Online Alcohol Therapy |  Do you need professional help? |  Alcoholism & Recovery Articles |  Self Help Resources

successful cutting down?

Any tips or advice to prevent a relapse, alternatively any of your stories about your own relapses.
User avatar
Kevza
Posts: 46
Joined: 15 Apr 2012 18:36
Last Drink Date: 29 Oct 2012
Location: Inverclyde, Scotland
Contact:

Re: successful cutting down?

Post by Kevza » 17 Apr 2012 10:49

I found cutting down only leads to even heavier drinking.

I need total abstinence.

littleone
Posts: 18
Joined: 05 Jun 2012 18:03
Location: Oregon US
Contact:

Re: successful cutting down?

Post by littleone » 07 Jun 2012 03:03

Yes I have been successful, sometimes it's easy and sometimes it's difficult. One big thing I have learned is yes you make the choice to drink, but if the surroundings or stress is making it difficult to cut down, then you may have to make choices that may be painful.

What has happened... I was drinking on weekends, but then knew if I was ever going to be in a better place I had to divorce and explain to my grown children that It is not about them, It is because I have to in a better place. As I carved out my plans, my stress increased, which meant, so did my drinking....(It didn't help I was afraid of him). By the time a year of manipulation and or stalking was going on, I was up to a liter or more of whiskey a day, and four packs of cigarettes. The condition I was in was near fatal. Anytime I had a scratch or a nick and it drew blood, I would bleed black. I needed death or freedom. It was that simple for me. After a year of this I asked the aid and shelter of my mother. While it did not help my drinking or my smoking, I knew one thing, she would protect me from him so I could get my life together. First I started working two jobs, one so I wouldn't have a day off to have the opportunity to get sucked back into the bottle and make the mistake of talking to my ex.

There were times before I reached my mother that I started drinking at 10am and wouldn't get home until 2-3am just driving on the back roads. sometimes I wouldn't even remember driving, but I always woke up in my bed, my car locked and my front door locked. How is beyond me and I consider myself damn lucky.

once I got both jobs rolling, I then began to start to believe in better things, that I good and I am worth everything that is good. I listened to music that would sing about this very topic. Within two months I met the man I am going to marry. He is everything I have ever wanted in a man and more.

Now my life is more closer to the expectations that I have always had for myself. I am toggling between 1/2 pint up to one pint and I smoke 1 carton and 3 packs of cigarettes in two weeks.

I believe one that I am of worth and I always strive first to be good, and never drink more than my natural demeanor can handle, because If I don't stay on that note, I will never get to the point that I believe that I am good and better than my addictions.

I am working towards a goal to satisfy this wretched feeling of being without my drink ever again, where I will be sober for my work week and allow myself a half pint on my two nights off. I plan to start this on this up coming Sunday. I did this for twenty years, I can do it again.

User avatar
driedpruneuk
Posts: 16
Joined: 25 Feb 2015 19:56
Contact:

Re: successful cutting down?

Post by driedpruneuk » 03 Jun 2015 15:09

Hello. Im sorry to bother anyone with this but ive got to say something to someone because its really making me depressed, im suffering from depression anyway. A few years ago when i used to get depressed i used to have a drink the night before and then wake up still partly drunk next day to go out and get more drink. I manage to stop it for a few years but a few days ago i relapsed and did it again, my family dont know ive done this and i feel really ashamed of myself for doing it. Again this time when i went out to get the drink i was partly drunk i walked down bought the drink and started to walk back, there were some kids playing on there bikes as i was walking back home along the pavement and i thought one of them wanted to go passed me on the pavement but there was a van in the way. I asked him if he wanted to go passed but he said no he was waiting for his friend, so i staggered passed him and said thanks which im sure i said, i heard him say something but i cant recollect what he said because i was just determined to get home with this drink. Ever since then i keep reliving that moment through my head wondering whether i may have said something i shouldn't have to him but im sure i only said thanks at the time, it was all a bit vague because i was still a little drunk at the time. Anyway i got home safely with out any bother as far as i know and i havn't heard any complaints since of anyone so i try to keep reassuring myself that i said nothing wrong appart from thanks. Im just a little worried and a little paranoid that i might get some come back on this later. I know this might sound silly but when your still partly drunk and cant quite recollect every move and word you say these things start to play on your mind and it has been for the passed few days. I dont want to hurt anyone and its just making me even more depressed :(

User avatar
katydid
Posts: 829
Joined: 06 Jun 2012 12:02
Last Drink Date: 01 Apr 2015
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: successful cutting down?

