“Surely one drink won’t hurt?”
The thought pops into your head from nowhere.
Now you’re thinking about trying to moderate and wondering whether it’s a good idea. Just one drink sounds so harmless. So normal… so reasonable.
You’ll just have one and leave it there. Or maybe two small glasses. But definitely no more than that, right?
If this internal battle sounds familiar, you probably already know, deep down, that moderation rarely ends well for you. But that doesn’t stop you from thinking about it. Or trying it, again and again.
If you’re toying with the idea of having ‘just one glass’ tonight, read on…
Trying To Moderate? 10 Things You’ll Need To Be Ok With First:
1. Spending ages coming up with a plan you’ll later ignore
If you’re trying to moderate, you’ll need to start by enthusiastically creating some rules for yourself. Google advice on how to cut down and remind yourself of all the tips you’ve read a hundred times before. Convince yourself that this time, you really will alternate every alcoholic drink with water.
2. Regularly breaking your promises
Moderation is so hard, you will inevitably break some of the commitments you make to yourself. You’ll need to be comfortable with this happening on a regular basis. Alternatively, you can move the goalposts and ease the pain of going back on your word by finding creative ways around your own rules. E.g. Is it really drinking alone if the dog’s at home?
3. Knowing that moderation is a full time job
What are you going to drink? When? Where? How much? Are you sure? Do you have enough supplies? Where are you going to get more? Has anyone noticed? These questions aren’t going to answer themselves. Moderation gobbles up time, energy and brainspace, so make sure you’re prepared for this.
4. Finding a range of stores to shop from
Is the person on the till giving you a funny look because they can remember what you bought yesterday, or is it just your imagination? Who knows. Make life easier for yourself by selecting 3 or 4 shops you can pop into on rotation, and pretend you’re there spontaneously.
5. Learning a lot about wine
Nothing signals ‘sophisticated, moderate drinker’ like someone who knows their way around a wine menu. Personally, I used to be happy drinking any old thing (especially after a few glasses) but it’s never good to be caught buying the cheap stuff.
6. Starting your day early. Very early.
Alcohol interferes with your sleep cycle, even in small amounts. It’s frustrating to wake up in the early hours, hungover and exhausted, yet somehow unable to sleep. Keep a pile of good books by your bed to help pass the time. Plus some water and painkillers, of course.
7. Getting to know other heavy drinkers
When you’re trying to moderate, you’ll find yourself drawn to other people who also drink a lot. You feel good around them and your drinking seems normal compared to theirs. The downside? A drinking buddy is not the same as a true friend, and you may end up losing touch with people who genuinely care about you.
8. Low self esteem
Here’s a secret: ‘normal’ drinkers get addicted to alcohol. (I wrote more about that here). Struggling to control a mind-bending drug is not a big deal, nor is it a personal failing. But when you’re in the middle of the moderation dance, you won’t be able to recognise this. Your self esteem will take a pounding and you’ll wonder, ‘what’s wrong with me’? (Answer: nothing)
9. Setting regular tests for yourself
This is an important part of keeping the moderation magic going. Every now and then you will need to take a week off. Or if you can stand it, a whole month. Then you know – and everyone else knows – that alcohol is definitely NOT a problem for you and there is absolutely nothing at all to worry about.
10. Be comfortable lying to yourself
Occasionally you’ll catch yourself wondering if you should quit completely. Might it be easier? Would it make you happier? When those pesky thoughts creep in, remind yourself that you’re enjoying the best of both worlds right now. You’re fine. People like you don’t quit drinking, right?! Right. You’re just having a bad day. You’re happy with things as they are. Honestly. This. Is. FINE.
If you’d like some help to stop drinking and create an alcohol-free life you love, click here for details of my online course.