Abstinence or moderation? Choice by alcoholics

If you have health problems related to alcohol, it may be unsafe to drink at all, period. In this case, abstinence is the best way forward for your health and safety. By quitting drinking completely, your body can begin to repair the damage caused by alcohol. Unfortunately, we feel that the treatment industry can be far too quick to diagnose alcoholism or addiction. There are too many people abusing substances being unnecessarily forced down a path of complete abstinence, without looking at the individual cases and the “why” behind the abuse. Polich, Armor, and Braiker found that the most severely dependent alcoholics were the least likely to achieve nonproblem drinking at 4 years.

alcohol abstinence vs moderation

There was no inpatient treatment component, just use of the MM website alone, or in conjunction with the new interactive web application. You have been able to moderate your alcohol intake successfully in the past. There are signs to look for if you want to know if moderation management is right for you.

Implications of there being many paths to addiction and recovery

The focus of moderation management is not to deter substance abusers from abstinence or draw them away from an already present commitment to such. Likewise, MM acts as a gateway to abstinence later on for a large number of participants. Alcohol alcohol abstinence vs moderation is a substance that can have significant withdrawal symptoms for a person who is physically dependent on it; therefore, it should never be stopped “cold turkey” without a professional medical detox protocol if dependence is present.

Among individuals who remain abstinent for one to three years, only around 34 percent will end up relapsing. This number drops to 14 percent among those who manage to remain abstinent for five years. Among the 1% of Americans (2.8 million) who receive treatment for an alcohol https://ecosoberhouse.com/ use disorder each year, there are probably very few people with early-stage alcoholism. A young man in the group explained that he had bipolar disorder, that he was feeling great on his new medication, but that there might be a problem when it comes to alcohol.

Why We Drink on St. Patrick’s Day, and How To Stay Sober

Many people may not identify with the label of alcoholic even though they have issues with alcohol and problems involving drinking. A moderation management program may be beneficial for a person who is not physically dependent on alcohol and does not suffer from significant withdrawal symptoms and cravings when alcohol wears off. Only about 9 percent of alcoholics in the United States are classified under the subtype of “chronic severe,” NIAAA publishes. This group of individuals will need to abstain from drinking completely. Kishline had suffered from issues with alcohol abuse for several years.

The person who drank alcohol daily but now abstains during the week may eventually stop thinking about alcohol during the week. The person who binged on the weekends but now drinks moderately may eventually get accustomed to that change and have a decreased urge to over-drink. If a moderation management program is chosen, during the 30-day period of abstinence a person will explore alternative activities other than drinking and learn to manage potential triggers that encourage drinking. They will also learn to cope with stressors without alcohol, how to avoid drinking when desired, and how to control drinking and keep from overdrinking when drinking is reestablished. For some, their decision to cut back on or abstain from drinking is connected to a desire to be healthier, save money, or reestablish their views on their alcohol consumption. These are all valid reasons, and many can accomplish their goals without needing a treatment center.

Moderate drinking by chronic alcoholics: A schedule-dependent phenomenon

But for the sober-curious drinker, it can be the first step toward a healthier way of life. There are plenty of celebrities and regular people alike who practice sobriety and were never alcoholics. For many, it’s a way of life that aligns with their values and health goals. MM members can then decide if moderation or abstinence is right for them. They can take a self-test to determine how severe their alcohol problems are and make an informed choice between moderation management vs. AA or other abstinence-based programs. Kishline developed the Moderation Management program after consulting with alcohol addiction treatment professionals.

  • Some people find it’s still too overwhelming to be around alcohol, and it’s too hard to change their habits.
  • MM accepts that alcohol can create problems in a person’s life, but instead of admitting to powerlessness over the substance, individuals are empowered to learn how to manage and control their drinking.
  • Countless treatment programs have been established and the vast majority of them are completely based on the 12-step model.

My dad also ended up in AA, but it’s never seemed like quite the right fit. His bigger issue has always been depression more than drinking, but he’s part of a generation of men that think therapy is for the weak. So for him, meetings have always seemed more like a way to get group therapy without either paying for it or admitting to needing it. In addition to making my family forever suspicious of anyone in uniform, the experience sent three out of the four members of my nuclear family straight into substance abuse. My brother, once he got out of the hospital, began combining alcohol with whatever drugs he could come by, in an effort to deal with the fact that he’d be spending the rest of his life as a quadriplegic. For years, the answer was assumed to be no, there is no room for “just one drink” for anyone with a drinking problem.

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