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I belong to a couple of Facebook groups. Moderation management and HAMs ( harm reduction, abstinence, moderation).  I tried AA, but even though it is supposed to be spiritual it seemed too religious for me.  it helped me with staying sober for 6 months.  My main reason for wanting to moderate is health reasons.  I take medications and have physical as well as mental health issues  that I would like to control.  But, I don’t want to give up alcohol completely.  My plan is drinking twice a year, on my birthday and anniversary and staying alcohol free in between.  But, I get cravings, especially on hot summer days when a cold alcoholic drink sounds good to me.  I don’t keep it in the house, so I would have to go to the store and that has given me enough time to change my mind.

curious if anyone else does this?

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When I first saw your topic title, I thought, "There are three of us moderating here. We've been doing it for years."

Then I realized what you meant.

Your posted dx doesn't indicate whether you have a formal diagnosis of Alcohol Use Disorder as defined by the DSM-V (the DSM-IV used to differentiate Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Dependency, but V lumps them together). If you don't have a formal dx, and are unsure where you sit with regard to dependence, americanaddictioncenters.org suggest that you can take a questionnaire like the one available on the moderation.org website, called “Alcohol Dependence Questionnaire.” If your dependence score is 20 or above, moderation may not be the right choice for you. If you have a lower score, a harm reduction approach could entail trying moderate drinking in conjunction with therapy, but always consult with a medical or mental health professional before beginning any form of treatment.

Remember, Moderation is a harm-reduction strategy, not a harm-elimination strategy. If you want to completely eliminate the harm that comes from drinking, you have to completely stop drinking. Alcohol has sometimes been termed "the poison that kills slowly". But whether you can benefit from Moderation at all has a lot to do with factors like how firmly it has you in its claws, how much of a habit you've developed, the degree of your own willpower and cognitive agility, and what comorbid issues you may be using it as self-medication for and how you're otherwise addressing them.

If you're the sort of person who rebels at being told what to do, balks at being compelled or forbidden to do something, or can't stand feeling ashamed or embarrassed, traditional methods may prove problematic, and Moderation may give you an alternative in which you can place more trust in yourself to make your own decisions and find a path to sobriety that works for you. You need to be a self-starter, though, and you can't be so far into alcoholism that chemical and psychological addiction is acting on your brain in ways that make cognitive techniques difficult or ineffective. If your willpower is weak, you should probably forget about Moderation - you have to know that you can tell yourself This far and no farther and stay behind that line in the sand. If you're a cognitive weenie, it's not going to work. If you've already crossed the line into a degree of chemical dependence, Moderation likely isn't going to be advisable because any drink will reinvigorate the abnormal biological dependencies affecting you and set you back.

Bear in mind, please, that I do not speak from personal experience here, but rather from research and observation. Mercifully, I don't have an addictive-type brain, but I've watched what addiction has done to my nephew, and reason has no power against chemistry. Give it an inch, it will take a mile and keep on driving and not even notice the bump when it runs you over.

You say you have a plan for yourself to moderate your drinking to twice a year, on celebratory occasions. That sounds reasonable, provided you don't use the opportunity to binge. You're saying that you're tempted to change your mind, but what's tempting you? Cravings. That's a red flag. If you had said you were considering modifying your plan because when you have a steak you enjoy it more paired with a Cabernet Sauvignon (yours is, I presume, a sophisticated palate) that might seem objectively rational; it's something you could take or leave. But responding to a craving tells you that something is amiss - something in your biology or psychology perceives an unmet need for a thing it should not need, and is causing you a level of distress as a result. The wrong thing to do would be to meet that mistaken need and thus prove to your body/mind that it was right to want what it shouldn't have.

That link to the American Addiction Centers website goes to a page on Moderation, which might provide some more useful advice, whether or not you actually suffer from an alcohol addiction.

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On 8/9/2021 at 12:32 PM, CrazyRedhead said:

If AA didn't work out for you, do you have a therapist that you could talk to about your plan?

Hopefully, someone with more experience will respond soon.

Thank you.  I do talk to my therapist.  She warns me it is a slippery slope.

7 hours ago, Cerberus said:

When I first saw your topic title, I thought, "There are three of us moderating here. We've been doing it for years."

Then I realized what you meant.

