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    What "tools" are used to abs and mod or cut back

    Just Plain Phil on Ledge Tools

    Well, Heidi, you asked, so I'm going to try to answer. Although I don't think there is a universal answer that will fit everybody.

    Never heard them called a ledge before, but it's appropriate! I remember Ana's trick about being caught in the moment. Ana drinks wine, and her trick is, she starts with a glass of wine, and as it gets smaller, she keeps adding ice chips. Never more wine. That way she has only one drink, it lasts all evening, and there's no chance of getting in trouble. Well, that's a nice trick, and it works for Ana and some other folks, but not for me. I just gave that example because it is a way off the ledge, just not for everybody.

    It took me many, many years to develop the tools to get off those ledges. As far as being caught in the moment, I try to not be, at least as far as alcohol is concerned. I have to know I'm going into a drinking situation and have a monologue with myself that goes something like " no matter what happens, no matter who shows up, no matter what they're serving, my plan is one drink, then one giant glass of water, rinse and repeat no more than three times!" Or whatever my plan is. The thing is, always have a plan, and if I deviate from that plan, there better be a really, incredibly, tremendously valid reason for it! Not just because I got caught up in the moment. For example, I was on tour in Oberammergau one summer and the host got a call from her daughter, who had just given birth to her first child, our host's first grandchild. She ordered a round of drinks for everyone, explaining that it was the Austrian custom to do so. So, I drank my second mug of beer even though I had planned to have just one. We were already at our hotel, so there was no danger of drinking and driving, and we had just had an enormous dinner, so no one was particularly tipsy, so it was all good. Caught in the moment, changed my plan, but it was fine. Now, if I had stayed in the beer garden and had two or three more, getting caught in the moment would have spelled disaster.

    As far as drinking like a normal person Is concerned, I guess I'd rather say, drink like a person who doesn't have a drinking problem. The trouble with that definition is, I DO have a drinking problem, and I always will have a drinking problem. I will be able to drink as though I didn't have a drinking problem, but only because I never forget that I do.

    Make sense? I hope so, because it reads like utter gibberish!

    Just Plain Phil


      Swelle on Down for the Count

      When new folks show up at a Moderation Management (MM) meeting, they will occasionally express surprise at our conversation: “I didn’t realize there would be so much… counting.”

      Yes, we’re quite fond of our counting in MM. Along with abstinence days, our weekly drink count is a vitally important metric of our struggles and successes in reconciling our previously problematic relationships with alcohol. Participants are encouraged to begin counting even before they tackle moderation in earnest— establishing the baseline of our daily and weekly intake can be a humbling wakeup call and a compelling motivator. This is especially true for the chronic habitual drinker, but even the monthly binger can benefit from the practical mindfulness of the count. Many problem drinkers have been living in denial, having previously only paid attention to how many bottles remained in the cooler. Knowing what you’re up against is an essential element of the program, and the smartest place to begin.

      Keeping an accurate count also helps us to tailor our Plans—the contracts we keep with ourselves detailing when, what, where, how, and with whom we’ll allow ourselves to drink. The Plan is the single most important component of successful moderation; well-meaning but vague intentions rarely suffice. There are, of course, the MM guidelines for low-risk consumption that we strive to maintain. But each of us will bring our own personal histories, patterns, preferences, and concerns to the table. There is no one-size-fits-all guide to establishing healthier habits—successful moderation hinges on forging an individual Plan that goes with, not against, the grain of our lives.

      Yet all this counting can be somewhat off-putting to newcomers: “Isn’t drinking supposed to be relaxing? Supposed to be… well, fun? Where’s the fun in all this counting?”

      In short: you get used to it. Like the calorie counting in Weight Watchers, monitoring our consumption becomes an integral, natural part of our daily lives. Moreover, it can be a gratifying exercise in personal stewardship. Whether it’s hatch marks on a calendar, poker chips in a jar, or one of the many new drink tracker smartphone apps available, the count is more than a mere record of the drinks we enjoy. It becomes an important motivational tool, firmly prompting us toward our healthy goals - the ‘count’ in Accountability. And the Big Fat Zero we employ to track an abstaining day is like a 24 karat gold star—recording what we’re not drinking is probably the most satisfying of all.

      As we review our weekly tallies, an instructive metaphor emerges. For men, the recommended upper consumption limits are four standard drinks per occasion, fourteen per week; for women, three and nine respectively. Well, what if each week was a round of golf? Like moderation, it’s one of the few pursuits to celebrate a low score.

