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View Full Version : Splitting hairs: Am I moderating, or do I just drink occasionally?



Kid Shelleen
April 4th, 2009, 10:20 AM
I'm going to wade into this subject and then edit it as I go along today.
You can comment or not, but this isn't the finished product.

Is there a difference between occasional drinking
and "moderation"
and do we care?

The term "moderation" likely comes to us from Moderation Management,
one of the earlier proponents of drinking moderately,
as opposed to total abstinence;
a belief that is gaining acceptance and popularity in addiction control circles.

Moderation is defined by the individual.
It can mean anything from damage control (harm minimizatioin)
which is basically drinking less than the amount that usually gets you in trouble or is harming your body;
to enjoying alcohol on a regular basis in "normal" quantities (again,subjective);
to hardly ever drinking but leaving the door open to imbibe in certain situations.

Lately, we've split into another group we are calling "occasional drinkers".
It would seem that the term "occasional drinking" would also be defined by the individual
and would therefore be redundant.
It IS redundant;
but one can see why the person who has a drink on birthdays, Christmas, and New Years
would want to separate themselves from the person who has one glass of wine with every dinner,
even though both are "moderating" their intake, yes?

The goal of both groups (if there indeed ARE two groups) is to normalize our drinking.
Ingesting a "normal" amount of alcohol is an achievable goal.
We can emulate or copy the way a normal person drinks.
What we ALL have to keep in mind, is that we will never actually BE normal.
If you want to have alcohol in your life, you can;
and you don't need to dwell on it any more than a diabetic has to keep an eye on his blood sugar;
but we must always be vigilant.
Even problem drinkers who choose to abstain must be vigilant,
so don't worry about being overburdened with thought as a Modder.
I have seen people who had previously abstained for 20 years
come in by ambulance in a near alcoholic coma
accompanied by a crying and confused spouse.
A problem drinker will always have that potential whether moderating, abstaining or "drinking occasionally".
Sorry, that's just the way it is.
We will always have to be vigilant.
So does it matter what we call ourselves? No...
Call yourself whatever you want.

I'm already drinking less than I did when I first started "Modding".
Soon I will be drinking less than that.
Will I then be a moderate drinker or an occasional drinker?
That's splitting hairs.
Maybe I'll start a third group called "normalizers"...
Whatever you do; if you choose to keep and enjoy alcohol in your life;
have a plan and be safe...
Cheers,
~Kid~

Boss.man
April 4th, 2009, 10:33 AM
I think you hit on a number of good points.

For me, the question is "What is 'normal'" as my body adjusts to a vastly different habit than before?

And I read yesterday a link that indicated that most people who are AF for five years do not relapse after that. Hmmm, 5 years to "normalcy". That's an interesting concept.

I'm afraid I still have more questions than answers, and my path is swervy at best.

Eve11
April 5th, 2009, 11:30 AM
Kid,
Determinator wrote this story on his blog and I got his permission to cut and paste it here. Fabulous story and fabulous answer to your question.

Enjoy!
****
TRAPPED ON AN ELEVATOR

Feel like you are trapped on an elevator?
Posted 08-07-2008 at 05:35 PM by Determinator

Once upon a time a monkey was wondering through the jungle during a storm and came across an old partially demolished building. Inside the building was an elevator that provided refuge from the storm. The monkey climbed in and didn't notice the doors slowly closing.

When the monkey woke up from a heavy sleep he looked around in horror to a world very frightening and small and alone. He beat on the walls and screamed in panic but no help came. He pleaded and cried and continued to beat on the walls for a seeming eternity.

One day the monkey beat on the walls so much that he fell on the floor in a heap, exhausted, beat and in total submission to his state of torment. The monkey didn't realize it, but this state of mind combined with it's deep breathing opened up a bridge between his conscious and subconscious mind. He then noticed the very low sound of monkeys outside telling him to press the button. At first he put up his fists and said defiantly "I am a monkey and I beat things open!!" but then recalled the seeming eternity he'd spent in that terrible place. The monkey, his fists lowered...looked ahead and there right in front of his face was a little glowing button. He pressed the button and the elevator doors opened without effort.

