate, I want to quit that toxic crap and be able to make the most out of my life.
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Old 02-21-2017, 08:34 AM
  # 47 (permalink)  
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ljc, I think you nailed it in your post, cradle to grave! Not much to add except my own experience. Not once have I had the ability to drink in moderation when I finally turned. I think we might be all different about if we turned or not, or if we have always been an Alchi, it is so subjective and for me does not matter. All I know is that I was able to drink and stop, then somewhere in my early 40's (54 now) that stopped. I guess like almost anything that changes, there is a specific point in time when it changes. My personal opinion is that we have all ALWAYS been alcoholics, we just advanced to the stage on 'non-control' at different ages, be it 10 years old (ouch) or you name it. Until there is scientific proof, who really knows. What I DO know, is that without a doubt, I have proved to myself over and over again that I can't do moderation.

I proved this with 3.6 yrs sobriety, had a weekend golf trip planned with 'the boys', and 'pre-planned' on drinking socially. I knew (had truly convinced myself) that I was either fixed, cured, or was never really an alcoholic, I simply needed the 3.6 years to 'get time' past some tough 'life-stuff' and I was now good to go. Absolutely without a doubt, I remember the first sip. It was a gin and tonic, lot's of gin and little tonic and no ice, and I was/am mostly a beer/wine drinker. I knew on that first sip that I was not in control, but I would 'manage it' when I got back home. The 'managing part' lasted about 3 months. I COULD NOT just have one, and ALL the behaviors from when I first got sober immediately returned, the thinking about the drink, the obsession, the anxiety, then the sheer temporary joy of that first drink promising myself I would 'moderate' this day, then the next morning the utter guilt and hatred I had of myself that I had not only done this again, but had no control once again. After finally getting sober again, July 10, 2015, to this day, I will never forget that first drink on the golf outing. It was planned, it was strategic, I had my ducks in a row, it was well thought out, and I will never forget the immediate acknowledgement that I could not stop after that first sip, and the knowing that this, without a doubt, proved to me that I could not moderate, I could not be a social drinker, and I could not only not have just one drink, I could not even have one sip. I guess that in a way is a blessing versus what I have heard from others in AA that they did like I did with a plan, convinced they were 'fixed', and were actually able to control it till they were not able to control it. Same story over and over, just different people, different settings and different ways it happened and they ended up back in AA, strong enough to tell that story to all of us. (Which is why I go to AA, not to share and talk, but to hear others like me with their struggles and success and honest thinking processes that they/we all go through.

GREAT POST LJC!!! Thank you. You just 12th stepped me and helped me this morning. I needed to read and hear what you had to say. This just reinforces in me what I already know, but that I need to keep front and center, that I am who I am, and I am finally just fine with who I am. Anyway, I have no choice to be anyone else right?
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Old 02-21-2017, 08:41 AM
  # 48 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by George89 View Post
I've got to a point where I can 'moderate', yet moderation itself isn't doing me good.

Last weekend I was completely sober, and I was doing a lot of research as to next steps in my career. I had a restful weekend, and I still overslept a bit and stayed up later then I wanted, but I felt good Monday. I felt way more positive about my life.

Fast forward to this weekend, I had three drinks on Friday night with this girl I've been dating, and two drinks on Saturday night at my family house where I go every few weeks. Along side the drinks, my diet wasn't great (it does seem to be a perpetual cycle of not feeling good about myself when drinking, and eating junk food).

I feel awful at the moment. Like I've hit rock bottom somehow. I've got awful hay fever already, a cold I'm dealing with, and a low mood from my choices over the weekend. I am reminded that sobriety is really my 'calling' in life.

I've made my mind up that I don't want to do AA. But I need to find something, someway to help me. In general I've moved away from drinking by playing sports on Friday nights, and spending time with my religious community on Saturday afternoons, and focusing more on hobbies and self development. And that's mostly been working.

But it's insidious how it can sneak up on me, for example I have been injured recently and that has meant stopping my Friday night sport, and as soon as it stops, it can be much harder resist peer pressure. I even have family pressure to drink alcohol. I feel like if I was to stop and 'own' it, then it would be easier. But because I haven't 'officially' gone sober, but just got too 'busy' to drink, eventually it catches up with me.

Given my job is very high pressure, and I am in a junior position where I'm under a lot of pressure to deliver, coming into work tired, hungover and looking awful is not something I can pull off, nor want to. I'm in the wrong profession, I'm trying to escape, and sobriety seems like it could be the ladder to pull me out, where as alcohol is keeping me stuck and I feel like I make some momentum on a sober weekend and then my efforts are reversed the following weekend.

I'd consider hypnotherapy as I stopped smoking almost a 1yr and a half ago without any problems, and I think It works well for me, so I'm wondering whether I could give that a shot.

I'm tired of trying to moderate to be honest, **** moderation. Time to put myself first. I don't want to moderate, I want to quit that toxic crap and be able to make the most out of my life.
For me moderation will never work. I can do it, but it was enjoyable and unhealthy, because my idea of moderation was a 6 pack a day. Less then that was a waste of time for me.

