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.
5 thoughts on “Fool’s Gold and Moderation”
Excellent blog. I must say, I tried moderating about a thousand times before I gave up the idea. But I’m like you now … the thought of a drink crosses my mind now and then, and it disappears just as fast. It’s so much easier than the constant regulating of alcohol that I tried to do (and which didn’t work). Like you said in your blog, I know longer fear the possibility of living a full, open life. 😀
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That throat feeling is, for me anticipation.
I used to get that feeling leaving work on Friday afternoon. Ready to have a few drinks and “relax”.
I still notice it sometimes. I suppose it will always be there.
I still don’t really like to be around drinkers. I find it tiring. Not in a crowd, like at a concert, but friends drinking. Once they get that lit look I move on.
Have a fun vacation. Don’t drink. It doesn’t ever turn out well.
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Thank you! Nope! Not gonna drink! Well except Virgin Pina Coladas😁it’s funny because the last time we were there, we’d have one every day on the beach- but one day the waiter messed up and it had alcohol in it! And lo and behold! I preferred the taste of the Virgin one- which I got immediately! 💜
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Yes to what Anne and Shawna said. I tired to modrate, keeping track of my drinks, etc. Didn’t work, that’s for sure. I too, get an thought now and then about a drink, but it is so mcuh easier to dismiss it,