Post by katydid » 03 Jun 2015 16:34

I know how you feel dpuk. I know when I worry over something like this it seems impossible to stop it. Even if I put it out of my mind and am not consciously thinking of it, the uncomfortable feeling stays with me like a dark cloud. Obviously alcohol makes this kind of thinking worse but if you find that it's still there when you've been stopped awhile then a trip to your GP might be an idea. Anti depressants (SSRI type) have been a godsend for me.

When I first started taking them I thought they just stopped me from thinking so much which at the time I didn't think was such a good idea. I think I believed that if I thought enough of things I'd somehow sort it all out and make it better, but it doesn't work like that. It just goes round and round and on and on. The anti d's help eliminate this negative thinking and leave room for more positive or just ordinary thoughts. It took me years to start having more positive thoughts and I'm still learning.

And if you did say something shocking, and it comes back to your attention, then you can deal with it then - whilst getting on with life in the meantime.


(I remember many years ago, I wasn't drunk but had been drinking the night before and I was in a lift. I was in a hurry and wanted to get from the floor I was on to another several levels away. It was a quiet time but someone got in with me on one of the floors. I remember facing the doors and thinking to myself something along the lines of 'Oh sh't why the bl***y h*ll did they have to get on aswell... etc' At least I thought I was thinking this until I heard a voice behind me say 'sorry' in a sort of surprised/amused way. I got such a shock as I'm normally quite polite :shock: :oops: (well, I thinkI'm quite polite))
"(1) Nothing I see means anything. (2) I have given what I see all the meaning it has for me. " ~ from A Course In Miracles by Dr. Helen Schucman

User avatar
driedpruneuk
Posts: 16
Joined: 25 Feb 2015 19:56
Contact:

Re: successful cutting down?

Post by driedpruneuk » 03 Jun 2015 17:20

I had no intentions of being nasty in any way, an im pretty sure i said thanks and nothing else, its just with the memory being vague its difficult to be 100% sure. I hope i dont get anything back from it because i live with my older family parence and brothers and they dont know i did it, and lets just say they wont be to pleased to hear about it if they did :( Thanks all the same for your reply Katy.

User avatar
katydid
Posts: 829
Joined: 06 Jun 2012 12:02
Last Drink Date: 01 Apr 2015
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: successful cutting down?

Post by katydid » 03 Jun 2015 20:20

Sorry, didn''t mean to suggest you actually said anything bad, but even worrying about the ' what if's ' can be just as bad <:)>
"(1) Nothing I see means anything. (2) I have given what I see all the meaning it has for me. " ~ from A Course In Miracles by Dr. Helen Schucman

User avatar
driedpruneuk
Posts: 16
Joined: 25 Feb 2015 19:56
Contact:

Re: successful cutting down?

Post by driedpruneuk » 03 Jun 2015 21:28

Its ok thank you Katy <:)>

User avatar
Sheila
Posts: 16509
Joined: 09 Jan 2009 16:09
Last Drink Date: 16 Aug 2018
First Sober Date: 17 Aug 2018
Location: Sussex UK
Contact:

Re: successful cutting down?

Post by Sheila » 20 Jun 2015 12:59

Hi Winkler, good to see you <:)>
Some very interesting points in your post.
I'm sure for some it is possible to successfully cut down, but in my experience, it's a lot of hard work mentally, very hard work, and really not worth the mental turmoil.

I agree with what you wrote about the desire to drink getting stronger following a spell of drinking, it did for me for a while till I decided it was far easier to be abstinent.

I tried reintroducing after a long spell of total abstinence, I needed to know if I could, and I thought I'd be fine, but I soon recognised that old desire creeping back and I didn't want that mental battle again.

If I'm being 100% honest, during all the years I was abstinent I was at peace in my head and with myself, but as soon as I tried reintroducing, that desire to drink spoilt that peace.

I think we all have to find a way of living with or without drinking that feels right for us.
#4 on the 2020 Challenge
I will not drink again no matter what.

MT Glass
Posts: 194
Joined: 20 Nov 2010 20:36
Location: Yorkshire
Contact:

Re: successful cutting down?

Post by MT Glass » 21 Jun 2015 00:14

Hi.

My scenario is a bit like winklers.

I have managed it for several month now.

I used to be drunk about 5 times a week but now drinking plays a much smaller part in my life and I only drink a little.

