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  • Testimonials / Success Stories / Does MM Really Work?

    This thread will be read-only to keep signal-to-noise high and prevent getting side-tracked (e.g., discussions about other organizations).

    A podcast of a 30 minute talk containing a subset of these testimonials is here:

    http://tinyurl.com/2010-11-28-MM-ES-talk

    You may submit your own testimonial here (please aim for 500 words or less):

    http://www.moderation.org/contact_mm.html?testimonials

    An editor will review your submission and may need to edit it. We reserve the right to reject submissions deemed inappropriate.
    Last edited by mmadmin; 12-01-2016, 03:21 PM. Reason: Correction of shtml to html extension for moderation.org urls

  • #2
    Erik's Story:

    I came to MM on Monday morning, April 19, 1999. The previous Sunday had been like too many others. I thought it was a normal Sunday but in fact I had been drinking since noon. The very last thing I remember was opening the BBQ to light it to cook Sunday dinner. It was a gas BBQ so lighting it was a no-brainer. Apparently I cooked chicken for dinner, but I burned the first side somewhat.

    My wife had been threatening to take the kids and leave for a while now, and I needed to find a way to tell her that I was going to do something about my drinking. I knew about AA, do not believe the disease theory, and have a hard time with the religious stuff. I vaguely remembered seeing something about moderation on a TV news program, so I searched the internet and pretty quickly found Moderation Management. I stopped by Barnes and Noble on the way in to work and picked up Moderate Drinking and immediately did a 30. Like I said, I needed to find a way to tell my wife that I was serious about doing something about my drinking.

    That initial 30 was the first time in about 20 years when I hadn't drunk myself to sleep most every night. It helped me realize that drinking was not a given. My drinking went up and down and I did a couple more 30's. I learned to use many tools include abstinent days, carefully measuring drinks, etc. The alcohol fog slowly cleared to the point that it became clear something else was amiss.

    After a particular outburst on a field-trip, our daughter's middle-school director suggested we educate ourselves about ADHD. During the intake process for our daughter my wife was filling out a questionnaire. As she read through it she started thinking "are we talking about A or about Erik?"

    That was in the Fall of 2003. I tried all the ADHD meds and hated all of them. I spent several years trying out some of the newer SSRI's since they also have an effect on ADHD. I hated those too. Finally, as I left her office for the last time, my doctor offered that some of her patients had had good luck with 5-HTP and GABA. She couldn't tell me how much or how often, so I had to experiment a bit. It wasn't until early 2009 when I upped my GABA to 750mg/day that my deep desire for alcohol went away.

    Old habits die hard and I still use my MM tools, though not in the emergency fire-fighting way I had to use them in the past. I always measure my drinks. I know exactly where 5 oz. is on my wine glass. I rarely drink distilled spirits any more but when I do I measure carefully. If I feel like it, and I'm at a location where it's appropriate, away from family and people who might be offended, I still let it all hang out. This is typically on my annual ski vacation with a bunch of other party-skiers. Afterwards I do a week's abstinence or so to get back in balance.

    Comment


    • #3
      CalJim's Story:

      When I found MM, I didn't believe I had a disease, I didn't concede that I had an addictive personality and frankly I didn't want to give up fine wine. I knew I was drinking too much and it would eventually kill me. I didn't believe I was powerless over alcohol, and I didn't want to abstain forever. It took me two years of practice, patience and persistence and I finally have the MM tools ingrained into my lifestyle. I can have a perfectly enjoyable meal with water or tea. Now my social drinking is quite moderate. I park my drink, drink water in between and eat a large meal before drinking. I never drive under the influence. I owe all of these life skills to MM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Dysmonia's Story:

        I’m sitting on my friend’s back porch on a quiet fall evening, staring at my toes with their chipped nail polish, remembering a better life, a better time, a better anything. I look at her cat, asleep next to my feet. My friend is inside, rummaging around. She walks out and says, “This is so good! You have to try this.” I look over and she’s proffering a pint glass of alcohol. She’s a beer connoisseur, and she’s handing me a newly purchased holiday flavor.

        “Is that the chocolate one?” I ask, having seen the selection in her refrigerator when I was searching for ginger ale earlier that night. I take the glass and try a sip. “That is good,” I say, because it is, and I hand the glass back. She drinks the rest of the beer while she works at her laptop and I look out the screened porch at the lake, trying not to cry over bitter abandoned dreams, watching lights reflecting off the water.
        That one swallow was my first drink of the night, and my last. It was also probably the only alcohol I had over the course of that week.

