When thinking about moderation, many people assume you’re “cutting out”. This is, in part, true. You’re limiting how much you drink. To successfully moderate (without feeling depressed over time), simply deleting drinks from your week is probably not going to work long-term. If you remove something unhealthy, it’s best to replace it with something healthy.
What do you want? So much of addiction is spent focusing on how to get rid of bad feelings. How to cut out drinks. How to minimize pain. How to avoid situations that are going to make cravings worse. While all these things are important, focusing on what you DO want is a stronger long-term solution to take your mind off the obsession of addiction.
When moderating, it can be difficult to be in situations where others are drinking more than you. What do you want? A drink, probably. But, if you can’t have that, what else do you want? Chances are, (in the beginning at least) you want comfort. What will make you comfortable in a situation that you don’t want to avoid?
Maybe you want a hard and fast time that you can leave the situation. Maybe you want an excuse that’s thought up beforehand.
Maybe you want a place that has food so that you can have something to eat as well as a time frame to follow.
Maybe you want to socialize while doing an activity so it’s easier to shift focus away from alcohol. Maybe you want to go for a walk with friends or to a game or movie.
Maybe you want to change how you look or go to the gym or focus on a new diet. This can be particularly helpful in the beginning when so much focus is on control of your body and cravings.
Regardless of what you don’t want, finding what you do want can help you move forward. If you’re the anxious type, this kind of thinking can help distract you from worrying. Like all behaviors that stick, this takes practice.