Day 30: Responsible Choices

“Alcohol is the anesthesia by which we endure the operation of life.” – George Bernard Shaw

I love to drink. And I like the buzz, the feeling of power that it gives me. I am a big guy; I can drink a lot before it shows. And in the past, I drank whenever I could… And it showed. It was a problem for the people around me; I was a social monster and not properly presentable. Drinking was a hobby for me, a very private joy – and a challenge for those with me who wanted more.

Eventually, with the support of some very patient and caring people at Moderation Management, I got a handle on my drinking and stopped slurping down everything in sight at every occasion. My consumption slowed down, eventually way down. I got married; had a child and a home to support – and was not the Drunk Daddy I could have been. These changes did not occur quickly, but were over the course of years. However, they did happen, and I learned to make responsible choices when I was around alcohol.

Why didn’t I make these choices before? Why did I have to embark on a voyage of self-discovery before I got a handle on my urge to drink everything around me? I don’t know. All I know is that I still love to drink, and I have to be very careful around alcohol to prevent it from being other than a small but insignificant part of life- and not a dominating force. When I expect to be around alcohol, I have to plot out the event like a military campaign beforehand- My “planning” phase. Who I will see. What we will talk about. What I will drink that is alcoholic. What non-alcoholic beverage I will have between drinks. When I will STOP drinking. When I will go home… Things I never thought seriously about (or cared about) when I was drinking without restraint.

This is the 30th day of Dryuary. You have experienced life without alcohol for THIRTY DAYS – What have you learned? Is knowing this obvious? Or is the information you have gained a precious thing that will sustain your soul in the year ahead? We go forward from our Dryuary to a diet that again contains alcohol, and all the challenges that this comes with. You want to be ready for this experience, as you were ready for your Dryuary time.

I have learned a few things in my time managing alcohol; this may help you navigate the world to come. First of all, drinking steadily all night makes my mind go away. (You may have had a similar experience.) So, to keep my reason intact, I don’t drink one alcoholic drink followed by another- I know where that leads! Instead, I drink a non-alcoholic beverage between drinks. This spaces things out, and helps my evening last longer. Of course, I no longer drink all night. One, two, maybe three drinks later I stop. And when I stop, I have a non-alcoholic beverage handy to drink until I leave. (Leaving- another thing I did not do well. Know when to go home.)

What kind of non-alcoholic (N/A) beverage do I enjoy? It can be as simple as tonic or seltzer with a twist of lime, or some other fruit- Looks like a drink; nobody has to know. If available, a shot of POM juice or cranberry with seltzer and a twist is a go-to drink for me. At home, I like vanilla soda with a quarter cup of cider. Want a buzz? Try V8 and a lot of Tabasco. Each day of Dryuary now comes with a N/A beverage (at the bottom of the page); check some of them out and see what you like. And if all else fails- there is plain old water. (Yes, water! It’s free, and it works!) The world is also full of excellent N/A beer, and even N/A wine (1% alcohol does not count); check these out if you need more support.

I love to drink. But I have decided to be a responsible person with my alcohol, instead of a social monster. All the good intentions in the world are meaningless without a plan to succeed. If you want keep your drinking in check it helps to have a plan. A little accommodation goes a long way- and there are rewards.

My son is calling me away; I promised to “help” with his homework. (More moral support than anything else…) I have the respect of my family, and I don’t feel the need to run away and go hide in a bottle. My evenings are not spent getting drunk or being drunk. It was not easy getting to this place- It took work, and time, and lots of experimentation that did not always end well. But in the end becoming a moderate drinker does not return a small compensation – This is a goal worth the effort. And if I could do this, you can too.

Post Submitted By: Kurt S., Moderation Management Member
Suggested NA beverages: The Virgin Mary