Prep Work

Have you signed up for Kickstart and feel like a kid on the first day of school with no school supplies? There are some things you can do beforehand to make your Kickstart Moderation course more enjoyable and as a result, more successful.

  1. Make a list of activities you’d like to pursue during Kickstart Moderation. You will likely discover that drinking took up more time than you thought, plus you’ll have more energy. Dust off that guitar or running shoes and break out the knitting needles and paintbrushes-keeping our hands busy keeps them from missing the feel of a drink in them.

  2. Stock up on healthy non-alcoholic beverages for those abstinent nights and for drinking in between alcoholic drinks to help you maintain your moderate goals. Now is a good time to discover some new favorites. You can throw some unhealthy NA ones in there, too, for the days you feel like indulging yourself. Rewards are necessary!

  3. While you’re loading up on those non-alcoholic beverages, start snooping around for low-alcohol alternatives to you favorite beverages, too. There are some really good low alcohol wines and beer out there. After all, we’re focusing on moderation this month, not abstinence. Unlike some other programs you might have wandered into, we didn’t lure you in here just to convince you that abstinence is really the best choice. We like to drink just like you, we just want to teach you to do it responsibly.

  4. Start a drinking diary or start using a drink counting app such as Sunnyside so you can accurately track the change in your drinking habit. This may sound like an insignificant task but the Addiction Research Foundation in Ontario, one of the most highly regarded in the English-speaking world, rate this strategy as one of the most important. (Responsible Drinking Handbook; Rotgers, Kern, & Hoetzel; pg. 133) You might be surprised to find that just actively keeping track reduces your drinking without any conscious effort to drink less .

    Too many times we dwell on the times we don’t obtain our goals, a tracking system of some type will give us a more accurate picture of progress.

    *A word about Sunnyside and other MM partners that you will see recommended in Kickstart. While our partners do support us financially, we recommend them because our members recommended them to us and told us about the success they had with these apps, programs or products. That’s why they became our partners, because we asked them. We will also recommend resources and products that are not partners of MM. Again, because our members have recommended them in our communities or meetings. To see learn more about our partners, check them out on MM’s Partner’s page.

  5. Educate yourself a little about moderation. Take a trip through and make yourself at home. Join a meeting
    or one of our online communities, you’ll be welcome.

  6. Educate yourself about the effects of alcohol on your body and brain. We will not spend a lot time talking about that during the course because there are people who know lot more about it than us and they’ve written books. We recommend Dr. David Nutt’s, “Drink?” because while he is frank about the effect that alcohol has on us, he also respects the reader’s desire to drink moderately, if that is their choice. Some books purport to support moderation and then say, “Now that you’ve read this book, you really don’t want to drink, do you?” Those aren’t on our recommended reading list.

  7. Complete the Alcohol Dependence Questionnaire . The results provide an indication of how difficult moderation may be for you. A high score does not give a definitive answer as to whether or not you will succeed at moderation, though. “About three-quarters of people with alcohol dependence reduce or stop drinking without any kind of professional treatment or even interaction with a community support group such as AA (Dawson et al. 2005). If you’re like me and the thought of completing a questionnaire about drinking gives you the creeps, don’t do it. We make a solemn promise to you that you won’t have to do anything you aren’t ready to do or are uncomfortable doing. It starts here.

  8. Perform a cost analysis of your drinking. Yes, write down how much you spend on alcohol each month-this is one of the most tangible measurements of a change in our drinking habit. (Sunnyside starts tracking this for you when you sign up) But, also write down the effect drinking has had on your personal and professional life. How has it affected your relationships? Your work performance? Your own enjoyment of life? What benefit do you get from drinking? We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t think there were some benefits. What’s the downside of your drinking? What benefit do you hope to achieve with moderation? Don’t spend too much time on the negatives of the past here, focus on the positive benefits you hope to obtain-this is more powerful (See next assignment)

  9. Watch the following video. Where are you in the Stages of Change? Do you have a well-formed outcome yet? If you do, what is it? If you don’t, what would you like it to be? While the Kickstart Moderation Course is geared to people who are ready to enter the Action Stage of Change and start actively and physically taking steps to change their relationship with alcohol, people who are in other Stages of Change are also welcome to participate since information is sometimes necessary to advance us in the Steps of Change.

