My Alcohol Experiment: Day 28

Day 28 of The Alcohol Experiment: the possibility of moderation and Annie’s Alcohol Experiment (by which I mean she actually shows us the video she made of herself imbibing an entire bottle of wine. WOWZA she is brave!).

To moderate or not to moderate? That is the question for some of us. 

When I first began to openly question my drinking and think about how I wanted to change my ways, moderation seemed like the holy grail. The perfect way to incorporate alcohol into a healthy, balanced lifestyle. 

It’s safe to say I see things a little differently now.

Even though she veers very close to contradicting herself, Annie tells us she believes moderation is possible via two distinct paths:

Path numero uno: your feet are firmly planted on the liberation side of the liberation-fixation scale and alcohol is a non-issue. You can truly take it or leave it. 

Yeah… that ain’t me. My husband is like this though, so I’ve observed this behavior with a mix of awe and envy for over a decade. Some nights he drinks one hard cider, some nights he doesn’t. When we go to dinner, he’ll usually order one cider or a glass of wine. I don’t think I have ever seen him consume more than two drinks. He just doesn’t want to. And he’s never been drunk. If I asked him to stop drinking today, while he may not understand the request since he has never struggled with alcohol, he would be able to do it easily. Me? Not so much. 

So let’s look at the second path to successful moderation: super duper Type A-style planning, organization and complete commitment to following set-in-stone rules. Plus constant, hawk-eyed, honest vigilance. All while acknowledging that alcohol will do everything in its power to thwart your efforts.

Hmm. If this is the only other option, then this must be the way forward for me. This could even be a good fit for my rule-following self!  

But here’s what will happen to me, and anyone else who follows this path. Alcohol will create a thirst for itself while literally making us thirsty. It will impair our brains’ ability to make decisions and stick to them. It will dull our senses so everything becomes less enjoyable and then present itself as a solution to that sad sitch. If we drink alcohol, we will crave alcohol, even if we aren’t actually enjoying the alcohol we’re drinking.

So, um, why are we doing this again?

Are we doing this at all?

Personally, I don’t know. Part of me feels disappointed that I am not ready to bite the bullet and commit to being alcohol-free forever and ever. But I also have to be honest with myself, and with all of you. I’m not ready for forever. I need to keep experimenting. I need to take this day by day, milestone by milestone.

I have my high school reunion coming up and I am not going to drink. I am excited at the prospect of not drinking, actually. Knowing I’ll be able to drive with total control. Knowing I will get a great night of sleep (by myself in a hotel room! Woohoo!) after our class party. Knowing I will remember all of it. And, frankly, curious to see how it feels to be sober among my high school friends.

The weekend after that, my mom and I are going to our favorite restaurant for Mother’s Day and I am planning to have a pomegranate margarita. This is a tradition with which I am not yet ready to break. But, again, I’m very curious. I want to see if I still enjoy it, and I am very much hoping it does not live up to the tasty memory. This is the only upcoming occasion I can think of where I have any desire to drink. 

Am I embarrassed to post this? To admit to you all that after weeks and weeks of study, writing, and committing to an AF lifestyle, that I am going to be drinking a margarita on May 12? HELL YES I AM SO EMBARRASSED. Please don’t think less of me! Please don’t worry for me! Please accept that this is where I am!

There is no right or wrong here, as Annie reminds us. And she encourages us to keep experimenting as we continue on our way. And then she shows us her own experiment: condensed video footage from the night she filmed herself drinking an entire bottle of wine. 

And wow. The footage is raw and sad and depressing and strange and uncomfortable to watch. To think that I used to do that to myself on a regular basis… ugh. Just ugh. To think that I used to long for that haze despite knowing I would feel heinous the next day… ugh. 

Nope. Let’s stay clear and energized and happy and confident and receptive to all the beauty that surrounds us, shall we?

We shall.

[The Alcohol Experiment is a free, interactive 30-day program designed by Annie Grace, author of This Naked Mind.]

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