Moderation Madness

Most of my early drinking was done out with people, with friends or at work events. After I became a mom I started buying wine for the house. In the beginning, the bottles would last a few days. After my second the wine in the house started to get harder to keep in stock. We would pick up a case at Costco and they’d disappear within a few days. So then we stopped buying wine for the house. That lasted a week, then the boxed wine made more sense to buy. No one could see the amount I was drinking.

Rules

Over time more rules came up, just don’t drink during the week. Drink only half a bottle of wine per day. The amount of time I spent trying to be a normal drinker was incredibly time-consuming and soul-sucking. I just wanted to be like everyone else. How was it that everyone else had a handle on this? Why do I have to struggle with this while everyone else seems to be normal? For several years I was able to think I had it under control. Sometimes it was fine, but then I’d overdo it and blackout.

An Impossible Task

Trying to moderate a substance that is addictive once you are abusing it is nearly impossible. Some people might be able to go back to having a normal relationship with it but that is not likely for most of the population. The reason why it doesn’t work is that our decision-making happens in our prefrontal cortex. Alcohol can impact this part of your brain and that makes it very difficult to stick to those rules. Not only does it make decision-making hard, but it is also where our inhibitions live and where all those stupid things we said and did can get tainted. While alcohol is slowing down all these very important functions, we then start relying on the lower levels of our brain functions and that’s when the immediate reward impulse comes in. This all makes it nearly impossible to quit.

Not worth it

Once we start to abstain or manage to cut back on the booze the brain can start to repair. There is a switch that happens, and we start to wonder why we put ourselves through such hell for a poisonous substance. This doesn’t happen overnight and can take time. Once our brain has time to see the benefits of abstaining and how ridiculous the mental gymnastics were during our drinking days, real change begins.

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