        If I were an alcoholic, sitting there depressed as hell, and someone handed me a glass of booze, wouldn’t I take a huge gulp? Or down half the glass? Or get my own bottle out of the fridge? Or drive to the store and buy a fifth of vodka, and do shot after shot, chasing it down with my ginger ale? I’d wake up on the porch the next morning in a puddle of my own drool, the cat licking my eyeball, wondering what happened to my pants.

        Maybe I’m an alcoholic. Maybe not. I don’t really care. I do know I have a drinking problem, and the fact I can have one sip of one beer does not mean I’m okay.

        I believe greatly in personal freedom. If someone wants to drink copious amounts of alcohol every day of her life, I think she has that right. If she thinks she has a problem with booze and solves it by going to meetings every night, professing her powerlessness and handing her life over to god, I’d fight for her right to do it. If it works for you, more power to you. But I personally do not believe in the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) disease model of addiction; and, indeed, I think it does a great disservice to countless people across the world who are struggling with their alcohol use, because it suggests that if you’re not staggering through an alley with a pint in a paper bag, you don’t have a problem; or that if you do want help, the only way to get it is through standard addiction treatment.

        I found Moderation Management (MM) after the therapist I was seeing for anxiety and depression suggested I seek a support group for alcohol abuse. She did not think I was an addict, but she was concerned about my choice to self-medicate with booze. Through the magic of Google, I stumbled across a program that encourages people to set their own limits, their own goals, and their own boundaries.

        Some people in MM do choose total abstinence. Some people learn to moderate. Some people continue to over-drink. Some people engage in a pattern of binging and abstaining. What we all have in common is self-awareness, responsibility, and a desire to change.

        One of the most valuable lessons I learned from MM is the fact abstinence is actually much easier than moderation. I used to think because I could go days, weeks, or a month without a drink that this was something special. It turns out it’s much easier to do nothing at all than to do just a little bit; which, I suppose, can be said about a lot of things in life. Another thing I learned, which is a tenet of MM, is the concept of harm reduction: if I’m going to drink, I can choose to do so in a less damaging way.

        It’s been two years since I joined MM. I still binge sometimes. For me, alcohol is a coping mechanism, albeit a negative one, and I think this is true for many people. I’ve seen countless doctors, psychiatrists, and therapists over the years; and been prescribed just as many drugs. But when I’m alone in my apartment with nothing but ghosts and memories and I don’t see any other solution, I’ll drink a bottle of wine. Or two. Or have ten shots of vodka. AA would call me a dual diagnosis. I call myself a mentally ill person consciously self-medicating.

        There’s a reason people drink, and for many of us, I don’t believe that reason is an uncontrollable urge or lack of power. We are trying to escape our pain, or avoid it, or fix it, or get just a few hours’ peace. When we wake up the next morning – yes, in our own drool with eyeball-licking cats and missing pants – what we are doing can’t possibly be deemed healthy. I’ve had more cringe-worthy moments and agonizing mornings-after than I can ever remember. Literally.

        Some would argue that I wouldn’t endure these negative consequences if I wasn’t chemically addicted to ethanol. I argue that I endure the consequences because on some level they are worth the oblivion alcohol provides.

        Don’t misunderstand. I spend a lot of my time sober. As an active member of MM, I was abstinent for over 90 days last year. When I returned to drinking, I had good days and bad days. I still sometimes drink in lieu of a real solution. And what MM has taught me is that whether or not there even is a true solution, if I choose alcohol as an interim fix, I can use it in a way so that when I do wake up hung over, maybe I’m not missing any clothes. Maybe I’m even in my own bed. Maybe I kept to my limits and I didn’t send any drunken text messages or emails the night before.

        I drink because I’m happy. I drink because I’m sad. I drink because I’m hopeless. But I don’t drink because I’m powerless and I don’t drink because I have a motor control problem. I can put the bottle down. I can put my friend’s pint glass down. MM has given me the tools to decide when, where, and how I drink – or if I drink at all. Knowledge is power. And I can honestly say that although I still don’t have a healthy relationship with alcohol, I’m okay with the relationship I do have. You have to get through life somehow. And with a support group like MM, whether you do it with alcohol or not, you don’t have to do it alone.

        Comment


        • #5
          Rebecca's Story:

          In December of 2008, I moved to St. Louis to live on my own as opposed to living with my dad in the country for bad reasons. I lived at my dadʼs for about 4 years; at which time, I researched on-line some alternatives to A.A. and N.A. for my drinking problem. When I found Moderation Management on line, there were no meetings in my area. So, when I moved to St. Louis, I checked for meetings on the MM website and surprisingly found one.

