One surprise test done, another big one to come.

I now feel well on my way with my moderation journey and I feel quietly optimistic about my prospects. I am clear in my mind that I do NOT want to give up alcohol which means that in order enjoy it without putting my health and self esteem at risk I need to start changing my habits and behaviour around alcohol. That is going to be a long term process as making changes to long term patterns of behaviour is always notoriously difficult.  

What is also becoming clear to me is that the old dichotomy of alcoholic or abstainer is of little help to me and many others. There is a continuum of alcohol dependency and I see myself as quite different in my alcohol dependency to some of the people I have worked with and also to some of the sober bloggers out there. I completely accept that there are some drinkers who are at that end of the alcohol spectrum who have to go the abstainenance route. Equally there are those who have developed bad habits around alcohol and have alllowed a harmful dependency to develop but who are capable of changing those habits. My motivation to make moderation succeed is that I enjoy drinking alcohol; the change in consciousness, the mellow feelings, the camaraderie, the enjoyment and appreciation of fine beers, wines and spirits. I want to carry on enjoying these and to do so I need to change my habits.

I started this process by recording how much  and when I drink. It has been an important step. I used to drink oblivious to how much I was drinking and developed bad habits of drinking quickly and with  a crazy enthusiasm. Sometimes I was drinking for the wrong reasons. The relationship to alcohol for me and many others is complex. Key to succeeding with moderation will be adopting a vigilance with alcohol, specifically how much I drink and setting limits both in terms of units consumed in any one session and over the course of a week. I’m going to do this gradually and I am going to go easy on myself. The motivation is there so if I fail to meet targets it is because the process is one of gradual change in the right direction over time.

This week I have been very moderate in my drinking, having 4 alcohol free days Sunday to Wednesday. Yesterday I was intending not to drink but a surprise test sprang up. My friend turned up for a quick music rehearsal and very unusually he brought with him a third of a bottle of wine. I was also due to tutor a student later that day. My instinct was to say no thanks but sharing that third of a bottle would mean having one small glass of wine. This could be the test I needed. I hate drinking one glass of wine. My habit is to have one then immediately want a second. But then this is one of the habits I need to change. We drank the wine. It was gorgeous. The alcohol went straight to my brain and I felt that lovely subtle change in consciousness. I monitored myself. I tried to drink slowly. My friend knows my drinking pattern and said to me that he could tell I wanted another glass. It was easy to resist. I had a student coming round in a couple of hours and I never drink just before teaching. This small glass wouldn’t count. We went back inside and rehearsed. That was moderation in practice. One small glass and stop. It was different, felt slightly strange but this is the landscape within which I must now operate. A small unexpected test and I had passed. Later on after my teaching I had an alcohol free beer and recorded my first ever one and a half units of alcohol day, ever!

Tomorrow will be a proper test. A family BBQ at my ex wife’s house with my grown up sons, she with her new husband and me with my girlfriend, coming together to commemorate the 9th anniversary of my middle son’s death from cancer. It would normally have been an ocassion difficult on a number of fronts and I would probably drink excessively. I will drink tomorrow but I shall go with a plan. I will record drinks on my app as I drink them. I will alternate with soft drinks and I will drink slowly. I am fully aware that despite this plan I may just revert to old habits. I’m determined not to, and I am strangely looking forward to the challenge. It seems the right thing to do as well as showing respect for my son. When he was ill, I often didn’t cope well and on one ocassion turned up with a terrible hangover and was sick after a two day feeling sorry for myself bender in London.My son got angry with me and pointed out that he couldn’t do anything about his cancer whereas my “illness” was entirely self inflicted. He pointed out I had the power to make myself well which he did not have. It was humbling and I felt like a jerk. Nine years later I hope I can finally redeem myself.

Any change needs motivation and I think I have found mine.

About dealingwithalcoholdependency

Semi retired professional working in education and social work. Exploring how I became alcohol dependent and hoping I can find a way to moderate rather than abstain. It may be a losing battle but reluctant at this stage to lose this constant companion.
This entry was posted in Alcohol dependency, cutting back on alcohol, moderation, sobriety, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to One surprise test done, another big one to come.

