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Abstinence vs Moderation: Which is Right for You?

Published on 13 Jul, 22 by Raja Shazli

Once you’ve had that first taste, though, it takes an almost superhuman strength to stop. Kern has been helping patients with moderation in a clinical setting for more than a decade, which entails a formal therapeutic protocol that includes using a Breathalyzer and closely monitoring patients’ progress. He also managed to get MM approved by the city of Los Angeles and the state of California as a program for first-offender drunk drivers 15 years ago. Still, Kern says most of the drunk-driving schools in the state automatically send people to abstinence programs (typically Alcoholics Anonymous or the non-religious version, Smart). MM began to add more in-person meetings and last year, the organization launched a campaign around Dryuary, encouraging people to take the month of January off from drinking. It was so successful, they now plan to do it every year. Take the first step toward addiction treatment by contacting us today.

total alcohol abstinence vs moderation

She officially posted her decision on her formal email list and documented that she would continue to support Moderation Management for some individuals. Kishline was convicted and received a 4.5-year prison sentence, of which she served nearly 3.5 years and was then released. The initial 30-day abstinence period teaches participants how to navigate social settings and abstain from alcohol when coming face-to-face with common triggers. They use this time to develop boundaries and limits to support them as they move through the MM program. Kishline developed the Moderation Management program after consulting with alcohol addiction treatment professionals. The organization also supports members who choose abstinence when necessary. Audrey Kishline founded Moderation Management in 1994 as an alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous and other recovery programs.

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Desert Hope Treatment Center, American Addiction Centers’ rehab treatment center in Las Vegas, offers a comprehensive alcohol addiction treatment program. In short, individuals with fewer drinking problems and low levels of dependence may benefit from MM. When alcohol interferes with daily life and a person struggles with compounding concerns related to drinking, abstinence-based programs and a comprehensive treatment program may be optimal. Treatment programs should be tailored to the individual in order to discover what works best for them and their personal recovery.

It may not be easy to see now, but your life can be restored to where you are in control, your addiction and the urges will recede to an unpleasant memory. You don’t have to live in a constant battle with these painful, nagging urges. These individuals may be naturally finding ways in their environment to help them reduce or abstain (e.g., seeking social support), for example, or automatically using cognitive strategies to help them stick to limits on days they drink.

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These two approaches are far different from what I teach here on the podcast and what I teach my clients because neither one of these addresses your desire. If you’ve been a listener here, you’ll know that the only way to change your relationship with alcohol is to do this work, and both abstinence and moderation alcohol abstinence vs moderation will have you going to war with your desire for the rest of your life. I told myself if I ever miss a workout, I need to re-evaluate things. I’ve done seven marathons and two of those were since I started with moderate drinking. When I’m training for a race, I don’t drink at all the last three weeks.

Moderation management programs could potentially be helpful for those who do not struggle with alcohol dependence. They can provide methods and tools to promote responsible and safe alcohol consumption in moderation. If a person struggles with ongoing alcohol abuse or dependence, moderation is not enough; they will need comprehensive care in an abstinence-based treatment program. A moderation management program called Harm Reduction, Abstinence, and Moderation Support centers on lifestyle-related cases of medication and liquor misuse.

Abstinence vs. Moderation Management

” Reinforce that commitment in any way possible and rational. One of the best ways is to remember why you are making the commitment. The consequences of using should be remembered, not with a guilty conscience, but in a realistic portrayal of why you have chosen sobriety. Also to be remembered are the experiences and feelings that come from abstinence. A balance of both experiences has proven to be a powerful tool.

  • It involves the use of medications like naltrexone which help reduce alcohol cravings.
  • Finally, people don’t typically find it very hard to avoid that first step toward relapse.
  • I also really appreciated their non-judgemental and pragmatic approach.
  • Moderation can also be the first step towards abstinence.
  • The abuse of alcohol by some people may only be temporary, whereas alcoholism is permanent.

New research is piling up evidence indicating that even light drinking increases a person's risk of various health issues, as well as premature death. A new brain study may explain why some people are more prone to binge drinking than others and reveals a new drug target that may relieve addiction.

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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. Lastly, the Low group is an especially interesting group.

total alcohol abstinence vs moderation

MM is designed for people who are starting at this point. Drug and Alcohol Moderation Management is based on principles that are also used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. The primary focus of the program is learning moderation regarding alcohol, but the principles of the program can be extended to other drugs of abuse. The MM organization attempts to help individuals with alcohol abuse issues, who do not have a physical dependence on alcohol, maintain moderate alcohol use.

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