Alcohol -The Debate - Cutting Down or Cutting Out?

New Members thread, SOS thread, Daily chat and Support, Cutting Down, Abstinence and more.
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hamster
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Re: alcohol - cutting down or cutting out?

Post by hamster »

Same here Sally - I found that out by trying though and thats why I consider cutting down well worth the effort to try. There isnt a single abstinent person here that has not tried to control first - its how we learn its not for us - when it doesnt work - if we never tried it how do we know?

Susie - I love the demonising alcohol way of quitting. It really worked for me and makes it so much easier I think. I think Abstience peeps are just that group that failed at cutting down. Boo hoo for us at failing to control when we tried but well done to us for stopping or being on the way to stopping and well done to those who never have to become abstinent because they got a grip in time by cutting down.
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Stacey29
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Re: alcohol - cutting down or cutting out?

Post by Stacey29 »

What a great thread.

My opinion re: the merits of abstinence as against cutting down is that it obviously depends on whether you're an alcoholic or not. If you are an alcoholic then cutting down will never be a viable option. It's like asking someone with a nut allergy whether life is better eating a few nuts a day or having no nuts.

I am an alcoholic and so I have tried both methods. Abstinence is going well (10 weeks today). Cutting down clearly didn't work and didn't turn me into the normal drinker I prayed for. I was a middle-stage alcoholic before I got dry so I am getting some great benefits from not drinking. The best one by far is a realisation that there is a life without alcohol (which I never believed would be possible).

The thing I do not miss at all is awakening from blackouts to face the hideous Four Horsemen - terror, bewilderment, frustration and despair. Where am I? What did I do last night? How did I get so drunk? Why do I keep doing this to myself time and time again? It's a lost cause i'm useless. I want to kill myself - etc etc. Anyone with a drink problem will understand that.

My soul couldn't cope with the abuse any more. Eveyone is on their own journey though.
Keep safe, Stace x

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hamster
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Re: alcohol - cutting down or cutting out?

Post by hamster »

Ah another contraversial subject - What defines and alcoholic? The term alcoholic is actually outdated within the medical profession - not used anymore andthats basically because it is so misleading. They tend to use ethanol abuse as a general term.

I attended a drugs misuse course - ten week course and very interesting. The lecturer - when we got on alcohol, which ofcourse is a drug, talked about his definition of alcoholic. His definition is anyone who drinks basically. He said if someone drinks and is not willing to stop drinking then they are hooked. Even if they only need a drink every six weeks - they still need that drink. Now that course was a very long time ago and I have often thought about what he said. Basically he is saying that if we need a drug - however long the interval then that is an addiction.

the standard for diagnosis in psychiatry and psychology) defines alcohol abuse as repeated use despite recurrent adverse consequences.It further defines alcohol dependence as alcohol abuse combined with tolerance, withdrawal, and an uncontrollable drive to drink.

Based on the last definition I wasnt an alcoholic but certainly I was abusing alcohol because I was using it for effects. I never had black outs, lost memory, never needed time of work because of a hangover, I never had withdrawl symptoms or severe cravings - but , when drinking, my behaviour changed so disasterously that what I was doing was not compatable with my own values or those of my family. I was drinking way to much but for me there wasnt any point in a couple of glasses of wine now and again - I wanted effect. So it had to go - permanently. No point cutting down because I only ever wanted the drug - not the beverage.
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M4RK
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Re: alcohol - cutting down or cutting out?

Post by M4RK »

HIGH HOPES wrote: I think anyone who has reached out for an alcohol forum, didn’t do so just because they were having the odd hangover, think about it folks.
Good luck to you all whatever your goals.
I think that sums things up superbly HH.

Great post by Hammy and by HH as ever, plenty of food for thought and the guts of a good debate.

Morning all. I hope everyone is well.

Mark

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Re: alcohol - cutting down or cutting out?

Post by qwerty »

I've managed to find my way back onto this e (although sill ugle to find my way round it). Today is 'day one' again. I made myself think i could 'cut down' by just drinking every other da instead of daily, but can't even do that. Every aspect of my miserable life is suffering from my drinking. So I am going to stay with this site today, because seeing you are all there, and human, will remind me that I am not alone. thanx for being there. xxx
Liz. xxx.
Oh would some power the gift he gi us...to see ourselves as others see us

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Re: alcohol - cutting down or cutting out?