      As new golfers, we’re often a mess on the links. Despite our best intentions, we cannot seem to control where the ball is going. Sloppiness and lack of preparation lead to added strokes on the score card. And for reasons we cannot fully explain, we get drawn back to the same bunkers, sand traps, and rough patches again and again, racking up embarrassingly high scores. The challenge seems insurmountable. Why not just throw in the towel?

      We recognize that golf is a silly game and a time waster, but for whatever reason, we still enjoy it. And as we diligently work on our game, we notice improvements. Our swing becomes more confident, more mature, less wild and erratic. Our footing becomes more solid, and we gradually learn to avoid the hazards that plagued us in the past. Noting key weaknesses, we begin making small but necessary corrections. Where we used to slaughter a Par 4 hole with five or six misguided whacks, we soon find that we’re coming in consistently under.

      Gravitating towards golfers better than ourselves, we see less and less of the clubhouse rowdies. We’re shaving strokes off each successive round. And eventually, our hard work pays off with golf‘s holy grail: the Hole in One - a single swing that gets us exactly where we’d hoped to be, with no extra effort or wasted energy. Clarity, focus, and control have replaced the tension, confusion and chaos of our earlier game.

      Like golf, moderated drinking is not for everyone. Some will find the counting intolerable, and the constant attention it requires can become emotionally draining to the best of us. Many prefer pure abstinence for its grace and simplicity. But for those who’ve struggled with bad habits, wrestling them back under control is about so much more than “getting to drink.” It’s an exercise in self-control, an affirmation of our sovereignty over ourselves, and it can exert a profoundly positive influence on seemingly unrelated areas of our lives. And just like golf, we eventually discover that our reduced numbers actually bring us more pleasure and satisfaction than our previous consumption patterns ever did. For those willing to accept the task, the count becomes a record of achievement, marking the path away from the mechanical habits of the past and towards a mindful, responsible, and healthier future.



        Ms Ned's "The most useful tool when I was starting out here" nominated by Kurt

        Hi MMers, especially new ones,

        I haven't had much time to participate in the discussions while we had the
        huge influx of new people recently. But as I was writing this morning, I
        remembered when I first joined MM a bunch of years ago (8? I don't recall,
        and I was using a different email address then).

        The very first thing I did was to record how many alcoholic drinks I
        consumed each day. This required me to learn how to measure a standard
        drink, so there were some bumps along the way, and sometimes I was just
        estimating, but I recorded a number each and every day. (You haven't lived
        until you've measured how much vodka is left in the bottle to figure out
        how much you drank yesterday!)

        I made no particular effort to change my drinking until I did my first 30,
        some weeks after I finally stopped lurking on the list. I read "Control
        Your Drinking" which I understand is kind of an ancestor to "Responsible
        Drinking", and I did all the self-examination and planning that they
        recommended bit by bit. But the most important and useful tool continued to
        be writing down how much I was drinking. Under the guidance of CYD, my
        records became more detailed - I wrote down the time and timing of each
        drink and the circumstances, at the time, on index cards or my handheld.
        That was extremely useful and it's something I've fallen back on when I
        have had major backsliding over the years.

        But just simply counting and recording drinks, all by itself, remains the
        #1 most useful tool. Just from my observing how much I was drinking, those
        numbers started a trend of decreasing. (People who look at my abstar row
        now: you probably wouldn't believe the numbers I had pre-abstar; they were
        pretty scary, and I'm a small and slender woman!)

        So for anyone who is not ready to do a 30 (and doing a 30 is certainly not
        required!), or who wants a place to start, I would suggest that. Just count
        and record, even if on a private calendar. Use abstar - you can have a
        private row or make it public. I hope you find it as useful as I did.

        Joy, stamina, and lagom

        Ms. Ned
        Last edited by gemdropper; 04-09-2015, 02:26 PM. Reason: deleted url privacy


          Geoff on Moderating his Scotch

          I wholeheartedley understand your dilema! I consider myself to be a whiskey
          enthusiast. I LOVE whiskey of all kinds, especially Scotch. I am the
          proverbial geek on the subject. I've been to more tastings then I can
          count, and is hands down my drink of choice. If I were told I could only
          have one more drink in my lifetime, it would, without a shadow of a doubt,
          be a single malt scotch.

