Who Is Most Likely to Benefit from Moderation-focused Alcohol Treatment? Recovery Research Institute

To evaluate this question, it’s important to recognize that alcohol use disorder (AUD) is diagnosed on a spectrum, and can be addressed in different ways depending on the individual. While working with a clinician is the best way to determine what goals and treatment approach is appropriate for you and your medical history, here are some useful pointers to consider when reflecting on the question of abstinence vs. drinking in moderation. More people than ever are recognizing the negative effects of drinking alcohol and re-evaluating how it shows up in their life.

alcohol abstinence vs moderation

For others, moderation is a first step toward  quitting alcohol entirely either temporarily or for the long term. Alcohol had taken its toll—her job, friends, family, and health had all suffered—and she wanted it out of her life. Her counselor agreed that abstinence was a good solution and they took steps to help Reagan achieve this goal. Research by psychologist Stanton Peele also suggests that individuals regularly quit their substance addictions through moderating their consumption, usually through a “mindfulness-mediated process.” Mindfulness can be a therapeutic tool to separate people’s identities from their addiction.

What is abstinence?

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 https://ecosoberhouse.com/ 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. A permanent commitment to abstinence means we no longer have to fight a battle with moderation; but rather devote ourselves to sobriety permanently.

  • Little attention was given to whether people in abstinence-focused treatments endorsed abstinence goals themselves, or whether treatment could help reduce substance use and related problems for those who did not desire (or were not ready for) abstinence.
  • It’s vital to discuss your goals with a physician to determine how to stop drinking alcohol safely.
  • The journey to changing your relationship with alcohol is about progress, not perfection.
  • While moderation may be more achievable for those with a mild or moderate diagnosis than those with severe alcohol use disorder, it’s also a great starting point for those exploring making a change.
  • Another possible option is using medications such as naltrexone or disulfiram along with psychotherapy.
  • This program is not for those who are severely dependent or alcoholic and require treatment services.

If you consider alcohol as a coping strategy, then it makes sense why heading straight to abstinence would be terrifying. Other critics have concerns that the MM program will give abstinent substance abusers the idea that they can return to using and keep it under control. Supporters say that the program doesn’t entice relapse, and those who have such ideas about MM generally would have relapsed anyway.

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

While moderation may be more achievable for those with a mild or moderate diagnosis than those with severe alcohol use disorder, it’s also a great starting point for those exploring making a change. With the support of an expert Care Team, many people begin their journey by gradually reducing their weekly alcohol consumption. 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.

We will help you decide whether moderation-based treatment or abstinence-based treatment is best for you. Our evaluation process will give you objective feedback about the nature and severity of your drinking problem and its impact on your life. We will work collaboratively with you to formulate a treatment plan that is effective, alcohol abstinence vs moderation feasible, and makes sense. We will discuss with you the pros and cons of abstinence and the pros and cons of moderation. And we will respectfully offer you our professional advice and recommendations. When a person chooses to be abstinent, it means that they refrain from all alcohol consumption for a duration of time.