          My drinking starting in January of 2009 when I moved to St. Louis was heavy. I drank a lot of Miller Light; for one, to get drunk and for two....it was cheap. I drank everyday and tried to work and go to school knowing I had an alcohol problem. But, in the spring of 2009, I began to think about MM and tried to go to meetings. And in the summer of 2009 I switched to wine and drank a wine glass a day for a month or two. I know drinking a glass of wine a day is good for your heart. But this cutting down my drinking all happened because of the work I was able to do about my drinking problem through the steps of Moderation Management.

          When in the summer of 2010 I was diagnosed pre-diabetic, I was drinking heavy again. This time compared to about 11 cans of Miller Light, I was drinking about 5 - 8oz. glasses of wine (Sauvignon Blanc) at night. I had insulin resistance and I heard dry wine was o.k. with insulin resistance. But, most likely not at the levels I was drinking it. But, even though I was drinking heavy, I still practiced stringing together some days, like 2 weeks straight during the months after my diagnosis, where I didnʼt drink at all. Now, my insulin level is normal.

          During my time so far utilizing Moderation Management, I completed one 30. A 30 is a 30 day abstinent period from alcohol. Now, Iʼm near the end of my second 30. So far, Iʼve noticed I donʼt believe I am an alcoholic. I think I just have a drinking problem that if I want to change it, I can.

          My last diagnosis was barretteʼs esophagus. When I researched this (a pre-cancerous condition in the esophagus), I found out I probably was born with it, and it most likely wonʼt turn into cancer. Iʼm treating it now while abstaining from alcohol with homeopathy. I really wondered what the burning sensation was in my chest because every time I tried to abstain from alcohol it would flare up really bad and Iʼd end up
          drinking because of the pain.

          Now, Iʼm almost done with my second 30. Whereas before I could only abstain 5 days to 2 weeks off alcohol, now I have practically 30 days off alcohol from practicing stringing together ABS days. If I want to change my drinking through MM, I know I can and work on moderation. I would like to try btb (by the book) moderation which says for women no more than 3 drinks a day and no more than 9 drinks a week. Either that, or go back to my one glass of wine a day. Firstly, though I need to continue my ABS.

          Comment


          • #6
            Donna Dierker's story:

            I found MM in July, 2002, after my bad drinking habits returned after my son, Max, was born, and I had stopped nursing him. No more threat of birth defects or fetal alcohol syndrome, so my consumption gradually increased. After a while, I became concerned and tried to cut back on my own, but all my good intentions would disappear around 4pm on Friday.

            Scared, I looked into AA, but couldn't even read the steps without concluding it would never work for me (powerlessness, higher power magic). The St. Louis Post-Dispatch published a column about MM and DrinkWise, and I looked into both.

            MM was a perfect fit from my first reading of the FAQ.

            After lurking on the MM mailing list for a month, I found the courage to abstain from alcohol for 30 days. I vividly remember how hard the first Friday night was without drinking -- and how great I felt the next Saturday morning. I was dancing with my two-year-old son in the family room at 8am Saturday morning.

            How empowering that was: I *can* change my habits. I was able to get off blood pressure medicine, and shortly thereafter got pregnant with my daughter. Then I went no-mail, because MMlist volume took too much time I didn't have.

            In 2008, my marriage collapsed, and around New Year 2009, I decided to
            reactivate my MMlist mail. I also started f2f meetings in St. Louis, a great decision. These decisions were more proactive than reactive: Despite my marital problems, my drinking wasn't way out of control, but it wasn't moderate anymore, either.

            Since October 2008, my pattern has been mostly moderate drinking for two months, followed by one month of abstinence, to reduce my tolerance and sort of reset my drinking pattern. There isn't enough time for the creep to set in.

            Several old-timers have gotten it together; quit the list; tackled the life priorities they targeted in step 4; and become successful. Others stick around MMlist (or now the forum) because they are altruistic or stay for the friends they have made.
            Last edited by donna.dierker; 01-03-2011, 08:46 PM. Reason: Megan's wording of the last paragraph is more accurate.

            Comment


            • #7
              GM's Story (aka Golden's Story):

              My name is GM, and I am a member of Moderation Management. My story with alcohol is similar to many in Moderation Management. I’m a 45 year old male and have been a drinker for all of my adult life. When I was younger, I didn’t have the foresight, maturity or even care to deal with my drinking. Alcohol was accepted, and I thought was a part of my persona. As the years passed by drinking became a part of my daily life, a habitual part of my existence. It didn’t rip apart my world….it was just there, along with all the other complexities we each deal with in life. Eventually however, I came to realize that alcohol was taking up too much of my time….my life wasn’t going in the direction I wanted it to go; alcohol was taking away the power I had to direct my life. I also became more aware and concerned about the negative impact drinking too much can have on health. Thus, I discovered Moderation Management and began making my way towards moderation, and putting myself back in control of alcohol.

