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How do I cut back?
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How do I cut back?

I have read online many times that if you even question whether or not you have a drinking problem then you probably do. I guess I understand the logic behind that, but the thing is I don’t think I have a drinking problem, at least not yet. I am only 20 years old and have been exposed to alcohol all my life. I had my first drink when I was 12 but it has been just recently that I have noticed how much I drink. If I am by myself I have about 6-9 shots of vodka a night and if I'm with friends I sometimes have as many as 15, all of this usually within a span of 2 hours.

I never feel hungover in the morning and it hasn’t really had any affect on my school work or family life. My family actually doesn’t know that I drink every night, and if my mom asks me if I drink at college I always say no. Since I'm not 21 yet and don’t have a fake ID anymore I can’t just go out and buy alcohol when I want it. So when I run out I have to stop drinking for a couple of days until I can find some way to get it.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think I'm walking the line with this thing but as I am soon turning 21 I'm scared that things are going to start going down hill for me. I'm not sure if I want to stop drinking all together I just need some advice on what I can do to keep my drinking in check once I turn 21. Any advice would help, thanks!
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Avatar_f_tn
If you really wanted alcohol I'm sure you could find a way to get it. Most of us know someone of legal age willing to buy it for us and some stores aren't strict enough on carding.. having said that.. it sounds like you're not that desperate for it.

You do drink alot though, I must say. That's about equivalent to what I drink and I know I drink too much. It's affecting my health.

There's not really a way to tell someone how to cut back.. all I can tell you to do is TRY to cut down to just a day or two a week (or less)... also drink in moderation (although it's best to not drink at all). If you can't stick with that, I'd say you have a problem already and you must do the best you can to avoid becoming an alcoholic. It's good that it's not affecting your schooling or family life. There's a very high chance it could eventually. Yes, you're walking a thin line... Be careful..
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1696489_tn?1370825574
Build yourself a 'fence' around the alcohol, by making a solemn promise to yourself, and FOR yourself that, say, you will not drink at all during weekdays, no matter what's going on.  If your freinds wanna party on thursday, go party, but do not drink.  You can even tell your good freinds that you do not drink Monday thru Friday.  You will only allow yourself to 'cut loose' Friday, Saturday, and/or Sunday evenings.  This is just an example of how you can put your own lid on it... decide for yourself where your 'fence' will be.  And then, use your willpower and determination to refuse jumping the fence. :) - Blu
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1714202_tn?1352676019
I must say your story is extremely similar to mine. I'm also 20 and been drinking since 14. I was diagnosed as an alcoholic when I was 19. I knew I was developing a problem when I was shaky and physically sick until o drank again. Therefore, I started drinking in the morning before work, during work, and so on. I was dependant on alcohol. I loved, and still do, the party scene and bars. But to get sober I had to avoid my trigger places. I made it 9 months and 14 days before I relapsed. I'm currently fighting to stay sober right now. The point of me telling you this was to let you know that alcohol addiction is long and hard road to travel on. If you think you have a problem with it then cutting back is not an option, only quitting is. Ask any alcoholic and they will tell you that. If you wanna chat, message me! Good luck.
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1714202_tn?1352676019
I must say your story is extremely similar to mine. I'm also 20 and been drinking since 14. I was diagnosed as an alcoholic when I was 19. I knew I was developing a problem when I was shaky and physically sick until o drank again. Therefore, I started drinking in the morning before work, during work, and so on. I was dependant on alcohol. I loved, and still do, the party scene and bars. But to get sober I had to avoid my trigger places. I made it 9 months and 14 days before I relapsed. I'm currently fighting to stay sober right now. The point of me telling you this was to let you know that alcohol addiction is long and hard road to travel on. If you think you have a problem with it then cutting back is not an option, only quitting is. Ask any alcoholic and they will tell you that. If you wanna chat, message me! Good luck.
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1432897_tn?1322963137
I used to drink like you do.  It only got worse for me.  At your age I never even thought about cutting back or that I may even have a problem.  I can't tell you how to moderate or cut back.  That was something I couldn't do.  All I can say is that for me it got much worse.  I am now almost forty and have gone about 6yrs without a drink.  Please take some time now and get a good honest look at yourself and your relationship with booze.  Decide on the best path to take.  Good luck!!!
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for all the advice. I have decided to allow myself to drink every other day instead of everyday which I have been doing for the past couple of months. Hopefully this will lead to a more reasonable drinking pattern of twice a week.

My father, brother and uncle are all alcoholics who drink heavily everyday so I know exactly where this road will take me if I don't try to fix things now. And I never want to be in the same situation as them. If I can not cut down my drinking over then next month I will try to stop altogether. Again thanks for all the advice and I will try to keep you updated on my situation.
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82861_tn?1333457511
You didn't exactly ask for an opinion, but since this is an open forum and I have a big fat mouth I'll give my opinion.  Yes, I think you have a problem.  I think you have a big problem.  It's not even so much about the excessive amount of alcohol you're drinking.  It's about the lying.  You used a fake ID to get alcohol.  That's lying.  You said you lie to mother when she asks if you drink.  That's a big red flag my friend.  Somewhere in there you already know you have a problem.  Lying about your drinking is just a symptom of a bigger problem and as a very wise member here says, "Our secrets keep us sick."

