Why Moderation Has Not Worked For Me.

Oh Dear. Just summoned up the courage to look at my last post. What a sorry state to get into. I feel embarrassed by it’s juvenile, self indulgent melancholia. Part of me wants to delete the rambling, incoherent nonsense but I’ll keep it for the time being to remind myself of a state I do not want to revisit any time soon. Strip away the nonsense and bad language (apologies for that) and I suppose there is existential pain that I’m sure many people feel from time to time. I want to say to myself’ “Jim, get a grip.”

The most interesting thing about yesterday was how a perfectly innocent little Sunday turned into a fully fledged solo binge drinking session. It sums up why I need to stop. Yesterday was crying out for moderation, it shoukld have been the norm, there was no reason or excuse for excess.

Context. I went for a walk to get some groceries with my partner. Our village has no shop so we walked across the fields to a nearby village. It was sunny and by the river people were sitting outside the pub enjoying a convivial, lazy, family Sunday. I noticed the cold drinks, the creamy pints of Guiness, cold lagers, clinking glasses full of lemony G and Ts. I fancied a drink. I guess I’m not alone in the way I manipulate situations just to get a drink, but I am good at it. My partner just wanted to get the shopping so suggesting a drink probably wouldn’t work. Too obvious. Instead I spied an empty bench near the pub by the river. I became the wily fox disguised as gentleman, “Hey, why dont you sit down here and I’ll get the shopping, no need for two of us to go to the shop.”

I get to the shop, quickly buy the food and spy an offer- free beers with certain BBQ foods. Perfect. I put the beers in my basket. I also find a small can of beer but which is very strong in alcohol. Looks insignificant but packs a punch, again, perfect. The plan needs a really nice drink for my partner- an expensive smoothie. I top it off with some snacks. Hey we are having a picnic. I go back to the bench and say I bought some drinks and snacks.

It works, my partner thinks this is nice. I’ve had to turn my desire for a drink into a picnic but its succeeded. The small can does its trick. I feel at peace. I feel the love all around the place, people enjoying the sunshine. Ah this is great I think, only alcohol can give me this moment of blissful surrender. But of course I want more I open one of the bottles and then another. I know I can’t drink more without bringing attention to myself, but the damage is done. All I want to do now is drink more.

We get home and I start the BBQ as I want to try out some recipes prior to the big family BBQ this coming Sunday. Again this is an event I have organised mainly for the purpose of enabling me to have my last big drink with my sons although no one knows this is my plan. Back to the BBQ. I’m alone outside and the garage is full of beer and wine. No need to hide or disguise the bottles and I suddenly find myself opening beers, and, come time to eat, I open a fine bottle of cold rose.

My partner has a small amount of wine in her glass but doesn’t even finish that. I do finish it as well as the rest of the bottle. She says I am a bit squiffy. I already feel bad about drinking so much when there’s absolutely no call for it. We go to watch a film and I immediately fall asleep. Not fair on my partner but then drinking is a pretty selfish enterprise. Somewhere in all this , I must have gone upstairs and written last night’s post.

Today I had a hangover and met the guys I play football with. Within minutes I sprained my thigh and had to pull out of playing. What a wreck. What a mess.

Yesterday should have been perfect for moderation. A beer by the river and a glas of wine with the food would have been just right, but no, I had to drink by my reckoning around 20 units of alcohol or the equivalent of two bottles of wine. Now this isn’t a daily occurence but it does sometimes happen, too frequently. I spent two years trying moderation. I logged every drink, counted units. Moderation was hard work. I tried to make sure I had at least 2 or 3 alcohol free days every week and I managed to keep my drink down to an average of 45-50 units a week. (the UK guidelines say a safe level is no more than 14 units a week.) I was fairly happy with 50 units a week, the trouble was I’d drink those units over a few nights at the weekend. Sober during the week, pissed at weekends. Not really moderation is it?

And it is my fault. I chose to drink heavily from a young age. It’s caught up with me now and has started to control me which I hate. I regret letting this happen as I know I’m about to give up something that has been impotant in my life for a long time and it’s not just the alcohol, it’s all that goes with it; beer festivals, pints with mates, drinking and opening up to friends, cosy evenings in snug country pubs. Lot’s to miss. A way of life.

But there are moments where we have to make big choices and this, for me is one of those times.I’m more than just a drinker. This blog has a focus but it can distort. There is more to me than just my drinking. I tutor students, I run drama workshops , I play music; I’m a therapist and I volunteer for a national charity . These are the things that bring real meaning to my life and drink is beginning to sap my energy and take me away from these things, so stop it must.

In my next posts I want to start focussing on the positives of my decision. I’ll be losing some things but I’ll be gaining so much more, as my three months earlier this year without alcohol showed me. In my countdown to giving up there needs to be a shift from loss and regret to hope and anticipation. There will be massive benefits to giving up alcohol and that needs to become my focus.

Finally I’d like to say a massive thank you to all the bloggers out there who I have been following and whose stories are so inspirational. Reading them makes me realise that not only is sobriety possible, thepotential benefits makes it desirable.

Sorry for the long post today. I know there are a few readers and thanks for the helpful comments. This blog is helping me clarify a few things.

Thanks for stopping by.

Jim

2 thoughts on “Why Moderation Has Not Worked For Me.

  1. ceponatia

    Don’t blame yourself for becoming an alcoholic. I’ve learned that it’s virtually inevitable for those of us it afflicts. It was just the right combination of genetics and environment in our lives to throw a switch. You can choose to stop, though, and it sounds like you have a pretty good plan to. Don’t feel too embarrassed about the post, Lord knows I’ve been there more than a few hundred times!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. sobrietytree

    I absolutely love your blog. Thanks for sharing this, am having hard times near the five month mark and your perspective from the wanting to give it up point of view reminds me of how I felt five months ago, which is too easy to forget. Really helpful, again also with the blogging shame notes, I haven’t read your other post yet but I have this awful post-blogging shame so often. I know it’s common yet it feels very lonely, this helps me feel less alone.

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