Neo looked puzzled and asked the Oracle "so what is the button that the monkey pressed?
what is it labeled?
acceptance? surrender? awakening? what is it?"

The Oracle smiled and replied: "Neo, it's just a damn button. why does it need a name"?

Hugs,
Eve11
p.s. To me, it is what it is, I'm not going to get hung up on the semantics. Hopefully can curb my drinking, drink less than I was, never have a "drunken" episode again and whether you call me a moderator, minimalist, harm reducer, whatever you choose... the words don't really matter...the action does!

Saint Jude
April 9th, 2009, 03:22 PM
:thanks: I love that monkey analogy.

I can see myself banging my fists all too many times (hopefully) in the past....;)

Sunbeam
April 9th, 2009, 03:59 PM
Kid, thanks for this post.

I started the occasional drinking thing because after my AF time, when I wanted to moderate, I could not find anyone at this very moderate level to offer me support. I started a thread "one drink per month", and no one said, "Yes, that's what I do". Several said, "nah, won't work." I currently drink more than that monthly glass, and have the potential to go overboard, though only if I drink more often than once in a week. I am convinced that I would be going over my limits way more often if I drank more frequently. Stopping at two glasses is still difficult for me, so mostly I don't drink, because that is easier. My perception is that most moderators, while setting their own acceptable levels, drink multiple days in a week. I know I can't do that on a long term basis, I will not be in control. So I just want this idea to be out there. It really wasn't my intention to start a different group per se. So yes, it is splitting hairs, but I would like to support people going this direction. Kid, you are finding your own path, and could join mine perhaps, but it will still be your own path.

Sweaty Betty
April 10th, 2009, 04:17 AM
Very quickly, there are definitely differences for me.

in MY head moderating allows for alcohol at home, in front of the tv etc (but not alone). Occasional drinking does not, its for 'occasions'.

I think the differences are really just semantics, just words, as long as you are working on 'your way out' its ok any way.

Bxx

gyco
April 10th, 2009, 06:54 AM
hi kid,the big thing is your taking time to realise where the product can take you,i beleive all the answers that have been posted are good ones,you have to be happy in your body,and thought,have a wonderful weekend,ps i applaud you for being so honest gyco

mooderator
April 10th, 2009, 11:34 AM
Hi Everyone,

I am speaking as someone who is still in my self imposed AF phase (48 days of 54). So, I am not yet sure how I will progress, but at this stage I am pretty certain it does not need to and therefore will not be total abstinence. Thus, I have to try and see how I go.

I take one point that you made Kid and wholeheartedly agree with it, which is that it is really only a matter of semantics.

The site is loosely divided into those of us who can/wish to have some al in our lives and those who cannot/chose not to have any. For the former cateogory such as ourselves there is then (as I see it) this further choice, as clearly defined above. Those who perhaps seek to drink sensibly, but more frequently and those who elect the less often and probably as a result (on an occasion) option. In between these two points, there will be a full spectrum of inbetweens too.

Personally I find the idea of drinking less often and on a "fun" occasion option more appealing than the "have a glass of wine with TV or ordinary meal option". I think this will be more "for me". I know myself and I know my previous triggers and therefore I only want AL to be something I am involved with "on fun/social occasions". I am not a person who has ever drunk alone.

I think prior to this AF time I would have said the opposite as the idea of going long stints in between drinks was more scary. Now I find a life without it is perfectly acceptable and and am not therefore concerned to have it regularly in my life. That said i will still look forward to being able to have 2 or 3 drinks when I am on holiday or a special night out or Xmas.

I think it is a good idea for us to discuss the various different ways we can mod to me this is what its all about. It helps to reach decisions and goals. I dont think its about separation, rather than ideas on the same theme.

