Three months ago I tentatively began to drink again after many years of abstinence. I have explored why I felt this might be a possibility for me when for many with past dependency this would be a bad idea. Here’s a brief update on how its going.
Certainly my new experimental relationship with alcohol has been at the forefront of my conscience, carefully weighing up my instincts, the evidence and words of friends and colleagues. When I started, I was sure it would not be until at least several months in before I had an inkling as to whether it was going to work.
At present I feel confident to say that – so far – I am succeeding in non-problem drinking. But it is certainly too early to describe myself as ‘recovered’. Indeed I may never feel this an appropriate term – anyone with past dependency may only ever achieve ‘controlled’ rather than normal drinking. In addition, there are a few issues which might raise some legitimate causes for caution.
Over the last 3 months I have been drinking on average twice per week, usually a couple of lower strength (4%) beers. There have however been exceptions; one in particular where I felt moderately intoxicated, and another where I did not feel imbibed but drank more than on other occasions, but over a longer social event. The vast majority of my drinking occasions have been moderate and harm free. Two have been pushing the boundaries and left me feeling ambiguous about the implications.
Many people would argue that occasional sessions of mild drunkenness or exceeding the (fairly low) guidelines are a part on “normal” drinking. However “normal” is not something a former problem drinker might consider themselves capable of. I am at present pleased that on the whole I seem capable of a moderated approach, though am cautious that as time passes, I may test and blur these boundaries until the regularity and amount I drink creeps up. And with that could come a range of health and social risks. And my greatest fear – re-occurring psychological dependency.
Overall though, I feel so far so good. But of huge importance is that I never forget my past problems in controlling my alcohol use and the consequences of that. Complacency could easily spell trouble as times passes and self-preserving fears dispel. We should always keep a close eye on our lifestyles and any self-rewarding behaviours. The more in tune we are with these the greater the chance we have of nipping a potential problem in the bud.
I wish to highlight that I feel controlled drinking is in most cases not the best option those with past dependency. I have explained here why I felt I was able to attempt controlled drinking.