Alcohol Moderation or Abstinence?

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Attempts at moderation are a useful way for a person abusing drugs or alcohol to get feedback. It creates awareness around their using in general, and may well signal to them that their alcohol or drug use is playing a larger role in their lives than they would care to admit. controlled drinking vs abstinence And this awareness is generated without judgement from their entourage, but rather through self-observation. However, in the end, almost 30% of those who start a Moderation Management program move toward a complete abstinence program to manage their alcohol addiction.

alcohol abstinence vs moderation

It also solved his ongoing dilemma of never knowing how much was too much. We decided to do a 30 together, and after two false starts – there was a party to go to! And a nice Italian dinner, which of course cannot go without wine – we are now 20 days in and feeling fine.

Moderate Drinking is About Having More Control Over Your Drinking

Treatment professionals can advise if supervised detox is required, and provide next steps tailored to your needs. The choice between harm reduction vs. abstinence is most often made by an individual after careful reflection and introspection. This can include thinking about your common patterns and learning styles. Are you someone who likes to ease into things, or do you prefer an all-or-nothing approach to change? If you lean towards gradualism, moderation may be a more comfortable place to start. If alcohol is playing a central role in your life, you might find more success exploring sobriety.

alcohol abstinence vs moderation

Planning exactly how you’ll say no—in a quick, polite, and convincing way—can make it easier for you to stick with your convictions and avoid a spiral of uncomfortable excuses. Health experts have historically recommended abstinence for people struggling with chronic alcohol problems. She admitted she was dependent on alcohol and started seeing a counselor. Speak with a treatment provider and get your questions about rehab answered today. While it can seem daunting to practice abstinence, limit your alcohol use, or seek treatment, you can find comfort in the fact that there is no definitive “correct” way to get where you want to be. Seek skilled guidance from an addiction psychologist to get feedback when selecting goals, assessing progress, and setting appropriate boundaries.

Research shows that moderate drinking can work for those who abuse alcohol.

From a health perspective, complete abstinence is recommended for certain populations. This includes those managing liver disease, bipolar disorder, abnormal heart rhythms, or chronic pain. While sobriety can be achieved by anyone, it’s important to check in with your healthcare provider before making significant changes to your drinking patterns. For individuals with severe alcohol use disorder and possible physical alcohol dependence, quitting cold turkey can cause withdrawal symptoms that may be dangerous or even life-threatening. It’s vital to discuss your goals with a physician to determine how to stop drinking alcohol safely.

These kinds of groups become a source of support from people who understand, who are looking for solidarity and hope. It’s already quite common to abstain in the real world; look no further than certain religions—e.g. Mormons, Muslims, and Bahais—that forbid practitioners from consuming alcohol. Similarly, there were teetotalers and prohibitionists who tried to ban alcohol altogether throughout the twentieth century.

How Do Former Drinkers Share Their Non-drinking Identity?

Total abstinence from alcohol is also linked to a lower risk of liver problems, certain types of cancers, violent behaviors, and other problems. Adi Jaffe, Ph.D., is a lecturer at UCLA and the CEO of IGNTD, an online company that produces podcasts and educational programs on mental health and addiction. As such, I think these results are very encouraging in terms of offering another possible solution for individuals who are looking to reduce their alcohol consumption and the problems that keep creeping up along with it. In case you’ve never heard of Moderation Management (MM), you should check out their website.

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