However there had to be major changes in my life to achieve this.

I stopped going out with my heavy drinking mates and substituted drinking for fitness, walking running and swimming.

I now enjoy those more than I enjoyed drinking.

The main thing is mental though I had to change my mental approach to drinking from wanting to get drunk to enjoying the milder feeling of relaxation a few drinks has and recognising that I no longer want to get the completely different sensation of being drunk and all the problems that come with it.

If I go out now I typically start on a soft drink then a shandy or two and finish with a couple of beers.

This allows me to be out for a few hours and still come home not drunk.

On the odd occasion I have stepped over the line I have felt so bad the next day it has strengthened my resolve to stick to these limits.

Cant stress enough how much of a mental thing it is though the thought of feeling rough the next few days, putting on weight, not being able to train and probably ending up seriously ill is enough to stop me getting drunk and stop before it happens.

User avatar
Rachel
Posts: 7990
Joined: 22 Jul 2011 14:54
Last Drink Date: 20 Jul 2012
Location: South East London
Contact:

Re: successful cutting down?

Post by Rachel » 21 Jun 2015 13:01

It does rather all sound like living with a disability. Do 'normal' people have to put so much effort into drinking sensibly? I guess the answer is no, but that doesn't mean you just give up. (Or does it?)

Even I managed to do it for 6 months, many moons ago, before I was in serious trouble with my drinking, when I was a bit or a problem drinker rather than a hazardous one, arguably - no drinking Monday-Thursday and then no more than a bottle of wine (!! Not sure if that really counts as moderation!) in a day - but the heavier drinking crept back - first the occasional drink on a Thursday or a Monday, then a Thursday and a Monday, then maybe more than a bottle on a weekend day etc., and then a personal setback sent it rocketing onto another level. I wonder if one wants to try this route if one should treat it in a similar way to getting sober. i.e. tackling issues, if you have them, that cause you to drink too much... assuming that you don't just like getting drunk. (I hated being drunk. A lot of my drinking was about trying to maintain a level of feeling of relaxed - a feeling of wellbeing I generally failed to achieve in sober life - and generally not succeeding!)

For a while I attended a group session with my local authority drugs abuse team (name makes it sound heavier and scarier than it was, although it has to be said a large number of the people in the group were street/park bench drinkers, and would roll in for the 10am start totally pissed!) and they were not stipulating complete abstinence at all. They used some of the tools that are used in rehabs, where they generally do say abstinence is the only way. No idea if what their success rate was though. And I think for something to be declared a success, it has to involve activity that's been sustained for more than a few months...

Of course I think about reintroducing from time to time, but one (of several... er many?) disincentives is having to think about it all the time, having to dissect my behaviour (or more to the point what I said) while drinking, the day after, feeling guilty, and remembering how good about myself, how relieved I used to feel the days after I hadn't had anything to drink. Surely I should just feel neutral.

n.b. I am not intending to attempt to proselytize here. Obviously we each have to assess what's worthwhile for ourselves. Drinking does not seem worthwhile to me. A few hours of moderate pleasure in an evening, for a lot of heartache, even when I probably haven't actually overdone it.
Rachel

MT Glass
Posts: 194
Joined: 20 Nov 2010 20:36
Location: Yorkshire
Contact:

Re: successful cutting down?

Post by MT Glass » 21 Jun 2015 14:10

I think a lot depends on the individual.

I have a friend who had a serious drink problem ,dry now but he could NEVER drink without getting drunk and would only stop when the money ran out.

I like this thread because at least people talk about the positives of drinking I find on other threads there is a tendency to claim there aren't any .Even if you have a serious problem I think in order to address the issue you need to talk about what you enjoy about drinking alcohol.

When I stopped completely before even people who did not know said I did not seem happy generally and they were right I just lost my "mojo" a bit when I stopped all together.

For me the fact that I don't enjoy the feeling before,during or after and it no longer plays a major part in my life is enough to stop me getting drunk but I am also aware that the danger is always there.

mermaid
Posts: 8
Joined: 30 May 2015 23:58
Contact:

Re: successful cutting down?

Post by mermaid » 22 Jun 2015 04:45

I have relapsed, I did five weeks without alcohol but I could not last back to normal now drinking two bottles of wine a day, I feel like giving up.

User avatar
Tai
Posts: 1031
Joined: 16 Aug 2009 17:10
Last Drink Date: 30 Oct 2010
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: successful cutting down?