              This year I did a “30”; 30 days abstinence from alcohol.

              Doing a 30….it was like a new chapter in my life that I thought would never come. Several scenarios came together to enable me to complete it. Understanding that it wasn’t a matter of “if I could”; it was “did I want to”. Much of Moderation Management has been the same for me….is this what I want? I see that most other people striving for moderation also have the same drive and desire…to WANT to change. This is what leads to their success, more-so I believe than the fundamentals of how it works. Moderation Management guides participants but those participating are there because they want to be there, not because they have to be there.

              Specific things I have learned from MM

              Tools and techniques to help deal with drinking too much:

              * Planning (I am going to abstain on Monday and Tuesday);
              * Delaying (I am planning a successful, enjoyable activity that will delay drinking)
              * How to reduce the effect of alcohol (sipping rather than gulping)
              * Tracking alcohol consumption, being conscious of alcohol intake (using ABstar, a drink tracking tool to keep track of how much I drink)

              Many of the things I have learned in Moderation Management are things I thought I knew, so does everyone else, right? As long as I didn’t have a problem with alcohol, I was an expert on drinking. If we don’t have a problem with alcohol, then we know all we need to know, correct? To the contrary; I know so much more now about alcohol than when I started Moderation Management. Blood alcohol content, focused perception on the effects of alcohol, what can cause over-consumption, long-term impacts of drinking, these are all things that I have learned so much more about in the past year since actively participating in Moderation Management.

              The support is the “glue” to Moderation Management

              It makes a difference to have others, and not just a few others but many others who can relate to what I am doing. Because Moderation Management exists largely in an online community, there is a large number of people who participate. Having similar perspectives and desire to change is a key component to Moderation Management. Success breeds success, and this philosophy plays out in the daily support members provide for each other. The habits we have all formed over time also take time to change. The support mechanisms in place with Moderation Management provide continued focus on the goal for participants as well as reminders of how those goals can be achieved. Moderation is an individual path for each person, however the collective knowledge is what provides the biggest support structure.

              I know where I am, and I can see where I want to be. Small changes are leading to the bigger changes I want to make in my life. How do I get to where I want to be? Moderation Management is helping with that.
              Last edited by donna.dierker; 01-03-2011, 04:57 PM. Reason: Added GM's forum user_id to heading

              Comment


              • #8
                Colparker's Story:

                Due to extremely faulty memory at times I don't recall exactly when I came to MM. Some time around May of 2005 I believe. I came here fresh off having successfully
                quit smoking and so I was spurred to hope that I could make some progress on my drinking problem.

                I was in bad shape when I got here. I drank daily in large amounts. I was blacking out frequently. I was falling down ( literally) a lot and frequently outside in public. I desperately wanted to figure out a way to continue being able to drink but without negative consequences.

                When I began I just started out by posting. But very early on I was inspired by Tyler to do a 30. I was scared witless. I couldn't really imagine going without alcohol for 30 days but I did know that I had to be serious in my efforts to practice MM's program. I made my commitment online and began. I lasted about 10 days and felt like I could drink and just not say anything about it. After all, who would know. I even believed I could fool all the people around me and that if I "just had a couple" then no one would be the wiser. The big lesson of my first attempt at a 30 was that I would know and that I really despised my dishonesty. I felt terrible as MMers were congratulating me when I didn't deserve it and of course I fooled no one who had contact with me. So began an earnest effort to get honest about my drinking. It took a long time. I was to find out that effect of years and years of lying to myself and others about it had me steeped in delusion and had blinded me.

                I started a 30 again. This time I was determined to make it through. I began ticking down the days until I could drink again. Not a very productive way to spend a 30. I white knuckled it through most of it. It was not fun. At that point I really didn't feel great about it other than I really enjoyed others talking about how amazing it was that I was doing it. I finished it. Whew ! That proved I wasn't an alcoholic right ? I mean how could an alcoholic not drink for a month. Twisted logic. The lesson of this 30 was that not drinking for a period of time did not teach me to drink responsibly.

                And so it went. I did periods of attempting to moderate, followed by disastrous binges, followed by renewed 30's or more. Rinse and repeat. The sections of my abstar line that were blank were very bad times. That pretty much indicated that I was blank as well.

                My health worsened. I had a serious heart problem. I lost vision in one eye. I had marks all over my body that I couldn't explain how they got there. My finances were devastated.

