Reading other blogs out there it is clear that for most alcohol dependent people, reducing is nor really an option. They have tried it and come to a realization that abstinence is the only way forward. I am at the point where I know I have a problem with alcohol but do not want to give up completely. I have this mad, and some would say deluded, idea that I can forge a way of being able to stay friends with alcohol despite alcohol’s controlling and harmful effects on me.
It may well be that I am initially trying the reduction path because, to be honest, it’s not just alcohol that I struggle with, it’s also food. I suppose I am what be classed as an excessive personality and I probably fit the bill of what Freud would say was someone permanently stuck in the oral stage of development. I eat too much, I drink too much, I talk too much. The talking I’m fine with, I talk too much so I went into professions that are based on talking. Perfect. luckily talking too much is not harmful (although friends may disagree). But eating and drinking too much is harmful. I’m 5 ft 8, I weigh nearly 15 stone and I have high blood pressure. You cannot give up food so I have to learn to control my intake, so why not try to do the same with alcohol?
I can pretty much answer that myself. Alcohol has the effect of weakening resolve. I might say to myself,” Ok Jim, remember you are going to the pub but let’s not drink more than 4 pints”. By pint number 2 the little voice is timidly saying ,”ok Jim, time to slow down, remember you said no more than 4 pints,” to which the now invigorated, “no one tells me what to do” Jim answers, “You miserable party pooper, get out of here I’m having a great time with my friends, I’m not listening to this puritanical nonsense, there’s one life and I’m living it.” In defiance , I will rush to the bar and buy a round of beers with a set of whisky chasers, “ha, who’s in charge now!”
That’s what I am up against. So how to control the beast, what’s the plan? Well there is no plan just yet, just some vague intentions. I will try to have at least two alcohol free days a week and I will log what I drink. Not really a great plan. But maybe this blog is my plan. This is the first time I have looked in the mirror of my broken relationship with alcohol and really accepted that there is a problem. Before I can properly plan, I need to look at my drinking, how it started, why and how it became problematic. I need to be honest about what drinking has done for me; the benefits as well as the huge disadvantages. It is a very complex codependent type relationship. It may be that I am like the person who knows deep down they have to end a toxic relationship with their lover but cannot bring themselves do it because the sex is so good.
There we have it; the plan is to have a long, brutally honest look at this relationship I have with alcohol. Unpick it and look at the pluses and negatives and decide if it can be salvaged or if it needs to be ditched for good. At the same time I will try to set some limits and boundaries to my drinking, to wrest back some control. I would be fascinated to hear of others who have tried and succeeded in controlling and reducing their alcohol consumption as well as those who have trod a similar path and concluded that abstinence was the only viable alternative.