Once you’ve had that first taste, though, it takes an almost superhuman strength to stop. The 12-step approach of forbidding any substances under any conditions strikes many people as dogmatic, and in some cases is not feasible, but it is also a bright line. When you surround yourself with others who moderate their drinking, it’s much easier to moderate your own intake.
Abstinence means the act or practice of restraining from something that one finds enjoyable, in this case alcohol or drugs. There is a reason behind the push for abstinence in recovery addicts – research clearly shows that a commitment to avoid drugs and alcohol is easier on a person in the long run versus indulging occasionally. For those who tend to have harmful behavioral traits, such as continuing to drink until drunk, abstinence is the safer option.
How useful is abstinence alone in understanding the effectiveness of SUD treatment?
The idea of moderation and mindful drinking is also a great way for people who are asking themselves “should I stop drinking? Proactively cutting back on drinking can start to illuminate how drinking less can give you more, and create the mental clarity to identify your goals and values. There are no requirements for changing your relationship with alcohol and seeking treatment. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and other public health agencies, there are at least four times as many problem drinkers as alcoholics in this country. However, most alcohol treatment programs are designed for people with the most severe drinking problems. One program known as Harm Reduction, Abstinence, and Moderation Support (HAMS) focuses more on the lifestyle-related causes of drug and alcohol abuse.
It’s clear to most people that when a person has become sober, the goal is for that person to remain that way through abstinence. Although most people find the word abstinence to be intimidating, it is precisely what most recovering addicts are aiming for. The MHealthy Alcohol Management Program (AMP) at the University of Michigan is a brief, confidential health education program that helps you cut back on your drinking or quit altogether. The program encourages you to focus on your substance abuse patterns. Those are important questions, because their answers reveal wounds that need fixing and a general lack of coping skills.
Who Is Most Likely to Benefit from Moderation-focused Alcohol Treatment?
This theory supposes that the common alcoholic — something 17.7 million people were classified as in 2012 — can manage their addiction by limiting how much and how often they drink. Web-based interventions have the potential to reach many more people in the privacy of their own homes and thus could have a widespread public health impact even if the effect size was small. While Web-based interventions will continue to emerge, it is important that they are properly evaluated and modified to best serve the populations they aim to reach. This particular intervention recruited participants through targeted Facebook advertisements, showing how social media has the ability to reach people that may otherwise miss important health information and interventions. This study by Kuerbis and colleagues investigated how individuals with different clinical profiles will respond to moderation-focused alcohol interventions.
- Her counselor agreed that abstinence was a good solution and they took steps to help Reagan achieve this goal.
- There are proponents of another theory though, that one can control addiction through moderation management (MM) behaviors, and there is evidence to support this theory, too.
- The reality for alcohol addictions, for example, is that people have an average of two and a half relapses in their ultimate turn to permanent sobriety.
- Alcohol use was measured using average drinks per drinking day, average weekly drinks, and average percent heavy drinking days.
- Here are some things to consider in comparing moderation vs. abstinence.
The journey to changing your relationship with alcohol is about progress, not perfection. Whether you’re working towards sobriety or moderate alcohol intake, the most important thing is to keep going. Every day presents a new opportunity to define your goals and make progress towards them.
Who should participate in the Alcohol Management Program?
It is clear from looking at the research that if you want to increase your odds of success, abstinence is the way to go. And while neither path is easy, the abstinence road seems to offer less resistance. A study conducted at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden found that the Reagans abstinence vs moderation of the world are more successful in treatment than the Saras. This website is using a security service to protect itself from online attacks. There are several actions that could trigger this block including submitting a certain word or phrase, a SQL command or malformed data.
I reject this idea because alcohol is one of those things not designed for human consumption and does not gain respectability through moderate use. However, be sure that you have the right personal and professional support around you throughout your recovery. One way to evaluate whether you may be making risky choices with alcohol is to take this 10-question True/False evaluation to review your usual drinking practices.
What’s more, they refuse to define themselves as “alcoholic/addict” or give in to pressure to attend AA meetings. Since the follow-up period in this study was only 3 months post-intervention, differences between groups at future time points are unknown. A study with 3 years of follow-up showed that among patients in remission from alcohol use disorder (including abstinent, low risk, and risky drinkers), abstinent individuals were less likely to relapse. However, due to the Web-based nature of this intervention, VetChange requires a degree of self-management from participants in terms of completing the weekly modules and homework assignments. Selecting a specific goal is an important part of any behavior change. 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.