Abstinence VS. Moderation
It is relatively normal for everyone to drink a little too much from time to time, especially during days of heavy experimentation, such as adolescence and young adulthood. Alcohol consumption may play a large role in the lives of some adults, but this does not mean that all adults who drink heavily on occasion are alcoholics. Even adults who drink on a near-daily basis may not suffer from dependency of any degree. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (the main piece of literature utilized by 12-step fellowships across the globe), states that there are three main types of ‘drinkers’.
Three Types of ‘Drinker’
There is the normal drinker, who can enjoy alcohol in a social setting and very rarely (if ever) experiences consequences as a direct result of his or her drinking. There is the problem drinker, who drinks too much quite frequently. This individual enjoys the effect produced by alcohol – just as the alcoholic does. However, once this individual begins to experience consequences as a result of his or her drinking, he or she has little issue putting down the drink altogether. For example, if a loved one expresses concern and gives an ultimatum, or if a doctor warns of looming health issues, or if a DUI is obtained – the drinker will successfully quit and not look back. The alcoholic, on the other hand, will not be able to successfully quit despite consequences. In fact, he or she will not likely be able to put down the drink for any extended period of time without professional intervention.
Total Abstinence and The Alcoholic
The great obsession of every alcoholic is learning how to both control and enjoy their drinking. In many cases, entire abstinence is not even a viable option early on. As alcoholics, alcohol is truly our solution. Without it, we are ill-equipped to deal with life. We don’t know how to adequately cope with negative emotions – or positive emotions, for that matter. The reaction an alcohol has to alcohol of any kind has been described many a time as ‘allergic’. Of course, this is not an allergic reaction in the typical sense, with the swelling of appendages and the closing of the throat and the necessity of a massive hydrocortisone shot in the rashy behind. This allergy is predominantly psychological. Once an alcoholic has consumed one drink, he or she will be unable to mentally resist the second… and the third, and the fourth, and so on. If one drink is “successfully” consumed, the mental obsession that follows will drive the alcoholic so insane that behaviors will be erratic and serenity will remain utterly unachievable. It has been proven time and time again since the development of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935 that abstinence is the key to a happy and fulfilled life when it comes to an individual truly afflicted with the disease of substance dependency.
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Drinking in Moderation
So how do you tell whether or not you can successfully drink in moderation? Well, the answer is actually exceedingly simple. Have you tried to moderate or control your drinking? If not, give it a shot. Commit to abstinence for a one-week period of time. Every time you begin thinking of alcohol or drinking, make a note on a small piece of paper or in a small notebook. Be as honest with yourself as possible. If you find you cannot make it to one week, or if you find that you spend an excessive amount of time thinking about alcohol, you may struggle with an alcohol dependency disorder. Fortunately, if you decide you do, there is ample help at your disposal. There are numerous alcohol rehab facilities throughout South Florida – ours being among the best and most reputable.