Fool’s Gold and Moderation

something that you think will be very pleasant or successful but is not

The above is one definition of Fool’s Gold.  In many cases, the above definition fits Moderation.  I can’t tell you how often I read blogs in which the writers start out wanting to quit drinking-and then switch to “moderation”.  You’ve seen those too, right?  So for instance, someone goes however long it is without alcohol.  A week, a month… Then, for whatever reason, they have a drink on a Saturday evening.  It’s nice.  But, that was that.  Except in the next day or so, there’s a thought that comes.  It says something along the lines of ” Wow! I was able to just have that one glass of wine Saturday night with dinner! I didn’t feel the need to swig the whole bottle.  And, I didn’t wake up in the middle of the night angsting over it! Maybe, I really don’t have a problem with alcohol! Maybe I’ll just “moderate” my drinking”  And so, it begins. Moderation. At first it works.  That one glass on Saturday evening.  But then! Wow! It’s a birthday party on Wednesday, after work!  Well…just one.  And that seems to work.  Still no middle of the night angsting.  No guilt, no hangover.  But then, almost from one day to the next, you’re starting to think about that “one glass of wine you’re going to have on Saturday night on Thursday..Looking forward to it-Then at some point-“well…I’ll just have a second.  After all, I’m drinking WAAAYYY less than I ever have.  And, I’m in control of it now.”

Yep you are-until you’re not.  Slowly, it all begins again-that whole horrible cycle.  You’re back to drinking too much again.

I’m not saying that no one can moderate.  They can. And, as I see it, there are a couple types of people that are moderate drinkers. One type is like my SO.  He can go weeks without any alcohol-or even thinking about it.  Then, like the other day, he asked me to stop on my way home and get him some beer-(I’m okay with this although I am no way suggesting this for anyone that has a problem having alcohol in the house. At this point, it’s a non-issue for me)  Anyway, he had one beer and that was that.  My guess is that those other 5 beers will sit in the fridge for a few months-unless we have someone over that wants one. My SO can also-very occasionally-have a Rum and Coke.  He can nurse this for hours! Adding more diet Coke and ice to that one shot of rum several times over.  It’s simply not an issue for him. These people are moderate drinkers.  They don’t “practice moderation”. That takes conscious effort.

Then there’s the “moderate” drinker who only has one drink every day.  They’re able to do that.  Get their “fix” and then go on for the rest of the evening.  I have an elderly family member like that.  BUT! She has got to have that one drink.  And, if you’ve been following the latest news, you know that those 7 alcoholic drinks a week are not healthy. Why would they be? It’s like taking a daily dose of poison. Eventually, it will all add up to a potentially early end or manifest in all kinds of health problems.

The other type of moderator is the one that has to think about it.  They put a lot of conscious energy and planning into moderating. Always justifying and juggling. (kind of like me and money-but that’s another blog!)   For instance, looking forward to that Saturday glass of wine.  Starting to plan and think about it earlier in the week.  Then at times, graduating to a couple of glasses over a week.  Or saying to themselves, “well, I didn’t have that glass on Wednesday-so I can have 2 on Saturday.” Maybe at times skipping a week all together because they went over the quota last week, until they can’t.  At some point Moderating becomes a LOT of work.  You may be imbibing less alcohol, but you are spending a hell a lot of your time and energy thinking about it-still enslaved to it.   Doesn’t that sound crazy!!!!!  Spending time on planning out how to imbibe a poison into our system??? Is this really moderating?  I’m not sure-because to my mind, that alcohol is  still playing a very big part in that person’s life.  It’s still a very controlling factor in their life and daily consciousness.

So, while moderation may “work” for some- if it’s being done as I’ve described in the last paragraph, it’s not really working.  There is no freedom in that.  It’s just another form of bondage. And, all of the mental energy that goes into “moderating” keeps one from focusing on other issues-such as why they need that alcohol in the first place.  Finding out what the core reasons are for the need to medicate and poison themselves. Discovering what it is they fear from the possibility of living a full, open life.

To be honest, what started this train of thought for me is that the other day, for the first time in a while, I had a craving.  It’s kind of hard to explain.  I was just driving along, in the middle of the day feeling good.  I’m in a good place right now and my SO and I are about to go to Mexico for a week-the place that I love the most in the world.  So, I was just driving along-not thinking about anything in particular and I got this sensation. A sensation in my mouth-maybe my throat. I recognized it as a feeling-or sensation-it really was an oral-mouth thing-anyway, I recognized it as an old familiar sensation connected with drinking.  How in the past, what I was feeling would have signaled going to buy a bottle of wine.  Again, it’s hard for me to put it into words-but I did think about it for a bit.  Then, later, I realized that several hours had gone by and I’d completely forgotten about it. But in thinking about it again, I realized that I was surprised when that old sensation just popped up seemingly out of nowhere. Nothing-other than feeling good- that I could think of that would have triggered it.  For a brief moment, the thought of moderation came to me.  But, I let it go.  Just like I let go of the craving.  Kind of like when you walk by a house and there’s a really good cooking smell coming from it.  “AHHH!” you might say! “Onions, or Bar-b-q or Indian food!” and you keep on walking. Going along your way.

