Day 26: My Real Tool Box – Preparing for Moderation

It is essential to have good tools, but it is also essential that the tools should be used in the right way.

Wallace D. Wattles

As we near the end of Dryuary 2022, many of us are thinking about ways to prepare to start drinking again, while maintaining healthier boundaries on our alcohol consumption. This post is from a previous Dryuary, and it is so helpful in setting us up for successful moderation, so we thought it was important to re-publish it.

I was thinking about my toolbox the other day, my real toolbox that is, and comparing it to my moderation toolbox.  I hauled the real toolbox up from the basement; it’s a hard plastic case with a flip-up latch.  I unlatched the box and took the tools out one by one, thinking of how each one could relate to my favorite moderation tools.  

Here they are, with the first five tools being most important for my own moderation plan:

Hammer – Counting and tracking my drinks on an Excel spreadsheet (these tools pack a wallop for me!)

Level – Spacing drinks 45 minutes to an hour apart to level out my buzz

Zip Ties – Reading MM posts from those who share my drinking issues

Gorilla Glue – Sticking to my drinking plan

Pliers– Getting a grip on my cravings by delaying that first drink

Wood filler – Eating beforehand

Tape measure – Measuring drinks BTB (by the book)

Safety Glasses – Visualizing the morning after

Detail paintbrush—Sipping to enjoy the taste rather than gulping

Screwdrivers—Using distractions (hobbies, reading, cooking) 

Sandpaper – Drinking smooth and delicious NAs instead

Dremel Motor Tool – Exercise or physical exertion

Clamp–Phoning a supportive friend

Drill–Meditation techniques

Drill bits—Little rewards 

Hacksaw—Cutting out my trigger drink of vodka

Duct Tape—Sticking to a full week or two of abs

At times I have neglected getting my toolbox from the basement.   I was lazy or I decided to do a rush-job on the chore at hand.  I tried to pound a picture hanger in the wall with the bottom of a stapler and smacked my fingers, or I pried a nail up with the scissors, breaking the scissors blade. The job just doesn’t get done right without the proper tools!

Not using my carpentry tools always lead to consequences – injuries, time wasted, and more time spent fixing a slipshod job.  Not using my moderation tools  leads to consequences as well – hangovers, wasted evenings, having to amend feelings with someone I offended.  It just isn’t worth it.

Consequently, I don’t keep my toolbox in the basement anymore; I keep it in a hall closet where I can easily reach it.  The habit of utilizing the proper tool in my handy toolbox has become a habit.  It’s the same with my virtual MM toolbox. I make a drinking plan for each week, log into the MM Forum daily, read posts, update my Excel spreadsheet, and use the other virtual tools as needed.  Yes, it’s a lot of mental energy, but it’s something I must do if I want the privilege of drinking moderately.  

If I don’t fix things myself with my available tools, I’ll have to hire a handyman to do it for me.  That handyman can take the form of a rehab center, where I’ve read the average cost these days ranges from $250 to $800 per day, or at minimum $8000 per month.  And that’s on the very low end. 

If the job is too difficult for me to tackle alone, I have no problem purchasing, renting, or borrowing the proper tool from a friend. Likewise with moderation.  Help may be Dryuary or an online program, particularly the programs which sponsor MM.  It may also mean purchasing additional tools such as smaller wine glasses, a BAC monitor or a counting app.  

But in the end, it will be a job well done.

Bee Brown – Member of Moderation Management