When you are battling a substance abuse disorder, getting help for your recovery is key to living a sober life. Whether it involves drugs or alcohol, everyone takes a different path. For some, moderation recovery is the right step.
Some people enter a treatment facility and undergo detox. Then they will begin therapy and learn how to recover. In contrast, others look for a plan that involves a moderation recovery technique. We will take a closer look at what moderation recovery involves and how it may be successful for some people.
What Is Moderation Recovery?
Moderation recovery uses the idea that people don’t need to abstain from drugs or alcohol one-hundred percent. Instead, they still use it in moderation. More widely seen with people battling an alcohol addiction rather than involving drugs or other substances.
Some believe that people can achieve sobriety while occasionally drinking rather than quitting altogether. Singer Demi Lovato recently made headlines as she talked about her battle with a substance abuse disorder and how she uses a moderation recovery method.1 Lovato has been very open about her addiction and says that recovering in moderation is working for her but may not be for everyone.
Can Moderation Recovery Be Successful?
If you are considering moderation recovery, it’s essential to understand that it may not benefit everyone. Research has shown that people who have not formed alcohol abuse or haven’t experienced highly negative consequences from their drinking may benefit from moderation recovery.2
The goal for these patients is to help them set limits before they become dependent. For many people, abstinence from drugs and alcohol is the best way to maintain long-term recovery.
For some people, the idea of giving up alcohol altogether is enough to drive them away from trying to curb their substance abuse disorder. Allowing them to do so in moderation can be more appealing and may make them more apt to try. The idea is also not as overwhelming as quitting altogether. Some people who start on a moderation recovery path may find that it doesn’t work for them and later decide to live a completely sober life.
What To Consider When Deciding On Moderation Recovery
- Have you ever been addicted to alcohol?
- Have you ever had severe problems with other drugs?
- Are you having issues with other life problems such as bankruptcy, divorce, or illness?
- Do you have any medical or psychiatric diagnoses that would be made worse by drinking alcohol, even in moderation?
People who answer no to these questions may be more likely to find success with a moderation recovery method. In the end, you must decide for yourself whether it’s the right path for you. Working with a trusted therapist is beneficial if you find yourself considering moderation recovery. They may have further insight as to whether this is a good plan for you.
If I’m Not Addicted to Alcohol, Can I Drink?
Another aspect to consider when talking about moderation recovery is whether someone with opioid addiction can have an occasional alcoholic drink. Although a person may have never had a problem with alcohol before, it’s generally not a good idea to add alcohol into the equation. While it may start as something innocent, drinking alcohol can lead to a new addiction. It can cause dopamine levels in the body to surge, leading someone to crave more alcohol to achieve those feelings.3
Drinking can also lower a person’s inhibitions and lead them to try things that are not good for them, including relapsing on their heroin addiction. When people have one habit, they are more prone to develop others, including alcohol addiction.
The same goes for those recovering from alcohol addiction and decide to turn to marijuana occasionally. While some may argue that there are health benefits to smoking marijuana and that marijuana can help keep people away from other drugs, there is also the argument that marijuana can become a new addiction. Instead of drinking, someone may now smoke marijuana rather.
When you are looking to recover from one substance, it is generally not recommended to replace it with the occasional use, no matter what it is.
When Is Moderation Recovery Not As Successful?
People who are already dependent on drinking are unlikely to benefit from moderation recovery. Researchers have found that as the severity of alcohol dependence increases, the chances of drinking in moderation decreases.2
These patients will most likely benefit from a traditional treatment program that calls for complete abstinence from alcohol or drugs. For these people, drinking in moderation will not help them recover because they will constantly be reaching for more due to their dependence. It’s essential to come to terms with the fact that a moderation recovery program will not be in your best interest.
Getting Help at Ocean Hills Recovery
At Ocean Hills Recovery, we help people find the best treatment plan to battle their substance abuse disorder. We understand that each person’s addiction is different; therefore, each treatment plan needs to be customized to fit their needs.
Our staff is trained and experienced to deal with many substance abuse disorders and works with our clients to help them live a sober life. We have helped countless patients overcome their substance abuse disorder and live happy and productive lives. Call us today or reach out to us online to get started on the recovery plan that works for you.
3. Neurotransmitters in alcoholism: A review of neurobiological and genetic studies, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4065474/
About the author:
Greg opened his home and heart to alcoholics and addicts in 2003. He is a Certified Addictions Treatment Counselor (CATCI). Starting in 2009 Greg has fostered the growth of Ocean Hills Recovery into one of the most respected and effective treatment centers in the area and has been working with people with addictions since March of 2001. Greg believes in a holistic approach to recovery. His focus is on drug alcohol addiction treatment with a combination of 12 Step work, therapy and counseling, and the rejuvenation of the body through healthful eating and exercise. He has designed his program to foster a family-like atmosphere and believes that people in recovery are just beginning their lives. He encourages the people he works with to learn to enjoy life in sobriety. Greg is married to Nicole; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.