It's St. Patrick's Day, which means that rivers of vomit and green beer will flow through many a city this evening.
But what if your drinking makes it seem like just about every night is March 17? There's always Alcoholics Anonymous
, but, it turns out, there's also a new alternative if you're not ready to go nuclear and abstain from drinking forever.
As the Denver Post
notes, there are some people who fall into the category of "problem drinkers," meaning they drink more than they're comfortable with and don't even know it. How do you know if you're an undiagnosed problem drinker? It may be as simple as discovering your happy hour glass of wine routinely becomes half a bottle. Or that often you don't remember what came after happy hour at all.
aims to help problem drinkers with these types of problems get back to more reasonable imbibing habits. By the way, in case you're wondering if you need to teetotal, the organization defines "drinking at harmful levels
" as more than three drinks on any given day and more than nine drinks per week for women ... and more than four drinks on any day and more than 14 drinks per week for men. Gulp.
The MM process -- a series of nine steps, instead of AA's traditional 12 -- is reminiscent of another alliterative organization: Weight Watchers. One of the first ways to dip a toe in Moderation Management is to log how many drinks you have in a single week, a method similar to Weight Watchers' tracking of every morsel you eat.
Intermediates, gluttons for punishment, and anyone who's ever done something semi-worthy of termination at an office party might consider one of MM's next steps, which is to "do a 30
" -- that is, abstain from alcohol for 30 days while thinking about how drinking has (adversely) affected your life, and what positive changes you want to make without alcohol in it.
After that, in a perfect MM world, you'd set a clear limit as to how much you're going to drink -- and make sure that you pencil in a couple of days a week (say Monday and Tuesday?) in which you will abstain from alcohol altogether.
Do you think you have the fortitude to forgo drinking for 30 days? We admit that, though tempted to try, we're having separation anxiety just thinking about it. So much of our social life is fueled by alcohol. We're in a wine club (also commonly known as a book club), our friends throw a weekly happy hour (because how else do you celebrate the fact that it's Wednesday?), and sporting events practically require beer (besides, this is when we drink with our husband). We wonder if we could actually stick it out.
We're willing to give it a shot, if only because it's tricky to drink on a treadmill. But are you? If so, let's start tomorrow. Today, after all, is St. Patrick's Day.