thanks brett

Brett: “Belle, I have been trying moderation. It absolutely does not work. I felt so deeply for you in your last post about that. It doesn’t work, Belle, at least not for me.

This is how I know, and why I am committed to fully quitting the booze and gaining true freedom…

Ask yourself:  If you have 2 glasses of wine (let’s be honest, truly “moderate”, “normal” drinkers generally have two drinks in any one sitting), will you want more?  Be honest.  If the answer is yes, you will not be successful moderating.  Even more importantly, with regard to the wolf’s suggestion that we may not actually be alcoholics, etc., if we can limit our intake, ask yourself:

After those two glasses, even if you were able to stop, would the choice be simple and easy?  Would you have to think about it?  Would you obsess about the decision, going back and forth over and over again?  Could you truly take it or leave it, without spending another thought on it?

I’m beginning to believe that the tell-tale sign of addiction is not how much or how often we drink, but that we actually spend time thinking about drinking. Not just thinking. Obsessing. I’ll freely admit that I am obsessed with drinking.

So I can’t drink — not even in forced moderation.  I don’t want to just be free of the drink. I want to be free of the obsession.”



I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • Such a great post and perfectly put. i have tried to moderate a million times over years and years. Always setting rules (and breaking them) then re setting them, over and over. My husband can take two sips of a drink and leave it. Me? if I take two sips a switch is clicked and I can not stop. 14 days alcohol free now thank god.

    • I’m on day 1, again. It’s so scary. I don’t want to drink again. Then a few sober days go by and I think I can handle it. My drinking is also tied in with my eating disorder. I have gained about 10 lbs in the last few years, so I will not eat all day (or very little), go home, have a few glasses of wine or beer and just get wasted. I have always felt like, if I can control my weight, then everything is ok. But now I can’t control my weight or my drinking. But I am trying- I want off this crazy ride. The longest I have been able to not drink is 5 days. I feel so alone. None of my coworkers know of my problem. A couple of my friends know- but I don’t tell them everything. Jeez, if they knew some of the embarrassing things that I have done- Every one of my family members have substance abuse problems. I am a single mom w/4 young kids. I haven’t had any legal issues, I have a good job- but I have seen my progression and know it is only a matter of time before things get worse. I hate being a bad example to my kids. I am worried about my health. I don’t even know how many times I have blacked out. Thank you for this blog- it feels good to not be alone.

  • Perfect repost today for me. I will be going on an incredible European cruise in less than 2 weeks and the thought (Wolfie’s evil voice) did cross my mind that since I would be out of my normal drinking environment why not have a glass or 2 of wine. What harm can there be? REALLY – when was 2 glasses ever enough – never and do I really want to spend one second of this trip hung over or so drunk I can’t remember any part of it. HELL NO!!!!!! SO Wolfie – EF you and your evil whispers.

  • I took an online “We can guess the age you lost your viginity” quiz on Facebook. (Edifying, no? They were wrong, btw). Question number 4 was this:
    “When was the last time you got drunk?”
    1. Last few weeks
    2. Can’t remember
    3. Last night
    4. I’m drunk right now

    And I’ll be damned, the answer was #1. Anytime in the last 15 years (aside from when I was pregnant with my Little) the answer would have been #3 if I took the quiz on a week day…. #4 if it was the weekend.

    So- 4 days sober. It felt really good to not have to answer 3 or 4.

    I cannot have a drink. I literally am incapable of having A drink. I can’t have two drinks. If I start drinking, drinking is the only thing that I will do until the alcohol is gone. However, it turns out that I can actually have NO drinks and feel pretty damn good. So my options are these: No drinks. No wine, no beer, no vodka sodas or whiskey sours or margaritas. Probably forever (I add the probably because I’m not quite at definitely forever… Forever is a really long time.) Seriously. No drinks or every drink I can get my greedy insatiable hands on until it kills me.

    Doesn’t sound like a very great decision to have to make, does it? And to have to make the “I’m not drinking today” every single day. Several dozen times a day doesn’t seem too great either.

    BUT… There is this beautiful, amazing BUT… And it goes like this:
    But after drinking 18 beers, a bottle of vodka and 2 bottles of wine last weekend (hey, it was a three day weekend… I was “relaxing”) and crying uncontrollably and knowing with absolute certainty drinking was going to ruin my life, my kids lives, my husbands life and kill me, I read a book. Drunk: A Love Story and it was like someone speaking my language. And then I found all these amazing blogs … By people who also speak my language. By God, there is a whole TRIBE of y’all on the Sobriety Reservation. And I want to be a part.

