When I first realized I was drinking more than I should be, I of course decided to moderate. I didn’t have a problem with alcohol, I just needed to drink a little less of it. The idea of never drinking again was terrifying. There was no way I was making this a permanent thing. So, moderation it was! I established rules for myself and was determined to be a normal drinker. Trying to moderate my drinking was probably the hardest thing I ever did and I failed miserably!
5 Ways I Tried To Moderate My Drinking (That Didn’t Work)
Drinking Water Between Wine
I assumed that if I sipped water between my sips of wine I would drink less wine and stay hydrated as well. That didn’t work out so well. What happened instead is I actually ended up mentally giving myself permission to drink MORE because I was “staying hydrated”. I convinced myself I was doing something good here!
Setting Drink Limits
I think everyone who has thought ‘I will just moderate my drinking’ has attempted to limit their number of drinks. For myself it was no more than two glasses of wine. That was pure torture and left me upset. My tolerance from drinking was so high that I didn’t even feel anything from those two glasses. So this rule came with caveats like not on special occasions or not if I was stressed from work. I could always find a reason why it was okay to have more than two glasses.
Setting Time Limits
I tried setting time limits in various ways. I couldn’t drink before 6pm. No drinking after 9pm. I could only drink every other day. What I discovered was that setting limits made me constantly think about alcohol and when I could have my next drink. It also made me really good at drinking really fast so I could squeeze as many drinks as possible into my given time frame. If there had been a drinking race, I would have smoked the competition!
Never Drinking Alone
Have you ever told yourself that you don’t have a drinking problem if you never drink alone? It’s amazing how many ways you can find to justify that. You’re not drinking alone if the kids are home. It’s not drinking alone if you’re at a restaurant because someone else will always be drinking there. You can almost always find a way to not be drinking alone.
The one we all seem to rely on that really doesn’t work at all is willpower. We all feel that we can just willpower our way to drink less. Recent studies show that willpower, which is what you need to turn down a drink, actually functions more like a muscle. It gets fatigued throughout the day. I was using willpower all day at work and then all evening while parenting my kids. By the end of the day my willpower reserves were depleted. I couldn’t use willpower over alcohol because I had already used all my willpower for the day.
Moderation is a moody b**ch!
I thought the decision to moderate my drinking would make me happy. It would be liberating to know that I was only going to have two drinks that day. Boy was I shocked to realize the opposite was true. By attempting to moderate my drinking all my thoughts were focused on alcohol. When could I drink again? How much could I drink? It was like tunnel vision.
I didn’t find freedom from alcohol through moderation. It was more like a prison. When I did decide to systemically break down my beliefs around alcohol and change my mindset around alcohol an amazing thing happened – I could drink as much as I wanted to. It’s been over four years now and I can say that in that time I haven’t wanted to drink at all. Not even one drop. Ever.
Are you tired of failing at trying to moderate your drinking? Start reading This Naked Mind today and see how you can learn to control alcohol!