Unlike most support groups that focus on the use and abuse of alcohol and illicit substances, Moderation Management (MM) is not abstinence-based. The participants in Moderation Management believe that some level of drinking will allow alcohol to enhance their experience rather than destroy it. Through the principles of the group, many create a relationship with alcohol that works for them.
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Principles of Moderation Management
The key to success in a Moderation Management program is to follow the principles of the group and seek out the support of other participants when you falter.
- “Doing a 30”: Thirty days of abstinence can help those with a drinking problem to find clarity and get on track when they feel that they’ve been drinking too much.
- Charting: Noting how much you drink each day can help you determine how many is too many and create boundaries that work for you.
- Reducing harm: Though you may not be ready for sobriety, you can mitigate the harm of drinking by doing other things like eating well before drinking, drinking water throughout the night, increasing the time between drinks, etc.
- Increase awareness: When you recognize that, for example, five drinks causes you to blackout but three drinks is all right, you may create a goal of never drinking more than three drinks. Later, if you determine that cutting back to three drinks isn’t working, then you can adjust further.
- Think long term: Where do you see yourself in five years? Part of moderating your drinking means making sure that alcohol does not stop you from attaining your goals.
- Forgive yourself for “slips”: You may not always meet the goal you set for yourself but forgiving yourself and moving forward is a far better choice than giving up.
What Makes Moderation Management Different From Other Support Groups?
- The focus of participants is on the use of alcohol only – no other illicit substances.
- Practicing moderation is a personal choice and the definition of moderation and how that manifests in your life is determined by what works best for you.
- You do not “work the steps” but practice a method of “charting” to determine your actual alcohol use so you can reduce harm as necessary.
- Abstinence is a tool used at the discretion of the participant and not a requirement.
Problem Drinking and Alcohol Abuse
According to the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA), there are far more problem drinkers than alcoholics in the United States – four times more. Moderation Management is based upon the idea that these problem drinkers may do better to moderate their drinking rather than attempt total abstinence. Serious alcohol dependency, they say, is clearly a disease that requires abstinence for recovery, but for thousands who are at the beginning stages of drinking, moderation may be the better choice to turn problem drinking into functional drinking.
Does Moderation Work?
For some people, it does. For others, it doesn’t. Recovery is a personal choice. Many find that Moderation Management works for them. Others try the program and end up choosing 12-step programs and abstinence for their recovery.
Do you feel that abstinence from drinking is not the right choice for you? Do you feel that 12-step programs are too rigid or demand too much conformity of action and thought? If so, Moderation Management may be the right choice for you. Contact us today to talk about how you can benefit from incorporating the program into a well-rounded treatment program designed just for you.
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