ALCOHOLISM, MODERATION, ABSTINENCE, AND WHAT’S POSSIBLE

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.alcoholism-1

 

About darie73

I have lived with Bipolar Disorder since my early teens. I have lived with Social Anxiety Disorder for even longer. I self-medicated with alcohol for over 20 years, that's how long it took to get a diagnosis. I'm open and honest about my mental health so hopefully one day the system will change. View all posts by darie73

17 responses to “ALCOHOLISM, MODERATION, ABSTINENCE, AND WHAT’S POSSIBLE

  • chainbreakercorporation

    Very informative! thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Rob

    You never cease to amaze me. This post is on point and I’m with you in terms of how I drank and what it did to people around me. Moderated drinking is to me fool’s gold. A lie that will end up blowing up in the faces of the practioners. Anyway, another shining example of your bright mind at work

    Liked by 2 people

  • ToadieOdie

    My dad was one that drank heavy and hard on the weekends back when I was little. Right up until I was around 14 or 15. It was a Jekyll and Hyde thing with him. People say this man could drink himself sober. That’s the kind of drinker he was and you never saw it coming. He would be fine, fine, fine, and then BAM. He was gone. The blackout hit. That’s when he would say and do really nasty shit. Apparently his father was worse. He died before my parents met. One day my dad got like this in front of my grandmother after he retired from the Air Force. She just looked at him – cornered him with THAT eye – and said “you are becoming just like your father” and that was it. My father was done. He never drank like that again. Ever. No rehab. Nothing. He has had shots with me twice once I was old enough but I think it was his way of measuring my control but even then he didn’t lose control – and that was back in my 20’s. He doesn’t drink at all now. He never said why he drank but based on the bits and pieces here and there, my guess it started with social anxiety. My father is a very reserved and controlled man. I see many people view him as a “wet blanket” or intimidating more often than not. So I think he drank to get past that but there was a line he always crossed. There is a reason that people in my family need to have that strict self control. We have a devastating temper that should never be allowed to run rampant. My dad did tell me once that he decided that we are more important to him than pleasing a crowd and fitting in. There were other things he had to work on after that, but I’m proud of him and the progress he’s made.

    And I’m proud of you too. I want you to know that. I know it isn’t easy. I’ve watched my dad take a lot of shit for making the decision to walk away from it. Family members giving him shit. Lack of support and lack of understanding. It’s complete bullshit. My own mother resented – still does – the fact it was his mother that got him to quit drinking and not her. She refuses to see that he chose her over the alcohol. All she sees is that someone else made him realize that she is the most important thing in his life. I will never understand the broken, twisted logic that surrounds addiction other than it exists. And reading your posts, I know that you have been hit with that same kind of bullshit. It’s hard but you’ve come a long way. That is something to be proud of. Don’t let anyone rob you of that. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • darie73

      Thank you so much! My dad and sister don’t talk about my drinking at all. They never say anything positive about my not drinking anymore even though they both know how difficult it’s been. My father drank because he is socially awkward. He isn’t a big talker but when he has something to say it’s something that’s been well thought out. My mother spoke for him for many years. He quit drinking for us. He had a tendency to fight and lose his car places. He started drinking when he joined the Navy at 17 and quit when he was 37. He did it on his own which is probably why he’s grumpy. He’s just now dealing with his anxiety at 73. If I could install a Klonopin dispenser I would. lol