Post by Tai » 22 Jun 2015 06:01

5 weeks is a great start though Mermaid <:)> it shows that you can break the pattern doesn't it? It can help to have a think back and look at where your head was in the lead up to your relapse. Although we often think that these things "just happen", in fact it's usually the case that there's been a few "permission thoughts" banging around in our heads prior to the event itself. Identifying thought patterns and trigger situations is very much a learning process so please don't give up! I know it's frustrating but just as developing a drink problem didn't happen over night so it is with learning how not to drink. It takes practise <:)> Dust yourself off for another go. xx Tai
A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle.
Khalil Gibran

mermaid
Posts: 8
Joined: 30 May 2015 23:58
Contact:

Re: successful cutting down?

Post by mermaid » 22 Jun 2015 06:56

Thanks so much for your reply, I am really going to try and beat this demon.

User avatar
sweethope
Posts: 1342
Joined: 11 Aug 2013 20:55
Last Drink Date: 14 Aug 2016
Contact:

Re: successful cutting down?

Post by sweethope » 22 Jun 2015 21:58

Rachel wrote:Even I managed to do it for 6 months, many moons ago, before I was in serious trouble with my drinking, when I was a bit or a problem drinker rather than a hazardous one, arguably - no drinking Monday-Thursday and then no more than a bottle of wine (!! Not sure if that really counts as moderation!) in a day - but the heavier drinking crept back - first the occasional drink on a Thursday or a Monday, then a Thursday and a Monday, then maybe more than a bottle on a weekend day etc., and then a personal setback sent it rocketing onto another level.

Of course I think about reintroducing from time to time, but one (of several... er many?) disincentives is having to think about it all the time, having to dissect my behaviour (or more to the point what I said) while drinking, the day after, feeling guilty, and remembering how good about myself, how relieved I used to feel the days after I hadn't had anything to drink. Surely I should just feel neutral.

Mermaid a big welcome and just want to say this is the best place to post and well done you for being truthful to youself. We all understand and know about relapse but seeing the truth of our problem needs to be just that the truth..hope you stick with us lots of lovely support on here ;)? Hope to see you sticking around.

I love this post Rachel it's cracking and I too tried more times than I can remember before and during my time with BE. Tried so many tricks and brain swerves to convince myself I would and could cut down, god the Monday to Thursday plan made me chuckle to myself incredible indentification that was my big plan many times too Monday to Thursday followed by one bottle on a Friday and one on a Saturday...hahaha...the rest you can work out :shock:

Great post as always BE. Take care everyone <:)> Xx
'Sobriety offers everything drinking destroys!'

User avatar
Jimi
Posts: 192
Joined: 20 Feb 2009 10:07
Last Drink Date: 28 Oct 2017
First Sober Date: 29 Oct 2017
Contact:

Re: successful cutting down?

Post by Jimi » 09 Jul 2015 18:42

Hi guys,

I am so glad to see this thread :) I was a heavy drinker. I could tell you some stories :) Totally abused it many times. I abstained for 3 years but was living like a monk in the countryside. When I moved to work in the city, I realised socialising was very hard without alcohol on many levels. Also for dating. Plus I sought other ways to meet people which kind of became obsessive. My hobby did. It was like a pressure cooker staying sober. A bunch of things went wrong and I drank and of course, because of the intense pressure to abstain, when I let go, I went crazy. That was a year ago. I quit after a week of drinking back then but my heart wasn't in it at all.

2 months ago I decided after a lot of deliberation, to drink again. Since then I have managed it well, I feel. Abstaining does not seem to suit me at all. I must be honest about it. During the abstinance I even felt suicidal because I was pushing myself too hard. I also curtailed my social life and had no love interest, all because of this 'stigma' and shame attached to it and lack of alternatives.

Since I started to drink again, I am happier. It has only been two months. I want to see how it goes. I am being careful. If I go out and drink more than a couple of beers, I don't drink the next day at all. It is too risky I feel.

I look at it this way... I have two simple rules:
don't drink under duress (in other words, don't drink to escape big emotions or stresses in your life cause you will more than likely binge)
don't make it a habit (since I started to drink, although I have beers in the fridge always, I don't drink every night. Only once a week or less because if my system gets used to it, I fear the old ways will start to creep up on me)

I feel mostly good. I totally don't regret the decision. Sometimes the past haunts me. A little shame visits me at times but shame can come without any drink. It is a nasty little self-critical thing. I stay in the moment and don't get carried away with my thoughts.