I'm sure it will be way outside your comfort zone, but try to force yourself into an AA meeting or two.  You can find one easily online at aa.org.  Go to one that is labeled "open" and just kick back and listen.  It's only an hour.  What's an hour in the scheme of life?  On the other hand, it may turn out to be the most important 60 minutes of your life.  You'll find a whole lot of people (and young ones like yourself) who started out just like you with alcoholics in the family.  They swore they'd never turn out the same way.  Then they did.  My husband was one of them.  He always swore he'd never be like his alcoholic father.  He turned into his father.  

Alcolism sneaks up on you long before your life starts to crumble to pieces.  Certainly it sneaks up on you while you rationalize the changes you make in your life to accommodate your drinking.  Relationships don't last?  Not your fault - it's their fault.  Can't keep a decent job or get a promotion?  Not your fault the employer can't recognize brilliance.  Never seem to have enough money? Not your fault you can't manage finances. Feeling depressed and wondering why everyone else seems happy and content while you're dazed and confused?  There's always the bottle to make you feel better.  Can't put the bottle down one day?  Not your fault; "they" drove you to it.  Wrong!  Nobody else but you forced the stuff down your throat.

I really don't mean to be harsh.  I just can't stand the thought of one more young person giving up real life to the false promises of the alcohol gods.  Live long and prosper - sober.
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Avatar_f_tn
I think you are right, i know i have a problem and i've known it for a while. I just dont understand how this happened to me. I used to hate alcohol because i saw what it did to my family members and the older i get the more i see the destruction it has caused in my family. I guess its just ironic that i use it now to escape the problems of my family life.

Im just scared to face the issue. Im scared to tell my family because my father and brother dont see it as an issue. Im scared that my mom will just group me in with them as just another drinker. I don't want my relationships with my friends to change. I scared to face my problems instead of just forgetting them.

Being sober is like this inevitable thing that i know i have to do eventually, and recently its been creeping up on me like i know i have to do it soon. But i just cant take that first step and stop because im so scared of the future without alcohol....
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82861_tn?1333457511
Congratulations!  You just made your first step toward getting your life back.  Admitting that alcohol is making your life unmanageable is the first step to recovery.  Good for you!

Fear is one terrible emotion and it's even worse for people who struggle with substance abuse.  ANYTHING is better than living with constant fear so we try to block it with drugs and/or alcohol.  Short-term, alcohol seems like the answer to shutting down those frightening feelings.  You already know that answer is a dead end.

So how do you picture a conversation with your family going?  Will it result in anger?  (Maybe.)  Will they look down on you as someone who is of weak character?  (Maybe.)  Will they send you to time-out like a two-year-old?  (Doubtful.)  Will they blame you?  (Probably.  It's easier to do that than look at their own behavior.)  Does it really matter how they react?  No.  As long as you keep moving forward toward sobriety they can think and say whatever they like no matter how off-base they may be.  Welcome to the wonderful world of adulthood.  You don't have to talk about your problems with alcohol to everyone at once.  Can you start with your mother?  Sure, she'll probably be upset but you may find a surprising ally there, especially if you approach her with the intent of getting help.

For the love of God (and yourself) please check out some AA meetings.  Get a copy of the Big Book and start reading it.  You will find no judgment at AA and a whole lot of hope.  You don't have to speak unless and until you're ready.  Nobody will make you do or say anything.  It's at least one place you can go that alcohol won't be involved.

As for your friends... well, just what kind of friends insist that you engage in behavior that is harmful to you?  Standing up to friends and doing something different from the crowd takes a great deal of strength and personal conviction under any circumstances.  At this time of life when the norm is to go out and get plowed every spare moment, it takes an enormous effort to stand aside and say, "I refuse to do this."  The thing is, not everyone gets trashed every weekend.  Not everyone gets trashed every day.  It just seems that way right now.  Have the courage to be different.  Have the courage to let toxic people and behavior out of your life.  That may even include family members.  It's time to put yourself first.

There is no requirement that you have to tell anyone in your life about your fears.  That's what's so cool about AA.  The "anonymous" part is extremely important.  What happens in AA STAYS in AA.  Period.

My husband has been sober since June 18.  Like you, he has a whole lot of trouble looking at a future with no alcohol.  It's everywhere.  He's in his 50's and drugs and alcohol have been his pacifier since he was 12 years old.  That's a whole lot of years and a whole lot of liver, pancreas and esophagus damage.  This is the first time he's worked a rehab program and the first time that I have hope that he'll learn to live sober.  It's work.  It's a whole lot of work to undo the habits of a lifetime.  I hope and pray that you'll take action now and not have to walk the same road as my husband.  The longer you put it off, the harder it will be later.  You're on your way!
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