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”. While the pandemic seems to have triggered substantial increases in alcohol consumption, and in alcohol abuse, this is true on a macro level. For some people, the pandemic created more opportunities for reducing drinking. More time at home may have contributed to less peer pressure to drink, less time in a “wet” culture, and lifestyle changes that might support a shift towards moderation. Total abstinence is not the only option when changing your relationship with alcohol. For some people, drinking in moderation can be a viable pathway to a healthier life.

Eliza’s son has struggled with substance use for years, and recently experienced a dangerous overdose. Dominique Simon-Levine helps her assess this moment of incarceration—which could bring hazards or opportunities—and shares experiences from her own family and the Allies in Recovery community. Here is an example of how the “bottom line” might be reestablished in your home. If they say they will only have two beers, then as long as they stay within that boundary you will behave as though they’re not using at all. So, based on the usual guideline of rewarding non-use and disengaging when there is use, you are going to slide down the scale a bit – from “zero tolerance” to tolerating one or two drinks.

So what does this mean for drinkers?

This option is generally intended for “problem drinkers”; i.e., non-alcoholics with less severe drinking problems who have not suffered life-damaging consequences from their drinking and have no prior history of alcohol dependence (alcoholism). As part of the evaluation process, we help clients understand where they are in terms of the nature and severity of their alcohol problem and their chances of succeeding at moderation. We explain the benefits of not drinking at all and routinely encourage all new clients to start with a period of abstinence, even if their ultimate goal is moderation. When given a chance to try moderation with professional support and guidance, clients either learn how to drink moderately or they learn that moderation is not realistic for them and that it might be better to stop drinking entirely. Clients who choose abstinence after being unable to moderate consistently are often more motivated and personally invested in making abstinence work for them.

alcohol abstinence vs moderation

Many treatment facilities and support groups aim to help individuals achieve and maintain long-term sobriety through abstinence. Alcohol addiction treatment programs can guide individuals through a safe and effective medical detox, followed by counseling that targets the reasons behind addiction. A study in Israel looked at what happened when people start drinking one standard drink per day, over two years. They split people into three groups, gave one water, and the other two either red or white wine.

Abstinence Is Not the Only Option

Symptoms of withdrawal can include anxiety, confusion, heart palpitations, increased blood pressure, shaking and tremors, and insomnia. These symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening, so it is imperative to understand your relationship with alcohol to avoid withdrawal. I had already interviewed Ken Anderson from Hams Harm Reduction and Donna Cornett from drink link moderation regarding a topic I had never even explored on my blog talk radio show Safe Recovery. Recently a blogger began to journal his experimentation with moderation successfully. One day I had to go to Bev Mo to buy alcohol for a large party I was having.

→ Are not currently grappling with severe life problems such as divorce, job loss, bankruptcy, debilitating or life-threatening medical illness, death of a loved one, depression or other psychiatric illness, etc. » Overall, approximately 25% of those who tried moderation with this program ultimately switched their goal to abstinence. Speak with a treatment provider and get your questions about rehab answered today. “anon” a fellow blogger, began documenting his journey with moderation after 15 years of abstinence in AA. Surprisingly enough, however, it’s not always the worst of outcomes.

Reasons Abstinence From Alcohol May Be the Best Choice

The sample size used in the study also leaves something to be desired and I would hope that further research would examine these effects with a bigger cohort and a more variable participant group. Setting up personal guidelines and expectations—and tracking results—can make maintaining moderation easier. You will keep track of what was accomplished and what still needs work.

Retention and critical outcomes among new methadone … – The Lancet

Retention and critical outcomes among new methadone ….

Posted: Mon, 04 Dec 2023 23:34:25 GMT [source]

Take some time to decide which days are OK to have a drink and which days are off-limits. Moderation management has been found most successful for those who have a problem with drinking but who do not meet the criteria and have not been diagnosed with moderate or severe alcohol use disorder. For years, the answer was assumed to be no, there is no room for “just one drink” for anyone with a drinking problem. Today, there are programs like Moderation Management, which do allow for a certain level of controlled drinking and have helped many learn to drink safely.

I think the findings are incredibly interesting and I hope you’ll think so too. This piece will be an overview, and future pieces will dig in more specifically into individual findings. A drinker can easily ward off the need to have one too many drinks at happy hour by taking the drug. When I first set about writing this article, many of the issues I was going to bring up had to do with research on alcohol relapse patterns, my own story, and other evidence I’ve already introduced on All About Addiction. Drinking is often a coping strategy subconsciously used to avoid having to deal with uncomfortable or painful issues. Moderated drinking could give you the space to address those issues you’ve been pushing aside.