Should You Quit Drinking or Moderate?
If you are trying to come to terms with your drinking in the middle of life, you are in the right place. Drinking isn't the same as it used to be, and your mind and body are changing, can alcohol co-exist in midlife?
I was a go-all-in drinker. From the time I took my first sip at fourteen to my last sip at forty-five, I pounded beer, wine, and champagne; lot's of time all three together.
At forty-five, during perimenopause, I began to ask myself (regularly), how much is too much, and will it ever be enough?
I tried making rules only to drink red wine, not my beloved Chardonnay.
I tried drinking only on Saturday even though Sunday was my most favorite day to get drunk. Also, Friday.
I tried to convince myself that I didn't have a "problem" and that everyone drank.
I tried believing my excuses and justifications, but they were no longer convincing.
I tried to make "alcohol work" until I realized the "work" that I was putting into my relationship with alcohol was exhausting and depressing and had to end.
If you are reading this because you are questioning if you should quit drinking, I know exactly how you feel.
You drink when you say you won't, and you beat yourself up the next day because you don't have any "self-control."
You drink when you say I will only have one glass, and then drink an entire bottle again.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, moderate drinking is one drink per day for women, two drinks per day for men.
As you age, your mind and body are screaming for attention; not to avoid your mental and physical health.
Alcohol use over a long period can impair your judgment even when you are not drinking because of the drinking behavior you have created.
The behavior that is triggered at the end of a long day when you are tired stressed and want nothing more than to numb out. Or when you are celebrating with friends and don't want to miss out on the fun.
I felt those triggers too.
During the time I tried to moderate, around two years on and off, I learned a valuable lesson that helped me realize that the only option was to quit drinking.
The lesson I learned was: I had no interest in moderating.
If I couldn't have at least (big pour) glasses, I wouldn't want any. I was around "normal" drinkers when I was drinking, and I saw how some of them didn't even finish a small glass of wine.
To be honest, I thought it was weird. How can someone only drink a little bit of wine?! How boring!
If you feel this way, please know that you are not alone. Women over 40 are questioning their drinking and trying to make alcohol work. What most of my clients realize is the same as me, it's much more exhausting to moderate than it is to quit.
How can you find out if it's time to quit or keep going trying to moderate?
Please ask yourself the five questions to help you decide if you want to quit drinking or moderate:
1. How long can I make alcohol work in my life? At what expense is this costing me? Ex: time, money, relationships, health.
2. How can I deny myself happiness and freedom from hangovers and regret and guilt?
3. How can I tell myself that I can moderate when I know that I have no interest?
4. How can I moderate and not want more than one or two glasses of wine?
5. How much longer am I willing to stay in the same place year after year without taking a chance on sobriety, and me?
I help my clients empower themselves by asking how, instead of why, because it puts them in the driver's seat.
When you say why am I so undisciplined that I can't stop drinking, you throw it up in the air like who knows; I just can't.
Instead of questioning your drinking, question yourself like you would a friend or loved one who came to you and asked you for help with their drinking.
You wouldn't tell a friend or loved one they weren't disciplined to quit, stop telling yourself that or whatever else you are using as an excuse to keep drinking.
Listen, we have different challenges in the middle of life; and they don't mix well with alcohol. I know it's scary to stop drinking, especially when you've been doing it for so long as I had, but you can do this.
To give yourself a shot at a new lifestyle where you feel proud of yourself and hopeful for the future is a shot I don't want you to miss.
If you want to dive deeper into learning if it's time to quit drinking or moderate, please download my free (and quick) audio training To Drink or Not to Drink today.
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