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Old 09-10-2005, 08:36 AM   #1 (permalink)
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cutting back???


Hello friends. I am a heavy drinker who is trying to cut back. This website is my first attempt at seeking support. When I say I want to cut back, I mean I've gotten to the point where I can "get by" on 4 drinks a day (and often the last one is a double). I realize I have a major dependency, and at this point, I have trouble imagining quitting altoghether. I have this hope that I can get it under control enough to be a social drinker again.

Part of my problem is that my whole life revolves around alcohol, and my has been successful. I own a successful restaurant/bar. I have a draft beer fridge at home. My wife drinks moderatly-heavy as well, but she doesn't have as many "binges" as I do.

At the height of my alcoholism, I was drinking first thing in the morning...and then drinking all day. Right now, I've gotten to the point where I have one drink at 3pm, one at 9pm, one at 11pm and one at 1am. I have trouble sleeping, and this feels like a strange form of torture.

My hope is to get it down to 3 drinks a day, as my next step....without falling off the wagon.

When I fall off the wagon, it happens like this: That drink I have at 1am turns into 2, then 3, then 4....into oblivion. I wake up in a haze, and I've been physicaly ill. This "falling off the wagon" is a weekly occurance for me, and I have trouble controlling it. It seems to be my way of dealing with stress.

My question is this: Does anybody go from being a heavy drinker, to a light or social drinker? The impression I'm getting is that most others manage to get it under control only by quitting. I'm not sure I'm ready to quit, yet.

What do you folks think? If I'm not at the right place here, can anybody point me in the right direction?
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Old 09-10-2005, 08:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi Chip and welcome!
Though I know it wouldn't work for me I have seen a few around here that has managed to do what your suggesting. I don't see them back often so I can't say how it's working. I've know a couple of people who were able to maintain that way of drinking but eventually it escalated at some point. You may want to check out this link on moderation management and see if it helps.. on top they have pull down menu's you can use to see if it's an option for you.
http://moderation.org/Questionnaire.shtml
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Old 09-10-2005, 09:23 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome to SR chip!
i tried to control my drinkin', sometimes i could, most times i couldn't. I just had to quit altogether
keep coming back here, lots have been in your shoes and will share their experience, strength and hope.
you're not alone, you don't have to drink. Detoxing sucks, i know, but once i get through it, life is better sober.
hugs, Wendy
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Old 09-10-2005, 09:39 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Wow,...........
In your post you DID use the phrase "in the height of my ALCOHOLISM..."

Does this mean you are admitting you are an alcoholic? Because WOW,...it sure sounds like you are. Drinking is ruling your life. I mean,...you have set times you "allow" yourself to have a drink. Do you really ever think you can get to a point where you will view drinking as social drinkers do? If, by some miracle, you can drink LIKE social drinkers do, you will be a social drinker on the outside only. People will look at you and see a guy who maybe only had a couple of drinks just like the rest of the group at a gathering,....but, inside,... you will be KILLING yourself to stay at just those few drinks. You will never be able to drink like non-alcoholics if you ARE an alcoholic. Ive been where you are,......it cannot be done. Sobriety is great. Trust me,....you WILL lose that non-ability to see a life without drinking. The "want" for alcohol does lift. That was the biggest thing that prevented me from accepting that I had a problem. I couldnt envision a life without drinking. I just couldnt see how I could possibly go without alcohol. Three weeks into treatment,....I didnt even WANT it. And at four weeks,...I didnt even THINK about drinking or alcohol unless I was at a meeting talking about it. Life is so much happier without booze. I can be for you too. You have a problem. Stop trying to do the impossible. Stop torturing yourself.
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Old 09-10-2005, 10:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Hi Chip....do you black out? Do you wake up the next morning (blackout or not) with the shakes, where you need a drink to chill enuf to eat, drive, write a check?
The easiest way to get your drinking under control is to quit cold turkey. If you need medical detox and/or rehab you'll know. If you do then get it if at all possible.
My experience is you don't or can't go from being somebody who drinks in the AM to being clean and sober unless you quit entirely. It's a very hard thing to do but if you think you can.... try an experiment; try not drinking or drugging anything for a month. If you make it a month, then make it 2. It won't be easy. Going to AA helps. You can learn skills at AA to help you avoid drinking and get yourself back on track. You can help yourself get over any dependence on booze. Good luck.
God bless
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Old 09-10-2005, 11:36 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you so much for your replies!