                There were people in MM that profoundly inspired me. One of these was Tomatina who did a year abs. She was the first person that I spoke with closely about long time abs. There have been many people that helped hold me up when I was very very down about my drinking. A lot have moved on. Thank you Outhouse Kat, Goldie, Hedgehog, Saharah, Ellie, SusieQ, Evermore, Patrick, Ana,Mia,Lexie, Zelda and many many more. Please forgive me if I didn't mention you. Be assured that all of you make it possible for me.

                A little over 2 years ago things fell apart. Thankfully MM has a place for me that has been lifesaving. MMabsers has been a major source of support for me. I got serious about solving my alcohol problem.

                I decided I had to participate in meetings. I decided that I could do that and at the same time give back to MM by supporting the chat meetings. I got honest about my addiction and decided it was time to quit. For good. I never got far when I left things to be determined or indefinite. I had to make the complete commitment to change. I can't emphasize that enough. One has to be 100% committed to changing the problem. I looked deeply into all the ways that drinking had affected both my life and those around me.

                I made a determination to try to repay the long enduring patience that many had in me. I wanted to try to repair some of the damage I had done. I made my freedom from addiction a priority in my life. I spent time thinking about what really mattered to me. I began to practice courage. I found faith. As I examined the things that had kept me drinking in the past I searched for ways to keep me sober in the future. I opened myself up to all approaches even ones that I had closed myself off to in the past. My new limit for moderation was 0 and that had to be sustained. I took small steps to promote balance and moderation in my life. I began to spend time in prayer and meditation. I began to "go to the places that scared me " . I started fully participating in my own life. I didn't rest on my laurels. Just being abstinent will never be enough for me. I want to live soberly. I spend a lot of time reflecting on where I am and where I want to go and how I will get there.

                My path is making positive lifestyle changes. I stay involved in MM because I have a great debt of gratitude to pay.

                That is the MM program. If you look at the nine steps even though I am abstinent it is covered. But just vaguely wishing that my life were somehow different and hoping that someday things would change didn't get me there. There is no simple easy path to overcoming our craving. It takes stepping out with courage. It takes rigorous
                honesty. It takes gratitude. If you are willing to commit to practicing as Moderation Management and Responsible Drinking teaches then the problem can be overcome.

                Today marks 888 days of sobriety. Despite any difficulties, depression, anxiety I will tell you that there is more serenity and joy in my life than I would have ever
                believed possible.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Elle's Story:

                  I joined Moderation Management in November 2008, so I have been a member for just short of 2 years. In that time, the progress that I’ve made has been incredible. I credit MM as an organization, individual members of MM for their particular contributions to my recovery, and, of course, in true MM fashion, I credit myself.

                  I joined MM after a Thanksgiving blackout, but it was a long time coming. My entire adult life had been marked by bad decisions and embarrassments due to overdrinking and, by this time, it had become my main coping strategy. My relationship of 10 years was in jeopardy and my drinking was a big part of that, so when I woke up the next morning to my partner’s disappointment, I knew that something had to change. I immediately went to AA. I had gone to several meetings in years past, but it never stuck. While many MMers are put off by the religious tenor of the group, the emphasis on powerlessness, or the severity of many AA members’ drinking problems (and I don’t disagree with any of these MMers’ sentiments), I was mostly turned off by its invasiveness. Their enthusiastic welcome made me uncomfortable, a feeling worsened by the sponsorship model. I wanted a place that I could come to, but that wouldn’t follow me. Though I would never come back to AA, the reaction that I had to it is telling: I brought that reticence to MM, which explains why my first month and a half was not entirely successful.

                  Before I ever went to a face-to-face meeting, I spent time on the list and was comforted and inspired. I found a great variety of people at different stages on their moderation journey. After lurking for a while, I dipped my toe in the water and posted regularly and signed up for Abstar. I loved the feeling of support that I got and the support that I was able to offer others in the same boat. In my first month and a half, my drinking decreased and I managed to get through a number of difficult occasions drinking moderately, even over the holidays.

                  However, during this period, I never completely acknowledged to myself that fixing my drinking problem had to become a priority in my life. Finding MM made me feel that I could simply nudge my life into healthier territory, but my problem required much more than a nudge. I figured this out in January 2009. My partner out of town, I woke up with little memory of the previous night, and a note in my bed from a dear friend, explaining that she had gotten me home. I was overcome by shame and fear.

                  I immediately went to my computer to pour out my misery and was met by incredible support. Though most MMers caution not to embark on a 30abs in this state, I had reached a crucible: if I couldn’t be consistently moderate, I couldn’t drink anymore. Period.

