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Alcohol Management Program: Moderation or Abstinence Human Resources University of Michigan

And that it is a setup for failure based on the assumption that drinking problems always progress and inevitably gets worse. According to this view, lifelong abstinence is the one and only way to deal successfully with a drinking problem. Baseline characteristics of the study participants by baseline levels of alcohol consumption.

alcohol abstinence vs moderation

At the end of four to six months of treatment with the Sinclair Method, 80% of people who had been overusing alcohol were either drinking moderately or abstaining entirely. 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 vs. Abstinence: What’s Right for You?

These answers will vary from individual to individual, and your choice of moderation vs. abstinence is a personal one. Whether you want to quit drinking or cut back, we’re here to help. Our program offers expert medical support, recovery coaching, and a variety of tools and resources—all delivered 100 percent virtually. Learn more about moderation with Ria Health, or find out how our program works. While research shows long-term benefits to abstinence, this approach can leave out those who want to change their drinking habits but are not ready to abstain completely.

You select your goal to either cut down or stop drinking altogether. AMP has helped people moderate or stop drinking altogether, reducing drinking by approximately 65%. The goal of SMART Recovery is to build skills in people so they can maintain abstinence. It’s for those who like a do-it-yourself approach with very little structure. One of the best things about moderating your alcohol use is filling those times spent drinking or obtaining alcohol with fun hobbies and activities. By doing so, you may even identify any triggers that cause you to drink—for example, certain social situations, stress from work, or even boredom. With the Sinclair Method, Revia or Vivitrol must be taken one hour before drinking alcohol.


Upstairs from one of my favorite Oakland dive bars, 10 people of varying ages and backgrounds are sitting in a circle, talking about their drinking problem. Health experts have historically recommended abstinence for people struggling with chronic alcohol problems. You can always reevaluate your relationship with alcohol and revisit your goals. 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. A sober lifestyle is something to be proud of, and the team at Monument is here to provide answers and encouragement throughout your journey.

alcohol abstinence vs moderation

Because what you try to do with moderation is you try to follow a rule rather than listening to your body’s response in the present moment. So whether it is the CDC issuing health guidances or Weight Watchers telling you, hey, this is how many points you can spend on alcohol without gaining weight, we are constantly bombarded with this information about the right amount. And when you try to moderate, what does your brain do? It seems like it makes a lot of sense because we are constantly bombarded with information and guidelines about how much is the right amount to drink. This really is everything when it comes to this work.

Moderation Management™ is a lay-led non-profit dedicated to reducing the harm caused by the misuse of alcohol.

Staying away from alcohol entirely is one of the best ways to prevent a relapse. Maintaining abstinence and focusing on building relapse prevention skills are vital strategies to sustain long-term sobriety. The alcoholic, on the other hand, will not be able to quit despite consequences successfully. They will not likely be able to put down the drink for an extended period without professional intervention. These individuals know alcohol affects their personal and professional lives directly, but they can’t stop drinking.

  • When you’re looking to drink in moderation, it’s a good idea to designate a few days as no-drinking days.
  • However, anyone recovering from an alcohol use disorder knows how challenging moderation can be.
  • Many treatment facilities and support groups aim to help individuals achieve and maintain long-term sobriety through abstinence.
  • They might also benefit from naltrexone therapy, as discussed above.
  • These types of medication-assisted treatments can help people achieve abstinence and eventually maintain their sobriety.
  • But many people are unable to stick with them and return to dependence on alcohol.

I’m now much more aware of why, when, and how much I drink. Tuesday’s Book Chat covers one chapter from the book Responsible Drinking per week.

The Two Approaches

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. This is especially true in light of the fact that moderate drinking might be good for health and intervention research shows us that changing behavior is possible. I’m a big supporter of the idea that improvements in quality of life, in addition to or instead of measures of abstinence, need to be incorporated broadly into addiction treatment research.

Remember, quitting potent drugs alone can be life-threatening. It’s essential to have the support and supervision of drug addiction specialists by your side.

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For any addict, the biggest problem of addiction is reaching to the point of total abstinence, which is achieved through abstinence. Through professional alcohol abstinence vs moderation treatment, abstinence is effective, with a minimal chance of relapse for persons who maintain abstinence for more than five years.

  • Moderation or abstinence can be a viable tool for adapting ones’ relationship with alcohol when safely achieved.
  • Ria Health offers several FDA-approved medications for alcohol use disorder.
  • For these addictions moderation is the prescribed course of action.
  • These study participants were just 1% of the baseline sample what also corresponds to evidence shown before .

Our website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. I spent the first semester of my sophomore year of college snorting speed. I also used marijuana to come down, drank excessively while high, and took a lot of ecstasy.

This study by Kuerbis and colleagues investigated how individuals with different clinical profiles will respond to moderation-focused alcohol interventions. At any time, day or night, to learn more about alcohol misuse and rehabilitation. You can also check your insurance coverage online now, and there are free alcohol hotline numbers you can contact. Guess whose drinking problem was under control two years later—the limiter or the abstainer? Sara explained to her therapist that she didn’t think she could quit drinking altogether.

alcohol abstinence vs moderation

The MHealthy Alcohol Management Program at the University of Michigan is a brief, confidential health education program that helps you cut back on your drinking or quit altogether. The Harm Reduction approach helps users set and meet their own goals for gaining control over drinking and drugs. This organization helps people determine which aspects of their drinking habits may be harmful. It also helps people figure out what they would like to change and how to put their plans into action. Alcoholics Anonymous and other abstinence-based 12-step programs are the main form of treatment for alcoholism in the U.S. But many people are unable to stick with them and return to dependence on alcohol.

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