Today, I was flipping through the pages of some old magazines; trying to find words of inspiration before adding them to the recycling pile. Among the “must-have” looks for fall, diet tricks, and home remedies for the common cold, I found an article mentioning alcohol. The author “…didn’t want to drink as much as [she] did,” nor did she wish to stop. She wondered if moderation was an option?
Moderation? No one ever told me that was an option!
I was immediately intrigued, and with a little nervous excitement, I kept reading. She started telling my story. Kids having meltdowns, a stay-at-home mom feeling less than fulfilled with her new “career,” yearning to numb. Drinking alone—feeling the warmth of a wine blanket—making everything okay. She knew it was becoming a crutch, but she didn’t want to quit.
I can’t tell you how many times drunk, mid-day at nap-time, I found myself asking the Internet if I was an alcoholic. I knew the answer, but not drinking didn’t seem like a reasonable solution. Three and a half years ago I admitted I was powerless over alcohol, and it’s been just over two years since my last drink.
The author of the article spoke of a different path—an alternative to traditional abstinence and step work that many follow. Apparently, there is a program that suggests that MAYBE your drinking problem can be managed through “moderation.” I am not going to go into the details of this program, but when I read more, I could feel a part of my brain trying to justify why this approach might work for me.
Admittedly, I think about having a drink at least once a day. I romanticize having a glass of wine with a good friend or a margarita at my favorite Mexican restaurant. These were things I once enjoyed and miss them often.
The idea that I could work a program that acknowledged my cravings and worked with me to include them in my life seemed like a miracle.
I jumped on my computer immediately to read more about it, to find meetings, and see how often I could drink and what it was going to taste like.
It was a rush.
My brain was taking me down a new path, away from Memory Lane where I woke up thirsty; planning my day around drinking, or making last-minute trips to the store for milk (and wine) after I swore I was going to quit.
I had to acknowledge Temptation. That beautiful being that is all smoke and mirrors and wants to get me drunk. I knew that I could try a different way; a way that included drinking again and MAYBE I doing so moderately. But what if I couldn’t? That is my addiction. It wants me to try one more time. It wants me to believe that it will be different, but it leaves out the fact that this time the difference could be really, really bad. Is it worth the risk?
For me? Not a chance. I put the magazine, and the article, in the recycling bin.
I don’t have an opinion about whether or not moderation works for other people. I can tell you the amount of time I spent trying to justify starting again, in moderation, was excessive. If I can’t even consider the concept of moderation, how in the hell could I actually handle drinking in it?
That is exactly what my addiction looks like.
I had a good cry, because sometimes I am sad and angry that I have to deal with this. You know what, though? I’m also really proud. I have learned how to feel things and have seen a version of myself I didn’t know existed – that didn’t exist, when I tried to manage with alcohol. I am strong, smart, and capable of more than walking through life numb.
Moderation is not an option for me.
Lauri has been sober since September 7, 2012, and feels blessed to be the mom of two amazingly crazy little boys. She has always dreamed of being a mom but lost herself somewhere along the way. She writes about her journey to find herself in motherhood at My Name Isn’t Mommy.
This post originally appeared on Sober Mommies in December, 2014.