20 responses to “Prep Work”

  1. I am wanting to abstain from alcohol completely. I feel like I need help in this huge step. And maybe allow 1 or so drinks on wknds at first (compared to 2 bottles of wine each day) hoping this community helps me wrap my brain around changing my mindset.

    • Sandra, I went from drinking around the clock to abstaining for eight years with the support of MM. I am now moderating but that abstinent period was the most important growth period of my adult life. I haven’t ruled out going back to abstaining. That’s the beauty of this program, it lets us make the choices that we feel are right for ourselves.

  2. Ummm. When I try to read things in this it says I am unauthorized. I have paid for this twice bc I thought the first one didn’t work (I am computer illiterate) but I knkw the second time was entered correctly. Why is this happening? Can you help me know what I can do or am not doing ?

  3. Hi,
    I joined my first MM meeting today and some of the other participants suggested Kickstart to me. I know the first two October meetings have been held already, is it too later to join the current program? Also, what is the schedule dates and times? I want to be sure I can maintain my work schedule and the program before committing.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Dan,
      The first week of Kickstart is completed but we leave the content available until the end of November. Meetings are Monday nights at 8:00 PM Eastern Time and Wednesday night at 9:00 PM Eastern Time.

  4. I realize that my biggest roadblock to successful change is that my goal, my outcome, is simply never as appealing as the way alcohol and/or binge eating makes me feel. It used to work when I was younger. I was a singer/actress, so taking care of my physical appearance and my voice was an easy and rewarding priority. I can’t IMAGINE that losing weight and drinking less will bring benefits that are greater than the honest enjoyment I feel when eating and drinking! Yes, I have my issues with it: shame that I have no self-control, sorrow that I am not as attractive as I could be, regret at my occasionally embarrassing behavior, and every now and then a hangover (that is never as bad as it should be, considering the amount that I drink!). Sadly, I don’t see a reason to be any more attractive than I am at 64 – I really do not see any kind of physical or emotional relationship in my future at this point. So every night I say, “Why not?” (Don’t know if this is an appropriate place for this particular comment – I’m a member of MM on FB, too – sorry if this is the wrong place for this.)

    • It is totally appropriate and I can identify. Most of the people who click on the Kickstart ads are in the 60+ age range and I will be hitting that milestone myself in a couple of weeks. I think a lot of different factors lead to this age group overdrinking, including those you mention. We are no longer as concerned with physical appearance because that is a priority you have to let go of as you age. For many of us, some of the lustre and excitement of life has dulled and our physical abilities have lessened, so we turn to alcohol to provide interest, a sense of joy and the rush of feeling excited about life that’s missing.

  5. “For many of us, some of the lustre and excitement of life has dulled and our physical abilities have lessened, so we turn to alcohol to provide interest, a sense of joy and the rush of feeling excited about life that’s missing.”

    So true. I don’t feel I have anything more to accomplish. I’m hoping kickstart will help.

    • For me, it did reignite a spark of interest in life. Mainly because my life had become so limited by the effects of alcohol, the tiredness, the not being able to drive after a certain time, the horrendous hangovers. However, my drinking was to the extreme and I was no longer what I would call “functioning.”

  6. I would like to join kickstart but I can’t join the meetings due to my work schedule. Will the program still be effective for me?

    • HI Shannon,
      The meetings are not required and while they are well-attended, not everyone does attend. You will still be able to interact with the other participants in the FB group and you will receive all the materia. So, yes, I believe the course is still effective whether you attend meetings or not.

  7. Hi MaryR,
    Can you tell us how to change how our name displays? I do not want my last name showing. Thanks!

    • Weird. This time my name did not display at all. This is my sign in name. Oh well. This is fine if it is consistent.

  8. I usually try to change everyone’s display name when they register, but if you post a comment and your “real name” shows up, go to your profile and scroll down to Display Name and choose the name you want displayed. Then scroll further down to the bottom of the page and click on update.

  9. I am very interested in starting the March 2023 group. I’ll be 60 in 6 months and I plan to make some Healthy Changes. I’m hoping this helps me.

  10. I’m looking forward to making some real positive changes using the tools outlined in the Kickstart program and on the MM website. I’m already part of an MM Facebook group but want to join the Kickstart group as well.
    Nice to have the support!

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