In my almost 30-years of working in the addiction treatment field, the most common question clients ask me is “can I keep drinking?” I have found that there is over 50 years of research that shows that many people actually can.
In our culture, and even in the substance use treatment field, people often view problems with alcohol as a binary, either you’re an “alcoholic” or you’re not. The reality is that there is a spectrum of alcohol use. The image that many have of an “alcoholic” – physical dependency, withdrawals, severe consequences – only account for around 6% of people that occupy the far end of this spectrum. For these people, long-term sobriety may indeed be the safest option.
However, there are many people who are aware that they have a problematic relationship with alcohol but for whom complete abstinence is a non-starter. Unfortunately, when they seek help, they are told that they must pursue long-term sobriety. These people typically drop out of treatment and never receive the tools they need to develop a healthier relationship with alcohol.
So, how might someone determine if they are a good candidate to try alcohol moderation? I developed the Alcohol Moderation Assessment to help answer this very question. Furthermore, I’ve made this tool available to the public.
The 20-question assessment consists of research-based predictors, both positive and negative, that can help one gain insight into whether they may be a good candidate to drink in moderation. Upon completion of the assessment, a score is given that corresponds to the likelihood that one will be able to successfully practice alcohol moderation.
If you are interested in pursuing alcohol moderation, there are resources available to help you on that journey. I have published a workbook titled “Practicing Alcohol Moderation – A Comprehensive Guide” that provides practical strategies for implementing alcohol moderation. One can also check out the mutual support group Moderation Management or work with a clinician trained in alcohol moderation.
If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol use, Insight Into Action Therapy is here to help you on your journey towards developing a healthier relationship with alcohol.