Thats my tuppence worth

Love to All, Moo

Sunbeam
April 11th, 2009, 12:40 PM
On another thread regarding "what is moderation", I said that this is a continuum, with AF at one end and unlimited drinking at the other end. We each need to find our own place on that continuum without trying to impose those standards on others. That is my intent, but also to promote the end closer to AF as another choice to be considered.

Kid Shelleen
April 11th, 2009, 01:05 PM
I'm with you Sunbeam...

I used to really be able to DRINK...
Now,as I'm cutting back,
I still don't feel so hot for a day or two
even though I drink much less,
and much less often!
I hope this means I'm getting healthier
and that my body is telling me how poisonous AL is
and to remember to always take it easy!
~Kid~

Evie.Lou
April 11th, 2009, 01:31 PM
Doesn't matter much what you call it KID !!!!
I see a big change in you and YES I think you are really GETTING HEALTHY....Way to go !!!
Keep on Keeping on...you are finding your own way...GOOD FOR YOU !!!

Kid Shelleen
April 11th, 2009, 01:50 PM
Thanks Evie!!!

I appreciate the encouragement from our "resident exclamatory Swedish Princess in training"..;)
Thanks for noticing!
~Kid~

Evie.Lou;590783 wrote: !!!!
I see a big change in you and YES I think you are really GETTING HEALTHY....Way to go !!!
!!!

nancy
April 11th, 2009, 03:25 PM
I think it makes sense that if you have had a problem, you must always be vigilant and that the less you have probably the better. After all, it would only take one slip to make a mess of your life though people are often lucky for years.

I like the idea of occasional drinking but for me, special occasions wouldn't work. Often, those are times where the booze is free-flowing and people are pouring you more drinks and encouraging you to drink. For me, that is a danger zone. Also, there are lots of people around to witness it and you could risk ruining a special occasion.

Saint Jude
April 11th, 2009, 03:41 PM
I've found for me, my "danger zone" is when I'm pissed off or hurt...
I really need to be SUPER VIGILANT!!:confused:

Still working on that one...

I do have a temper, that seems to bring out the worst in me. It takes quite a bit to piss me off,... but push me too far, and never friggin mind...
You'd better not be on the recieving end...

Maybe I need "Anger Management", more than alcohol treatment... They do seem to go hand in hand, though.
Probably more like a hormone thing.

I'm having some major issues @ work... "Some people are like slinkies,...not much good for anything, but you can't help but smile when push them down the stairs";)

Sometimes just a pleasant thought, is all I need to get me through the day.:H

Hope everybody's having a great weekend!
Hugs,
Judie

nancy
April 11th, 2009, 04:40 PM
Jude

I think dealing with emotions is a big problem for a lot of us. My current theory (I am no doctor though) is that you have these emotional issues, start turning to alcohol for help, then your brain gets into a pattern of response that you have a hard time escaping.

Sunbeam
April 11th, 2009, 04:46 PM
Kid,
I am thrilled to have you joining me on the lesser alcohol end of the continuum. I kinda think alcohol is a little poisonous, has the potential for causing great damage. I have refrained from including you in my club, because you will be the one to decide this for yourself. But I do believe you are making a good, very healthy choice, both physically and emotionally. Perhaps more emotionally. Alcohol has already done too much damage in my life.

Nancy,
If you wanted to drink occasionally but not socially, when would that be? What would be the occasion? Maybe that could work for you, we are all so different, but I'm having a hard time seeing that picture.

nancy
April 11th, 2009, 06:32 PM
Hey Sunbeam,

What I mean is drinking occasionally and socially but not for special occasions, like weddings, where the booze is free-flowing!

Like you might drink occasionally and with a meal and a set amount, like sharing a bottle of wine with a friend over a meal.