I went to the link Chy recommended, and my score on the depencecy test shows that I have a high dependency. I admit, I am an alchoholic. Earlybird really hit the nail on the head for many of the things I know about myself.

I do want to try moderation for now. My reasoning for this is that I feel like I need to take steps. I can't stop all at once, and I cannot commit to rehab.

4 drinks a day is still too much, and my "schedule" shows that I do work it into my day. Part of me thinks it would be best to be free altogether from this burden. I'm trying to put off my first drink of the day today, and I'm paying close attention to how I feel about this. I must totaly stop binge drinking, and I don't want to get drunk anymore. My goal for the time being is to continue at 4 a day, eliminate drunkeness, and work toward 3 a day.

Jack, I don't think I could do the experiment you suggest at this point.

I will not achieve a goal of "moderate drinker" untill I can get it down to 2 a day, or 12-14 a week. When I get there, I think I will be better prepared to decide on abstinence or not. When I get there, if it's still torture...I WILL QUIT!
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Old 09-10-2005, 11:49 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Welcome ....

Chip....I once tried to limit my drinking to 2 glasses of Medoc.
After much shopping I found a huge baloon glass.

My 2 glasses were almost a full bottle!

I tried all sorts of wacky actions to be in control.

I had to quit....depression was making me miserable.

Try and see if you can do moderation.
I could not.

Keep in touch...Great to see a new member.
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Old 09-10-2005, 05:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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If you were a "normal" drinker,....and you stumbled upon this site and read chips post you'd think,.."Wow,..thats totally crazy"

If you have to put THAT much effort and thought into something like this,....you will NEVER be able to drink in moderation as others do.
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Old 09-10-2005, 05:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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...just remember chip, doesn't matter what we say or think it's what you know and decide for yourself.. you've got our support in whatever you decide.
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Old 09-10-2005, 05:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chip
Right now, I've gotten to the point where I have one drink at 3pm, one at 9pm, one at 11pm and one at 1am. I have trouble sleeping, and this feels like a strange form of torture.
Hey Chip--Welcome to SR! I am sorry you are having such a hard time. The part of what you posted that I quoted above pretty much sums up why it had to be all or nothing for me. I was at the point where all I seemed to think about was drinking. When I wasn't drinking, I was thinking about my next drink. Once I had a drink, all I could think about was when I could have the next one. The sad part is that I really didn't realize how much the alcohol was ruling my life until I quit completely.

I am curious--why would you want to continue drinking this way if it is making you so miserable? One of my favorite quotes from the AA a big book goes something like this, "When I controlled my drinking, I couldn't enjoy it. When I enjoyed my drinking, I couldn't control it." That was me to a tee. It sounds like it could be you, too.

More than anything, I want you to know how much I appreciate the effort you have made to admit you have a problem and to come here and ask for help. That is a very difficult thing to do. I hope you will continue to ask for help and be able to find some peace and serenity in your life....

Hugs to you!
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Old 09-10-2005, 06:10 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by CarolD
I tried all sorts of wacky actions to be in control.
I tried to use an eggtimer to pace myself :saywhat?:

Would love to hear other's wacky attempts to control themselves!

Chip, I would guess, and I may be assuming, that you've already tried "moderation". I know I did a few dozen times before I searched for ways to do it successfully and that's how I wound up here in all my abstaining glory LOL.
Quote:
Right now, I've gotten to the point where I have one drink at 3pm, one at 9pm, one at 11pm and one at 1am. I have trouble sleeping, and this feels like a strange form of torture.
You ain't kiddin'. Not drinking, trust me, is far less painful than having one every three hours. Enemies would use that to get info out of me if I were captured.

