While complete abstinence often requires you to avoid any circumstances or people that might tempt you to drink, moderation allows you to still participate in work functions and social events while empowering you to have more control over when and how much you drink. When your drinking is under control, you may have the internal bandwidth to accept the professional psychological support that can help you develop healthier ways of coping. You could also get help to better manage your emotions, address past trauma, and understand how anxiety, depression, or other emotional difficulties have powered your alcohol abuse. Some people find it’s still too overwhelming to be around alcohol, and it’s too hard to change their habits. If one drink still leads to several more, attempting moderation isn’t the safest choice. People who have a more severe drinking problem and find moderation difficult to maintain often do better with abstinence.

Most of the information collected was self-reported by the participants, which is known to be somewhat problematic, so the researchers also contacted significant others who were used to corroborate the drinking behavior reported by the participants. In case you’ve never heard of Moderation Management (MM), you should check out their website. Moderation management offers face-to-face and online meetings, a listserv, a forum, online alcohol drinking limit guidelines, a self-help book that can be ordered through the site, and an online calendar where users can report their drinking. Take this “getting back to normal” as a chance to rethink your relationship with alcohol. Doing a reality check with a simple online self-assessment might be the first step.

Find a Treatment Center Near You

Some interview person (IP) were former polydrug users and altered between AA and NA meetings. I don’t think I have a problem, but I might be someone that could get it [problems] more than anyone else […] https://ecosoberhouse.com/ (IP30). Several said that starting drinking was preceded by concerns about whether an uncontrolled craving would occur. If there are any concerns about content we have published, please reach out to us at

  • The following six questions explore the value, prevalence, and clinical impact of controlled drinking vs. abstinence outcomes in alcoholism treatment; they are intended to argue the case for controlled drinking as a reasonable and realistic goal.
  • A program called Moderation Management advocates this alternative to abstinence as a solution for a substance abuse disorder2.
  • 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.
  • If you or someone you care about misuses alcohol, it is important to understand this difference and how effective each model is.

For those with more severe alcohol use disorders, trying to quit drinking cold turkey can also be dangerous to their health and in some cases, even deadly. To avoid these problems, we offer a medical alcohol detox and rehab in Ohio that safely weans someone’s body off of alcohol. While the result is abstinence from alcohol, getting here still involves controlled alcohol intake. Unlike most UK, Norwegian and Australian alcohol service agencies, abstinence is apparently the predominant outcome goal prescribed for alcohol misusers and other problem drinkers in US alcoholism treatment programmes. Rosenberg and Davis (1994) surveyed a nationwide sample of US agencies and found that controlled drinking was considered unacceptable for clients in almost every responding residential agency (including inpatient detoxification and rehabilitation services, as well as halfway houses).

Moderated Drinking: A Creative Strategy to Treat Alcoholism?

These contacts had often complemented the support from AA but in some cases also complicated it as the IPs found that their previous SUD was related to other things that were not in line with the approach to addiction as a disease (e.g. IP19). After the interviews, the clients were asked whether they would allow renewed contact after five years, and they all gave their permission. Of these, 40 were reinterviewed (71 per cent), usually over the telephone (34/40).

  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is an alcohol program that was founded in 1935 by Dr. Bob and Bill Wilson with the goal of abstaining from alcohol and has grown to 2 million members worldwide.
  • Finally, sex differences related to problem severity were also related to drinkers’ level of social support.
  • Some people may never get the care they need to start this journey and as a result, will never achieve abstinence.
  • Those clients described meetings as helpful at the beginning of their recovery process.
  • Sooner or later, the pressure will build up and the volcano will explode—or you will relapse.

Simply put, those who want to learn to drink in moderation are less likely to achieve their goal, while those who set a goal of quitting drinking entirely see greater success. When stress can be eliminated, it becomes easier to move closer to the controlled drinking vs abstinence goal because alcohol is a stress reliever that distracts one from that goal. No stress means less distraction and less reason to use alcohol to relieve stress. AA is also good about having members talk about regrets and mistakes they have made.