As far as quitting, which I would suggest, do whatever it takes. If it is AA, hypnosis, or whatever. To me you need to find the quitting method that best fits your personality. Me and AA wouldn't work well. I do, though, agree with a lot of their principles and ideas and use the ones that work for me. I kind of take from everything that fits for me and use it.

That's what works for me, but maybe not for you.

Best of luck to you.
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Old 02-21-2017, 08:47 AM
  # 49 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Whodathunk View Post
ljc, I think you nailed it in your post, cradle to grave! Not much to add except my own experience. Not once have I had the ability to drink in moderation when I finally turned. I think we might be all different about if we turned or not, or if we have always been an Alchi, it is so subjective and for me does not matter. All I know is that I was able to drink and stop, then somewhere in my early 40's (54 now) that stopped. I guess like almost anything that changes, there is a specific point in time when it changes. My personal opinion is that we have all ALWAYS been alcoholics, we just advanced to the stage on 'non-control' at different ages, be it 10 years old (ouch) or you name it. Until there is scientific proof, who really knows. What I DO know, is that without a doubt, I have proved to myself over and over again that I can't do moderation.

I proved this with 3.6 yrs sobriety, had a weekend golf trip planned with 'the boys', and 'pre-planned' on drinking socially. I knew (had truly convinced myself) that I was either fixed, cured, or was never really an alcoholic, I simply needed the 3.6 years to 'get time' past some tough 'life-stuff' and I was now good to go. Absolutely without a doubt, I remember the first sip. It was a gin and tonic, lot's of gin and little tonic and no ice, and I was/am mostly a beer/wine drinker. I knew on that first sip that I was not in control, but I would 'manage it' when I got back home. The 'managing part' lasted about 3 months. I COULD NOT just have one, and ALL the behaviors from when I first got sober immediately returned, the thinking about the drink, the obsession, the anxiety, then the sheer temporary joy of that first drink promising myself I would 'moderate' this day, then the next morning the utter guilt and hatred I had of myself that I had not only done this again, but had no control once again. After finally getting sober again, July 10, 2015, to this day, I will never forget that first drink on the golf outing. It was planned, it was strategic, I had my ducks in a row, it was well thought out, and I will never forget the immediate acknowledgement that I could not stop after that first sip, and the knowing that this, without a doubt, proved to me that I could not moderate, I could not be a social drinker, and I could not only not have just one drink, I could not even have one sip. I guess that in a way is a blessing versus what I have heard from others in AA that they did like I did with a plan, convinced they were 'fixed', and were actually able to control it till they were not able to control it. Same story over and over, just different people, different settings and different ways it happened and they ended up back in AA, strong enough to tell that story to all of us. (Which is why I go to AA, not to share and talk, but to hear others like me with their struggles and success and honest thinking processes that they/we all go through.

GREAT POST LJC!!! Thank you. You just 12th stepped me and helped me this morning. I needed to read and hear what you had to say. This just reinforces in me what I already know, but that I need to keep front and center, that I am who I am, and I am finally just fine with who I am. Anyway, I have no choice to be anyone else right?
Thanks for that. I really appreciate it. I have done a lot of taking in my life. I'm happy that I could help you in some way!

I remember when I turned too, Never heard it said that way but I remember it well. Up to that point I drank in a "fun" way, but after that day my problems started.
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Old 02-21-2017, 10:12 AM
  # 50 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Lotus5683 View Post
Im new to this site and literally just wrote about the subject of moderation this morning. Im a really good " moderater" when out to dinner with my husband, but the moment you put me in a crowd and alcohol is flowing....I have no off button and either end up fighting with husband or seriously embarrasing him and myself......so its all or nothing and if I wanna be a better person a HEALTHY person its gotta be none, which can be so damn hard.
I was just going to write something about this. I am struggling with putting my thoughts together. But it's something like this. My alcoholism with alcohol was a high bottom. Sometimes I wish it was lower so the lesson would stick more when my mind tries to convince me to take a drink, that it's okay because I could moderate.

I could probably on a good day have just 1 or 2 glass of wine at dinner with my husband. But I know I must never ever even test fate by ever taking a sip again. It's not worth playing Russian roulette. Because I also know that those 1-2 glasses of wine that might go well would later convince me that it'd be okay to drink at a party... or at a comedy club....or drink over grieve of losing my dog... or over something stressful.... or whatever, and in those cases I would not be able to just have 1-2 glasses of wine because the real alcoholic in me would come out.

And then one day, the real alcoholic in me might suddenly not be able to just drink 1-2 glasses of wine at dinner. And that might be on a night that I am driving. Or that might flick the switch from real progressive alcoholic to real chronic alcoholic (I'm not sure I have those terms right?) I am not willing in the least to take that chance. It's just not worth it.

I don't care what my disease keeps telling me about being able to moderate. It's all LIES. And people have died testing the waters. Real alcoholics cannot ever moderate.