Post by henryporter »

Hamster and HH

That is a fantastic debate that is extremely helpful to me. The more of that the better.

My own success depends upon how I resolve this debate with myself.

At the moment I really don't know where I stand on the cutting down or cutting out issue. Great thread

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Re: alcohol - cutting down or cutting out?

Post by Stacey29 »

I have to be very careful with my wording here as I really don't want to offend but would like to respond to a comment from Hampster of:

"I also think its hard for some abstieners to see people cutting down rather than stopping because deep down . deep deep down they want to be that person cutting down ...it brings up resentment and anger monsters from within"

I'm really not sure there are any success stories of cutting down on this website are there? With the exception of perhaps one maybe two members most people's cutting down experimentation ends on the SOS or the confession thread or they disappear never to be heard from again.

I've not got drunk now for 10 weeks and I mainly use this website for complete selfish reasons; to remember the nightmare of my drinking by reading people's posts who are still out there trying to control their drinking and the consequences that brings. I have no anger or resentment towards them I am completely grateful to them as they keep me sober. My pain has no memory. It reaffirms to me that I have taken the correct path for myself.

" When I went to AA some people had been drinking all day every day for years:shock"

I was always told to look for the similarities not the differences. I may not drink the same quantities as others in AA but I have the same feelings; fear, inferiority, low self-esteem etc. I'm in the same lift as them but I got off a couple of floors earlier.

" honestly believe...that most people who drink ...will have the occasionall over the top moment and nurse a hangover the following day."

The difference between my friend's heavy drinking and my own is they have a choice. I never did. They make a decision to drink that extra glass of wine or not and to suffer the hangover the next day. The drink took that decision away from me. Once I start, I can't stop. The decision making process never entered my head. Until the next morning when I couldn't believe I had done it again. I left the house with the best intentions and the worse always happened.

For me it was simple, I had a moment of clarity, a voice entered my head and said "this is not a way to live, this is a way to die".

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Bupster
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Re: alcohol - cutting down or cutting out?

Post by Bupster »

Stacey29 wrote:I'm really not sure there are any success stories of cutting down on this website are there?
I think it's worked for me. I think it's worked for Darcy and Fiendish too, just to name two. I also know that we do see members trying cutting down and then appearing on the SOS or confession threads. In some cases this is part of the process of finding their genuine limits - it was part of mine, and I really do think my relationship with alcohol has changed fundamentally: part of that process was being brutally honest when I did overstep what I'd set myself, and I had to be public with that, or I might have been able to mentally massage it away. In the process, by the way, I have gone from thinking that a couple of glasses was hardly worth bothering with, to thinking that a couple of glasses is my upper limit, once or twice a week at most.

For other people, it's part of the process of finding their way to abstinence. As hammy says, you don't know that cutting down doesn't work until you fall over, again and again. I don't know how many times it takes, I suspect it differs for everybody, but I quite understand the voice in the head that says: 'I don't understand how I got here; I must have done it wrong; I'll try it again'. I also understand the underlying fear of thinking that you can never drink again. At the time of my life when I probably most needed to stop drinking, it was that fear that kept me telling myself: 'I must have done it wrong; I'll try it again'. I sometimes know when I read someone's first few posts which situation they're in, and whether they're trying cutting down because they're afraid to stop. It's why I try to advise pretty much everybody to stop for a while and give themselves some clarity. If you're terrified of not drinking, it's a revelation to discover you don't have to drink, and you have choices after all. Some people only have two choices - stay sober, or stay drunk. But I do believe there are other possibilities, and either way, the attempt to wrestle with the drink is part of the process.

Cheers,
Bupster
Do not wait; the time will never be "just right." Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along. George Herbert

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Re: alcohol - cutting down or cutting out?

Post by Stacey29 »

Bupster wrote:
Stacey29 wrote:I'm really not sure there are any success stories of cutting down on this website are there?
I think it's worked for me. I think it's worked for Darcy and Fiendish too, just to name two.

Sorry, Didn't realise. I have had a read of some of your posts and note very similar drinking to my own. You have all completely inspired me. I had come to the conclusion that once you cross a line there is no going back but having had a read I realise that this is not true in all cases.

