Moderating Drinking: Making A Deal With The Devil
As you may know, I refer to the alcohol addiction in your brain as ‘The Evil Clown’ that lives inside you…
When you first start to worry about the amount or frequency of your drinking the Evil Clown sits up and takes notice.
As most people are aware, getting over the denial of what you are doing is the first and most significant hurdle when dealing with addiction.
For many years, often decades you have used confirmation bias to demonstrate to yourself that you are not doing anything ‘wrong’ or unusual.
You look around at the people you love and trust and they also appear to be using the drug too. You turn on the TV and notice that a lighthearted, family show such as Friends is even sponsored by a brand of wine. Facebook is full of your friends and colleagues all reaching for a cheeky Prosecco.
So you embolden yourself with plausible deniability.
For many years you are happy to live inside the lie. The lie is good, the lie makes drinking possible. Of course, despite how it feels, the lie offers you no real protection.
Eventually, things start to go wrong. Perhaps your finances start to look a bit precarious, your marriage starts to stumble or you pick up a DUI.
There comes a point where you wake up surrounded by the evidence of your misery and finally decide ‘enough is enough’.
For years you have told yourself that you could stop drinking any time you wanted to.
Well, now here it is. The time you want to!
Moderating drinking is a dark day for the Evil Clown
This is a very dark day for the Evil Clown because you have, for the first time, noticed that his smile is only painted on.
You have glimpsed the razor-sharp teeth and malevolent grin beneath the greasepaint.
The clown always hated you, always wanted you dead but now he is really pissed. Now you are going to make him work harder and he’s going to make you pay for that!
No longer will you believe the lie that drinking at your current rate is harmless fun.
Those heady days are now in the past, and so the Clown must negotiate a deal with you. His very life depends on it. A cessation of drinking will lock him in a small, dark prison cell for eternity.
However, the word ‘deal’ is wrong. Because normally when you negotiate a deal with someone, you both hope to get something out of the process.
Perhaps neither party in the negotiation will get exactly what they wanted but hopefully, they will be able to agree on a happy compromise.
The Evil Clown has no intention of giving you anything in this deal! He is as smart as you are but with the added advantage of leverage.
You see, in an arm wrestle against yourself, it would always be a draw. However, because you are now addicted to a drug you are a bit like someone trying to sell their home when everyone in town knows you are broke and are desperate for money.
When you finally decide you want to stop drinking the Clown will offer you a presupposition disguised as a compromise.
A presupposition is a sales persuasion technique that appears to offer the prospect a choice. However, the way the statement is phrased ensures that no matter which option you choose, you get the same result. The statement presupposes that you will do as you are told.
A parent may say to their child on an evening; ‘Do you want to go to bed now or in 10 minutes’. The child believes he has a choice and by selecting the later time; he feels he has won a clever victory over his parent.
Of course, both options lead the child to the same outcome.
So, the Evil Clown will ignore your stated desire to stop drinking and instead ask you if you want to cut down your drinking a lot or just a little bit. It doesn’t really matter which option you choose because the Evil Clown is acutely aware that you are incapable of moderating your drinking anyway.
This is where you start creating silly rules and routines for yourself:
- You tell yourself you will only drink socially and never alone.
- Trying to only drink wine and never spirits.
- You will only drink at the weekend and not on a weeknight.
- Claiming that you will drink a glass of water for every glass of booze.
You should trust me on this; I have been there and done every stupid trick in the book. The Clown sits back and watches this performance with great amusement. This routine is going to keep him entertained for years.
Personally, I spent at least 5 years of my life in this ridiculous game.
So when people come up to me and say ‘do I have to stop drinking, can’t I just moderate my drinking’? I always point out to them that they have been trying to moderate their drinking for years. It’s not possible, it never was and it never will be.
Moderating drinking is a mistake
How do you know for sure that moderating drinking isn’t the answer? Simple, the Evil Clown loves the idea of moderating drinking.
When you finally decide it’s time to get this attractively packaged poison out of your life. Be aware that the devil is going to offer you a deal.
Only a fool does a deal with the devil. There is no possible outcome that can benefit you other than walking away from the negotiation table.
If you are ready to learn more about why moderating drinking is a bad idea. Click here to discover how you quit drinking today without willpower or rehab.