  1. Dana Pescrilo says:

    Keeping positive thoughts for you, you can do this…your son’s, who left your life early, statement to you was very wise. Look forward to your next post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Dana, actually tonight’s a bit of a test, always usually have a drink on a Friday night. Got to challenge those habits and associations!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dana Pescrilo says:

        Friday and Saturday nights are still hard for me, as I want to drink still. For now, I’ve decided to stop, but I struggle with this decision. I think that’s why I find your blog so interesting. I’m hoping you succeed. I hope your evening is lovely.

        Like

      • Tonight was great. My son came up with his girlfriend and because I’m drinking tomorrow I stuck to alcohol free beer. All felt surprisingly ok and I think that’s because tomorrow I get my “reward” of hopefully a moderate day of drinking. Let’s see, big, big test. Good luck for you tomorrow

        Like

  2. habitdone says:

    It’s a process and we are all on our own journeys. You’re identifying things, that’s a huge start! Thinking of you and your family tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your son from cancer 9 years ago.
    I am sending you peaceful wishes tonight.
    xo
    Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dana Pescrilo says:

    Did Saturday night go well?

    Like

  5. Pros and cons if I take the weekend as a whole. Your question is the prompt I need to write about it though. Thanks for the “push”, I needed that. Hopefully you’ll get the full answer within the hour.

    Like

    • Dana Pescrilo says:

      Thanks for the update, great read, but more so your overall attitude being positive. I totally understand where you are at with this whole thing about alcohol. I’m a teeny envious, as I gave up trying to moderate, but what works for one, doesn’t always work for another. I’m okay with my path for now…thanks for asking!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think that you are right there, each person has a different relationship to alcohol and reasons why the drinking maybe got out of hand. For me the issue of alcohol is one aspect of my general lack of self discipline, I tend to do most things excessively so what I am trying to do with alcohol is what I need to do with other aspects of my life; treat myself with more respect, stop abusing my body and my soul, basically regain control. I’m glad a positive message is coming through because I am actually enjoying this process and it is what is right for me. I know some people feel they have to give up completely and when I read the sober blogs, the counting of days, always vigilant, I know that that is not how I want to live. But, what I do need to do is moderate, rein in the excesses.
        Good luck with your journey. Do you keep a blog ?
        Jim x

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  6. Dana Pescrilo says:

    Yes, I do blog. It’s titled No More, https://3440dp.blogspot.com/

    I am still on the fence about giving up alcohol for my entire life! I figure if I can go for a long stretch with no alcohol, I will jump off the fence and stay on the side of No Drinking ever. However, as I’m still fighting with the desire to drink (and yes, in a moderate way) it’s tough going.

    I started an “alcohol” journal April 2015 after an awful night of binge drinking. Then I found sober blogs November 2015, primarily reading “Mummy was a Secret Drinker”. I will say, I did get better with my episodes of binge drinking, and I managed to go alcohol free some days of the week but the bottom line, there were too many times when I “wouldn’t” control it. So I thought, let me start a blog and see if it helps me to quit drinking. It has, for now. Forty-five days and counting. This is the longest I’ve gone without drinking for over a decade!

    As I’ve shared with you, I’m really cheering you on. I want to know someone “can” change their relationship with alcohol for the better. I’m counting on you to be the one!

    Like

    • Hi Dana, it’s a strange old world this blogosphere. For the sober community drink has almost become the enemy and I’m very much embracing the enemy which puts me in a minority niche area. This problem drinking (which I guess we share) intrigues me. I am convinced it’s small part addiction and large part association, learnt behaviour and using drink to disguise bigger problems. Each person has their own unique way these factors interplay in their relationship to alcohol. I have to tell myself that drinking is something I like and value. For me it’s part of the fun of living but the problems are the culture around drinking, the ubiquity of drink, the pressure to drink and the lack of discipline around this incredible but powerful drug. For years I treated alcohol as something That I could throw down my neck without consequences. I behaved like a teenager. So, for me it’s about growing up and realising that if I want to keep alcohol in my life, yes please, then I have to do so with more awareness and control.

      Like

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