I think maybe I gave in a bit too quickly. I heard some similarities in AA meetings and think I may have jumped to gun. There is a lot of negativity towards AA on this site which I have tried to block from my mind but think that perhaps people to have a point. Maybe I rushed going??

I am out for Sunday dinner this afternoon and I used to love red wine with a nice roast beef dinner.

I think I owe it to myself to try a bit harder. What you said about being able to now drink a couple of glasses of wine and not want anymore has inspired me. It just proves if you really want it and work hard for it you can do it.

I think i'm going to try some moderation drinking. Just one glass of Shiraz with my dinner and then stop. I'll order it with my dinner as if I start drinking on an empty stomach if goes straight to my head.

Keep you posted how I get on.
Stace xxxxx

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hamster
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Re: alcohol - cutting down or cutting out?

Post by hamster »

Hello Muriel

I think AA is great and has saved many lifes I know. My personal experinece wa s not great. At the time I went I thought I had a drink problem. The people there made me feel like I was overeacting and that I should go away and come back when I really had a problem.

The 'sharings' I heard terrified me and I thought " what is this?" - I had not taken time off work, lost my job, home, family, been in prison, slept on park benches etc. Good for them that they had got a grip but I couldnt relate to anyone and I found the stories very depressing. I also didnt like the fact that so many of these peeps were obsessed with AA - it was the ONLY way and that if the 12 steps were not followed you could not be cured. There was no other alternativbe but AA. some people had been going for years and AA was their life. They could not keep of the booze without AA. That is not a cure to me - It owuld be nice to think I will get on with my life at some point and not need the support anymore.

I lasted three months at AA, during that time I didnt drink but it was enough time to realise that there was something very uncomfortable about the whole set up. I didnt like the hords of people coming at me with telephone numbers when I first joined or the people asking to take me to AA if I needed lifts - I found that actually quite threatening - all a bit cultish.

In any event I do accept that AA works for many and that it should be tried and peeps should make their own mind up.

Hello HH

Brilliant reply - really interesting read. The point you raised about 'people cutting down are not doing what they know deep down they should be' - Who are we or anyone else to say that. What I keep trying to say is that Only by trial and error can we find the way that is right for us - this isnt me talking its standard knowledge based on the best way to learn. Most people on BE who are cutting down did not reach physical dependancy to alcohol. Cutting down both reducing overall alcohol intake compared to before someone started cutting down andits a safe way to find out whether its abstinence someone should need. Hangover are par for the course during the change process, whether stopping altogether or cutting down - learning curve. Learning through experience as I said.

You also said " are we saying here that its ok to have no units even for a couple of weeks and then say get hammered one Friday evening for old time’s sake. Try telling that to the poor member who posted under the Physical Thread who didn’t drink for weeks on end then found himself in the gutter every time he went on a bender, he could have been killed. I would say that’s pretty dangerous & not what I consider to be a safe way to drink. After all, there are several members who post this kind of drinking." I was discussing the perception of 'normal ' drinking - not someone who clearly has a problem binge drinking. A 'normal' hangover is not associated with blackouts, memory loss or a whole day wasted - I guess it depends on what the individuals experience of hangover is - I guess the term Hangover is very subjective (I have had two hangovers in my life where I was physically sick the next day). My sister drinks periodically and when she does, invaribaly she is nursing a hangover the next day. She is not ill - does remember the evening (usually dinner party) and would say well worth it - had a good time. That is not who posts on BE that is what many consider 'normal' . The attitude may not be right but it most certainly is not unusual. We are in danger of calling anyone that drinks and goes over the top on occasion an alcoholic! - Is that the case? My course tutor would say it was. Also I have never used the word "Hammered" I am not sure what that is? Its a very subjective term. My sister was able to say good bye to here guests , clear up and go to bed under her own steam. Is that Hammered? "

You also said ' people yearn for a couple of glasses of wine with thier meal" - why? why do they yearn? do they not then have a problem whether it is two glasses or two bottles. I just dont know anyone who has a glass of wine with a meal each night and never anything else at any other time! I would love to meet one! I do believe they exsist but im not sure its the norm and that is what i am trying to understand - What is it that we consider to be 'normal' drinking? - Not the guidelines that are given out government and ignored by many - what really goes on out there? - reality not idealism.

Hammy
x
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Bupster
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Re: alcohol - cutting down or cutting out?