          Enough ranting about me. Back to you.

          The point I'm trying to make is: this is the drink that I'm most likely to
          overindulge (binge).

          There are several strategies I've put into place, which help keep the
          passion in check.

          1) During a period of abstainance (where I am now), I do not keep any in
          the house. I'm just not in a place where I am can trust the lusting whiskey
          monkey inside my skull. After a period of time away from alcohol, I will
          start to think about the possibility of having ONE bottle around.

          2) Buy an expensive bottle of whiskey. That's right, EXPENSIVE. And have
          that be the ONLY bottle you keep in stock. For me, if I start to see my
          wallet emptying quickly because of a habit, I'm more inclined to stop
          and think twice about tapping into it. Once in a while, crack it open, pour
          yourself a couple fingers, and have a nice, long, thoughtful drink. Savor
          it. Most good single malts tend to take at least 10 years to mature. It
          deserves more then 5 minutes of your attention.

          3) Ditch the less expensive stuff (opposite side of the coin). Don't keep
          any "staples," or "go-to's" around. There are many bottles of single malt
          scotch (or blended, for that matter), which are relatively inexpensive that
          can hold a candle to the more expensive offerings. (If you're a bourbon
          drinker, this can be especially problematic, because there are many great
          tasting bourbons, that aren't very expensive that go down very easy).

          4) Buying nips is something I tried in the past, but found this to be
          unsuccessful. I would always find myself saying, "it's only 50-100 ML"
          (depending if I bought 1-2). In fact, now that I think about it, this is
          the very behavior that got me into drinking daily in the first place. It
          can be a slippery slope.

          Those are just a few things that have helped me to stay on track. When
          you're trying to abstain (or even drink less), the bottom line is: steer
          clear of your drink of choice. If you're a scotch drinker, and trying to
          drink less by tapering, it might help you to grab for a beer instead (more
          filling, much less alcohol, and the mother of whiskey)!

          There's my two cents. I'm on day number 9 of an abs period (length yet to
          be determined), and find that I'm getting clearer everyday. If you ever
          need someone to commiserate with about missing the sweet, dark, scotch
          mistress, always feel free to reach out!

          All the best on finding what works for you!



            bluesky regarding pressure to drink in one-on-one social settings, nominated by dld

            I have one friend at work who I often drink with. I have gone through 30s and 60s and had to turn down invitations from him ("Doing anything after work?", "Wanna grab a quick one?"). I don't know if you're abstaining 100% for an indefinite time or just doing a 30, but I found the following to help:

            1. Be up-front at the time of invite: "Sure, but I won't be drinking because XYZ. I'd still love to go out, but we could also do lunch if you wanted.". Gives them the choice to pick if they invited you just for the drinking.

            2. "I won't be drinking because...". When I told my co-worker I was doing a 60 he respected that and didn't invite me anymore for those 2 months.

            3. Order something a little more fun than a water, and let them know that's enough for you. I kind of see water as the boring drink. If I knew the other person was really enjoying their drink, regardless of alcohol, I wouldn't mind as much. But if they just had a water, I might feel a little bad.

            4. Emphasize that if it were another situation (eg. "If I could drink right now", "If my doctor would let me", "If I wasn't doing a 30", etc), you would love to drink with them, and tell them not to hold back.

            I guess my strategy come down to being honest. If you are good friends and they agree to have a drink, then they understood. If they don't have a drink, then they didn't really want it that badly to begin with.


              GabyQueen's rules

              Ok! So, a bit of an update. I haven't drunk this week at all yet, following my no-drinkinng-on-weekdays rule. I honestly don't even sweat it too much. I really don't have to deal with feeling less than my best on a work day, you know? Besides, it's not every day that the oportunity to drink arises. This week it was only on Monday night, at a birthday dinner with some friends. Some asked for beer, but I didn't even flinch in ordering a soda. Yesterday (Friday) I was thinking of going for a drink with a good friend, but honestly felt too tired and cancelled early (actually moved the event to tonight, but I'll get to that). Very uneventful and nice week!