With Love

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Winners and Losers

As you may or may not know-I LOVE European football-soccer.  To be honest, I say that I started watching it because of “co-habitation”.  My SO is a Brit and has been following the same team for “Donkey’s Years”-as he would say.  Isn’t that a funny expression? I mean, exactly how long is a Donkey’s Year?  If any of you reading this are British, I’m open to being enlightened on this one!  Anyway, because it was a World Cup year when we first got together and he watched EVERY game, I slowly started watching it.  And then became hooked on it-if it’s a good game.  What constitutes a good game for me?  Well, great open play.  I always like a little drama-some yellow cards and maybe a red if it’s not a player from a team I’m supporting-so a little controversy.  Tough play-although I hate to see people injured or even worse.  An agitated manager on the sidelines is always fun to watch as is a good, interactive “12th Man”-which is the crowd itself. I’ve come to appreciate the almost balletic dance a great player does-some would call this dribbling with the ball-but to me, watching a fantastic player or a team that is in total sync with one another, is like watching a dance performance.  Of course the sheer athleticism of these guys is amazing-I mean they’re sprinting for 90 minutes. And of course, I love goals-especially when it’s my team scoring them-but I can appreciate a great goal no matter who made it.

At the end of every game-there’s a winner and a loser.  Of course, depending on the team or the game, the losers can be devastated.  Although, at times, a tie, can be a win for a team.  So while I have been watching football games this whole season-following both English and Spanish football primarily, I keep up with French as well.  And, as you may or may not know-aside from the English League or the Spanish League, there’s also the Champions League.  This brings together the top teams from each league in Europe.  While every game is important and winnning is winning- in addition to winning whichever league a team is in, winning the Champions League is at the top–because it means that team is the best in all of Europe.

I’ve seen one of the favorites-Barcelona (my first and foremost favoirte team) knocked out by Roma-a team who completely gave it their all and totally and unexpectedly, won that round.  I’m not sure they’ve ever gone that far in this competition.  I saw Man City-a team that has won the Premiere League and plays a really beautiful game, get knocked out by Liverpool.  I saw Juventes fans totally decimated in the first leg against Real Madrid, but still stand and cheer when a Madrid player made an AMAZING bicycle kick goal.  Then Juve regrouped and outplayed Real Madrid in the second round-only to lose in the last minute of the game. Talk about controversy!!!

Of course the players and managers of the losing teams were devastated-In fact, many managers get fired if they lose this competition. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the Real Madrid manager had been fired if they’d lost-in spite of having a good record.  This football world is brutal-to players and to management.  But in thinking about this, I think one of the things that, in spite of everything else I have gone into at length, that always strikes me the most is how an underdog can pull themselves up and win. How at times, even though they’ve “lost”, they’re winners.  How they can pull way down deep to do whatever it takes to win.  Under immense pressure.  And just as impressive to me, is how that team that lost-those players who feel they’ve let their fans down and at times are seen crying on the pitch after losing an important game, pull themselves together and go on.  They just start over the next day-the next game.

See where I’m going with this?  I read so many blogs where people are trying to quit drinking-or quit whatever it is they want to quit-and can’t do it.  Or they go for a length of time-sometimes only a few days or weeks, sometimes a few months or years and then, they’re drinking again.  Beating themselves up over it.  Feeling guilt and shame.  Feeling like a loser.  Let me say this- there are no losers!  We are all winners.  We all, just like those underdog teams have the capacity to pull it together and win.  Do we have setbacks?  Yes, of course.  We all experience setbacks in our lives at some time or another.  And that’s okay. Because a “setback” is just that. It’s a “check in progress”.. It is not a failure. It’s an opportunity to think about how to do it differently next time.  I have a friend, who has a horrible time when she goes shopping.  Me-I love going to TJ or TK Maxx-H&M-I don’t mind digging and really focusing and finding a good something.  But it’s too much for  her-and yet she keeps going to these places and they are just too overwhelming for her. So the other day, I pointed out that she needs to find another store or stores that fit her and how her mind works-say Zara. ( I know in the UK Zara is always crowded and with lots of stuff going on, but here it’s always nice and tidy and never many people in it.) It’s just about finding a “way in”-finding what works best with who we are.

While we may not all be elite atheletes, but I do believe that we all share something in common with them.  We can each and everyone of us be the absolute best we can be.  I believe that we are meant to be the best that we can be.  I’ve mentioned the “Soul-u-lar Level” before- that place that knows what’s right for us.  The place where our Truth lies.  It’s also the place that lets us know when something isn’t right.  Continuous discomfort about something is a huge sign that we need to make a change in our lives.  It’s a sign that we should stop being afraid to be the best we can be.  I also recognize that this can be scary, but trust me, so much will open up for you.  It’s okay to be the best you can be! It’s okay to excel at being you-in your own, unique, individual way.  Why?

Because you’re a winner!  We are ALL winners!

With Love