With God's grace I hope every single next 24 hours I have of life I tell that lying voice that tells me I can moderate "thanks for sharing" and move on.

PS - "none" is not "so damn hard" for me anymore, but it used to be in the beginning. Now, "none" is life-saving spiritually, physically and mentally. I don't miss it in the least. "None" brings me serenity. If I thought it was "so damn hard" I'd know that was my disease talking to me. "Alcoholism is a disease that centers in the mind that wants us dead but will settle for us being sick".
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Old 02-21-2017, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Centered3 View Post


I don't care what my disease keeps telling me about being able to moderate. It's all LIES. And people have died testing the waters. Real alcoholics cannot ever moderate.
This is a lesson I have learned the hard way. I tell myself that one day I'm gonna black out and never wake up again.
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Old 02-21-2017, 05:24 PM
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Moderation does not work for me.

Sure, I could moderate somewhat, like drinking 1 or 2 beers at a social event with my boss or with my wife's parents.

But in reality, the only way I could do that was by secretly promising myself that I could get drunk as a skunk a few days later when I was alone.
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Old 02-22-2017, 01:12 AM
  # 53 (permalink)  
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Omg zebra, you've just helped me realise something big- the only reason I was reasonably happy or even content to have one or two drinks at my weekly family dinner was because DEEP DOWN I KNEW I'd be getting good and drunk the following night.
Yet for so long I've used it as "proof" that I could drink normally and therefore didn't really have a problem. Wow.
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Old 02-22-2017, 05:02 AM
  # 54 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by ThomPom View Post
I think it is a MAJOR difference between moderate (cut back) your drinking on your way to sobriety, or if you try to moderate after periods of sobriety. In other words: Going from full blown addictive beahviour to moderation is a step forward, once sober, its a step backwards. No doubt about this: sobriety is the ultimative (and only) goal.

Moderation helped me big time. Here is why: On may ways to sobriety I was just not “strong” enough to stop it all of a sudden so I cut back step by step, really deconstructed my alcoholic behavior in a proactive way. I just drank as much – a minimal effective dose, so to speak – I needed to numb myself or get in certain emotional state. Before, I would “just drink”. What also turned out to be useful during that phase of moderate drinking, was, that I learned, what the reason behind my drinking was. Of course, I had to differentiate from the moments of pure addictional behavior.

Then, after learning to moderate (emotionally) over the course of 18 month, I was able to - after two attempts (learning lessons) of each three weeks- to stay sober and be happy for now 6 month, going strong.

So, IMO it it might be not useful to generalize the verdict on moderation. It helped me. But yes, I agree, moderation wont work once sober. It wouldn't work for me NOW, but it has worked as a pre-phase towards sobriety. And it may work in that context only for specific types of alcoholics, not the chronic alcoholics, nor the phase out drinkers, but those with emphasis on emotional addiction.
Respectfully disagree that any of this is necessary for sobriety. I am glad it worked for you (so far- it is early days for you, as it is for me at one year!)- I believe that it is not a matter of being "strong enough" nor that relapse (ie the several attempts you mention) are necessary to recovery.

Threads on moderation and any suggestion that it is a good idea make me very worried for the person (people) endorsing or exploring it. I realize I am very hard line about this. I also think....what amount of time is wasted trying this when we can go ahead and get to the sober part? Life is so much better on this side and it doesn't have to wait to get started.
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Old 02-23-2017, 12:41 AM
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We need to be brutally honest with ourselves. Were it possible to moderate we wouldn't be where we ended up. We would successfully moderated long ago.

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Old 02-23-2017, 03:36 AM
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^^^^^This.

Rigorous honesty is at the crux of acceptance; moderation is counter to acceptance that we are truly alcoholics. That's exactly why I am so hardline about the topic and concept.

There is one - ONE- thing I know for certain: the only reason I will drink again is because I am an alcoholic. Bam. Therefore, my job - my only job in life, really- is to do everything within my power (which primarily includes continuously turning my life over to my HP) to never let that fact get any traction in my life and mind that could lead to action (drinking).

Full stop.
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Old 02-23-2017, 03:46 AM
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If I'm honest with myself I never wanted to moderate. I wanted to be a drunk without the consequences
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Old 02-23-2017, 04:51 AM
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I was sober for five years. One evening at a work dinner for a new job and feeling insecure, I drank half a glass of wine. Moderate, no?

Next night at my hotel I drank one mini bottle of champagne. "Moderate" again.

Well the next day I had a screaming hangover all day long, just from that amount.

Three months later I was a daily drinker again.

My body does not like alcohol and at day 419 I like to think I'm finally convinced of that. Moderation to me is like having only a little arsenic, but this particular poison is much slower to kill you.
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Old 02-23-2017, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by MIRecovery View Post
If I'm honest with myself I never wanted to moderate. I wanted to be a drunk without the consequences
Me too. I took me a long time to figure out that was not possible.
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Old 02-23-2017, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by ljc267 View Post
Me too. I took me a long time to figure out that was not possible.
Took me the better part of 25 years and the consequences just kept getting worse and worse
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