Sunbeam
April 11th, 2009, 07:51 PM
Hi Nancy,
That does make sense to me, is pretty much what I do (duh)! I occasionally have wine with a couple of friends or my husband. I somehow thought you were occasionally going to have some wine alone. That drinking alone is a bad formula for me! I think people at public occasions do notice how much I drink, so in many ways I would prefer to be AF in those settings.

Sunbeam
April 12th, 2009, 08:00 AM
Kid, thanks again for giving me a reason for thinking about this more. For me, the difference between occasional drinking and moderate drinking, as I perceive moderating is usually done, is that with occasional drinking, having a drink is not usually underconsideration. Most of the time it is off the table, I do not wake up each morning wondering if today I can have a drink or not, nor eagerly anticipating the next weekend so I can drink again. It is not any longer about the drink, it is about the planned occasion, which I do anticipate.

Sprockets
May 9th, 2009, 09:26 AM
I Sooooo want to do this!

It seems the best thing to do;
cutting way back.
I would be thrilled to be a successful Modder but how AMAZING
if I could really cut back
and be an OCCASIONAL DRINKER.
I love these threads;
there is so much to think about!
Peace,
Sprockets



Kid Shelleen;586349 wrote: I'm going to wade into this subject and then edit it as I go along today.
You can comment or not, but this isn't the finished product.

Is there a difference between occasional drinking
and "moderation"
and do we care?

The term "moderation" likely comes to us from Moderation Management,
one of the earlier proponents of drinking moderately,
as opposed to total abstinence;
a belief that is gaining acceptance and popularity in addiction control circles.

Moderation is defined by the individual.
It can mean anything from damage control (harm minimizatioin)
which is basically drinking less than the amount that usually gets you in trouble or is harming your body;
to enjoying alcohol on a regular basis in "normal" quantities (again,subjective);
to hardly ever drinking but leaving the door open to imbibe in certain situations.

Lately, we've split into another group we are calling "occasional drinkers".
It would seem that the term "occasional drinking" would also be defined by the individual
and would therefore be redundant.
It IS redundant;
but one can see why the person who has a drink on birthdays, Christmas, and New Years
would want to separate themselves from the person who has one glass of wine with every dinner,
even though both are "moderating" their intake, yes?

The goal of both groups (if there indeed ARE two groups) is to normalize our drinking.
Ingesting a "normal" amount of alcohol is an achievable goal.
We can emulate or copy the way a normal person drinks.
What we ALL have to keep in mind, is that we will never actually BE normal.
If you want to have alcohol in your life, you can;
and you don't need to dwell on it any more than a diabetic has to keep an eye on his blood sugar;
but we must always be vigilant.
Even problem drinkers who choose to abstain must be vigilant,
so don't worry about being overburdened with thought as a Modder.
I have seen people who had previously abstained for 20 years
come in by ambulance in a near alcoholic coma
accompanied by a crying and confused spouse.
A problem drinker will always have that potential whether moderating, abstaining or "drinking occasionally".
Sorry, that's just the way it is.
We will always have to be vigilant.
So does it matter what we call ourselves? No...
Call yourself whatever you want.

I'm already drinking less than I did when I first started "Modding".
Soon I will be drinking less than that.
Will I then be a moderate drinker or an occasional drinker?
That's splitting hairs.
Maybe I'll start a third group called "normalizers"...
Whatever you do; if you choose to keep and enjoy alcohol in your life;
have a plan and be safe...
Cheers,
~Kid~

Eve11
May 9th, 2009, 12:52 PM
Thanks Sprocket for bumping this thread. I replied to it quite a while back and am here again 5/09.

For me although I've been drinking more moderately I've also continued to drink most week-end nights (Friday and Saturday) so this would not be occasional drinking. Occasional for me would be to get off of the Fri/Sat ritual and then occasionally or every once in a while I would have a drink on a night when I'm having a nice dinner out and don't work the next day.

I'm just not there yet although I'm doing a lot better with moderating and have been keeping my drinks to just one or more no than two.

Eve11