      Liked by 1 person

    • ToadieOdie

      Damn. A part of me wants to say “What is it with military men?” but I know better than that. The better question is “What is it with the world that we must need a military that alters people like this?” I mean I didn’t even serve in the military – just grew up in it – and it altered me too. Do you know how many times I’ve been asked which branch I’ve served in? The behavior has been trained into me since birth and it’s never gone away. I do not have to wonder why these men and women struggle when they return to civilian life. There may be more of a reason behind our fathers drinking than just social anxiety. Or maybe the anxiety exists because there is no space here for them as civilians. I know that ever since my father retired I’ve struggled with that personally. People do not behave the same outside the military. The sense of community is lost. The sense of etiquette is lost. There is a lot of things lost in becoming a civilian and they aren’t given anything to fill that void. People meet my family now and do not understand what they are looking at unless they have a military background. That’s how deeply rooted this is for us. People think that you can just go and come back and everything will be fine but that’s never how it is. It becomes a legacy and it needs to be honored. I wish more people took all of this into consideration when they looked at things like addiction and alcohol. Just like what we were talking before with the music industry. Too many people just do not understand and do not know what it means to be supportive. Hell I’m not sure if I know other than I have seen what didn’t work for my father. And as someone with Bipolar I know what isn’t helpful for me. So all I can say is I’m here and I’m listening. And I’m cheering for you. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • darie73

      My father’s problems started before the Navy. He was the oldest of 8 children. They lived on farm land and his father died at 53. His father was 16 years older than his mother so this left her to provide for 9 children. He spent most of his time alone or taking care of the younger children. Much like my mother. He always, always, would rather be with his animals. It amazes me the knowledge he has of animals. He is self taught having quit school around the same time my mom did, the 7th or 8th grade. It could’ve been earlier. I am so proud of him when a Veterinarian will call him for answers to a problem with a bird when my dad never graduated high school. But I will never get “I’m proud of you for not drinking”. Because in his head it’s something that’s a given. It isn’t something that should be rewarded. My sister’s husband get’s a cake, cookie, or donut for every week, month, 6 months of sobriety. He can be forgiven. Not me. Someone said the other day I should write a book with the crazy family I have. I told them Oprah would have to come out of retirement and Jerry Springer would have to referee.

      Liked by 1 person

    • ToadieOdie

      I hear that. My father hates hearing that psychosis runs deep in our family but all you have to do is pay attention at the family reunions with a clinical eye and you’ll see it. I think he doesn’t see it because really it’s our normal. But no, I never hear praise from him either. Not getting bitched at IS praise with him. It means you didn’t mess up and you got it right.

      Liked by 1 person

    • darie73

      As my father becomes older and since losing my mom he DOES show way more emotion than he ever did. We kind of kept how close I came to dying when my kidneys failed from him. When he found out he was devastated and has changed some since then too. Deep inside he’s filled with love, he was never shown how to express it. They were never touched, hugged, or told they were loved. My mom FORCED him to do these things and it made him a better man. But to still be a work in progress at 73 is exhausting for all of us.

      Liked by 1 person

    • ToadieOdie

      My dad is in his 60’s and he’s slowly getting better at it – verbally. But the physical expression not so much, but then I’m not one for that either. Mom says I’m just like him. I suppose in many ways I am.

      Liked by 1 person

    • darie73

      I hate when someone says “you’re just like so and so” I never know how to take it. My ex sister in law used to say “you’re just like your brother” all the time. When I was young I thought it was a compliment. NOPE! Last time she said it the conversation didn’t go well for her. I am unable to defend myself but when it comes to someone I love people should run. lol

      Like

    • ToadieOdie

      My mother doesn’t say it as a compliment but it pisses her off that I take it with pride. If that makes any sense? It’s a weird sort of dynamic that goes on there that I wish would go away but I suppose it never will.

      Liked by 1 person

    • darie73

      Ex sister in law invited herself over last night when I was putting away groceries and dad was sleeping. She always does this. I was proud of myself. I was polite and kept it civil.

      Liked by 1 person

    • ToadieOdie

      If she is an ex, why does she keep coming around?

      Liked by 1 person

    • darie73

      She thinks she’s entitled. She gave my parents 3 grandchildren and “put up with” my brother for years. Most of my mom’s side of the family side with her against my brother because they don’t know the truth about everything. They sure as hell are not going to listen to me so I’ve learned to stay quiet.

      Like

    • ToadieOdie

      Oh one of those. (cue eye roll? yes I think so…) Got to love those kinds of people. =/

      Liked by 1 person

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