If you have ever experienced a time in your life when you have used alcohol in large quantities and then stopped drinking, you may wonder whether moderate drinking will work for you.
Before You Begin Moderate Drinking
If you have been following this site and its materials, before you decide, consider two things:
1) Alcohol dependence: Alcohol dependence or addiction, changes the way your brain functions; your brain is in charge of telling the rest of your body’s organs how to act. The effects of alcohol over time can be dangerous. Alcohol is considered by the brain to be a toxic substance; it cannot be used helpfully by your body but does cause your vital organs a huge amount of trauma over time, sometimes to the point to where they simply shut down. For example, long-term heavy use of alcohol causes heavy scarring to the liver in a condition called cirrhosis. When the liver is completely overrun by scarring, it shuts down; since the liver is responsible for ridding the body of harmful and/or unneeded substances, the toxins build up in the body, resulting in an unpleasant death.
2) Alcohol Tolerance: If you have ever experienced an increase in the amount of alcohol you need to drink in order to feel intoxicated, this is called alcohol tolerance. Have you ever experienced alcohol withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking after heavy, prolonged use? These include shaking, quivering hands, nausea and/or vomiting, body tremors and muscle cramps, intense headaches, fatigue, restlessness, cravings for alcohol and seizures.
Like any addicting drug, alcohol becomes your “new normal” and when you stop drinking your body throws a fit. Alcohol is one of the few drugs that has a potentially fatal withdrawal syndrome, so if you self-asses that you’re dependent on alcohol, never stop drinking “cold turkey” without medical supervision.
Alcohol dependence is a permanent condition; its symptoms can only be managed by total, life-long abstinence. Once your body has changed to accommodate alcohol, you do not get a “do over.” Research indicates that alcohol addicts can never again be successful in moderate drinking. If you try, the disease will raise its ugly head and in a short time, you will find yourself back in the heavy drinking cycle and a return to tolerance and the withdrawal syndrome. Alcohol dependence is a chronic, progressive and fatal disease; mitigated only through abstinence.
Try to Moderate Your Drinking
If this doesn’t describe your drinking habits, then you could be successful in moderate drinking; millions of people do this. If you are very good at setting limits and sticking to them, this is another indicator that you can handle moderate drinking.
My question to you is why and where do you drink? If your response is that you drink moderately in social situations, couldn’t you still have a good time without risking developing an addiction to alcohol? Don’t let alcohol fool you; like nicotine, it is a legal but still very powerful and dangerous drug. Why make it a part of your life at all?
Millions of people are successful with moderate drinking, while millions more are not. The best way to decide if it works for you is through a sincere, searching self-assessment of your drinking habits; why you drink, where you drink, and how much you drink. If you believe you’re dependent on alcohol and want help, contact your physician or a drug addiction professional and prepare for a new, healthy lifestyle!
Learn how to moderate your drinking in the privacy of your own home without going to groups or expensive counseling with the How to Give up Alcohol Course.