Your posted dx doesn't indicate whether you have a formal diagnosis of Alcohol Use Disorder as defined by the DSM-V (the DSM-IV used to differentiate Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Dependency, but V lumps them together). If you don't have a formal dx, and are unsure where you sit with regard to dependence, americanaddictioncenters.org suggest that you can take a questionnaire like the one available on the moderation.org website, called “Alcohol Dependence Questionnaire.” If your dependence score is 20 or above, moderation may not be the right choice for you. If you have a lower score, a harm reduction approach could entail trying moderate drinking in conjunction with therapy, but always consult with a medical or mental health professional before beginning any form of treatment.

Remember, Moderation is a harm-reduction strategy, not a harm-elimination strategy. If you want to completely eliminate the harm that comes from drinking, you have to completely stop drinking. Alcohol has sometimes been termed "the poison that kills slowly". But whether you can benefit from Moderation at all has a lot to do with factors like how firmly it has you in its claws, how much of a habit you've developed, the degree of your own willpower and cognitive agility, and what comorbid issues you may be using it as self-medication for and how you're otherwise addressing them.

If you're the sort of person who rebels at being told what to do, balks at being compelled or forbidden to do something, or can't stand feeling ashamed or embarrassed, traditional methods may prove problematic, and Moderation may give you an alternative in which you can place more trust in yourself to make your own decisions and find a path to sobriety that works for you. You need to be a self-starter, though, and you can't be so far into alcoholism that chemical and psychological addiction is acting on your brain in ways that make cognitive techniques difficult or ineffective. If your willpower is weak, you should probably forget about Moderation - you have to know that you can tell yourself This far and no farther and stay behind that line in the sand. If you're a cognitive weenie, it's not going to work. If you've already crossed the line into a degree of chemical dependence, Moderation likely isn't going to be advisable because any drink will reinvigorate the abnormal biological dependencies affecting you and set you back.

Bear in mind, please, that I do not speak from personal experience here, but rather from research and observation. Mercifully, I don't have an addictive-type brain, but I've watched what addiction has done to my nephew, and reason has no power against chemistry. Give it an inch, it will take a mile and keep on driving and not even notice the bump when it runs you over.

You say you have a plan for yourself to moderate your drinking to twice a year, on celebratory occasions. That sounds reasonable, provided you don't use the opportunity to binge. You're saying that you're tempted to change your mind, but what's tempting you? Cravings. That's a red flag. If you had said you were considering modifying your plan because when you have a steak you enjoy it more paired with a Cabernet Sauvignon (yours is, I presume, a sophisticated palate) that might seem objectively rational; it's something you could take or leave. But responding to a craving tells you that something is amiss - something in your biology or psychology perceives an unmet need for a thing it should not need, and is causing you a level of distress as a result. The wrong thing to do would be to meet that mistaken need and thus prove to your body/mind that it was right to want what it shouldn't have.

That link to the American Addiction Centers website goes to a page on Moderation, which might provide some more useful advice, whether or not you actually suffer from an alcohol addiction.

Lol about the title.  I will check out the link.  You have given me a lot to think about.

no, I am not picturing enjoying a glass of wine with a meal.  You are right about cravings.  Good point about harm reduction not being elimination.

as far as increasing frequency, I have been delaying that until I make any decision.
 

 

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I've read something about moderation vs abstinence and it's apparently not such a bad idea. If you're like me then you drink for a reason, which maybe isn't a good reason but if those reasons go away then you wouldn't drink so much. AA says you have a disease and that disease is addiction. My disease is depression, and it makes me do things I know are bad for me because I'm not sure I want to live anyway sometimes. Alcohol is a poor solution but it's not really the problem. But enough self-pity. I've read that moderation can work better than abstinence for some people. If you fall of the wagon on AA then you fall hard. You gave into your addiction and it's a catastrophe. There's no having a cool drink on a hot day there. And I can't remember what book I read this in but learning moderation apparently works better for some people. But the thing was having the right support. You have a cool drink on a hot day then fair enough. As long as you know when to stop. I'm not trying to trash AA or anything. It's probably helped a lot of people. Just from my experience I think alcohol is a symptom rather than a cause in my case. But I'm a bad example. I shouldn't drink because I'm causing myself harm. I want to drink because I want to cause myself harm. So don't listen to me. But I read about moderation in a respectable book on psychology written by experts, not some Facebook meme. It's possible but it can easily become an excuse if you don't have the help you need. It really depends on why you drink. Addiction is a real illness, but other illnesses, such as depression, can also make you turn to booze. I may be kidding myself but I think the illness/symptom distinction does matter.

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