Moderating alcohol is every drinker’s dream. It’s the goal we aspire to; the thing we think will fix all alcohol-related woes.
For a long time, I too dreamt of moderating. Just because alcohol was having a bad effect on me, doesn’t mean I didn’t want it to have a place in my life! (I just wanted it to have a slightly less dramatic one).
I remember thinking, 'okay, people say moderating is hard, but I’m different... I'll manage it!' I set out to write lists of all the things I was allowed to drink, when I was allowed to drink them, and why. I thought my plan was foolproof! (Spoiler: it wasn’t).
Moderating is actually very difficult for an abundance of reasons. Drunk me thought she would be the one to crack it – the only heavy drinker to find the sweet spot and stay there. This was far from what actually happened, and instead, the idea of moderation took up a lot of unnecessary space in my brain.
Moderation Ideas I Tried That Didn't Work
(And Instead Just Filled My Head with Clutter)
Only drinking beer
Never drinking before 6pm
Having a maximum of two drinks at a time
Alternating pints of beer with pints of water
Only drinking when I was happy
Only drinking when I ‘needed it’ (AKA when I was sad)
Getting flatmates to hide alcohol from me until I’d ‘earned’ it
Having a glass of wine but only with a meal (and only if it went with the meal)
Only drinking when the sun’s out
Only drinking when the weather’s bad and there’s ‘not much else to do’
Alternating alcoholic drinks with energy drinks
Only drinking on a Friday
Drinking on special occasions
Only drinking on a Saturday
Sometimes going to the gym instead of having a drink
Keeping an alcohol journal
Having a piece of cake instead
Putting off the first drink as long as possible on a night out
Only drinking if I’d taken my dog for a walk
Ringing a friend/family member to ask if tonight’s a good time to drink
... The list goes on.
The truth is, I couldnt moderate
Even when I tried to.
Some people can moderate, and we tend to call them the 'lucky' ones. But actually, I'm glad I couldn't moderate. If I could, I may have never gone sober! Getting sober is the best thing that ever happened to me, and I would hate to deny anyone else that privilege.
If you're experimenting with stints of sobriety and wondering if you should moderate, I totally get it. If you’re up for it, I’d recommend trying 100 days totally alcohol-free so you can see for yourself what full-blown sobriety has to offer.