MM > FAQs > Gems


In this page are compiled various posts and ideas members have given on a number of topics.
Click on a topic to see what is there.


Alternatives to Drinking   Why I Don't Drink   Alcohol and Heredity

The Voice   Geese   Bottom Gun   Drinking Quotes


Benefits of Not Drinking and or Moderating

1. My self-esteem would improve signficantly because I would be in control (vs. being controlled by the beast)

2. My energy level would increase.
3. I would accomplish more, as the time spent drinking turns into 'down time'.
4. My short term health would improve as I would have less indigestion problems and would sleep much better (once I get past the first few days of difficulty falling asleep).

5. I would no longer have this daunting risk factor for long-term health concerns; i.e. breast cancer, colon cancer, and the myriad of other health issues where alcohol is considered a risk factor.

6. I would be more spontaneous about going out in the evening for unplanned activities, where now I don't want to go out once I've started having my wine.
7. This one isn't a major issue for me, but there would be lots of $$$ saved and could be applied toward other things where one might want to spend their money.
8. I would learn to love/experience life more consciously, both the wonderful and the not so wonderful (that's a trigger for me because I like to dull the 'not so wonderful')

9. I think it would help me feel less depressed (which I do from time to time) and alcohol is a depressant.

10. I would have this 'stigma' removed that is always sitting there in the back of my mind...that I am now a normal, moderate drinker with nothing to hide or be ashamed of.

Well, I'm sure I could come up with some more but this is my starter list.

Alternative activities
Here's another thought in my reflections from beyond the '30'. Last week I was thinking about the different emotional states that are triggers for me to drink. I had decided in the future that I am really going to pay attention to both my mental/emotional state and my physical state. If I'm not feeling well either emotionally or physically, I'm not going to drink. I want to drink when I am happy and add to the pleasurable feeling! So I started thinking of alternatives of things to do that could help me get out of 'funks'. This listing is a Work in Process, as I keep adding to it when I think of something else. Yesterday I was feeling 'bored' at about 10:30 a.m. after I had gone for my morning swim. My husband suggested we go for a walk (which is one of the things on my list) and it was great. Then I checked my list and did several other things on my list and before I knew it the day was half over and the boredom had disappeared! Here's what I've come up with so far:

Home project
catch up on paperwork (Quicken)
Clean house
schedule something special for later in the day (movie,dinner,ice cream,etc.)
go for walk
call a friend
schedule something social with friends
surf the internet
write letters or make tapes to friends/family
go to library
read mm list
read a book

get a facial
get a massage
watch a comedy
exercise at gym
call a friend
take a bubble bath
listen to CD - soothing music
aromatherapy (especially like lavendar on diffuser)
pet Jennyfur (my cat)

listen to music
go for walk
call a friend
watch a comedy
bake bread
bake cookies (the scent from bread/cookies soothes my depression)

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Why I Don't Drink, Or Why I Don't Have "Just One More"

1. Because my word is more important to me than taking this chemical into my body. So if I have publicly posted that I am on a 3 or 4 dayer, or what have you, I would rather suffer through the cravings than go back on my decision.
2. Because I am learning to enjoy the pleasure of a clear head in social situations. This is helping me vastly with learning the social skills I failed to develop during years of problem drinking.
3. Because I have lost my tolerance since stopping the daily drinking and have become aware that "just one" is going to pack a wallop. Knowing this is a great deterrent to my old habit of drinking "to unwind" after getting home from work. I want it less when I suspect a nasty hangover in the offing.
4. Because my significant other finds me more attractive when I am not drunk.
5. Because my friends like me better when I am not drunk.
6. Because I like myself better when I am not drunk.
7. Because I deal with problems and challenges much more effectively *without* drinking, even though I didn't believe I would at first.
8. Because the DWI penalties in my state are very severe and I don't want to risk it.
9. Because I have developed a new appreciation for what I *really* look and sound like after drinking too much.
10. Because I hate going through my "Sent Items" box and reading what I said in email when I was drunk. (Too much pride to write to this list drunk, but OMG, you should see some of the things I've written to other people!)
11. Because I'm an orchestra musician, and my playing suffers the day after a drinking bout. I think people who are paying to hear me play deserve the best I can give them.
12. Because I am now old enough to notice an immediate effect on my health from drinking. Even a little has a distinct effect the next day, so I have to want it enough to put up with that.
13. Because I am finally developing some goals and values for my life, and finding that they are more important to me than drinking whatever I please, whenever I please.
14. Because I am beginning to be willing to love myself and respect myself enough not to abuse my body and mind any more with over-drinking.
15. And finally...BECAUSE I AM SICK OF IT.


