A Moderate Drinker:
- considers an occasional drink to be a small, though enjoyable, part of life.
- has hobbies, interests, and other ways to relax and enjoy life that do not involve alcohol.
- usually has friends who are moderate drinkers or nondrinkers.
- generally has something to eat before, during, or soon after drinking.
- usually does not drink for longer than an hour or two on any particular occasion.
- usually does not drink faster than one drink per half-hour.
- usually does not exceed the .055% BAC moderate drinking limit. (see Note 1 below)
- feels comfortable with his or her use of alcohol (never drinks secretly and does not spend a lot of time thinking about drinking or planning to drink).
Am I there yet? No, but I can see how much closer I have gotten in just a few months. I would not call myself a moderate drinker, but increasingly, I am a person who acts like a moderate drinker most of the time.
Which parts of the above continue to be the biggest challenges? The second and last. For the last, I am comfortable with my current use of alcohol, but not with how much effort it takes to maintain these better habits. Not to mention, here I am writing a blog about drinking. Okay, mostly about NOT drinking, but that’s still a lot of concentration and attention paid to alcohol. Which is fine (this is a journey, blah blah blah, patience), but definitely indicates to me that I’m not done yet. Or may never be, I suppose.
Most distressingly, I am discovering that by filling so much time with alcohol for so many years of my life, I am now sadly deficient when it comes to “hobbies, interests, and other ways to relax and enjoy life that do not involve alcohol.” This is painfully embarrassing to me, but one of my current biggest triggers is simply a long weekend. Too much time to fill, not enough activities, projects, or coping mechanisms.
I’m working on it. I realize it takes time, and I realize this is a very privileged problem to have (first world problems, and all that). I also find it unbelievably discouraging, probably because it threatens my sense of who I am, and because it fills me with shame…a fundamentally unhelpful emotion.
Patience. Perseverance. Blah blah blah.