                  That first 30 was one of the most important experiences of my adult life. During this period, I prioritized fixing my drinking problem. I spent time on the MM list everyday, I went to several chats each week (book chat in particular was extremely helpful), and I attended face-to-face meetings. I read Responsible Drinking very carefully and also, on the recommendation of a veteran MMer who is a practicing Buddhist and permanently abstinent from alcohol, I read Kevin Griffin’s One Breath at a Time. I listened to AA podcasts during my commutes. I stocked up on NA beer and supplements like GABA and 5-HTP to calm me down and help me sleep. A lifelong calorie counter, I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted if it helped me with my alcohol cravings. I let myself lie and make excuses in social situations. But I faced things that alcohol had kept me from acknowledging for years. It hurt so much it made me sick. With the help of MM, I got through those feelings each and every night without drinking. And I learned that I could survive without drinking. I felt none of the euphoria that other MMers record during the 30—entirely the opposite—but I learned that I could feel truly horrible and not die.

                  My first night off of my 30, I was terrified. Though part of me looked forward to drinking, a larger part of me worried that I was playing with fire. I drank two glasses of good wine that evening and immediately embarked on another 30. That 30 was motivated by this fear, but also by a truth: I hadn’t finished the work I needed to do yet. I continued to focus a lot of energy on my drinking problem and absed for another 45 days. When I began drinking again, I did so incredibly carefully and put a great deal of thought into each and every occasion. It worked for me. I drank moderately for over a year. And I got my self-esteem back. My dignity had been decimated by years overdrinking and each day that I absed or drank moderately, a little bit of it returned, and this built momentum.

                  But, by the summer of 2010, I felt very confident. So confident in fact, that I allowed myself to slip several times. These slips were precipitated by more frequent drinking. I stopped being vigilant about using my tools and would drink quickly, racing toward the effect. I began to remember the shame and misery that overdrinking brought me. I would like to say that a single slip woke me up, but it didn’t. I was tired of caring and watching and I wanted to lose myself in alcohol again. After each slip, I would try to work up the desire to recommit, but this desire didn’t gain traction.

                  Until it did. I am not exactly sure why, but I have been back to slip-free moderation now for two and a half months. I still think that I could cut down, but I am generally happy with my current situation. What’s more, I can honestly say that drinking has brought me more pleasure over the past two years than it has brought me pain. Even including my summer of slips, I believe that I am actually better off than if I had given up drinking entirely. I’ve enjoyed wonderful wines and precious social moments. And I managed to get a measure of self-esteem by (mostly) controlling my relationship with alcohol.

                  The effort that I must expend to stay moderate—as much as I sometimes resent it—is worth it to me at this point in my life. I truly enjoy drinking and am willing to work to retain the privilege. I believe that this attitude—that drinking is a privilege that I earn by staying moderate—has been helpful to me. Though there will certainly be challenges to come, I am sure that I can confront and overcome them with the help of MM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Sarah's Story:

                    I joined MM in March, 2008 on yet another morning when I was so hung over I couldn’t function. I sat on my couch, so sick and anxious, and searched for anything that could help me stop feeling horrible. I had been drinking almost daily -- some days one drink and some days 5 or 6 drinks -- and was also binge drinking on the weekends. The morning I joined was following a binge. A binge for me ranged from 5 drinks to 25 drinks and never lasted more than a day. I never knew how much of a difference Moderation Management would make in my life.

                    On the MM listserv I found acceptance, support, creative ideas, thought-provoking discussions, brutal honestly, and humor. Best of
                    all, though, I found like-minded people who actually understood what I was going through. They wrote things I was sure I could have written. They replied to my posts not with judgment, but with kindness and support. They found strategies that actually worked. And they knew of ways to reduce my anxiety and guilt enough to deal with this problem drinking I finally came to accept. In my life, I had not found someone who was able to articulate just those terrible feelings I had from drinking, and through MM I finally found a home where I could deal with my drinking productively.

                    I practiced moderation for one and a half years. I have tracked every drink I have taken on abstar. I posted every time I drank
                    more-than-moderately. I posted when I was proud that I did drink
                    moderately. I posted when I absed successfully. I wrote back to others who needed support. I found friends, confidence and a new me.

                    Changing our problem drinking is one of the hardest things we can
                    face, and one of the most rewarding as well. I have never put so much work into anything in my life, and I’m very proud of the changes I’ve made. But that’s part of what changing this habit means -- hard work. Very hard work. I discovered that this is a lifelong process. It isn’t a few days of doing something different followed by a magical change. It’s about falling down and getting back up; making plans; staying accountable; and self forgiveness.