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The genetic data are not at all clear, despite what so and so at the Veterans Administration says. What *is* clear is that genetics plays a role for *some* people in elevating or decreasing *risk*. Risk is elevated when we particularly like a specific drug right from the start (for example, despite the fact that lots of people have tried crack and heroine, only a tiny fraction of those folks become regular users--one reason why is that the drug effect was unpleasant to that individual) or when (as sometimes occurs with alcohol) we have a high tolerance to the drug's effect right from the start. However, even with this elevated risk, whether or not a person develops a problems is not by any means "all in the genes"--the contribution of genetics to the development of alcohol/drug problems is miniscule compared to the contribution of environment and learning history. Marc Schuckit, current editor of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol, and a leading expert on the genetics of alcoholism, says that about 20-25% of the variance in whether or not a particular person develops a drinking problem can be accounted for by genetics--the remaining 75-80% is environmental.

What does this mean for real folks? It means that if you have a very significant family history of alcohol/drug problems you should be on the alert for signs of overuse. Does a significant family history "doom" you to have problems--*NO!*--it only increases your risk of problems. In fact, most people with alcohol/drug problems have no family history at all!

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The Voice

I'm midway thru my latest 30--I've started 3 since i've been active on the list, none successfully completed. As part of my attempt to WORK IT this time, I've been trying to observe, listen and learn from others on the list in their struggles with the same issues that have befallen me in my past attempts. One of the biggest is something we've referred to in a variety of manners here, which I'll shorthand to The Voice. It's that great rationalizer that says you really don't have to do X, (whatever the particular goal or rule is that you've setor decided to follow), that you can bend the rules just this once and get back on the moderation horse tomorrow, or that you really don't have to do it in order to be able to successfully moderate. We've provided any number of "you'll get it next time" encouragements here, myself included, which are absolutely appropriate and helpful. But in the overall scheme of things, the "rules", just like in aa, are there for a reason--they'll help us overcome this habit if we follow them, and don't let The Voice talk us back into the endless cycle of resolve, hedging, drinking to excess, self recrimination, renewed resolve, hedging etc. The Voice is the means by which we developed an alcohol problem in the first place, rationalizing our way into using alcohol to avoid the hard things in life, whatever they may be for us individually. While there's no one way to silence The Voice entirely, its a given that giving into it repeatedly will just make it louder and stronger. I don't have any magic solutions that will easily silence it, but as is evidenced by the stories of some on this list--and yes, by those that no longer listen to it by following aa's rules--committment to following the rules gives us a chance. That's all we can ask for really; to think that we can somehow just magically will it away(or by simply admitting that we're powerless) isn't going to cut it--at least it hasn't for me. So, will i break a rule in the future, will I give in to The Voice again? I may, actually, I'm sure I will because I'm all too human, but at least I think I have a handle on what's going on now, and there are other saner voices to listen to, voices that are my friends, and those voices are in amongst the rules, at least until The Voice has lost its total power over me. The Voice is simply the opposite of friendship, it gets its power in all the fears and self hate that are a part of all of us. So just like false friends we've all encountered, we've got to recognize it for what it is when it speaks to us; it can be drowned out if we stick to the rules, period. Self pep talk finished, thanks for listening friends, wish me luck on finishing this 30, and for never forgetting that The Voice is not my friend.

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Next Fall when you see geese heading South for the Winter...flying along in V formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in V formation the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range, than if each bird flew on its own. There are 5 basic truths I agree with in what geese do each year.

1. People who share a common direction & sense of community can get where they are going quicker & easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag & resistance of trying to go it alone...and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front.

2. If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are heading the same way we are going.

When the head goose gets tired, it rotates back in the wing & another goose flies point.

3. Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
4. We need to be careful what we say when we honk from behind.

