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Why Controlled Drinking Never Works 12 May 2017

Why Controlled Drinking Never Works

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous puts it simply;

“Physicians who are familiar with alcoholism agree there is no such thing as making a normal drinker out of an alcoholic.” page 31.

Yet, this is the common idea of the alcoholic. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people new to recovery carry reservations. They say things like, “Well I don’t have a drinking problem, it was everything else” or “one day I’ll be able to drink.”

But let’s be clear, someone who is not an alcoholic wouldn’t think like this. The obsession is ingrained in our heads, normal drinkers can put the drink down and not think about it. The alcoholic is consumed by the idea. This is why we fantasize about being able to drink one day because we’re alcoholics. If there is any confusion on the matter, if you say you are not an alcoholic but constantly think of ways to drink, this could be a huge sign that you’re an alcoholic.

I was the number one offender of this normal drinking fantasy for a long time. I was unconvinced of my disease. I thought I just had really really bad luck and that’s why I was in and out of seven treatments, countless detoxes, and several halfway houses. Controlled drinking was my goal for years. I relapsed countless times with the idea of, “I’ll just have one.”  I never just had one. I never even just had two. It usually ended me in a stupor for months, into detox, or the hospital. My unrealistic idea of what a fulfilled life was, depended on being able to drink or not. I tried controlled drinking off and on for 5 years and from my own experience, I can agree that it never works for the alcoholic. I even have friends who were once sober and now drink. From their social media pages, you would think their life is peaches and cream, but in reality, they are holding on by a thread.

I’m sure that there have been a very small amount of people who ended up in AA, who may not have been alcoholics. Whether from a one time DUI or some public intoxication in college, but this is pretty rare. If we get to these rooms, chances are, we need to be here.

Being alcoholic, we can convince ourselves of just about anything, which is why discovering the spiritual malady inside us can be tricky. We are the only people who can call ourselves alcoholic. I will say this, if you have gone to treatment, had legal consequences from using or drinking, ended up in an AA/NA meeting, there is a high probability that you might be an alcoholic or addict.

It is a scary thought to think that you’ll never drink again. It’s scary to do step one. Admitting to powerlessness is something no alcoholic or addict is exactly comfortable with. Another thing I hear from people pretty often is, “my problem is drugs, not alcohol, so I can still drink.” A common thought, a thought I’ve had many times also. Not only does the NA preamble state, that alcohol is a drug, but the idea is to abstain from any mood or mind altering drug, proving once again that controlled drinking still is not being sober. 

man trying controlled drinking

Anyone who is not a drug addict would not try to find ways to use a substance. Again, the alcoholic or addict does not obsess over trying to manage controlled drinking. The main purpose of the program is to help us clear our heart and our minds and put our hand in god’s hand. We are creatures trying so hard to self-will but it fails us every time.

The last time I tried controlled drinking, I got kicked out of my house, I was accused of stealing $1000, I lost my lifelong friends because of my behavior and, lost my job to boot. This was also the millionth time I tried to just control my drinking. Sometimes I had fewer consequences than other times but I always woke up eventually with the same empty feeling.

I realize that there will still be some people who will read this and think they can do it a different way. Which again is the alcoholic, addict brain. We have a disease that wants to kill us. Of course, our heads will help us justify the “one time” idea. We have a spiritual malady and until we take the action to change, the obsession will not be lifted.

However, the beginning is the hardest. They say it is harder to GET sober than to STAY sober. If you are fresh out of treatment, or fresh in the rooms, don’t beat yourself up if at first the solution is hard to comprehend. One thing is for sure, it works if you make an honest effort to change.

Unfortunately, no matter how hard I tried, controlled drinking never worked for me. It also never worked for any true alcoholic or addict who has tried. The sad and scary reality is that one more time isn’t a reality for us. No matter how many times and ways we attempt it, we usually end up in terrible places, physically and even more importantly, mentally.

My life changed the last time I tried controlled drinking. I woke up in the morning and knew, that I had to change or I was going to die. Faced with this decision, I let go of my obsession over trying to be a normal drinker, and surrendered to the thought that I was never going to be able to control this. I had no power.  drinking normally and i turned my will over.

Since that day, I have not forgotten how I felt that morning, and I have done everything that has been suggested to me in the program of AA, and my life has gotten better.

Freedom From Addiction

If you have found yourself or a loved one suffering from alcoholism or addiction, you are not alone! If you are ready to change your life and live free of addiction, then Holistic Recovery Centers can help. We give you the jump start to recovery you need. Our holistic program is unique in that it doesn’t just treat the addiction, it treats the whole person. For more information on our program, call 1-844-282-0548 today.