– April 03, 2017

Moderation is defined as “the avoidance of excess or extremes, especially in one’s behavior. Moderation also applies to avoiding excess and extremes in political opinion. Alcoholism is not a matter of politics. Alcoholism is a mental illness does not operate on partisanship. It has only one side and that side is self-interested: obtaining and consuming as much excess of alcohol as possible. As many people who have lived with alcoholism know, the illness does not believe in moderation. Many people turn to moderation as a way to regulate and control their drinking without giving it up entirely. They feel that they simply lost their sense of reality when it comes to alcohol and that with some simple tools they can be more self-aware. Self-awareness, with the implementation of specific rules, can help them to be self-sustaining in their ability to manage their drinking.

Problem drinkers who develop a chemical dependency upon alcohol do not always have chronic issues with relapse. Once they realize the depth that they have reached in their abuse of alcohol they stop, learn how to manage it, and never look back. Other drinkers have a different story to tell. For some alcoholics, there simply is no stopping. Bad is never bad enough for how bad it got. Moderation isn’t an option.

Abstinence has been the lifestyle method of choice for the majority of treatment providers. One of the first programs of treatment, suggested by The Big Book Of Alcoholics Anonymous, emphasizes abstinence. Alcoholics of “our kind” the book describes in multiple ways, simply aren’t able to moderate their drinking. The book describes alcoholism as an allergy, as if someone might break out into belligerent drinking. Indeed, all of the twelve steps and the program of recovery is meant to be pieces of a shield to act as defense against the first drink. For after the first drink, their opinion holds,there is no stopping for the alcoholic.

Should you choose moderation or abstinence? It’s a personal choice of awareness. You might not do either “perfectly” at any point in time for your life. Millions of people have found a way to moderate their drinking and return to normalcy. Others have stayed abstinent from all mind altering substances for decades and lived their lives in sobriety.

Get Real Recovery supports twelve step principles, promoting abstinence as the way to success in lifelong sobriety. For information on our residential treatment programs and certified pilot rehab programs, call 866-983-3651.

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