Post by Bupster »

Looks like the BBC are getting in on the game:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7719522.stm

Dare you all to post...
Do not wait; the time will never be "just right." Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along. George Herbert

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Re: alcohol - cutting down or cutting out?

Post by queenie »

hi hh

just wanted to give you a hug and remind you that even someone as strong as you is going to need support sometimes - whenever you need it just ask. you have been brilliantly supportive of me and i would like to be able to offer something back.

Q
how many therapists does it take to change a light bulb? only one, but the light bulb has to really want to change...

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Anna
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Re: alcohol - cutting down or cutting out?

Post by Anna »

Me too HH! <:)> 's

Anna.xx

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Re: alcohol - cutting down or cutting out?

Post by Bupster »

Me too, HH, you've been there for me from the beginning x <:)> . It's not forgotten.
Do not wait; the time will never be "just right." Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along. George Herbert

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Re: alcohol - cutting down or cutting out?

Post by Lush »

Thanks for posting that Bupster, it was interesting to read. I didn't add my opinion to the end of it - I couldn't have done it without mentioning Bright Eye and I wasn't sure that was such a good idea after that type of article. I'm sure there are some people who read it who don't have a drink problem and think that alcoholism (at whatever level) is self-inflicted.

HH I love your honesty and you are one of the many shining examples on this forum of how a life can be totally changed around. Like the others have said though, as strong as you are you still need support and you'll always have mine too. <:)>

Susie
xx
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Re: alcohol - cutting down or cutting out?

Post by Sally Cinnamon »

I posted on it! Sally Cinnamon strikes again! Didn't have the opportunity to re=read and edit though, so I've probably come across too bluntly or not made sense as usual.

<:)> <:)> <:)> <:)> Hugs for HH <:)> <:)> <:)> <:)>

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Re: alcohol - cutting down or cutting out?

Post by patty »

me too HH! wouldnt be where I am today without you <:)> <:)>

take care,

Love patty xx <:)>

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Re: alcohol - cutting down or cutting out?

Post by M4RK »

lovely post HH, absolutely fantastic.

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Re: alcohol - cutting down or cutting out?

Post by Dave D »

Hi.

I'll add my vote to the ''Cutting out'' side unfortunately.

I say unfortunately because I really did used to enjoy a drink....Cold cider in the Summer, warming Brandy and Scotch in the Winter and as for all those liquers at Christmas.....oh yeah.

Thing is though, I have 2 allergies. Prawns and alcohol. Prawns bring me out in a flush, make me sick, give me diarhoea and a pounding headache. Thing is, I crave prawn cocktail but I can never know for sure how many spoonfulls I can get away with before I get ill, so I came up with an ingineous plan....I stopped eating the bloody things altogether.

Now for some unknown reason, we simply don't seem able to apply that oh so simple logic to alcohol. We try anything and everything to control it, while in fact it is the alcohol that controls us. Here were a few of my 'cutting down ideas'':

Beer only, no spirits........Ended up in hospital

Only drink after 7:00 at night......Ended up in hospital.

'Just the one'...........Yeah right !!!!!

No beer in the house......Ended up in Hospital (via the off licence and the park)

Why oh why must people insist on getting into the ring with this thing and time and time again getting the crap beaten out of them by it? ''Cutting down'' is a b*llshit excuse people use to delude themselves that they are tackling their problem, when in fact what they are doing is simply finding another way to justify their continued drinking.

Cutting down is an essential first step...Cold Turkey can be fatal, but cutting down has to be used as a means to reach abstinence. Otherwise, you will continue to play with fire and one day it will consume me.

Alcohol had mastered me while I deluded myself that I could master it....As soon as I stopped getting in the ring with it the beatings stopped.

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Re: alcohol - cutting down or cutting out?

Post by qwerty »

[quote="Dave D"]
Why oh why must people insist on getting into the ring with this thing and time and time again getting the crap beaten out of them by it? ''Cutting down'' is a b*llshit excuse people use to delude themselves that they are tackling their problem, when in fact what they are doing is simply finding another way to justify their continued drinking.

Hi Dave, if we were in the U.S. forces, we'd be given a Purple Heart for the amount of times we've been wounded in battle and still continued to fight! Nice post. :)
Liz. xxx.
Oh would some power the gift he gi us...to see ourselves as others see us

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