Adi Jaffe, Ph.D., is a lecturer at UCLA and the CEO of IGNTD, an online company that produces podcasts and educational programs on mental health and addiction. Lastly, this being a study, it is very possible that participants were better motivated, more informed, and more likely to put in the effort required to use the program. Future work would need to assess the effectiveness of this tool in the field without such interference. Instead of drinking alcohol, plan out the non-alcoholic beverages you can order or make instead.

“anon” a fellow blogger, began documenting his journey with moderation after 15 years of abstinence in AA. There are a variety of confidential, free, and no obligation ways to get in contact with us to learn more about treatment. If you believe you or someone you love may be struggling with addiction, let us hear your story and help you determine a path to treatment. Take our free, 5-minute substance use self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with substance use. The evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions that are intended to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result.

Alcohol Moderation Management: Programs and Steps to Control Drinking

Over the past few decades, research has demonstrated that complete abstinence isn’t always the most effective approach for treating alcohol abuse. While total abstinence is necessary in some cases, in other cases people are able to reduce their drinking to moderate levels without needing to abstain totally. For people who have not been able to maintain sobriety through Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or other 12-step programs, they may wish to consider if moderation may be a more effective path for them to take. Historically, treatment options for moderation have been extremely limited and it’s only in recent years that we have seen an increase in alternative solutions for those who have a mild to moderate alcohol issue. TV presenter and alcohol moderation advocate Adrian Chiles, in his 2022 book The Good Drinker shares his journey from over drinking to wellness. Chiles points out the “tragedy” is that many people are frightened to seek support for their drinking because they believe they’ll be told that abstinence in their only option.

  • If you lean towards gradualism, moderation may be a more comfortable place to start.
  • Alcohol use disorder treatment programs employ a variety of methods.
  • The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (the main piece of literature utilized by 12-step fellowships across the globe) states three main types of drinkers.
  • Combined with a consistent and aggressive disputing of urges to use, most find their messages to use either decrease to nothing or become infrequent and easily handled.
  • The moderation management program urges you to zero in on your substance misuse designs.

When examining the mortality rates of the study participants, the researchers observed that 119 (26.6%) of the 447 people abstaining from alcohol had passed away 20 years after the initial interview. Also, 248 (11.26%) of the 2,203 participants who drank low to moderate amounts of alcohol in the 12 months before the interview had also passed away by the 20-year mark. The researchers found that 447 (11.1%) participants had not consumed any alcohol in the 12 months before the interviews in 1996–1997. Of those, 405 (90.6%) used to drink alcohol, and 322 (72.04%) had engaged in at least one of the listed risky behaviors. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), in 2019, 85.6% of individuals in the United States aged 18 years or older reported that they had consumed an alcoholic beverage at one time in their life.

Abstinence Is Not the Only Option

They drink too much but lose control of themselves after just one drink. Losing control of alcohol is no longer a threat to them since losing control over alcohol is no longer a threat. However, if you plan on reducing the severity of your addiction, you should abstain from the substance completely by practicing moderation management.

The journey to changing your relationship with alcohol is about progress, not perfection. Whether you’re working towards sobriety or moderate alcohol intake, the most important thing is to keep going. Every day presents a new opportunity to controlled drinking vs abstinence define your goals and make progress towards them. Learning more about your options and the health benefits of cutting back is already a meaningful step. Total abstinence is not the only option when changing your relationship with alcohol.

What is considered moderate drinking? Is it bad for you?

Trying to settle on some magic number that is right for you is the problem of moderation. How one glass of wine feels tonight, how it feels tomorrow, how it feels the next day, how it feels the next month, how it feels the next year is going to always be different. The focus is desire is fixed and you must restrain yourself, but it’s not fixed. A normal drinker can enjoy alcohol in a social setting and very rarely (if ever) experiences consequences as a direct result of their drinking. Consequences mean experiencing mild withdrawal symptoms, such as the so-called hangover, for example.

drinking in moderation vs abstinence