I’ve been writing about this quite a bit lately because it really seems to be in vogue right now. The really popular notion right now is that just about everyone who was ever “alcohol dependent”, can and does return to responsible, mature and moderate drinking. Whether or not it’s true, the question really is, for some of us, is it worth it? For many like myself, the answer is an unequivocal NO and I’ll tell you why shortly. I mean, I believe in freewill and choice so I think that ultimately anyone can do whatever they are determined to do but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the smart
But first, where did this unquestioned revelation come from? It came from a survey conducted in 1992 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Alcoholism. I’m not a big fan of surveys, especially those conducted by the U.S. Government but I digress. It was pretty extensive
but I have ONE major problem with this one;
It really comes down to who you classify as an alcoholic and what the criteria is for that designation. In this case, they use the American Psychiatric Association’s definition from their diagnostic manual (DSM-IV). This definition holds that an “alcoholic” is anyone who suffered from chronic alcohol-related problems (family, legal, work and health-including increasing use and withdrawal) that they were unable to
OK fine, that’s not a bad definition except is doesn’t address for HOW LONG these people had these problems and I think that is a HUGE factor in determining one’s ability to “moderate” down the line. Also,
the 4500 people in this survey who they felt fit this criteria merely had to do so “at some point in their lives”. Again, when and for how
Why does it matter? Well for one, I think that someone who maybe hit a rough patch in their lives for say a year or two but then figures out the underlying causes or issues that caused them to self-medicate or become dependent, is going to have a much easier time “moderating” then someone who had issues for say a decade or longer.
OK, now the even more important factor, in my opinion, is in determining why those people came to be dependent in the first place. Again, if it’s a situation where over time one’s drinking went from just
being social to out of hand but there were no other underlying issues, learning some discipline and moderation skills is probably quite doable.
Now let me tell you about the people for whom trying to moderate is probably just not WORTH it.
Most people start drinking why? Well because getting buzzed feels good, period. The reasons why people become dependent vary like crazy but there are good number of people who end up becoming dependent because the alcohol does a damn good job of reducing social anxiety, stress or just anxiety in general.
Looking back at my life, I discovered that this was undoubtedly the case for me. So while I think that I probably COULD moderate at this point if I really wanted to I think that eventually it could very easily send me back to dependent use.
Why? Because when I drank, I drank to get buzzed, to get drunk. There was no point in having 2, 3 or even 4 drinks because for me, that wasn’t the point and it never would be. It’s not like I miss the taste that damned much. So in order for me to drink “moderately”, I would have to pace myself, count and all that without receiving the benefit of getting drunk which is why I drank. The whole process of thinking; “Ok, I’ve already had 2, now I only get 1 more, maybe 2, ………or……..You see where that would be going?
It would cause anxiety and stress which is the main reason I became dependent in the first place!!!!!!
So, that’s why I don’t think moderation is a good idea or worth even trying for more than just a few of us who were alcohol dependent for a LONG time.
And here’s the kicker for me………I don’t need it anymore. I’ve learned how to do life without self-medicating. Yes, even though I’ve uncovered, addressed and overcome what I believe were my underlying
issues, it wouldn’t be worth the ANXIETY and STRESS that trying to moderate would inflict on me. I now KNOW ME.
So before you decide that you can or should moderate, I hope that you too KNOW you!
To thy own self be true and whatever path you choose, may you find success, contentment and hopefully happiness.