And I’m going to explain what I teach instead. Now, I’ve talked about abstinence on the podcast before, and you know if you listen to the podcast that I think it’s really important sometimes to just look at how a word is defined. Whether you want to drink less or stop drinking, this podcast will help you change the habit from the inside out. We’re challenging conventional wisdom about why people drink and why it can be hard to resist temptation. No labels, no judgment, just practical tools to take control of your desire and stop worrying about your drinking. 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.
- You don’t have to move to a cabin in the woods where alcohol is not around you and no one is drinking around you.
- 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.
- Quitting alcohol completely can be a challenge, but there are more ways to do it than ever before.
- If you do slip, the outcome does not have to be an experience without worth, it can be a powerful learning experience.
- They might also benefit from naltrexone therapy, as discussed above.
Shame and guilt over a slip-up can trigger full relapse. When people aiming for abstinence make a mistake, they may feel like quitting is impossible and give up entirely. You can have an occasional drink without feeling defeated and sliding deeper into a relapse. It’s easier to maintain your motivation and stay on the right track. Ria Health offers several FDA-approved medications for alcohol use disorder. When combined with counseling, this approach is proven highly effective.
Reasons Abstinence From Alcohol May Be the Best Choice
Still, when it comes to looking at entire population, most individuals that abuse alcohol are specifically NOT those more severe cases, which https://ecosoberhouse.com/ means the results might actually be more generalizable. You can always reevaluate your relationship with alcohol and revisit your goals.
You can receive 24/7 text support right away and at your convenience. There is no obligation to enter treatment and you can opt out at any time. 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. The best course of action is the one that will work the best for you. Quitting alcohol completely can be a challenge, but there are more ways to do it than ever before. The editorial staff of DrugAbuse.com is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers . Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands of pages for accuracy and relevance.
If you view yourself as someone who would like to cut back on how many drinks you have a week, then moderation may be best suited for you. However, if you find yourself struggling with regulating how much alcohol you drink in a day or week, an abstinence-based approach may be necessary for changing your drinking habits. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism 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. While the burden to deliver effective treatments falls on health care providers, individual factors can impact how well someone responds to these treatments.
Is alcohol moderation possible?
Moderate drinking is possible for some people who previously had an issue with alcohol, even for those who have joined Alcoholics Anonymous, although it's likely these individuals didn't have an official alcohol use disorder (commonly referred to as "alcoholism").
By the time winter break rolled around, I was emaciated and had shingles. I went to my parents’ house and slept for two days straight. Hen he was 18, someone attacked my twin brother on the US marine corps base where he was stationed. They stabbed him 14 times through the neck, bashed his head in with a blunt object and then tossed him out of a second-story window. He had been lying outside for hours by the time he was found, and he was dumped off at a hospital with someone else’s dog tags. At the time, the marines tried to frame it as an attempted suicide.
Summary of Abstinence vs. Moderation
In their view, drinkers that are able to cut back without abstaining are not alcoholics because they haven’t become powerless over alcohol. Ark Behavioral Health offers 100% confidential substance abuse assessment and treatment placement tailored to your individual needs. Many treatment programs share a goal of minimizing the damage caused by alcohol use disorder .
She’s written extensively on her own experience through addiction into long-term recovery. You can connect with her on Twitter @kalireadsbooks. There are no absolutes in the world of relativity, and therefore there are no right or wrong answers to this question. Each individual is free to decide which path they choose, as each individual gets to experience the positive or negative consequences of their choices. Thinking back to past experiences with both approaches and getting honest with oneself is often the first step to take. Regardless of what has happened in the past, know that those patterns do not have to carry on moving forward. All of our reactions were within the range of normal.
How do you decide between sobriety or moderation?
Join me today as I share my viewpoint on abstinence and moderation when it comes to changing the habit. Individuals with severe AUD often find that in the long term, sobriety is the most achievable goal for them. Keeping alcohol in your life in a healthy way can be really challenging, especially abstinence vs moderation for people who have exhibited more severe drinking habits and patterns. And re-evaluating how it shows up in their life. As a physician on the Monument platform, I speak with patients every day who are looking to change their drinking habits in order to improve their health and happiness.
Also interesting that, as the study authors point out, all groups improved to varying degrees particularly in terms of fewer drinks per drinking day. There are bountiful resources available to you if you are considering treatment, a support group, or even tips on how to moderate or abstain from alcohol. You have already made the crucial first step of evaluating alcohol in your life. Contacting a treatment providercan help you determine the next steps in your journey. Furthermore, when alcohol begins to take priority over friends and family, work responsibilities, or personal health, it may be time to consider a treatment plan. Understanding your relationship with alcohol is easier said than done, but there are some signs to look out for if you or a loved one are dealing with alcohol abuse. Knowing the warning signs can be critical in determining when to seek treatment.
Potential Benefits Of Moderate Drinking
People who drink in moderation stick to reasonable limits. They’re able to enjoy an occasional drink while still avoiding negative drinking behaviors and consequences. Some are even able to relearn moderate drinking after abstinence. Many people think that abstinence is the only solution for problem drinking.
Non-abstinence programs may be more effective in younger adults. Older patients on non-abstinence programs have reported worse results on average compared to younger patients. I say this because the “moderation” argument is used to justify the consumption of alcoholic beverages. I reject this idea because alcohol is one of those things not designed for human consumption and does not gain respectability through moderate use. Once I heard about MM, I suggested it to him. Having grown up in Glasgow, there was no way abstinence was ever going to be his thing, but MM seemed like something he could handle. It also solved his ongoing dilemma of never knowing how much was too much.
This focus on abstinence, along with strong social support, may be why 12-step programs are effective for so many people. Abstinence is not only necessary for many recovering addicts, but it’s actually easier too. Scientific evidence does support the notion that people with severe drinking problems are NOT good candidates for moderation and generally do much better with abstinence. And it goes without saying that for anyone who has developed a really serious drinking problem, abstinence is by far the safest course. Rarely, if ever, do heavy drinkers choose to give up alcohol for good until they are convinced by their own experience that moderation is simply not attainable. What’s more, they refuse to define themselves as “alcoholic/addict” or give in to pressure to attend AA meetings.