    So… Thank You. Truly, I’m on day 5 and reading your blogs and comments and struggles and triumphs leave me speechless with wonder. With courage. With hope.

    I kind of love you all, already.


  • Great post and great comments. I see a bit of myself in almost every response. Just got home from running errands and visiting my mother. Normally on a Saturday like this I’d be celebrating by drinking as much as I wanted because my sweetie wasn’t around to see. I’ d then start cooking a nice meal with a bottle of wine open of course, maybe be on the second bottle by the time she got home and then continue to drink until I fell into bed at whatever hour. I too tried moderation, changing types of drinks, blocking out certain days of the week. None of it ever worked. I finally surrendered to that fact that I could never drink again and feel finally free. It’s still difficult sometimes but I’d never go back to the hangovers and remorse of drinking the way I did.

  • Thanks for reposting. Almost a year later and I hardly hear wolfie anymore…sometimes a pitiful whimper from the corner. And, life is richer, brighter and full of hope (challenges always) and no regret.

  • Moderation can’t work for me…. tried, tested, failed – about 100 times. I don’t want a glass of wine, I don’t want 2. I don’t even want the bottle. I want ALL the wine… All the wine I can get to be numb. All the wine on the table, in the house, at the party. Wherever I am, I know how much is available. I can survey the room in a second. I know who has poured a glass from the bottles I brought, I know who brought one themselves…
    I have planned children’s birthday parties, invited parents who will have a drink if it is offered, not to call attention to my own. Stay for a drink, have a drink, overpour one in the couple so they want to stay, but can still get home…
    The cycle is exhausting, the guilt over not even paying attention to the kids, it went on for sooo long….
    125 days sober and it would still be so easy to slip back, try to have just one or two again, but the reality is it will never be one, or two, or three…..

    • I am new to the blogs (after 16 months sober! What a revelation!) So I hope you don’t mind me going back and adding comments at this stage. I grew up in an alcoholic family and have always surrounded myself with birds of a feather, so I don’t have many stories about sneaking drink because it has always been the assumed mission (hiding hangovers is another story!) But I certainly did the ‘open spiking’ you are describing with the topping people’s glasses etc. My favourite tactic was going to the bar and buying ‘surprise’ rounds of shots. You get to look generous and of course the non alcoholics will decline and you can drink theirs too! And it makes the alcoholics band together so you can push out the ‘boring’ types and really commit to the proper business of the night, which is making sure you really regret EVERYTHING by the morning. Jesus F Christ, what on earth was I thinking?

  • I’m nodding at everything said here in the post as well as the comments! Moderation is *exhausting* for me and it’s been such a relief–a joy, really–to let that idea go. And all the time I spent thinking about drinking, that endless cycle of worrying about it and then talking myself out of worrying about it and then worrying about it some more, and not seeing how that could ever stop–awful, just awful. The way I actually found Belle’s blog in the first place was by googling the phrase ‘tired of thinking about drinking.’ I just had to see if anyone else out there was as sick of it as I was. Little did I know…


  • I don’t want a glass of wine – I want a bottle. And, in order to feel comfortable, I want a couple of spare bottles on the counter. Moderation will never work for me since I drank to fall down that deep dark hole of oblivion. Moderation can never be an option.

    • This is my first time here and I am stunned at how perfectly some of your comments match with my experiences. I hate the voice in my head that keeps telling me I can have just one or two, I’ve had a bad day, I deserve it, then I reply that I don’t think I can, I try to be honest with myself, and then I get exhausted and give up and have as many as I can, wake up on the lounge after midnight….creep upstairs to bed, wake up feeling disgusted with myself AGAIN, and so the cycle has gone. Starting the 100 day challenge today, have just poured tonight’s supply down the sink..moderation is not an option for me anymore – so true.

  • Agreed. I can’t imagine what I might have accomplished with the amount of head-space I’d previously devoted to worrying about / analyzing / justifying / adjusting / second-guessing my drinking. Moderation was one of the many ways I tried to exert control over what I knew was a problem (not yet a capital-P problem, but still something that weighed on my mind heavily), and it took so.much.more.effort. The funny thing with quitting is that, even though I’m struck with some pretty serious pangs more often than I’d like, I think so much LESS about alcohol now than I did when I was drinking or tried to moderate. It’s so, so much easier to just remove it as an option than it is to try and figure out how much I can drink, when I can drink, etc etc.