Let us know how it works out, we'll be 'round.
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Old 09-10-2005, 06:33 PM   #12 (permalink)
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at one time i thought i could do the same with my drugs and my cigarettes. i never could control any of them, they always ended up controling me. also, at one time i started to look forward way too much to having drinks and almost ended up like you, chip, with the booze too. you are just kidding yourself if you think that you can control any type of substance that has an altering affect and a tolerance building affect on the brain and nervous system. you can not control substances that you will need ever increasing doses of to keep up the effect that you desire. lower amounts will only keep you sick and feeling rotten, you will need the higher amounts to get a buzz or feel well (this is due to tolerance which changes the structure and function of your brain). you might as well get on all fours and practice chasing your tail because this is what you will be doing if you continue to use the drug alcohol, which, by the way, effects the same receptors in the brain as benzodiazepines like valium does and has the same nasty withdrawal profile too (seizures).


i quit all my silly drug using and attempted control behaviors (nicotine included) and i am so damn lucky and happy that i did. one is too many and one thousand is never enough.

alcohol causes brain damage and the more and the longer you drink then the more and worse the brain damage.
http://chemcases.com/alcohol/alc-07.htm
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Old 09-10-2005, 07:37 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Well, you admitted you are an alcoholic. I don't know of any alcoholics who can go back to drinking socially...

From the Big Book:
"The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker."

I tried every way possible to control it. But when I controlled my drinking, I couldn't enjoy it, and when I was enjoying my drinking, I couldn't control it...

Best advice I could give you would be to go to AA, and don't drink... then find a sponsor, and start working the steps...

Ken
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Old 09-10-2005, 09:38 PM   #14 (permalink)
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You may be right, Early Bird. The fact that I've gone this far in my struggle indicates that I'm not a normal drinker.
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Old 09-10-2005, 09:41 PM   #15 (permalink)
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So many of you have given me some good advice. Thank you. For now, I will take it day by day. If I'm like you all, I too will find that moderation doesn't work. Honestly, I've never really tried moderation because my patterns of drinking have always been excessive.

Right now, I'm working on being honest with myself.
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Old 09-10-2005, 11:16 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Good Luck Chip on the moderate drinking attempt.

My only advice is to get rid of the draft beer fridge at your house or at least don't keep it stocked. What a temptation that would be for me when I was drinking!

There would be no need to leave the house or get up for that matter if it was near the recliner.
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Old 09-10-2005, 11:57 PM   #17 (permalink)
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It sounds as if you have a well thought out plan. One problem I can see is this:

Quote:
When I fall off the wagon, it happens like this: That drink I have at 1am turns into 2, then 3, then 4....into oblivion. I wake up in a haze, and I've been physicaly ill. This "falling off the wagon" is a weekly occurance for me, and I have trouble controlling it.
I appreciate your honesty, but it appears as if moderation will not work or you would have put it into effect long before. You could certainly continue with your plan and see for yourself whether you can go from excessive to moderate. I hate to put a damper on your plans, but I'm afraid I already know the outcome. I've seen it before. I hope for your sake you prove me wrong. Good luck and keep us posted. And Chip...after your experiment, if your looking for help, we will be here.
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Old 09-11-2005, 09:30 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Hey Chip,
I too tried to controll my drinking. I kept my booze at my office so I couldn't drink it all at home in the evening. I ended up drinking in my office. I read somewhere "If you try to controll your drinking, you've already lost controll." That hit me like a ton of bricks. I wish you luck in whatever you do.
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Old 09-11-2005, 01:31 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by chip
So many of you have given me some good advice. Thank you. For now, I will take it day by day. If I'm like you all, I too will find that moderation doesn't work. Honestly, I've never really tried moderation because my patterns of drinking have always been excessive.

Right now, I'm working on being honest with myself.
chip

D E N I A L


Its a very BIG six letter word. You seem to be on the fence. You seem to know you shouldnt drink anymore, but you still WANT to drink. You also keep using the word "moderation". Once you cross that line from normal social drinker to heavy, problem, alcoholic drinker,....its all over. There is no going back to moderation. Thats like saying "Im going to try and be 12 years old again". Its gone,...over,...cant go back. You cant have the problem with booze you have and be a social drinker. I mean,...its like swallowing a case of Ex-Lax and trying to only poop a little.