                    I was fairly successful at moderation, but still was having one to two binges a month. For me, the anxiety, guilt, illness, sleepless nights, and self deprivation that followed a binge was just not worth it anymore. Through practicing abs days with MM, I knew what life could feel like without those hangovers. I had developed skills on how to abs in social situations and found activities I liked to do that didn’t involve drinking during my time practicing moderation. Finally I decided that the right choice for me was to just stop drinking for a while. I knew that when I drank I felt bad some of the time (not all of the time), and when I didn’t drink I didn’t feel bad from alcohol. So I stopped drinking and joined MMabsers. I don’t go to AA or other support groups. I just stopped drinking. Drinking (or trying to moderate) was just taking up too much of my brain space and time and I needed a break from that to focus on other life goals. The payoffs of not drinking have been so huge for me that until I can find a really great reason to start back up again, I’m just not drinking anymore. This has improved my quality of life in ways I can’t even measure.

                    I think back to when I first joined MM and feel sad that I hadn’t
                    joined earlier because I know how much my quality of life has improved since that day in March 2008. I am a problem drinker. It took me a really long time to admit that, but I am. And if it weren’t for the help of MM and MMabsers, I would be far less happy and calm than I am today.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Shannon STL's Story

                      First let me say what lead me here.

                      I was always a drinker. I think I was born with a beer in my hand. I don't really remember the first time I got drunk. I must have been about 13 or 14. I just remember that I loved it. It was pretty easy to get, because I was about 5'9" at the time.

                      I didn't get a hangover until college. I discovered something called the "Beer Bong". If you don't know what it is, its a funnel attached to a hose and someone pours like a huge amount of beer into it. After that I immediately discovered the "Hair of the Dog", which is drinking to get rid of a hangover". I think you can see a pattern emerging.

                      Once, when I was drunk in college, I remember chasing a squirrel with a pillow case and thinking to myself "I'm gonna catch me a squirrel." I finally ran into a tree or something and it knocked me out till morning. The rain woke me up.

                      Jumping to when I discovered I had a problem. Well, I have been working nights for about 11yrs now. I usually go to bed around 10-11am. Until about a year ago I would drink tequila shots until I'd fall asleep. I ended up drinking up to a gallon of tequila every 2 days.

                      One day I realized "Hey this is not OK" . My body hurt, Id puke on a daily basis,. Drinking was my life. I told my mom on her birthday that I needed a ride to an AA meeting.

                      At the time it was the only treatment that I knew of. I stuck with AA for 4mts. My dilemma was that AA is knee deep in christian beliefs and a antiquated male driven agenda.. Plus ya gotta stop drinking forever.

                      AA works for some. For me it helped me quit drinking, but ultimately I spent a lot of time rewriting "The Big Book" (The AA bible) and pissing off my sponsor. My time with AA was done.

                      I discovered MM on the Internet and found out that they had face to face meetings. I didn't come to MM to make it OK for me too drink. I came to MM to understand why I drank. I didn't start out trying to moderate. I abstained from alcohol for a few months after I had joined MM.

                      At this time I believe I am successfully moderating. I feel like I balance well now. Alcohol is part of my life, its just not my entire life anymore. I don't know the deep seated reason why I drink but I learned about something called triggers. Triggers are things that I feel make me run to Alcohol for comfort. Because I can now identify these triggers I can deal with them before I mindlessly down a bottle of tequila.

                      MM taught me to be accountable for the choices I make. Today I am happy . I feel like MM gave me a better quality of life.

                      Thank you Donna and MM

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Lainey's Story:

                        I joined MM in Oct 2008. Daily drinker of 1-2 bottles of wine.
                        I read everything on the MM site, got RD, and started planning.
                        In 3 weeks i was absing 3-4 days/week- something I never thought I could achieve. Baby steps really helped.
                        Initially my main goal was to be able to take or leave a drink. I despaired that that day would never come.
                        Thanks to MM, I have met that goal and more! I abs 3-5 days a week and am BTB on days I do drink. I do on occasion go over, but this is the exception, and
                        I am OK with this.
                        I can go out to eat, a party, or whatever and it is no longer in my thoughts to get hammered! Before, that was a given.
                        I no longer wake up in the early AM hours thirsty and miserable.
                        It did take work, but it is doable and sustainable.
                        So, yes, moderation is possible for some of us.
                        MM rocks

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Lainey's story:

                          I joined MM in Oct 2008. Daily drinker of 1-2 bottles of wine.
                          I read everything on the MM site, got RD, and started planning.
                          In 3 weeks i was absing 3-4 days/week- something I never thought I could achieve. Baby steps really helped.
                          Initially my main goal was to be able to take or leave a drink. I despaired that that day would never come.
                          Thanks to MM, I have met that goal and more! I abs 3-5 days a week and am BTB on days I do drink. I do on occasion go over, but this is the exception, and
                          I am OK with this.
                          I can out to eat, a party, or whatever and it is no longer in my thoughts to get hammered! Before, that was a given.
                          I no longer wake up in the early AM hours thirsty and miserable.