    I think the “moderation mirage” was one of the most difficult to get past in all my previous attempts to quit. Brett, you vocalized it so perfectly here. Would you want to limit your intake to 2 glasses, and even if you stopped at 2 would you fret over whether or not to have another? That’s spot-on, and exactly how all my attempts to moderate panned out. I’d stop at my allotted limit and then feel MISERABLE and deprived that I couldn’t drink my fill.

    In my experience so far, sobriety is not deprivation or self-flagellation but MAN, moderation sure was…

  • If I even could moderate, I don’t think I would. I hated the taste of all of it: wine, beer, pina coladas, strawberry daiquiri… It all had underlying flavor of the alcohol and it gags me to even think about it, much less try to drink it too. So much space in my head to create weavings and quiltings and writings and love available for the Little Ones who come see me everyday.

    Thank you, Belle, for this blog and the podcasts and all you have done for us in these months.

  • The thing for me is that I realize how progressive this problem is. I look at how I drank 1o years ago, 5 years, and now and I can’t denyit has gotten worse and worse… how will it look in 5 years? Will I still be alive in 10 years? 10 years ago I could drink normally, moderate, no big deal, didn’t even think about it. Now, two drinks is out of the question, I will go to any length to get more and not be seen/let others know – sneak drinks, walk out of the restaurant and run into the bar next door and then come back, volunteer to run to the store to get more of xyz while cooking at home. Anything short of stealing or drinking mouthwash… in 5 years will that be true if I don’t stop now?

    • Matt, wow. This is bananas, it’s so true. The truly scary part about the progression is this: when I concentrate and look back very hard, I cannot for the life of me pinpoint the day, week, month, or even year when I left the world of the normal drinker and moved into addiction. I can’t find it. And it terrifies me. The progression is insidious, and I know that, for me, the only way to stop it is to stop drinking.

  • Thank you all for sharing. These posts reflect back my own truth. It helps to realize there is a universality to this madness. And, losing the obsessing brings in so much head space for other things like joy, creativity, honest relationships including the one with oneself. That’s not to say that wolfie has stopped his howling…it just sounds farther away… what’s that wolfie? I can’t hear you…the birds are singing.

  • Totally! I decided, after wrestling so long with “what am I,” the only thing that matter was that I drank *alcoholically*! That is, I want more, always. It’s hard to moderate–like, my version of hell would be those people who go through harm reduction programs where they go OUT to a bar with their counselor, drink one or two (enough to get a GREAT buzz on, the buzz that overrides all desire to stop)–and, then, have to sit there, come down from that buzz, and not have any more to drink. UGH. HORRIBLE. Every time I’ve had two glasses (and how often was that?), the coming down and wanting more the whole time entirely ruined the buzz! The alternative is worse, though. I drink to fix, to fill, to numb, to distract–that is my “definition” of drinking *alcoholically*. And yes, the whole point of all this getting sober business for me has been to one day, reach a point where I don’t obsess. I am there now, but I think I would go right back to being trapped in the cyclical thinking and obsessing if I went back to drinking. Wonderful post!

  • Excellent post! I reckon towards the end I spent about six hours a day, no joke, thinking about drinking. Fearing for my health, devising ways to disguise hangovers (I’ll just order a really heavy drink, like a big cider with ice, to make sure I don’t shake), justifying buying yet more wine (I had a hard day! I’m worth it!), reading reports about how booze is good for you, trying to ignore the ones saying the opposite, worrying about what I’d said / done when drunk, dreading things in my diary because I knew I’d be hungover for them and may have to cry off. But most of all, the consuming, crushing, paralysing terror over the prospect this might actually be the rest of my life, this living hell. What a joyous time! Not! It is such a relief not to have to undergo the torment of stopping at two. Moderation is torture. None is so much easier. Yay!

  • Perfect post. Especially:

    “I’m beginning to believe that the tell-tale sign of addiction is not how much or how often we drink, but that we actually spend time thinking about drinking.”

    I too want to be free of the thinking.

    Thank you.

    • Belle, thanks for giving me a voice. And thanks for the comments. The whole process is so personal for everyone, and I don’t mean to preach. I just reached a point where I am tired of trying to label myself, to figure out if I really have a problem. That’s when the clarity of the obsession hit me. If I’m honest with myself that I can’t even think normally about wine, then all my questions are answered, and I’m staying sober.