Controlled Drinking?

Now I may be wrong, but it seems to me that the only reason a person has to control something is because it's already out of control.  There are many tips and techniques people use to "control" their drinking: switching from liquor to beer, limiting drinking to particular times, avoiding certain drinking buddies and having every other drink be water are just a few.  Underneath it all is a sense that drinking has become problematic on some level and needs to be reined in.

Why work so hard?  Is there any other area of your life that has to be so contained to avoid problems?  Why not just stop?  Is there someone you could be honest with about what you get out of drinking and why you're continuing to drink despite having to place restrictions on it?  Perhaps the most fearful answer is "Drinking used to be magic but now the magic comes infrequently and I can't imagine stopping completely.  The few times that it works makes me keep hoping."

If recovery from alcoholism is simply about not drinking and doesn't provide a wonderful life that replaces and improves upon the lost "magic" then many will quietly decline the opportunity.  One way to look at controlled drinking is a person's desperate attempt to recapture the lost "magic" while trying to minimize the problems and damage drinking is causing.  Saddest,  this struggle is usually happening in isolation.  High risk drinking and alcoholism can't tolerate in depth honesty.  Conversely,  a quality recovery and freedom requires in depth honesty.

It never occurs to people who don't have alcoholism to wonder if they do.  If you're making efforts to control your drinking maybe the question has changed.  "Prove to me that I have alcoholism." has shifted to "How can I prove that I don't have alcoholism.".  One of the things we can do at Alcohol Services is provide an opportunity for you to explore those questions.  In a caring environment you can talk about your drinking, what role it plays in your social life and how your loved ones feel about it .

 When they first come to us to talk about their drinking many discover how  difficult it is to be open and how easy it is to minimize the amount and impact despite their good intentions.  That discovery is a gift.  The dissonance one experiences when he seeks someone to talk with about his drinking then is unable to be honest with that person is often the start of surrender and acceptance.

Many are reluctant to stop drinking because they fear losing something.  Those who stay in recovery do so because they've found something.  Maybe it's time to give up solitary efforts at control and get some help figuring it out.  What have you got to lose?