You seem to not be able to see what is right in front of you. For instance, you know that your third drink will be at 11pm. Doesnt it occur to you that if you were to ask a social drinker what time his or her third drink will be at, they'd look at you funny and go "huh??" They couldnt answer that. They wouldnt know HOW to answer that. They dont think about stuff like that. You have set times you drink. That means you set aside time to drink. Its THAT important to you. That is a problem. You also said in one of your posts that you dont have time or cant commit to treatment or detox.
If your doctor said to you "Chip,..you have cancer,....if you dont get treatments, you only have 4 months to live,....but if you do get treatment, I can guarantee you atleast 10 more years",...you would suddenly have time to commit Im thinking. The problem most drunks have is that they dont associate death with this disease. You are essentially saying that you dont have time to save your own life. Is your job more important than your family? Or your health? Or your life??? This WILL kill you. It doesnt discriminate. Its cunning, baffling, and powerful. This disease is the only one that TELLS you, that you dont have a problem when you really have a HUGE one. I just cannot believe that you have yourself believing that social drinkers have 4 or 5 drinks A DAY !!! They dont. They might have 4 or 5 a month !! MIGHT !!
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Old 09-12-2005, 10:43 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Thank you, kind souls, for speaking with me about this issue. I appreciate the canid honesty here, and I'm sure glad I found this site.

In this thread, I made a plan, and this is the end of day 5. I downloaded some "tools" from the "moderation.org" site, which chy recommended. I've been keeping track of my drinks, and I havn't broken my "rules" yet. The moderation program calls for 30 days of abstinence BEFORE starting. I am not stong enough to do the 30 days of abstinence. Instead, I'm focused on cutting back. Yes, this could be a indicator of a HUGE problem, as Earlybird speaks of. I admitted that I'm an alchololic earlier, and I have a very complex and close relationship to alcohol. Yes, I cannot deny that I need help. No, I cannot stop 100%, and continue to lead the life I lead. I think I would be "out of commission"for some time if I where to do that. I am the "boss" of a small company, and I cannot show weakness.

I wouldn't be here if I didn't need help, but this is by no means a low point for me with regards to alcohol abuse. Several years ago, I was homeless. Sometime ago, I used to drink 12 to 18 drinks A DAY!!!!! My current goal of 4 a day is only obtainable now, after years and years of "cutting back". I think I'm on the right track, but....this is a big BUT.....I need to eliminate drunkness and hangovers altogether!!!!

The big question here is....Why not quit %100, and completely abstain?

As I said earlier, I don't feel strong enough to abstain at this point. My reasoning with this whole moderation stragedy is: If the moderation thing doesn't work out....then at least I will have choked my demon enough that it will be weak when I attack it with abstinence. If I eventually work down to 2 drinks a day, and maintain that for a while....if I quit cold turkey from that, I may not have as much of a hard time. If I were to suddenly quit altogether, cold turkey, my body/mind would revolte. I wouldn't be able function, and I am a high functioning individual.

Does any of this make sense to anyone? Many kind folks here tell me to JUST QUIT! I feel my situation is complex, and quiting would jepordize my postion in my community....seriously....If I were to go into rehab, it would hurt my career. Alcohol + Drinking have never hurt my career. In fact, I've built up quite a nice life based on selling alcohol, and I live very well. My income has increased the most during the years which I have drank the heaviest....go figure. I started trying to "control" things, once I hit a peak. I have made major accomplishments in this struggle before coming to this website.

The last battle in this war, is to eliminate drukness and hangovers. I'm here to do that. If my moderation stragedy doesn't work....then I will try abstinence.

For now, I'm keeping my maximimum drink level rule, avoid getting drunk, and keeping my BAC below the legal limit at all times. It's been 5 days since I started this, and although it is a challenge.....right now....I feel I can succed at this challenge without "feeling weird".

One more thing...this whole business of "thinking too much" about drinking, "planning around drinking" etc..... I think everyone here is "obsessed", abstainiee or not. For the time being, I choose to be obsessed with when I take my "ration" of drink (which I enjoy greatly). Like most of you, if I abstained, I'd be obsessed with going to meetings and giving other people advice. Alcohol would still "rule" my life. This isn't meant to be confrontational, it just is how I would obsess over alcohol if I abstained.
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