I rarely have urges. If I do, I ignore them or eat. :) Sometimes I just need to drink water or eat and it goes away.

I don't feel stressed trying to control it. I need to work with this. I need to incorporate this. Kind of recognise a fully integrated mature me :)

<:)>
The secret to happiness is freedom... and the secret to freedom is courage.

Thucydides

User avatar
Sandy
Posts: 8337
Joined: 20 Aug 2009 23:41
Last Drink Date: 21 Aug 2009
Contact:

Re: successful cutting down?

Post by Sandy » 09 Jul 2015 20:20

Sounds as tho you are working hard on helping yourself manage a life with a little alcohol in it Jimi. ;)?
I hope this works for you my lovely, just beware, you know as well as I that it is a difficult "pleasure" to control at times.
happy for you Jimi you sound in a good place my man!
Why not stay around while you are developing the new you and chronicle your drinking days/non drinking days if you think it gives you better and supported control?
just my thoughts
It is great to see you around <:)>

Resolution
Posts: 776
Joined: 18 Oct 2014 11:32
Contact:

Re: successful cutting down?

Post by Resolution » 10 Jul 2015 00:22

Oh wow Rachel that post has so hit a nerve... I'm AF Monday to Thursday and now almost dread a Friday when I allow myself a bottle of wine... And Saturday... I love the feeling of waking up fresh during the week and now dread my hangover at the weekend! I am considering AF totally but dread it too... Years of weekend drinking habits are hard to beat?! But tonight I'm actually thinking if I had a Friday night not drinking what's the worst that can happen?!!! So I'm going to ponder what is actually sounding to me like a stupid question and give it a go very soon :D
Sobriety is an exercise in dealing with difficult stuff and not using anything on it

User avatar
Rachel
Posts: 7990
Joined: 22 Jul 2011 14:54
Last Drink Date: 20 Jul 2012
Location: South East London
Contact:

Re: successful cutting down?

Post by Rachel » 10 Jul 2015 16:03

It's weird isn't it. In fact crazy from an objective perspective. I used to dread the weekend too because I would spend it drinking. (ok not quite the same as dreading the hangovers - you stop getting those so much when you drink enough and often enough.) I used to dread what I seemedly wanted to do like I couldn't not do it. Like it was not just inevitable but unavoidable. Well, eventually I couldn't not do it, but it took me a while to get to that point.

I still can't or don't want to do the 'never drink again' thought though. I still won't do the whole year challenge, perhaps partly afraid that I might jinx things. partly just not wanting to look that far ahead. But it's not a life sentence, this sobriety thing. I am just not going to drink today, or tomorrow or this weekend or... well you can project as far ahead as you want to. If you don't drink this weekend, you can always drink next weekend. The booze isn't going anywhere, unless the government suddenly declares prohibition.

Now I am sounding preachy! Sometimes I need to say this sort of thing to myself though. I still sometimes have my wobblyish days...

Sorry blithering a bit too. Right off to catch a plane.
Rachel

User avatar
Ruby&Tilly
Posts: 3437
Joined: 26 Apr 2018 22:24
Last Drink Date: 13 Apr 2018
Location: scotland
Contact:

Re: successful cutting down?

Post by Ruby&Tilly » 14 Apr 2019 05:08

I'm greedy and want the best of both worlds, the default position is abstinence but I want to drink occasionally, definitely not every week (or month?), Just when I'm out with the girls or on special occasions. Definitely not to drown my sorrows. I look at alcohol as a slippery slope, I was pretty far down before I joined BE but from the last year I've clawed my way back up a bit, I don't ever expect to be at the top, ie a normal drinker. It does take a bit of planning, I buy small bottles if I'm drinking in the house, (hopefully) stick to 3 glasses of wine in the pub, neither of which gives me a hangover. I do crave for a day or two after but then it seems to get back to normal, I was at the theatre tonight and it never even crossed my mind, I've also had a few occasions where I planned to drink and decided against it as my friends won't be drinking, I certainly couldn't do that in the past. I hope I can maintain this but I want to try and I can also change my mind at any time should I feel it's getting out of hand. I know it's not for everyone, it's still early days but I feel more confident dipping my toe back in now.

Good luck to everyone in whatever they feel is right for them. ;)?

Ruby XX
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
352/12 days - sober/drinking (14 April 2018 - 13 April 2019)

Post Reply