Black, white and grey

Many people, including me, believed that in order to get 'sober' or quit drinking I needed to admit to being an 'alcoholic'. That I needed to be drinking vodka, hidden in a water bottle, in the morning. But it's not that black and white (what in life is!?) The shades of grey between alcoholic and 'normal drinker' are what keeps us stuck in a cycle of doing something we no longer get total pleasure from.

The Americans call it grey area drinking because it's no longer believed to be black or white, alcoholic or normal drinker, it's considered to be a spectrum of which we all sit on if we consume alcohol.

The medical term for that spectrum is alcohol use disorder (which includes a level that's sometimes called alcoholism). Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is defined by the mayo clinic as a pattern of alcohol use that involves problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems, having to drink more to get the same effect and wanting to cut down on how much you drink or making unsuccessful attempts to do so. Sound familiar?!

Alcohol has emotional power over me and I struggled with that for years, wanting to moderate and finding that I couldn't. I didn't drink in the day time, I never hid my drinking. I was like a lot of parents, I would crack a wine at 6 pm after a long day, I'd go out with other mom friends and do such a number on myself I would be in bed for days.

It is difficult to moderate alcohol use.

We have used alcohol to have fun, fit in, alleviate stress, celebrate, commiserate, drown our sorrows, connect, be intimate, have confidence, for so many years the habit formed in our brain seems difficult to change.

And over time, you need more to have the same effect, so you consume more of it.

It is also not a case of you weak willpower. Alcohol is an addictive substance and humans get addicted to it just like nicotine. It is, after all, one of the most addictive substances on earth

I tried to moderate long after the party was over. Do I still have cravings? Hell yes. ALL.THE.TIME. Was I on the alcoholic scale of alcohol use disorder? No. Did I have a problem with alcohol? YES

I'm still figuring out life after alcohol. I try and focus on the fact that alcohol was no longer serving me, I was serving it, with oh so much time and suffering, and I can't go back to that.

How about you? Are you finding it difficult to moderate? Have you been thinking about stopping completely? Do you feel at odds with your relationship with alcohol?

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Call 1300 85 85 84

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