When a goose gets sick, or is wounded by gunshots, & falls out of formation, two other geese fall out with that goose & follow it down to lend help & protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly, or until it dies, & only then do they launch out, on their own, or with another formation to catch up with their group.

5. If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other like that.

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Bottom Gun

From time to time, the topic of fear comes up on the list...the fear that we are limited in our abilities to change, abstain for 30 days, drink moderately, etc. Then we talk about the importance of believing we can do it! So I thought I'd send along the following story.

BOTTOM GUN, by Victoria Register Freeman

Billy Bob Bumblebee was zooming from purple clover to purple clover stuffing his pollen sac. The midsummer hillside was ablaze with yellow-throated lilacs & rambling rose & wild clover, & Billy filled his sacs quickly. He began to wing his way home, hoping to arrive in time for Oprah's program on "Bumblebees Who Love Women Who Whine."

High flyer though he was, Billy Bob noticed a familiar figure wobbling clumsily down the meadow path below. Swooping down to investigate, Billy arrived antenna-to-antenna with Hotshot Harry, a bee buddy from a hive in the hot tub & fern bar section of the city.

"Yo, Harry," exclaimed Billy Bob. "Why are you grounded on a day as splendid as this? You're likely to end up a sparrow-hawk snack."

"That would be a blessing," moaned Harry. "Woe is me."

"Woe?" queried Billy Bob. "Woe does not compute on a top-ten day when the pollen is so thick you can see it in the air."

"Well, that's fine for airborne creatures," said Harry, sniffling with head down, "but not for bumblebees."

"Huh?" snorted Billy Bob, totally confused.

"This morning," whimpered Harry, "I was in the day-lily patch outside the engineering building over at the university. I heard a learned professor lecturing on Aerodynamic Design & Altitudinal Excellence, & guess what?"

"What?" asked Billy Bob.

"We bumblebees are an aerodynamic disaster. Our fuselage ration to wingspan is unacceptable. Our chunky bodies must surely overtax our gossamer wings. Our shapes are more lima bean than laser. We've been deluding ourselves. There's no way we can fly. Research has positively proved that we're the wrong shape."

"Gosh," murmured a chastened Billy Bob, alighting beside Harry & rearranging his cumbersome pollen sacs for walking. "Thanks for sharing, Big Guy!"

And the two buddies wobbled off down the meadow path.

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Drinking Quotes

Here are H.L. Mencken's rules for drinking:

"I drink every known alcoholic drink & enjoy 'em all. I learned early in life how to handle alcohol & never had any trouble with it. The rules are simple as mud: first, never drink if you've got any work to do. Never. If I've got a job of work to do at ten o'clock at night I won't take a drink until that time. Secondly, never drink alone. That's the way to become a drunkard. And thirdly, even if you haven't got any work to do, never drink while the sun is shining. Wait until it's dark. By that time you're near enough to bed to recover quickly."

"I think a man ought to get drunk at least twice a year just on principle, so
he won't let himself get snotty about it."--Raymond Chandler

"Drink the first. Sip the second slowly. Skip the third."--Knute Rockne

"If you drink, don't drive. Don't even putt."--Dean Martin

"You must be careful about giving any drink whatsoever to a bore. A lit-up
bore is the worst in the world."--David Cecil

"Never refuse wine. It is an odd but universally held opinion that anyone who
doesn't drink must be an alcoholic."--P.J. O'Rourke

"Do not allow children to mix drinks. It is unseemly & they use too much
vermouth."--Fran Lebowitz

"A man is a fool if he drinks before he reaches 50, & a fool if he doesn't
drink afterward."--Frank Lloyd Wright

"The secret to a long life is to stay busy, get plenty of exercise, & don't
drink too much. Then again, don't drink too little."--Hermann Smith-Johannson

"An alcoholic is someone you don't like who drinks as much as you do."--Dylan Thomas

"If the headache would only precede the intoxication, alcoholism would be a
virtue."--Samuel Butler

"Drinking makes such fools of people, & people are such fools to begin with that it's compounding a felony."--Robert Benchley

"So who's in a hurry?"--Robert Benchley in response to a warning that drinking is "slow poison."

"I envy people who drink--at least they know what to blame everything on."--Oscar Levant

"I only drink to make other people seem interesting."--George Jean Nathan

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