There are a number of people leaving AA and other programs meant to help with addiction to seek a “Holy Grail” of sorts. It’s the belief that if you follow a new and different way you will be able to drink in moderation successfully.
What is “Moderate Drinking”?
The scientific community has been doing extensive research concerning this subject and came up with the following definition.
Moderate drinking consists of no more than 3 to 4 “standard” drinks per drinking episode. No more than 9 drinks per week for women and 12-14 per week for men.
A “standard drink” is equal to the following:
- a 12 oz. beer with 5% alcohol
- a 5 oz. glass of wine with 12.5% alcohol
- a 1.5 oz. of 80 proof liquor 40% alcohol
Moderate drinking also takes into account how FAST you drink and keeping your blood alcohol level below .055. (.08 is the DUI/DWI limit in the U.S.)
Supposedly Moderate Drinkers do not drink to get drunk. It states that some heavy drinkers who have had problems related to their drinking can learn how to “moderate” their drinking. Drinkers who have the most success believe that alcoholism is a bad habit and not a disease.
There is a “Chances of Success Test” you can take on the website for free. (moderatedrinking.com)
I did take the test but answered the questions as if I were NOT in remission/sober. They at least gave an honest answer. My results recommended that I abstain from all alcohol use. So much for moderation.
THE NATIONAL EPIDEMIOLOGIC SURVEY ON ALCOHOL AND RELATED CONDITIONS
They have been researching and analyzing data for years. Their recent conclusions? Most “alcoholism” looks less like Leaving Las Vegas and more like your average frat party attendee or work colleague. They also came up with “22” as the average age of onset for alcoholism.
43,000 people were questioned and studied based on the DSM-IV criteria for alcohol dependence. The DSM-IV uses preoccupation with drinking, impaired control over drinking, compulsive drinking, drinking despite physical or psychological harm, tolerance and/or withdrawal symptoms.
There have been some recent findings that are puzzling. I’m not sure how I feel about them. But I will give them anyway.
About 70% of affected persons have a single episode of less than 4 years. The remainder experience an average of 5 episodes. It seems there are two forms of alcohol dependence: time-limited and chronic.
They also found that 20 years after onset of alcohol dependency about 3/4 of individuals are in full recovery. More than half of those who have fully recovered drink at low-risk levels without any problems.
Around 75% of people who recover from alcohol dependence do so without seeking any kind of help including any type of program.
MY VIEWPOINT AS AN ALCOHOLIC
If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, etc. I think you still have to go back to that number one question “Why did I start drinking?”. I think if you don’t you will most likely find yourself in the same situation. Is it possible to manage your drinking? Maybe. Is it worth it to try? I don’t know. I do know that I hurt many people with my drinking. I lost friends because of my drinking and lost friends because I stopped drinking.
I will be honest and say that on my last vacation my Aunt bought me these little Pear/Green Apple wine spritzers. I didn’t look at the can and thought it was soda. I was halfway through when I felt full. I wasn’t eating at the time. I just felt an “ick” feeling. I couldn’t drink anymore of it. I wondered why because I can usually drink a lot of soda. That’s when I looked at the can. I didn’t say anything to her because I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. The only reason I could only drink a little bit of it is because I’m on Topamax. Topamax is one of my mood stabilizers but they also use it for people who drink. Would I have kept drinking if I hadn’t been on that medication? Most likely.
I am one those people who has tried several times in the 20 years I drank to stop drinking with a program or group. It never worked for me. Finding out why I drank and finally being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder is what worked for me. And I do not count my 6 sips of spritzer that I was too stupid to realize was wine spritzer. I still have over 8 years of remission. Hey, I never drank wine in my life. I only drank beer and hard liquor. I remember when we had 100 proof Firewater we would put in the freezer. When you did shots it came out like cold sludge. How did my stomach survive?
I’ve known people that have gone back to drinking after 15-20 years of sobriety. They were dead within a year. Does that mean it would be like that for everyone? I don’t know. I can only say how it would be for me. I have to keep going until I close every bar and drink every last drink in the building before I’m done. So I think I’ll keep doing what I’m doing.