              Also I've put together some rules, I don't know if it is the final version though! I'll have to see how they work first. Ok, so they are:
              -*Always* abs on weekdays (holidays excepted)
              -Choose a number of drinks that seems reasonable before going out and *stick* to it (2 being the norm, absing or just 1 if I feel like it, 3 being the highest number probably)
              -Try to alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks (probably difficult because of money reasons, but it's actually a good rule and I will try to stick to it)
              -Stop soon enough so I don't go to bed still feeling tipsy (I'm guessing 45 minutes or so before leaving the event)
              -Be aware of the moment when I've had enough and *stop* (even if it's early)
              -Do not keep alcohol in the house (in the process of moving out of my parents', so this is kind of a 'for the future' rule)
              -Do not drink alone (aka outside of a social event)
              -Keep a drinking diary
              -Update this thread
              I'm also thinking of a rule of not drinking in family gatherings but I'm not too sure. Maybe it will be a sort of pseudo-rule, like the norm will be not drinking, but I could make exceptions.

              Anyway, tonight the bf is out of town aaaand, well, he's the only one who knows I'm doing this. I really wanna go out and have a couple with my friend but it's kinda nerve-wrecking to not have a 'chaperone' I guess? If it's just me and my friend I'll probably tell her about this, but if more people go I'm not gonna feel comfortable most likely. Either way, I'm sure I can go and stick to my rules just fine, it's just that I'm an extremely anxious person and the anticipation is killing me. I guess the more I mod succesfully, the more I'll be able to go out at peace with myself.

              Oh! Also I'm starting the gym Monday! I'm the least athletic person ever and I do not enjoy working out AT ALL, but I wanna do this to give myself some peace of mind in the 'physical condition' area. We'll see what happens.



                A couple weeks ago, I made a counting bracelet inspired by ranger beads to give myself a way to acknowledge cravings without giving them any power and informally tracking "waves" while urge-surfing; several people have asked for more details, so here are step-by-step instructions for two styles, a keychain and the bracelet. (In their own posts because of all the pictures)

                I made them with paracord and pony beads, which are readily available online and in craft stores (for bonus science/magic, these UV color-changing beads are awesome)

                For the paracord, you'll want heavy-duty kitchen scissors or EMT shears and a Bic lighter to melt the ends to stop fraying; be careful, though, it can catch fire and while molten it is very hot and very sticky and can burn the expletive out of you.

                For simplicity, I just used overhand and figure-8 knots. (Of course, you can get much fancier, though more complicated knots use more rope, so you’ll have to experiment)


                The counter has two groups of beads, the group of nine are the "ones" place, the group of four are the "tens" place.

                With the keychain, I reset the counter by pulling all beads up toward the loop; with the bracelet, I reset by pushing both sets of beads away from the center knot; find what works for you.

                I mainly use it to count pangs and triggers while urge-surfing; each time I get a craving I move one of the "ones" beads. When I've moved all nine, on the next count, I slide them back, move a "tens" bead and go back to shifting "ones" for 11-19; this can count to 49.

                When a wave subsides, I look at the count and reset the beads; most have been less than 10, knowing that really helps when a wave hits and feels like it'll never end.

                When I'm moderating, I still count cravings on the "ones", but they don't last very long ("man, I'd love to take a huge swig of this beer!", nope, slide a bead and just sip), so I use the "tens" as a separate drink counter.
                This would be a great activity for in-person meetings, too.
                Last edited by donna.dierker; 10-04-2015, 10:57 PM. Reason: per stargazer
                * ())==="


                  Keychain Counter Instructions

                  This version is slightly easier to make and the beads slide and hold much more firmly than the bracelet version.

                  Start by taking the inner strands out of 22"-24" (55-60cm) of paracord, chose 13 beads, a length of thin strong string (one of the paracord inner strands would do nicely) and one extra bead that is just used in construction.

                  Beads - 01.jpg

                  - Thread the extra bead onto the thin string and tie the ends together into a loop; this will keep the other 13 beads from sliding off.
                  - Thread the loop through the other beads
                  - Finally, put one end of the paracord sheath through the loop and tie its ends together with an overhand knot to make two loops connected like a chain

                  Beads - 02.jpg

                  - Pull 9 of the beads from the thin loop onto the paracord then tie a knot leaving some room for the beads to be moved up and down

                  Beads - 04.jpg

                  - Pull the remaining 4 onto the paracord and tie another knot, again leaving room for them to be moved and also leaving a loop at the end so they can be attached to keys, belt loops, etc.
                  - Remove the loop of thin string

                  Beads - 05.jpg
                  Attached Files
                  * ())==="


