Way back when before all these kids, I was a music therapist at a psych hospital, and I ran other groups as well. I used to share all kinds of ideas and articles, including one from Gretchen Rubin on abstaining vs. moderating which she describes here and further discusses here.
I would talk about it perhaps in terms of addiction, or maybe just in a positive thinking type group, but I generally thought I might have been a moderator – but what it boiled down to was I didn’t want to fully give anything up. That is no way to live! Surely I can moderate my diet/internet use/what have you. I need my desserts, darn it!
But I can’t, and in the second article, perhaps she is arguing that maybe only very few especially temperate people can truly be moderators. My Grandad, for instance – who just passed away this year – I think would be one. And then there is me. I recently read about someone’s experience with compulsive overeating and it sounding a little too familiar. If you’ve watched the new show This Is Us I can relate to Kate quite a bit. And you might look at me and say well you aren’t nearly as big as her, but it wouldn’t take too many steps for me to get there. (I’ve since stopped watching after episode 2 – I have enough stress in my life, I don’t need anxiety from a tv show!)
So how did I come to this new self-knowledge? Brian and I are rewarding ourselves with $5 a week for maintaining certain rules and mine is no sweets, except for a snack at church if available during coffee hour, or a special occasion like a birthday or outing. And it’s easier. It’s easier to have a rule. I am, at heart, a rule-follower. The rule becomes freeing. I can even scroll through pinterest, note how delicious everything looks, and move on. I am no longer tempted to put things in the grocery cart because they are simply not allowed, and then I don’t have to try to not eat half a container of cookies that are in the house. Our allowance of sorts is helping the budget as well, by cutting down on extraneous spending.
I’m tempted to use a further example, the thing, ahem, you usually think of when it comes to abstaining. I’ll just leave that there for you to ponder.
So which are you? Any true moderators out there? Any rebellious rule-breakers who balk at abstaining? Anyone else like me who is finding (or has found) freedom in boundaries?