We’ve tried this. It doesn’t work for us.

from me:

The idea of moderation (and really, it is only an ‘idea’), is that I’ll make rules for myself and I will follow those rules. I’ll make rules like ‘only one drink, only drink on weekends, only special occasions, i won’t drink this kind alcohol, I’ll have water every second glass…’

The idea of moderation is to have rules AND then to follow those rules. ha. of course, that isn’t what happens.

It’s sort of like saying: “I’m going to do a little bit of heroin, not very much, just a little bit, and I won’t ever let it take over, and I won’t do it every day” — which is to imply that we can keep track of an addictive substance, and we can contain it in one section of our house … that we can hold it in one part of our life and not let it overflow into everything else.

You might have been online looking for support to quit drinking, or you might have searched for “am I an alcoholic,” or you looked up “how do I drink less?” — and not long into your research you would have found that people would talk about how they had tried to moderate and were unsuccessful. So then they made new rules, and tried again, or they would resolve to try harder to stick their rules.

The problem with this — and you and I know this (and you know this because you’ve tried it) — anybody who comes to the sober world as well as anyone who’s quit drinking, has already tried to cut down, to drink less, drink every so often, drink on weekends. We’ve tried this. It doesn’t work for us.

You’ve tried to have ‘some’ and then stop, but once the pathway is open and the addictive voice is activated, then it’s yelling.

[this text above is from the transcript for archived podcast #400 about moderation]


AM: “Hi Belle, I tip my virtual hat to you. Podcast 400 needs to be blasted from speakers on (sober) car roofs across the globe .  Is there a way we can get it to pop up when people google search ‘how do I moderate my drinking?’ Lying awake with hangxiety at 3 in the morning?”


NEW: I’ve uploaded four older audios that have been missing from the archived podcasts list (scroll down until you see the NEW tag for episodes #399-#402). If you’re missing a few audios from your complete series, OR if you just became a subscriber recently, you may want to see some of these archived ones:

  • #399 – learning to overcome regret and shame (and to tell this apart from rumination and re-thinking for no reason)
  • #400 – when thinking about moderation, we often get stuck at the intersection of “I should be able to…” and “I can’t…” – and we stand there for a long time, waiting. but it’s a busy intersection. and cars crash at this exact place all the time.
  • #401 – i’m not a bad person, I just drink too much. i’m a good mother, i just drink too much. we hope we can put our drinking in a box, and hide it in the closet. turns out, it doesn’t really work that way …
  • #402 – being empathic isn’t an excuse for poor boundaries 🙂 in fact, if you ‘feel all the feels’ then you need MORE boundaries than most people…

to see these newly added archived audios go here (scroll down to see episodes #399 to #402 and then you can select them one by one).

OR here’s a one-click-link to get a these 4 new archived audios together in a tidy, complete bundle.

hugs, belle xo


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

  • So true about moderation. Thanks Belle for posting. Didn’t work for me either. Too much time tending to my ‘rules’ and watching to make sure I didn’t break it. And then Wolfie comes in, hey, it’s Friday nite – give yourself a break from all the rules… Then right back on the booze elevator going down. I read something last night that resonated for me ‘To avoid undesirable behavior, avoid the environments where it is most likely to occur.’

  • It sometimes feels as if my head needs to go back to the place of checking yet again that drinking or any other unhelpful behaviour is not worth it… that it isn’t a solution to how I’m feeling.
    Almost like I have a kind of dementia and need that reminder …
    Especially when there are messages out there that contradict what the sober world says … that unless you get to a certain point of desperation in your drinking…. then somehow it is desirable that one learns to moderate our intake – kind of “if you are a responsible adult then you should be able to enjoy alcohol responsibly (else you are missing out)
    To actually get to the place of acceptance and satisfaction that alcohol DOES NOT enhance life is often a while coming ; but come it does….
    Then the thoughts of moderation seem to pale into insignificance (thankfully )

    • This is so me. It usually happens when I’m alone for a few hours so I pop in a movie or watch a couple episodes of my favorite series & have a “me” day……planning on having “just a few”. By the time my husband gets home I’m usually on my 5th one (lite beer) but then the “fuck it” attitude sets in. That’s when my thinking turns to…..I’ll do what I damn well please & announce as he walks into the room….”I’m having a me day”, like stay away from me because I’m getting drunk. Then comes the 3 am, heart pumping, head thumping & praying to god not to let me die, promising to never drink again…..til 3 days later.