Abstinence vs Controlled Drinking

Before a person can successfully begin their recovery, a vital question to ask is what is my goal? Do I want to give up completely, or do I want to be able to have a few drinks now and then. If the answer is a few now and then, the next question to ask is am I honestly able to do that? The majority of people I ask this question to will say no, it is never one or two, it always leads onto more. For those who are in doubt, my suggestion would be to try it. The only way to ascertain for certain whether you are capable of having just one or two drinks is to try it over a period of time, say 6 months. If during that time, you only ever drink the amount you intend to, and no problems arise as a result of the drinking, then you have found the way that works for you.

At Addictionhelper, we will never tell you “you can’t ever drink again” because that is not our place. We know that in the majority of cases where addiction is present, abstinence is the only option that works, but for us to insist on this route for others means they are unlikely to try and get help. The idea of never drinking again is extremely daunting, even to those not affected by addiction, and so our advice is to take it one day at a time. It is more manageable to think, just for today I am not going to have a drink. If a person tells themselves this every day, the number of days without a drink will soon add up.

It is also worthwhile considering the chemical effect of alcohol addiction on the body and the way alcohol withdrawal affects it. The person that decides to drink socially or now and then, is going to be consistently re-introducing that substance to the body, therefore always leaving the body craving more. Those who choose abstinence will completely avoid all alcohol, including that in food or in hygiene products such as mouthwash. Physically, this makes it easier for the body to cope without alcohol.

What are your thoughts? Has controlled drinking worked for you? We’d love to hear your experiences.


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