I’ve been there and I would hazard a guess you’ve been there too. Trying to moderate your alcohol consumption whether that’s only drinking on a weekend or cutting out ‘spirits’ on a night out. The reality is that it rarely lasts because alcohol is an addictive substance and we crave it when we are happy, sad, mad or tired. You might not consider yourself addicted to alcohol but we do all have an addictive voice which will over-power our good natured ideology of moderating our drinking.
Many people including myself have asked the question after accepting things needed to change with regards to our relationship with booze but unfortunately moderation is rare and the energy put into trying to achieve it does not give you the answers you crave. One of the main reasons why we struggle with moderation is because of the perception that alcohol can benefit us in a variety of ways. In reality this is not the case in the slightest.
I’m not saying that most of society have a drink problem (I’d define a drink problem as alcohol is interfering with your day to day life) but if I asked most of society to give up drink I’d wager that most wouldn’t be able to abstain for long. What do you think?
Here in Britain we see a figure of around 25% mentioned a lot by various sources as the success rate of people who successfully complete a year of sobriety but this figure is generally derived from the likes of Alcoholics Anonymous, the NHS, and departments within the UK Government. It’s also referring to those who have been accessing treatment or recovery programmes. What about Dave or Sue who have never had ‘problems’ with the drink but have made the decision to give it up. Are they more or less likely to maintain long term abstinence than the 25%?
In my experience, No. The demographic I can offer you probably isn’t the best as it’s based around my age group (30-36 year olds) and is made up of both men and women who I work with, friends, family and friends of friends who have acknowledged that alcohol isn’t good for them and decide ‘moderation’ is needed. When you press for more detail in what they mean by ‘moderation’ that is the common issue. There is no plan. There is no long term goal and the benefits of drinking less haven’t been rubber stamped. Let’s be honest, they don’t want to give up the boozing they just want to ditch the blackouts and the hangovers.
People will say they need to have a break or cut down after a heavy weekend on the drink, a booze filled holiday, an overindulgent Christmas (Dry January ring any bells?) or where they’ve been involved in a drunken incident such as a fight, accident or maybe cheating on a partner. They are reacting to the feelings they are enduring from consuming alcohol so naturally they will want to stop drinking at the ‘shit’ end of the cycle. The buzz and fuzz that alcohol brings has now gone and you’re hungover, skint, anxious and trying to patch up all of those blanks from the night before.
I don’t need to tell anybody reading this who is in recovery how this plays out. We’ve been there time and time again. We are now in the minority of western society who have been previous users but are now long term refusers of consuming substances which alter our rational way of thinking and provide zero benefits to our body and mind. I would be interested to understand if anybody reading this who has asked the question of themselves around moderation / giving up agree with my simplistic view of the masses who drink but want the golden ticket of moderation too.