Why Moderation is a Terrible Idea

Moderation

I had recently confessed that I had considered moderation once I reached a year of sobriety.

I decided against the notion when I realized how much effort and discomfort the process of introducing alcohol back into my life would produce.

I will be the first to admit that moderation and I are a terrible combination. In almost every facet of my life, I am plagued with an “all or nothing” attitude.

Structured dieting.

I have spent much of my adult life attempting to moderate my eating habits through programs like Weight Watchers or simply counting calories. These diets have crashed and burned every time due to a single detail:

I cannot easily control myself.

If I give myself the permission to have a slice of pizza when I know in my heart that it might not be the smartest idea, I will spiral into a bed of Hostess snack cake wrappers by the end of the evening.

Cutting back on caffeine.

Every time I decide to get squirrel-y and make caffeine off limits, I become a ravenous energy drink hoarder. Although, hoarding might not be the correct term in this case because I will drink them like water.

Dastardly quantities of coffee, Red bull and 5 Hour Energy shots.

Sticking to a budget.

Okay, so I have X amount of dollars that needs to last me until next payday. I am going to be careful to allot enough money for groceries, gas, and the occasional snack at work….

Two days later, I will have blown the money I set aside for snacks PLUS half of my grocery budget on…well…energy drinks and beef jerky. Quite possibly the two most expensive items in a convenience store.

The point is, I don’t like to say no to myself.

It took me three hundred and sixty five days to get to a point where I have said no to alcohol enough times, that I don’t feel the urge to say yes anymore.

Why would I want to ruin that progress by allowing alcohol a space in my life again?

If I were to use every example up until this point to predict the outcome of moderation, I would not just stumble around my sobriety, I would steamroll over it.

The question of moderation is a common one among newly sober individuals. There is a desire to control yourself while still enjoying the social benefits of drinking…

but I urge you to continue along your sober journey if this thought process still applies to you.

I would venture to say that it wasn’t until I realized that there are no true benefits to drinking that I was able to make the conscious decision to avoid attempting moderation.

Keep plugging along.
You’ve got this!

How do YOU Celebrate When You’re Sober?

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This is a legitimate question…
A question that has become my “white whale” in sobriety.
I have yet to find a comparable solution.

The easy and most unimaginative answer is food.
If a celebration is not marked by bottles of champagne, it will definitely be defined by cakes and steaks.

Food isn’t good enough.
I already use every day events as an excuse to eat good food.

There will always be something to celebrate.

Your friend just got a new boyfriend and now it’s time to celebrate! Your coworkers want a “ladies night”. You just got a raise and now you want to go blow some cash. Somebody just got  ____   to   ____   and they want to share it with the world.

From major life events to surviving a bad day at work, it is always a good idea to have an arsenal of options ready to go.

Pajama Party

Invite a few of your closest girl friends over for a night of debauchery of the childish nature. Pajamas are a requirement and Disney movie sing a longs are highly encouraged. Built blanket forts and paint your nails.

It is always great to socialize in the comfort of your own living room.

Bowling Night

Go for a solid crowd pleaser.
There is enough stimulation in a bowling alley that will keep you distracted, while allowing your friends an opportunity to imbibe if they choose without too much awkwardness.

This is especially true in a large, mixed company, group.

Tennis

Bonus points if you are really bad at it.

I bought a couple of tennis rackets and balls from Walmart a few years back for about $30 (less than you would spend on a single fancy dinner) and I haven’t looked back.
I never once played the game in any sort of serious manner.

It usually turns into a hot mess of ball chasing and belly laughs.

Make a drastic change to your hair

When I finally landed my big girl job, I went and chopped my hair off into a pixie cut. It can be exhilarating and fun to make a big change and punctuate a new chapter in your life.

 

As you can see, this list is not entirely exhaustive. But it is effective.

We need your help and creativity to come up with ways to thoroughly enjoy a good celebration without feeling slighted. It takes some adjustment to life without alcohol, and for many, it takes time to feel purely comfortable and enjoy yourself in a group or a crowd.

So tell us, what are some of the ways you have celebrated major events in your life during your sobriety?

What a Year Without Alcohol has Taught me

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Do you want the honest truth?

Being sober can suck.
People can be really insensitive and more often than not, I can’t seem to find anything to do with myself on a Friday night.

But it isn’t all terrible.

I have learned quite about about myself during the last 365 days.

I am not a ticking time bomb.

Apparently.

Some people will treat me as overly fragile once the words “I don’t drink” escape my lips. I leave myself open to a windfall of judgement when I am among acquaintances that may have once known me to be a person who likes to let loose. Fortunately, people will sometimes keep it to themselves. More often than not, however, the conversation will move on and no one will have even thought anything of it.

Honestly…most people do not really seem to care. Those that do, are itching for the gossip. I’ve found that the further into my sobriety journey I get, the more I’m willing to dish.

I am a spoiled brat.

Alcohol has definitely affected my emotional coping skills over the years and now that it no longer has a place in my life, I am left to deal with a few unsavory character flaws.

I take things too personally. Frequently.
This feature was often amplified if I had been drinking.
Without the excuse of having “one too many”, I am now forced to actually witness the process of me centering myself in the universe while cursing an unfavorable situation.

I am better at “adulting”.

It has its perks.

I am a bit more financially aware, actively working towards managing my weight, and I have suddenly become obsessed with painting my nails a different color every two days.

More importantly, I am giving myself the attention I deserve.

I have no desire to attempt moderation.

If I am being honest, I will admit to having considered moderation after I reached a year of sobriety. I was convinced that I would have to try it in order to know if I had a “legitimate problem”.

I am aware of that absurdity.

Here is what I do know. If the urge strikes to drink, I know it is not because I feel left out, or I want to relax, or any of the reasons we tell ourselves we deserve a drink. It will be because I want to feel the altered state…and that is the reddest of red flags.

I don’t know about you, but moderation just sounds like it would require way too much

Terrible risk versus reward ratio.

I am a jack of all trades, but master of none.

I have become quite creative with my downtime.

I have spent the last year learning, creating, doing, exploring…
This has not yet revealed any hidden talents or marketable skills.

…yet.

I am still having fun.

I wish that I could say that I no longer get dressed to the nines to sing terrible versions of karaoke songs in front of a crowded bar, but then I would be lying.

 

“I do not condone putting yourself in potentially
triggering situations. Know your limits and stay where
you are comfortable.”

 

 

All in all, the experience has been a good one.

The initial awkwardness and bitterness has worn off and living a life without alcohol has become the standard and it is no longer strange to me. After some trial and error, I’ve become a bit more comfortable in my new reality and…dare I say…it feels pretty normal.

Share with us where you are in your journey (if you want to).
Are you still making the decision to cut alcohol out of your life for good?
Do you have a decade under your belt? We’d love to hear your insight.

What are some of the things you’ve learned about yourself once you kicked alcohol to the curb?