Abstinence versus Moderation

Abstinence versus Moderation 

Please note that when this blog talks about moderate “using”, it should be noted that no one should ever use illegal substances.

Each and every drug addict or alcoholic struggles with the idea of moderation before abstinence, but is this idea of moderation really possible for someone with an addiction and in need of alcohol or drug recovery?


The Controversy

Most medical professionals agree that part of an addiction is the inability to control the intake of alcohol or drugs, or the inability to moderate. So the question is how is a person able to drink or use in moderation if they have an addiction and is this possible as part of alcohol or drug recovery? However, there are groups in Europe and the USA that do use the idea that moderation before abstinence is possible for addicts with or without addiction rehab. These groups have caused much controversy and have caused thousands of addicts to relapse completely back into their addiction. Moderation is not possible, and these groups are playing with many lives when they use the idea of moderation and not abstinence in alcohol or drug recovery. Addicts must seek help and ideally in the form of addiction rehab.

The Idea is Rejected

Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous states that anyone who has an addiction must be completely abstinence from alcohol or drugs in order to succeed in alcohol or drug recovery. The idea of abstinence is shared by therapists and other medical professional that deal with addiction and is encouraged in nearly all addiction rehabs. This means that they completely reject the idea of controlled drinking or using.

Never Appropriate

Medical professionals and therapists alike typically believe that having a goal of moderation is never appropriate for anyone with an addiction, and even can be a very harmful way of thinking. There are numerous addicts that try moderation before abstinence and they fail over and over before they realise that moderation is not possible for them and should seek help at an addiction rehab as soon as they can.

No Benefits

Most of the recovering community believes that abstinence is the only effective method of getting over an addiction and maintaining sobriety; this is because it has worked for millions of addicts in alcohol or drug recovery. So while the idea of moderation may have certain benefits in the eyes of an addict, there are none.


Psychological Benefits

Engaging in abstinence over moderation can help free up mental energy and focus. This is because the addict will no longer have to think about when or how much to drink or use. This may not seem like much, but when it comes to an addict, this pattern of thought can take lots of their mental energy each and every day they continue to drink or use.

Sanity Restored to Others

If an addict is abstinent, then the sanity of their loved ones may be restored. They no longer have to worry about the addicts use or consumption; the lack of control over they had over their consumption. The rebuilding of trust in these relationships will also help in alcohol or drug recovery.


Breaking free from an addiction is never easy, but returning to using is. Thinking moderation will work will only lead to an addict relapsing and will cause many problems in their life. Life is precious, and most addicts will agree that being addicted to any substance is a waste of a life. The sooner an addict seeks help at addiction rehab the sooner they can start to take control of their addiction and regain their life.


It may help anyone struggling with the decision of trying out moderation to think about their past and their pain or struggles that they have had to endure during their using, then they need to think about the freedom abstinence offers. It is very easy for many addicts to realise that abstinence is the only option for alcohol and drug recovery.


Money does come into the discussion about abstinence versus moderation; which will save the addict money. It might not sound like much, but any addict will agree that being addicted is very expensive.

Convincing an Addict

Of course convincing an addict to become abstinent is never easy, no matter how good they may be. Addiction is very powerful, and most likely, the addict will believe that they will be miserable without drugs or alcohol. In order for them to see that their abstinence is another way to live can offer an extensive amount of freedom. Addiction rehab can help with this process.

Cycle of Addiction

Some addicts will insist that they try moderation before abstinence. In this situation, it is important for the loved ones to not give up, getting out of the cycle of addiction takes time, patience, and strength.

Abstinence, It Will Work

If you or someone you know has an addiction to drugs or alcohol and wants to become abstinence, then the first step is to contact an addiction rehab today.