                    Bracelet Counter Instructions

                    This version is a little tricky to get the fit just right, and it needs to be fitted or the beads don't stay in place very well (but if they were as hard to slide as the keychain version, it would be hard to use)

                    Start with a piece of paracord (with the inner strands still inside) at least 18" (45cm) long, you'll cut off any extra at the end. Get a small dish of water and cut the end of the cord at an angle

                    Beads - 06.jpg

                    - Heat the cut edge until both the sheath and inner strands have melted
                    - QUICKLY dunk your fingers in the water (so the melted nylon won't stick) and pull the melted end to a point

                    Beads - 07.jpg

                    - Tie a figure-8 knot in the end, when pulled tight from the bracelet side it will form a small ball

                    Beads - 09.jpg

                    - Lace 9 beads of your choice on, tie a loose figure-8 knot, and lace the other 4 beads on
                    - Form a loop and tie it with an overhand knot

                    Beads - 10.jpg

                    - Tighten the loop so the end knot just fits like a button
                    - Tighten the center knot giving the 4 beads some room to be moved
                    - Keep trying the bracelet on and work extra rope out through the end knot until it fits well (in particular, the beads should be easy to slide but stay where you put them) You should be able to easily slide two fingers between the cord and your wrist.
                    - Cut off the excess rope at both ends; I like to leave a small soft tuft
                    - work the center knot to a good place between the two sets of beads

                    Beads - 14.jpg
                    Attached Files
                    * ())==="


                      Astrid's A Tilde Day
                      (nominated by many)

                      Yesterday was what I call a Tilde Day. It's a day where I get to put a tilde in my abstar row because I stayed abs, but with 'uncomfortable difficulty.'

                      My regular workday turned into a stressful one with a conflict with my boss and another coworker. The details aren't too important, but suffice it to say I was in a bad mood all day and when I left work it had been simmering in my mind for many hours.

                      37 days ago I would have headed home and grabbed a beer first thing when I walked in the door, even if I told myself that this was a non-drinking day, because it would relieve my stress. Beer in hand, I would start ranting to my husband about the incident at work in detail and go on and on about how I wish I had another boss, another job, couldn't wait to retire, etc. I'd keep drinking and ranting until I got it all out and was good and buzzed. I wouldn't care if I overdrank because I could justify it with 'I had a bad day.'

                      As I drove into the driveway, the thought occurred to me that I had that option. I DID complete my 30, after all, and could have the ONE drink that I was allowed this week. Of course, then I would be trading the one I planned this coming Saturday at a social event for it. And one surely wouldn't be enough this day. And I'd be drinking for the wrong reason.

                      I felt like my skin was crawling as I fought the very strong urge to drink. It was about 6:30 and I realized that abs chat was going on, so I decided to fire up the computer and join in even though I wasn't planning to that day.

                      All of the kind people there listened, supported, told jokes, shared how their days went. I heard stories of before and after permanent absing. I told a newcomer how much I like the forum.

                      The chat ended and the edge was taken off, but I was still stewing a bit. What do I do next? I thought about going to the forum but decided that self soothing might be a better plan. What was the advice I was giving someone two weeks ago when they were having a hard time giving up their habitual after-work drink? Change your clothes, take a bath, meditate, eat something, etc. So I got into the bathtub and took a few mindful breaths. I read a few pages of RD. I remembered why I did the 30, why I decided on this strict post-30 plan. I remembered that I posted to today's sticky that I was going to abs.

                      I got out and put some comfortable clothes on. I ate dinner with my family. And by that time I was feeling tired but not like drinking anymore. Right before bedtime I put the tilde on my abstar row.

                      Today's a new day, with whatever ups and downs it brings. I'm grateful that I woke up knowing that I stayed abs and didn't let the stress and the old habit of drowning it with alcohol win. Time to go get on the sticky for today.


                        Astrid's The 4 C's

                        RB, I know you've gotten a lot of pointers on this thread and are reading what sounds like a valuable book, so for what it's worth I'll just throw out one more idea for your toolbox.

                        I recently revisited a therapist I'd seen several years back because I was really stressed out over my brother's addiction and mental illness problems and his seeming inability to get the help he needed. The therapist said to me, 'Have I told you about the Four C's?' to which I said 'No'. Then he gave me a piece of paper with this on it:

                        _The 4 C's = Stress_

                        1) _Convincing_ - Trying to get people to finally understand that your point of view is better or more enlightened. You are right, they are wrong - if they would just listen, they would see.
                        2) _Converting_ - Trying to get people to believe what you believe, think what you think and/or feel what you feel. They just need to adopt your point of view.
                        3) _Controlling_ - Trying to get people to do what you want them to do.
                        4) _Curing_ - Trying to fix people and/or solve their problems.

