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If you have a drinking problem, alcohol abstinence is not your only option in terms of treatment. Like many other problem drinkers out there, you may find that moderate drinking is the most reasonable and successful way to get your drinking habit under control.
Should You Become a Moderate Drinker?
While there are many cut and dried cases of drinkers who are so out of control that they should never drink a drop of alcohol again, there are also many problem drinkers whose alcohol consumption issues aren’t so black and white.
Some people go through phases where they drink a little more, usually because of stress or emotional issues. Others find their need to drink only arises occasionally, but when they do pick up that glass of champagne, they just can’t stop until they’ve had the whole bottle. Some people drink and lose their filter, saying things that are embarrassing or hurtful to others. Do any of these circumstances sound familiar to you? You might have a drinking problem, or you may really be an alcoholic who needs to abstain entirely from beer, wine and spirits.
Surprisingly, the answer might be you are not an alcoholic. The answer to your drinking problem might be to learn to become a moderate drinker instead of a problem drinker. After all, when you make alcohol taboo via total abstention, it often becomes the thing most desired. On the other hand, when indulged in moderation, it tends to lose its allure and the risk of relapse, or diving further into a problem drinking habit, diminishes.
Three Tips for Becoming a Moderate Drinker
First, it is important for you to realize only you can determine whether your drinking requires you to give up drinking completely or pursue the more flexible path of moderate drinking. If you feel that you fit the moderate drinking mold, then here are three tips to get you started on your path to a more balanced approach to alcohol consumption:
- Plan Your Drinking: It sounds so simple, but it is easier said than done. If you want to become a moderate drinker, then you need to drink with awareness. This means, you should be conscious of and try to schedule when you will drink. For example, you can pick two Saturdays a month that are reserved for letting loose with a little alcohol. However, be careful: do not over plan, as this will cause you to focus too much on drinking.
- Set Drink Limits: In addition to planning when you will drink, you should plan how much you will drink as well. Set a drink limit for yourself; say three beers, two glasses of wine or one cocktail. This limit should correspond with how much alcohol it takes for you to become drunk enough to get out of control.
- Learn to Enjoy Yourself without Alcohol: Becoming a moderate drinker means you need to learn to socialize and have a good time without alcohol. This may mean finding friends or activities not centered on drinking. It may mean acquainting yourself with the joys of non-alcoholic cocktails. Whatever you do, taking alcohol out of the center of your activities will make it easier for you to drink less.
If you feel like you need to get your drinking under control—but don’t believe that you are so out of control that you are a full-blown alcoholic—then moderate drinking just might be the way to go. Moderate drinking does not require you to live your life without alcohol, but it can help you enjoy more of your life without it. So consider the tips mentioned above and try the moderate drinking lifestyle.