Many heavy drinkers and potential alcoholics will often hear recommendations from their friends about how drinking moderation should be able to curb their behavior while drinking. “Avoid the pre-party,” or “Why don’t you just have one tonight?” are often heard by someone who drinks too much. For a real alcoholic, moderation never works.
For any alcoholic who has tried it, drinking moderation is a pipe dream. Changing the type of liquor they drink, when they drink, who they drink with or trying to abstain for a set period of time just never seems to work out. True alcoholics have lost the ability to do this entirely. They want to be able to enjoy their drinking like they used to years ago, but it seems unattainable. And for many of us, that is exactly the case.
From the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous
Chapter 3 has a superb excerpt as to why real alcoholics are unable to control their drinking:
Most of us have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics. No person likes to think he is bodily and mentally different from his fellows. Therefore, it is not surprising that our drinking careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove we could drink like other people. The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.
We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed.
We alcoholics are men and women who have lost the ability to control our drinking. We know that no real alcoholic ever recovers control. All of us felt at times that we were regaining control, but such intervals –usually brief– were inevitably followed by still less control, which led in time to pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. We are convinced to a man that alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a progressive illness. Over any considerable period we get worse, never better.
Asking for Help
If you or a loved one have a drinking problem, try taking the AA “Are You An Alcoholic?” 20 questions. The results will give you a fair idea if there is an underlying issue to your behavior while drinking or with how much you drink.
For someone who has truly admitted they are an alcoholic, doing something about it and asking for help is by far the hardest part. Sometimes measures taken by their loved ones will happen first; an intervention taking place, being given ultimatums and the like. But for someone who is unable to moderate their drinking to admit powerlessness is the cornerstone of recovery