I joined a discussion group this week about ‘mindful drinking’; rules to join noted the group is aimed at those who want to stop drinking, or drink moderately.
Why did I join? I guess I thought there’d be a community to share ideas for staying sober – and maybe some great ideas for tasty alcohol-free drinks.
I stayed in the group about three days. It was a serious eye opener for me.
I am fairly confident no one who is a moderate drinker joins this type of group. Only people who recognize they are having problems with alcohol join. My heart went out to each and every poster. Who am I to sit judgement? My experience during my brief stay there is about ME not THEM.
There was a common theme running through every discussion. A groundhog day theme. And if I was to be brutally honest – a delusional theme too. (Oh believe me, I have those delusional thoughts too!)
It was sobering to read searingly honest posts from people detailing how they started out the evening with moderation in mind, and how it completely went off the rails. And in great detail how it went off the rails! I felt hungover reading the posts!
All dreamed of drinking — magically dialled back to moderate. So many wrote about stringing a few sober days together – with the view that would give them the power to return to moderate drinking.
It made me so very grateful for stringing together 469 consecutive days of sobriety. I do not take it for granted.
I get it, and I wish moderate drinking was possible for me too. But I’ve come to firmly believe once you’ve hit the ‘problem drinker’ stage, you’ve driven past moderation. You can’t back up and start again at moderation. Your ‘enough’ lever no longer works.
I’ve been through many Day Ones. I can’t tell you how many times leading up to this current long run I’d wake up in the morning and say, okay that’s it! I’d march my unopened bottles over to the sink and pour them out in a grand ceremonial manner. I’d feel so good and so right about my decision. And then, 3pm would creep around. The urges would start. By 5pm I’d race to the off-license, buy a couple bottles of wine, grab some salty cheesy snacks, and get back to the sanctity of my home. I’d open the first bottle and feel both relief and guilt in one merging emotion as I poured the first of many drinks.
I have to truly accept I can no longer drink in moderation. Am I there yet in accepting my ‘enough’ lever no longer works? No, I am not! I still harbor dreams of sitting out on the patio this summer with an ice cold glass of chablis in hand. I still dream that I’ll have just one perfectly formed unit (100ml) of wine for the evening. That alone makes me realize I can’t drink moderately. Plus I would hate to end my long run of these Day Ones now strung together without interruption.