The time has come for me to admit that my drinking experiment is not working and to practice abstinence. I haven't hit a bottom or gotten in trouble with the law or reached a physical dependence on alcohol. But the encouragement I felt a few months back has been replaced by a growing sense of once again being caught in the throes of an addiction that at the very least is not good for me physically, mentally or spiritually. That seems like a good place to stop, doesn't it?
I'm not setting myself a goal of a certain amount of time abstinent nor am I saying I'm quitting forever. I'm stopping now because it's not working for me and because I feel the presence of a grace working with me that will make it possible for me to stop successfully at this time.
My goal with this experiment was to learn to drink moderately and if you wanted to call the experiment a failure because that hasn't happened, you surely can. I envision moderation as being truly able to take it or leave it and not having to work at moderation by counting drinks or inflicting rules on oneself, which never seem to work with an addiction. I know people who have been truly healed who are able to drink moderately - they all have a couple of things in common that I've noticed. One - their goal was not to learn to drink moderately at the time. Two - they practiced a long period of abstinence in which they focused solely on their psychological and spiritual growth and the healing of their addiction was a by-product of that work.
It's been hard to reach this decision because the addiction has not reached the depths of self-destruction that it has in the past and many times I was able to moderate. But moderating has become increasingly difficult and lately, more often than not, I just can't keep it to a minimum. Once I introduce the substance into my system, I lose the ability to have any control over it. In 12-step groups they call that powerlessness with the flip side of the coin being that surrender to that powerlessness is the way to empowerment. That's where I am. I do not have the power with my unaided will to control my drinking. I have no intention at this time to attend 12-step meetings. I will seek my support through friends, family, the internet, but mostly from the grace that I feel infusing this decision.
I'm glad I tried. I gained a lot from the experiment even though I'm abandoning it. But for now I really have just become a better-adjusted alcoholic. That wasn't the goal. It's Day 1.