Alcohol Moderation vs Abstinence What is right for you?

By quitting drinking completely, your body can begin to repair the damage caused by alcohol. Yet the research on alcohol suggests that moderation may work for people with less severe addiction problems. The studies alcohol abstinence vs moderation suggest that for some people who may have not gone over the line into a pervasive pattern of use, they can drink a few glasses of alcohol, learn to stop there, and come to enjoy a somewhat normal life of drinking.

  • This is important to keep in mind if for no other reason than the fact that it might be easier to not start at all than it is to will yourself back to sobriety if you get carried away.
  • At least based on these data, they are likely to make up a minor sub-set of individuals who seek moderation-focused treatment.
  • In addition, regular light drinkers tend to have characteristics extremely advantageous to health,” the authors wrote.
  • These health risks can be severe, and some even contribute to alcohol-related mortality rates.

In reality, moderation can be even harder than abstinence as it can take as much, or perhaps even more, willpower to stop once you’ve already started. I have reviewed many other books to help you cut down on alcohol here if you are interested to see my favourite. Seek skilled guidance from an addiction psychologist to get feedback when selecting goals, assessing progress, and setting appropriate boundaries. Setting up personal guidelines and expectations—and tracking results—can make maintaining moderation easier.

When Is My Drinking an Issue?

While your relationship with alcohol is entirely personal, reflecting on outside influences can be helpful when considering the relative benefits of sobriety or moderation. These influences may include family dynamics, workplace culture, friendships, strained relationships, and lifestyle elements. Of the patients studied, 90% of total abstinence patients were still sober two and a half years after treatment.

Only 50% of those who focused on controlled consumption succeeded in controlling their drinking. Treatment providers are available 24/7 to answer your questions about rehab, whether it’s for you or a loved one. Submit your number and receive a free call today from a treatment provider.

Is moderation an option for your loved one?

And this awareness is generated without judgement from their entourage, but rather through self-observation. Prof. Dr. Ulrich John and his team believe their research shows that the lower life expectancy for those who do not drink alcohol compared with those who do can be due to other high risk factors. However, results of a new study from the University of Greifswald in Germany contradict the idea of drinking alcohol to protect health.

Another study found that it is widely assumed that light or moderate drinking is the safest way to to drink alcohol. “Non‐drinkers, both ex‐drinkers and lifelong teetotalers, consistently show an increased prevalence of conditions likely to increase morbidity and mortality compared with occasional or light drinkers. In addition, regular light drinkers tend to have characteristics extremely advantageous to health,” the authors wrote.

History of SMART Recovery

Burning Tree Ranch is the Nation’s only authentic long-term treatment program designed exclusively for the chronic relapser. However, moderation doesn’t work for everyone who struggles with alcohol. So, how can you tell whether moderation or abstinence is a better goal for you? Here are some things to consider in comparing moderation vs. abstinence. Her grown son has moved back home and is using cocaine, alcohol, and marijuana — and angrily denying it. Our Allies in Recovery member wants peace for her family and healing for her son.

  • Behavioral therapy is a specific type of therapy that can be effective for patients with alcohol use disorders and is often incorporated into alcohol treatment programs.
  • Scientific evidence does support the notion that people with severe drinking problems are NOT good candidates for moderation (controlled drinking) and generally do much better with abstinence.

If alcohol is playing a central role in your life, you might find more success exploring sobriety. A key component of goal setting is also identifying what feels achievable. You know yourself and your drinking habits better than anyone, and putting thought into the decision can reveal powerful insights.

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