Moderation or Abstinence?
.Today I am talking about the struggle of control in relation to the option of giving up alcohol all together or trying to moderate or cut down how much you drink.
Let me tell you a little about my story with alcohol. I only admitted to myself fully just over a year ago that I had a problem and the problem had to stop. I was so done with hangovers, and not enjoying being with my children when I was like that, and what sort of mum was I if I was doing that? A whole lot of shame could be found there. I stopped drinking completely for a couple of months. It wasn’t easy but I did it. I became very aware of the things that made me feel I want to drink. And because of that awareness, and ability to put it into perspective and say no, I thought I was OK, and strong enough to deal.
Then I thought I could go back to just having the odd drink - with friends, or to celebrate something, (Yes, some of you know - it is that voice inside that is so sneaky! So subtle, so persuasive.) It made it so much harder to maintain what I could view as sensible- normal. And what is normal drinking when you look at our culture? When you watch tv or films there seems to always be drinking involved. So I’ve researched this and stopped again. Why make such a struggle over alcohol. It was such a familiar thing to turn to, the warm inner hug that then turns into wasted time, damage to health both physical and mental - the negatives that come with not being able to limit to one glass totally outweigh the positive of temporary gratification. Alcohol is a depressant, and alters your brain chemistry - this sounds like boring technical stuff, but the truth is that your personality changes for the better when you stop. You feel so much more joy about just getting up in the morning, doing the daily stuff. Then your friends respond around you in a better way. Happy attracts happy! Guess what the bitchy sarcastic drinker attracts?! Trying to go for moderation is just such hard work. So much mental energy is spent trying to keep control. You constantly look to see how much wine is left in the glass. You look at the bottle, and think oh, just a tiny bit more would be nice - it won’t matter. No one is watching… or your friend says ‘here, let me buy you another…’ and if you say no, you are boring, a killjoy, You know, I think it made me think more about drinking that I did when I decided to not have any. Because there was no decision to be made, no halfway options. You know, there is a finite number of decisions you can make in a day, before you struggle to be decisive. So at the end of the day, after 1 or 2 drinks, good decision making skills are a guaranteed fail really. In fact I learnt this thing about decision making in relation to the habits of successful people - the top successful people limit the amount of trivial decisions they make so that they can use their decision powers most effectively on things that matter. Which explains why they have the same morning routines, same breakfast, fitness routine, same choice of clothing etc so they don’t have to waste thinking about that sort of stuff.
So Then the alcohol kicks the mood and you feel the resolve to limit the drink go out the window. That Voice - you know the one, seems far more persuasive and worth listening to…
Then there is the feeling of deprivation. That feeling of lack when you tell yourself you can’t, you mustn't, it’s not allowed. The fact that many people drink because we are lacking something, makes it worse. Double lack. Unmet emotional needs and ‘trying’ to drink less actually can lead to catastrophic binges (often under the excuse ‘I’m celebrating… it is friday, or I got the kids to school on time, or some small win that actually would have been celebrated just as well by posting some emoji filled thing on Facebook.
When you stop, become teetotal, sober, abstaining, you become free. That sense of lack actually lessens, and being sober, saying no, drinking is just not an option, you find other much more fulfilling things to involve yourself with. No more wasted time, wasted days feeling ill. No more obsessive thoughts about the drink, about hiding the evidence, about lying to close friends or family and feeling guilty. You wake in the morning feeling proud of yourself for feeling so alive! So ready to cope with whatever comes, and really embrace being you. At first that old identity gets scared. What if there is no me if I don’t go out and get blasted? What if I’m boring? I promise you, you are not boring, you just need to find your new focus - and you will find it.
You will feel so much more alive, and make your life have meaning and purpose every day.
Part of the science of addiction is the strength of the neural connections that do the same job over and over seemingly hardwired in your brain. By not completely breaking the habit of drinking, those neural connections stay strong and the new habit you want to make - the connections are much weaker. It is like building muscles when you keep taking the day off from the gym. You need to do the workout, every day. Not just 3 days a week.
So do I choose moderation, a social drinker? What do you think?
It is a choice. No one can make that choice for you but yourself. I still have that voice in my head that tells me that one drink will be fine, and that going out with friends and joining them for one is fine… but the next thing I know, I will be hoofing it round Tesco with a couple of bottles, thinking - it’s the weekend! Who cares?
Then when do you stop? How do you stop… the obsession just starts all over and is just as hard as it was before to stop.
So I stopped.
And that is why my 12 week program Resolve Helps you leave alcohol behind, permanently, resolving the underlying issues, get your life back and feel calm, in control and a lot happier.
Does any of that struggle sound familiar? Are you experiencing this and want help? If you are, what I’ve done is open up a few spaces in my calendar for a free private special hour long discovery call, so we can spend some time together and I can understand what is going on and share some powerful steps you can use to get back control in your life and leave alcohol behind.
If you would like to stop drinking, feel in control and free and live a more positive life, get yourself booked in. What I’ll do is pop the link in here: https://beckyboothappointments.as.me/RESOLVEdiscovery , and you can choose a day and time, and we’ll explore the situation a little bit more.