                        What you can do instead:

                        1) State an opinion - in a calm and respectful way
                        2) Say no - Be clear about your boundaries and maintain them when needed
                        3) Make a request - Not a demand - a calm and respectful request. (And with some discussion he noted that we need to be prepared for the request to NOT be fulfilled and be ok with that).
                        4) State your feelings - Using 'I' statements in a calm and respectful way.
                        5) Make an offer - You can offer to assist, if the person wants your help in some way. This generally goes better if they state what would be helpful to them. If they decline, take their "no" for an answer.

                        I've been trying to put this into practice and one benefit of this is that it took some of the stress off of myself in thinking that there is something I can or must do to get my brother to a better place. I've also relaxed a bit with things that I'd like to see DH doing for his own health, especially exercise. I worry about his health in this regard, but I know that harping on him isn't going to get anywhere because I've been doing it for a long time and it hasn't worked I do mention it at times, but try to suppress the urge to keep mentioning it. Instead I try to focus on doing this myself and be and example, and maybe find things we can do together for exercise like go for a hike or walk. And with drinking, he has started to follow my lead on cutting down, which I never thought was going to happen. I still get annoyed some times when I'm absing and he has had a few and gets tipsy, but I see some improvement in that he'll abs some nights which he never did before!

                        I think that to a large extent we just have to accept their autonomy and live with the fact that they may have some health risks that are out of our control. One thing I've also come to realize (or remember) is that stress is one of the worse things for our health, so balance that with the desire for DH to do more healthful activities. If I'm poking him all the time (or feeling like I should help him change), that is causing both of us unhealthful stress.

                        Just some thoughts for what it's worth!


                          Katrine on Planning--What it can Entail

                          Hi Gang,

                          Especially in the first year of being at MM, I spent a LOT of time and energy planning for outings - to abs or moderate. Here are some ideas to consider:

                          * WHO

                          * Are you going out with drinking friends or non-drinking ones?

                          * Drinking ones who sip slowly or knock them back and buy rounds?

                          * Do you want to "put it out there" ahead of time that you're not drinking or not drinking much?
                          * I have to get up early tomorrow
                          * I am driving tonight and already tired
                          * I am on antibiotics
                          * I am taking a break from drinking
                          * I am back into exercise and getting up early tomorrow to work out
                          * I have been looking forward to having thai tea all day

                          * WHAT

                          * What are your triggers?

                          * Does the bar play "Betty Davis Eyes" and you always do shots when she says, "She'll unease you?"

                          * What TOOLS work for you so you stay moderate or abs?

                          * WHERE

                          * Restaurant / Bar
                          * CALL AHEAD! Does the place carry NA beers? What is on their drink menu?

                          * At Home
                          * This can be the trickiest! You don't have to drive.
                          * How are you going to pace yourself?
                          * Do you have NA drinks on hand?
                          * Can you delay starting to drink?
                          * Revisit the "WHO" folks who are coming over
                          * Are you by yourself? Can you think of other options that do not involve drinking?

                          * HOW

                          * How are you going to react if things don't go according to your initial plan?

                          * What if person X shows up?

                          * What if so and so brings over your favorite wine and wants you to open it?

                          * What if you decide to have 2 drinks and want to stop? What are you going to switch to? Are you going to leave after 1 drink if circumstances change?

                          * WHY

                          * Remember why you are doing all of this planning and why you came to MM.

                          * PLAY THE TAPE TO THE END. First - to the end of the night. What will Drink X benefit for me? It's not going to whisk me off into a dreamland I can stay in forever. Is it worth it? and Second - to thenext day. I have a huge day ahead of me ... I have to be alert and deal with stuff whether I want to or not ... let me help myself by stopping now and drinking water so i can feel good about not going overboard, etc. This saying and the "Delay" tool are my BFFs here. I'm not always successful - but they have saved my butt countless times.

                          Will close for now - but wanted to get some of these swirling ideas written down. You might feel like all of this planning sort of takes the fun out of the event - but I have found that the more planning I do leads to feeling more confident and that can make all the difference.



