Another possible option is using medications such as naltrexone or disulfiram along with psychotherapy. You may be able to gradually decrease the amount you drink without needing to go for full abstinence from alcohol. 12-step programs alone do not usually address the underlying need that’s been suppressed through alcohol. Without addressing those needs, it’s like trying to cap an active volcano with a giant boulder. Sooner or later, the pressure will build up and the volcano will explode—or you will relapse.

Our evaluation process will give you objective feedback about the nature and severity of your drinking problem and its impact on your life. And we will help you develop a more useful perspective on the problem. We will work collaboratively with you to formulate a treatment plan that is effective, 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. Following that logic, it makes a lot of sense to me to include the idea of moderation as another option in the addiction treatment arsenal.

Abstinence or Moderation? Drinking Goals in a Web-based Intervention for Veterans

Moderated drinking could give you the space to address those issues you’ve been pushing aside. Regardless of your path, working with a physician and therapist can provide answers, reassurance, and guidance throughout the process. You also don’t need to have a clear understanding of your goal to start making progress. Ask yourself what were the excuses you gave yourself to use and dispute them. If you do slip, the outcome does not have to be an experience without worth, it can be a powerful learning experience.

  • Learning more about your options and the health benefits of cutting back is already a meaningful step.
  • To avoid these problems, we offer a medical alcohol detox and rehab in Ohio that safely weans someone’s body off of alcohol.
  • Submit your number and receive a free call today from a treatment provider.

At Monument, you can meet with a physician, such as myself, to discuss if medication to stop drinking is appropriate for you. There’s also specialized alcohol therapy where you receive a personalized treatment plan catered to you and your goals. Lastly, you can join moderated alcohol support groups to get encouragement and gain accountability in a non-judgmental and secure forum. While your relationship with alcohol is entirely personal, reflecting on outside influences can be helpful when considering the relative benefits of sobriety or moderation.

His Need for Friends is Outweighing His Desire to Get Sober

Of those who were engaged in non-problem drinking a year after the study began, only 48% reported non-problem drinking or abstinence at later follow-ups. At our Ohio residential treatment center, we understand that relapse is often a part of recovery and are here to help you wherever you may be in the recovery journey. Contact us today to learn more about us at The Bluffs and take a step toward life-long recovery.

  • On the surface, moderation probably seems easier, which could be why moderation is more common.
  • 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, moderation doesn’t work for everyone who struggles with alcohol.
  • Mormons, Muslims, and Bahais—that forbid practitioners from consuming alcohol.

We’ve known about the association between moderate drinking and good health for quite some time. It’s fairly well-established that, if you look at society at large, people who drink a moderate amount are the healthiest in a number of ways. The question of “Abstinence vs. Moderation” is one that some people contemplate daily, but that many others have never considered. Is abstinence the only answer, or can things improve if they learn to moderate their use? (Moderation is the practice of consciously and reliably limiting the amount of alcohol or drugs that one consumes). Whether or not moderation would work for you often depends on how serious the consequences are that you are experiencing because of your use.

People Who Shouldn’t Drink At All

Alcohol abstinence is the decision to cut booze out of your life completely and permanently. Depending on the severity of the presenting issue, this is often seen as the safest way to move forward, and for many, it eliminates any risk or uncertainty that may come with finding the right path to moderation. When considering or committing to complete abstinence, the AA is the most commonly known program of support, offering more than 123,000 meetings worldwide, working through the infamous “12-step programme”, created in 1935. This program is the predominant recovery method in treatment centres all around the world (interestingly around 90% of centres in the US). For some people, learning how to drinking more moderately and safely is a realistic and attainable goal.

alcohol abstinence vs moderation

It seems that moderate drinking probably isn’t good for our health after all. While there may be some minor heart health benefits, alcohol is addictive and causes damage to many other organs, so the trade-off is not in our alcohol abstinence vs moderation favour. There are people who abstain, but by and large we love to drink alcohol – it’s part of our social culture, part of our collective identity, and so pervasive that it can be hard to escape from even if you try.

Recovery After Rehab: Moderation or Abstinence?

Here are additional reflection questions from a therapist to help you understand your own relationship with alcohol, and if moderation meets your needs and preferences. This word “abstinence” can be an intimidating word to many, especially those in the early stages of recovery. Your whole body may convulse saying, “I’ll do anything, just don’t ask me or tell me that I have to stop forever.” This is normal. If this is how you feel, commit yourself to being open to new ideals and beliefs that may result in a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle. Moderation often requires that you take anti-craving medication for an indefinite period of time. Medication makes it easier to put the brakes on after a drink or two, and sticking to moderation is challenging without it.

When you’re looking to drink in moderation, it’s a good idea to designate a few days as no-drinking days. 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. The Guidelines also note that not drinking alcohol also is the safest option for women who are lactating.