Recently, I told a friend that I have decided to stop drinking. Her response was very similar to the responses I’ve gotten in the past. I get surprised looks. They say they never thought I had a problem with alcohol. Everyone has been supportive. However, almost everyone has said something along the lines of “well can’t you just moderate? just have one? set a limit for the evening and stick to it?” These are great questions but they have one answer…
I can’t. I have tried. I have been trying ever since I started drinking thirteen years ago. I have been struggling for years to keep alcohol in my life even though it’s been tearing it apart. I’ve tried to keep it in my life by controlling it but I can’t, it has always controlled me.
Here’s what would happen to me when I tried to moderate. I wouldn’t drink all week because I had work, went to the gym, was saving those calories for the weekend etc. Then Friday arrives and I have plans. Go out for drinks, dinner, a show at The Bluebird. I’s say to myself before leaving my apartment “You can have 4 drinks tonight, that’s enough to catch a buzz but not too many where you’ll end up blacking out”. Or I would decide on a dollar amount I could spend and then that’s it. Except there’s a huge problem with this. I was trying to control my consumption of a substance that when consumed impairs your judgment and self control. I would get to that fourth drink (usually a beer) and not want to stop. If four drinks makes me feel this good then eight will make me feel even better! Why would I want to stop drinking now after four drinks? I want this feeling to last the whole night.
Then that would be it. The four drink rule has been abandoned and I’m free to drink however much I please.
There’s so much inner struggle that went on in my head that I never shared with anyone. I would debate with myself constantly over whether or not I could get another drink. Is anyone noticing how fast I’m drinking? Is anyone else ready to get another? Do I have enough money? If I go big tonight I can cut back the rest of the weekend and take it easy the next. It was a constant stream of justifications and arguments with myself. I’m surprised I even socialized with anyone while I was out because I was so busy with myself in my own head.
So that is why I can’t have just one. It’s too hard for m to do. Even when I was able to do it I was miserable. For me the only option right now is to eliminate alcohol from my life completely.
I’m really happy about that decision.