For me, being a moderate drinker is possible, even after years of struggling with alcohol addiction. Enjoying a few drinks only now and again is something I never thought I could do. Yet here I am, after over a year of effort and self-discipline (and plenty of self-defeat) I find myself able to have just on or two glasses of wine – or none at all – in a social occasion.
I was a daily drinker for over two decades. I carved my days around when I could get my hands on first of many cold glasses of wine. Now, I can get through the day without the white-knuckling at 5:00 p.m. I can go to a party and drink sparkling water without feeling anxious. I can go to a concert or sporting event and have one beer, and leave it at that. I can be around others who imbibe in their normal fashion without judging their behavior or secretly monitoring how much they’re drinking.
Since becoming a moderate drinker, my productivity in general and my mental and physical health have improved drastically.
This change didn’t happen overnight. It took a lot of soul-searching, trial and error, and the sort of brutal honesty with myself I hadn’t allowed myself in years.
Best perk of all is that I am a “morning person” now and can wake up with a clear head and good intentions that actually have a chance in the world.
What is also helping me work through moderation is the belief that any attempt to get at the root of one’s addiction must take into account how chemicals behave in the brain. After reading more on this subject, I realize that for me, recovery and change are not dependent upon some internal struggle with moral failure and the surrender of my will to a higher power. For me, the gradual but substantial reduction of alcohol restored the normal functioning of my brain.
By starving it from its regular hit every day at the same time, my brain recovered. Was it hard? Did I “fail” on some days? For sure. I still struggle. But I am able to keep going – and still have a drink or two now and again – without reverting back to my daily habit of drinking way too much.
Check out my ebook, No More Waiting: A Story of Moderation after Decades of Drinking if you want to learn more about how I became a moderate drinker and overcame my daily dependence on alcohol and recovered my true self.