                            Red Begonias on box-o-wine:

                            Hi snowy, just had to put in my two cents about boxed wine. When I retired, and then DH was getting ready to, we decided we'd try out box wines to save money, figured there'd be some "good enough" for us. We found a couple we found tolerable, but not wonderful by any means. The box on the counter is like a dispenser. There was no counting involved whatsoever. That little spigot, man o man did it come out fast and fill the glass, then back for more, and again. We might have been saving money but we were definitely drinking a lot more. Not just a little more, a lot.
                            When I did my summer 30, almost a year ago, we had one or two of those boxes still sitting around. About day 9 or 10 I went and dumped them on the compost pile. That felt unbelievably good. There hasn't been a box back in this house since.
                            I think it was swelle who mentioned to another member, a while back, that the cost can work in your favor. Also, the quality. Now I feel that with moderation I can afford and I "deserve" to drink a good drink. A good glass of wine. There will be only one or two, and a max of three, a few times a week, so it's going to be the good stuff. I guess I just want to say, yes, ditch the boxes. When and if you do decide you want to try moderating, at home, buy a nice bottle of wine and really savor it, slowly, and then stop.
                            But for now, keep doing what you're doing! Or not doing. Best wishes and keep up the good work!


                              Nils on 6 Months BTB

                              Just a quick, unashamedly self-congratulatory post to mark my completing 6 months of unblemished BTB moderation. In fact it's 6 months within the women's BTB guidelines which I decided to adopt when I started out on this latest shot at long-term moderation. Over that time I've averaged 5.7 drinks and 4.1 abs days per week so I'm comfortably inside my running targets of less than 1 drink per day and more abs days than drinking days. I'm into the period now where as anticipated I'm recording slightly higher numbers as I'm back in France for the Spring/Summer but as long as I stay within my self-imposed limits those targets should pretty much come out in the wash. That's the plan, anyway.

                              When I started out here it was a struggle to string 6 days of moderation together let alone 6 months and I want to thank everyone who has offered help, support and encouragement along the way. To those just starting out, hang in there and keep working at it. This site can change your life.
                              Next milestone: 1 year.

                              Neli, after 1179 posts I don't think I have any secrets left but I would repeat my previous observations that operating inside my absolute limits has actually been very helpful. In any extended moderation period there's a lot of stopping to do and I find it much easier to stop when I choose to on the day rather than when I'm bumping up against my limits so it feels like the choice has been taken away from me. I experimented with a few different targets and had a fair bit of success last winter with 3/3/8 (max 3 drinking days per week, max 3 drinks per day, max 8 drinks per week) then I worked around that until I settled into my current regime. So in answer to your question I think there's a lot to be learned from trying different goals and seeing which suit you. That gives you the opportunity to try on a different set of rules, maybe one which doesn't "allow" you to drink to that semi-official maximum, and if it doesn't feel right just try something else. I found the Weekly Intentions thread was perfect for this kind of thing, adding a level of accountability and a record of your motivation at that start of the experiment but not involving a commitment of more than a week at a time. But as you say, these are early days and there's nothing wrong with maxing out your "allowance" if that's as far as it goes. As I've posted before, it's unhelpful to regret successful moderation.

                              Bee Brown, Kekohu, I've been pondering the question of which was my most useful tool and I'm not sure I have a good answer. I don't do a lot of the recommended techniques. I don't alternate, I don't pace and I'll have a drink in the morning if the situation seems appropriate (it rarely does but it's not unprecedented). If I can hedge my bets, I'd say the two things that have worked best for me, outside of just having a set of rules I'm happy with, are absing at the first signs of doubt and timeboxing with food. By the former I mean that if I'm not feeling comfortable or I'm going into an environment where I think it's going to be difficult to moderate then I abstain. The grey area of moderation takes a lot of maintenance and in those situations then abstinence is just easier as well as being clearer for others. I've often said, probably irritatingly but I don't overly care, "The good thing with zero is that it's easy to count up to". By "timeboxing with food" I mean that I'm lucky in that although I love to have a glass or two of wine before dinner I've never really been one for pairing and in fact food tends to quell my desire to continue drinking. Hence my oft-repeated pre-MM mantra of "eating's cheating". So I find that I can allow myself those two glasses even in quick succession, enjoying them and also getting a nice buzz, but then I make sure that I'll be eating straight afterwards. Once I've eaten I can safely record in Abstar - that's me done for the night.

                              YMMV, Nils