Dear Moderation, Who are you? And why have we never met?

Finding the healthy balance in anything I do has always been an issue for me. Never knowing when to give something up, or when I have had enough; moderation has never been a fan of me, nor have I been a fan of it. That slogan, “Drink with Moderation,” was always used as a joke of mine, followed with, “Who is this moderation person everyone keeps telling me to drink with?”

But I am not just referring to drinking that one would tend to think about when discussing moderation, or better yet, lack thereof. I am talking about binge drinking as well as, drug abuse, eating disorders, physical exercise, working, sugar, sex, and lastly, technology. We have become addicted too many different things, and as statistics would show, people are increasing their use in these kinds of habits at an alarming rate; specifically, the millennial generation, and if you are between the ages of 20-36, like me, you will find yourself in this category. Let me be clear, every generation has their own problems, and I am not trying to take away from the fact that abuse of any kind is a serious issue overall, but with the millennials taking the lead in numbers as America’s largest generation, I feel inclined to put emphasis on this age group. As a 25 year old, I can attest to the belief that moderation is something a millennial will struggle with until they actively make the choice to develop smarter, and healthier choices. For some, this will come easy; for most, this will come as a challenge.

For me, moderation wasn’t something I would ever consider until I became sober. Now, I am not saying that you need to live your life the way I do, I am simply just stating the fact that moderation would have always been an issue for ME, had I not gotten rid of the bad habits I had developed through lack of self-control, and self-medicating. It boils down to getting honest with yourself about what we may have problems with, and I think it is easy for a lot of us to live in denial, then it is to address what we may be abusing when no one else is watching.

We live in an awesome time where the things we need are of easy access, but at the same time, they are sometimes too easy to acquire. This fast-paced world we find ourselves in can have a detrimental effect if you don’t possess a certain level of self-control. Too much of anything is a bad thing, and learning balance between all the options thrown our direction can be very challenging. We live in a modernized world where the goal is to catch your attention, and convince you that you need whatever they are trying to ‘sell’ you. We have become so used to advertisements, media, and technology telling us that we need to be a certain way, or we need to partake in XYZ to be liked by those around us. This can become a dark rabbit hole if we don’t learn to say no to what will just become a distraction, or possibly, a destructive path to walk down. We stress ourselves out, and then we numb that stress with our chosen addictions. We live in an addicted world, and no I am not just referring to drugs and alcohol. When I use the phrase ‘addicted,’ I just mean that we are becoming more and more dependent on what has become a part of our everyday routine. This can range anywhere between a caffeine addiction, to staring into the screen of your phone for more than 5 hours a day, or having to increase a prescribed drug because you no longer feel the effects of it. We are all users in one form or another, and whatever your ‘poison’ is, there is most likely something in your life you could use less of.   

Here are some numbers to keep in mind:

  • The average American has an average stress level of 4.9, but millennials hover around 5.5. They are also the generation most likely to drink because of their stress.
  • As of 2012, there were more than 12 million young people in America who needed addiction treatment, but weren’t getting the right help. 18-34 year olds are the most likely binge drinkers.
  • 90% of people in the world consume at least one meal or beverage with caffeine, per day.
  • Every 62 minutes, at least one person dies as a direct result from an eating disorder.
  • Over 10 million Americans right now average more than 60 hours of work per week.
  • 8 in 10 (79%) men between the ages of 18-30 view pornography monthly.
  • About 1 in 5 women (18%) use the internet for sexual purposes habitually, every week.
  • 84% of worldwide phone users cannot go a single day without their mobile device in their hand.
  • In the US alone, more than 15 million people abuse prescription drugs – Prescription drug abuse causes the largest percentage of deaths from drug overdosing.
  • Americans consume, on average, 765 grams of sugar every 5 days. We also consume 130 pounds of sugar every year.

I could keep going when it comes to these alarming kind of statistics, but I wanted to give you an overall picture of where many of us struggle to practice balance.   

As a whole, we need to learn to incorporate moderation in our everyday lives. It is very easy to start abusing everyday products, and habits, we find ourselves involved with. Personally, I have struggled with learning balance in multiple aspects of my life, but I have come a long way in the fact that I no longer live in denial of where my problems lie. Whether you are drinking too much, staring into your phone too often, eating in excess, or not eating enough; there is room for improvement, and until we learn moderation, we will always remain dependent, and continue living in excess.

Much easier said than done, practicing moderation will take time and patience, and you should not expect results to happen overnight. It is a matter of getting honest with yourself, and to stop ignoring the signs that you may be abusing certain things. Once you recognize the issues, you can begin practicing balance. To become the best versions of ourselves, it’s important to limit the things that are keeping us from that. To those of you that live your life in moderation, give yourself a pat on the back. That is a hard feat to overcome. To those of you that are still struggling, give yourself time to get there. This life is a journey, and the things that are worth it, will last you a lifetime.

-Megan Lawrence


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