                          It did take work, but it is doable and sustainable.
                          So, yes, moderation is possible for some of us.

                          MM rocks,

                          Lainey

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Nancy B's story:

                            I am pretty happy with where I am right now with my drinking (ok, mostly non-drinking, but still). I was reflecting on my start at mm and wanted to share some of my early experiences for the newbs.

                            I remember when I found mm and was so happy to know there were people out there JUST LIKE ME who were concerned with their drinking and were talking about it!

                            I remember the first time I went to a party and counted my drinks. I was AMAZED at how much I drank and how I went from finishing one glass to pouring another with absolutely no thought of not having another or of waiting a bit or having water etc. I realized I had no awareness of how much I drank!

                            I remember one Sunday morning deciding firmly that I would not drink on Sundays anymore because one of the things that made me seek help with drinking was going to work HO. Literally 2 minutes after I made that decision a friend called and invited us to a cookout that night. With our crowd ALL events are drinking events. I made up an excuse to not go to the cookout for fear I would back out of my commitment. I remember feeling panicked over the phone call....what to do????

                            I remember another Sunday when we went to a pool party and everyone was drinking and I brought na beer and how awkward it felt to not be drinking. I remember putting out full social effort, being especially outgoing, so that no one would notice I wasn't drinking.

                            I remember looking at the BTB rules and deciding to do 7 days of btb and posting it to the list with the subject line "don't laugh" and having Pierre write in that 7 days is a great achievement and no one is laughing. Thank you for that, Pierre.

                            I remember being on KC's 30M roster over and over, sometimes successful but often having to start over again and again until I could get 30 days in. Thank you for your support, KC. You helped me a ton.

                            Finally, I remember this past Christmas season taking a close and honest look at where I was and realizing that although I had made great strides, my progress had stalled out and I was beginning to backslide. Since January 1 I have had approximately 15 drinking days and I consider myself to be "mostly abs". That is what is working for me right now and I hope it continues.

                            I guess my point is that cutting down on drinking is hard work and you can expect it to be uncomfortable sometimes but it is worth it. I was headed down a bad path and now I am on a positive path in my life.

                            My best to everyone on your journies!

                            Nancy B.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              SomethingElse's story:


                              I am on day 138 of my (hopefully)permanent abs. I have not felt this good in years. I am 57 years old and started my illustrious drinking career at age 15. drank a bottle of Tanqueray on the day of my Dad's funeral. Got shit faced on banana daiquiris and sloe gin fizzes when I was 16. by the time I hit my mid 20's, I was smoking pot, snorting coke, drinking, tripping on acid, taking diet pills, and partied like there was no tomorrow. I functioned well enough. never really had a true bottom. until last year. I could go for days without drinking, and then when I had that first one, because I deserved it for being so good, BOOM! Could not quit. became seriously addicted and had horrific binges. I cried and cried and wanted to stop it so badly and could not. I had to drink in the morning just to stop my hands from shaking. I pretty much stopped eating healthy food. I be
                              came really depressed, suicidal, praying that death would release me from the hell I created for myself.

                              I am a successful business woman despite myself. Cocktails and drinking had become a part of the social fabric of my and my husband's lives. We entertained clients at work and at home. we had champagne lunches and martini happy hours. In the beginning it ws fun, it was quite "social". little by little it became a regular part of our routine. Later it became race against the clock waiting for it to be an acceptable time to have a drink. later yet, it was always an acceptable time to drink, and work was interfering with my drinking, as they say. I was drunk for a week on my last binge. that was my bottom. Physically I felt awful. awful. I looked puffy and bleary eyed, and just breathing sometimes was an effort.

                              It wasn't fun anymore. It was killing me. I knew it, could see and feel the effects on my body all the alcohol had. In one moment I decided I'd had enough, and that I didn't really want to die. I drank alcohol for 45 years of my 57 year existence on this planet. I was lucky my liver was still functioning, and still is. it is a miracle that I never hurt anyone while drunk, never broke things or lost things. Did a lot of stupid things. shameful things. it took a lot of doing to forgive myself, and be willing to look ahead and not backwards.

                              I am so happy to be 138 days old. I am a brand new woman, very different than the one I was last year. last year I could hardly hold a pen to sign my name. I had wet brain. Today I play word games and hidden object games. I think quicker now, make awesome connections among and between things. it feels so much better to be strong, determined, committed to living a higher purpose. being tuned in is just so much better than being checked out.

                              Stay in your power, because less really is more. I wish you strong resolve in your journey.

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