Personal Experiences of Moderation & Abstinence in Addiction Recovery

Drinking impairs your judgment, so even if you told yourself you would definitely have only one drink, after that drink, you have less control than you did when you couldn’t resist one drink. I’m not saying that this is a decision that I’ve made for the rest of my life. And I know that has a lot of you scratching your head because that’s what we’re taught we have to do. And certainly, most everything out there about changing your drinking or dealing with the habit of drinking isn’t about being your own best authority. It’s about listening to what someone else is saying is right for you, or admitting that you’re powerless and that you aren’t in control.

To adhere to these principles, each type of drinker will have to make changes to his or her routine. The man cutting back to weekend use may not want to keep alcohol in the house during the week in order to decrease the decision fatigue that comes with easy access. He may want to exercise in the evenings or engage in some alternate pleasurable activity. Both people might benefit from an accountability partner. They might also benefit from naltrexone therapy, as discussed above. The person who drinks 3 to 4 drinks per night might commit to the principle of abstaining from alcohol during the week. Now, if he drinks three to four drinks on Friday and Saturday, he has decreased his alcohol use by 70% and is within the CDC’s recommended limits for men.

Reasons Abstinence From Alcohol May Be the Best Choice

The female who binges one night each week might commit to drinking no more than 3 drinks on any occasion. Now she has eliminated binge drinking and the acute and chronic effects that often accompany it. Treating alcoholism by stages might prevent many people from progressing to more severe and debilitating stages of the illness. The effectiveness of alcohol moderation programs are still being studied. Future research may be needed to weigh the benefits and risks of moderation compared to abstinence.

I can’t even think of how many times I’ve heard the notion that complete, total, abstinence should be the only goal for all people who abuse drug or alcohol. This idea is so pervasive that most addiction treatment providers actually expel clients for relapsing, a notion that makes no sense to me especially if you believe in the idea that addiction is a chronic disease. In fact, even most research institutions and well-informed providers use total abstinence as the marker for addiction treatment success. This is the complete restraint of drugs and substance abuse.

Who is most likely to succeed at alcohol moderation?

He does both in moderation daily, and his concern was more about the frequency and the fact that he can never seem to take a day off than the amount of any particular substance consumed. This is a recovery program and national support group network. It’s for people who have made the decision to reduce their drinking and make other positive lifestyle changes. When you say, for example, “No more drinking under any circumstances,” you know when you’ve violated that rule. If, on the other hand, you say, “Only moderate drinking from now on,” suddenly, you’re in murky waters. You have to put a lot of mental effort into it and the line between success and failure is always moving, usually to accommodate more drinking.

It was so successful, they now plan to do it every year. This is Moderation Management , a program whose rising popularity and success rate is posing the first real challenge abstinence vs moderation in decades to the traditional, black and white approach to addiction. The problem of weaker willpower is massively compounded by the immediate expectation of more drinks.

Tips From a Ria Coach: What is “Accountability” in Recovery?

Moderate drinking means drinking about 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor in one sitting. Alcohol is the #1 drug problem of our time accounting for over half of the murders, drownings, suicides, family break-ups and highway fatalities — to mention only a few of the statistics. So in my joy, flying down that hill, I decided I was going to have a beer with dinner that night and see how it felt. I remember the other folks on the ride with whom I visited and I remember that the Huskers beat the Ducks in a close game that day. I remember that the water was so blue, more blue than the tank top I was wearing, and I remember the feeling of the wind in my face on the downhills.

The four lessons I have listened to so far have really opened up my mind to a lot of things about God. There is a saying that goes, “All things in moderation.” The idea is that so long as you are moderate it’s okay to try anything.

Alcohol Treatment Programs

Among the most widely studied are how motivated and confident someone is in being able to reduce or quit drinking. Given the field’s historical emphasis on abstinence-based approaches, key individual factors to treatment outcome remain more of a mystery when it comes to moderation-focused treatment, sometimes called “harm reduction”.

  • It’s a reflection of actually what’s happening inside of me in terms of my desire.
  • Moderation and abstinence are two approaches that can be used for changing the role of alcohol in one’s life.
  • That seems a little callous, but it’s often the way we explore our own boundaries with alcohol and drugs and set our own limits.
  • For some people, learning how to drinking more moderately and safely is a realistic and attainable goal.
  • You don’t have to start your recovery journey alone.
  • We decided to do a 30 together, and after two false starts – there was a party to go to!

First, let’s dive into the difference between abstinence and moderation. After years of struggling, she decided she needed help. She admitted she was dependent on alcohol and started seeing a counselor. Any of these conditions suggests it would make sense to stop drinking. A. You are not taking a medication that is made dangerous or ineffective by Alcohol. Possibly, but one will benefit from being on guard for them, as they can reappear years later.

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