10/10/2016: Is Age A Factor When Choosing Moderation Or Abstinence?

October 11, 2016


Maybe not the first time I found myself puking into the toilet after hitting 40 did I think, “I’m too old to still be puking up booze”, but soon after I often found myself waking up and cringing at things I had done the night before.  Sure, I cringed plenty in my 20’s and 30’s, but, somehow, my actions seemed more acceptable at those ages, I wasn’t the only one. Or, at least that’s what I told myself. But as I got closer to 50, I realized I didn’t want to be the drunky-drunk “girl” anymore. As much as I hated sounding like an old fuddy-duddy, I wanted to be a respectable older woman.

I think that made it easier for me to choose abstinence. Plus, as we get older, socializing isn’t as important as it once was, instead there is more of a shift to focusing on well-being-mentally, spiritually and physically. Many people over in their 40’s or 50’s start to notice the damage that their years of drinking have done and more of our peer group at that age choose to or are pressured to give up drinking at that age because of their health.

Even though studies show that people who are between 40 and 70 and drink report higher quality of life at that age, my opinion is it is easier to quit altogether because the peer group of that age is more accepting of people who don’t drink, they may even admire them.

I thought about quitting lots of times before I turned 40, but I couldn’t picture it. I had an image as the party girl, and that didn’t bother me as much then.  So, instead, I tried to moderate, not very hard though.

It’s not that quitting became easier, or booze less important to me when I got older,  but the desire to change became stronger and after a year of trying to moderate and failing, I was more eager for the change than I was for pursuing moderation

What about you?

One comment on “10/10/2016: Is Age A Factor When Choosing Moderation Or Abstinence?
  1. Lentil Legume says:

    Interesting that you mention happiness. I don’t know that my age (37, for the record) was a factor in when I was trying to figure out moderation vs. abstinence. But I do think that I was able to make such huge changes at that moment in my life because I was, finally, much happier. I had more resources, more energy, and (maybe most importantly) a faint-but-persistent flicker of optimism. Sort of the opposite of the “rock bottom” narrative, but it was that flicker of hope that made me brave enough to try at all.

    I haven’t found older people more accepting though (pretty much the opposite, actually). Though moderation is a tricky thing to figure out whether people “accept” it — certainly, hardly anyone I know has ever remarked upon it when I abstain for an evening or event, but then, the fact that I have a drink or few on other occasions probably means I’m avoiding scrutiny to some extent. I socialize with a pretty diverse range of people though, including plenty who are older and younger, and the only people who’ve complained have all been about 20 years older than I am. Might have more to do with my age, and the way they perceive it, than with theirs, I suppose.

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