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Old 08-13-2017, 09:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Moderation vs Harm Reduction methods vs quitting drinking programs


I have a question I am not sure what the answer is even though I have done a lot of reading on it. Moderation vs Harm Reduction methods vs quitting drinking programs for alcohol. Which is the most effective scientifically? I have read a lot of the studies on all 3 programs and they are all over the place as far as what is most effective. All the research seems very contradictory. I guess my personal opinion comes down to if you are truly an alcoholic your best route is to quit all together. If your more of a problem drinker without a physical addiction per say. (irresponsible ******* is what I like to call it lol) perhaps moderation or using harm reduction strategies is the best way to go. I guess it also kind of comes down to whether you think alcoholism is a disease or more of a character defect which seems debatable as well. I understand this is a sober recovery site so I will probably get a sobriety preference in your responses. Anyway I was interested in your thoughts on the subject.

P.S. And please don't address my personal drinking in your response I was looking for more of an intellectual discussion on the different treatment methods not me personally. Thank you
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Old 08-13-2017, 09:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi Jay, from my own experience and spending some time on various recovery sites, I truly believe the only way to go is abstinence. Alcoholism is a disease of body and mind and if it it could be managed any other way, we wouldnt be alcoholic. In other words if moderation is possible then i would say that person isnt alcoholic.
Alcoholics cannot reduce and drink normally for any stretch if time.
Even if we manage to do it for a bit, it eventually leads back to the destructive drinking. You will find lots of stories on this site of people making deals with themselves, trying limiting their drinking in various ways before finally coming to the inevitable conclusuion that abstience is truly the only way.
If you have spent any time on moderation websites you will see how sucessful that experiment generally is.
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Old 08-13-2017, 10:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If you've been around SR since 2014, you probably already know that over the years there have been oodles of threads started on moderation schemes or programs, or on moderation in general.

Not once in my 5 years here have I ever read a post from anyone saying anything to the effect of, "Yeah, Moderation Management (or Harm Reduction, or moderation in any form, really) has worked for me in the long term, and I can truthfully say that I'm happily and consistently able to moderate my drinking now, even though I couldn't in the past."

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And please don't address my personal drinking in your response I was looking for more of an intellectual discussion on the different treatment methods not me personally. Thank you
Why?
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Old 08-13-2017, 10:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by jay37 View Post
Moderation vs Harm Reduction methods vs quitting drinking programs for alcohol. Which is the most effective scientifically?
From the perspective of harm reduction, I would argue that abstinence is the most effective, scientifically speaking or otherwise. If one does not ingest any alcohol, then one cannot, by definition, incur any harm arising from ingesting alcohol.

All the rest about whether alcoholism is a disease, who is 'an alcoholic', and whether or not 'alcoholics' can learn to moderate, or have 'underlying issues', which, if addressed and resolved, might lead to successful moderation on their part, amounts to sophistry.
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Old 08-13-2017, 10:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Andante View Post
If you've been around SR since 2014, you probably already know that over the years there have been oodles of threads started on moderation schemes or programs, or on moderation in general.

Not once in my 5 years here have I ever read a post from anyone saying anything to the effect of, "Yeah, Moderation Management (or Harm Reduction, or moderation in any form, really) has worked for me in the long term, and I can truthfully say that I'm happily and consistently able to moderate my drinking now, even though I couldn't in the past."



Why?
Maybe you have not heard that moderation has worked for anyone because if it did work for a particular person they would not come back to this site so you would never know about it. There problem would be solved. Just a thought
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Old 08-13-2017, 10:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Possibly Jay, but the fact is that most people here tried moderation, hey we all liked alcohol at one point and I think most would have kept it in our lives if it wasn't destroying us.
Moderation may well work for some people, but if that is the answer you want, you are talking to the wrong crowd.
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Old 08-13-2017, 11:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Harm reduction is just that. The first step is to putting innocent others out of danger because of your drinking. Do not drink and drive. Do not bring harms to others from your drinking. Keep it to yourself.
Of course complete abstinence is the only cure to alcoholism, but if you choose otherwise, keep it to yourself, and do not harm others. Eliminate family, friends,.. let them know you will be going to the grave with a bottle in your hand.
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Old 08-14-2017, 12:38 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Addiction isn't intellectual. It is insanity. We can follow our logical reasoning up our own bumholes to the next drunk any time we like.

I never met a single sober person who didnt try lots of ways of moderating (unsuccessfully) before conceding defeat and stepping away from the battle.

I suspect the answer that you are hoping to find is likely to elude you on this particular forum. At the end of the day. Do we want to get well? Are we willing to do what is necessary? The answer from a moderating point of view (in my case) was YES and YES. Until I took the first couple of drinks (pretty moderate!!) and then the eff-it button would be hit. So whether an alcoholic or problem drinker, seeking moderation is like howling for the moon.

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Old 08-14-2017, 12:38 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Hi Jay
there are many great threads here about moderation vs abstinence.
This is one of them - read it right through to the end.

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...-drinking.html

Bottom line is people are gonna do what they're gonna do, no matter what I say, so I'll pass on the discussion.

I have no experience with successful moderation or 'harm reduction'.

If you want to discuss successful abstinence based approaches, that I have some experience with

Look me up anytime

D
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Old 08-14-2017, 05:43 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I have tried many ways to moderate. Medication via a physician, limiting amounts, different types of alcohol, etc. What I learned for me over many years, was moderation did not work. This forum is made up of people who love alcohol. I know I did. Could not imagine my life without it. Every day there is a new poster scared of giving it up for good. Anything but that they say! Never drink again? There has to be some way to keep alcohol in my life........
There is a point a person reaches where the brain chemistry has its own agenda, where the normal gates are now gone. Those points cannot be reset. Continuing to drink without those safegaurds is a gamble. No amount of "do no harm" thoughts and intentions help if the worst happens and it all goes South.
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Old 08-14-2017, 05:49 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by berrybean View Post
addiction isn't intellectual. It is insanity.
+1
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Old 08-14-2017, 05:57 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Hi, jay.
I think you have put your finger smack on it.
This is a recovery site with lots and lots of posters who tried to moderate their drinking, and couldn't.
Abstinence is the solution for many active posters.
If someone can successfully moderate, and I believe they are out there, they likely would bypass this site for one that is more in line with their thinking and behavior.
For my part, I tried for years to moderate my drinking with no successs.
In the end, it just became easier to not drink at all.
I have investigated moderationn management but have no experience with harm reduction, so really can't speak to whether they are effective programs.
Good luck on your journey.
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Old 08-14-2017, 06:32 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Addiction isn't intellectual. It is insanity. We can follow our logical reasoning up our own bumholes to the next drunk any time we like.

I never met a single sober person who didnt try lots of ways of moderating (unsuccessfully) before conceding defeat and stepping away from the battle.

I suspect the answer that you are hoping to find is likely to elude you on this particular forum. At the end of the day. Do we want to get well? Are we willing to do what is necessary? The answer from a moderating point of view (in my case) was YES and YES. Until I took the first couple of drinks (pretty moderate!!) and then the eff-it button would be hit. So whether an alcoholic or problem drinker, seeking moderation is like howling for the moon.

BB
Thanks for your response. Very well thought out. Guess it comes down to if the person is actually an alcoholic or not. If you are moderation and harm reduction wont work. most likely. I guess my question is if you are more the problem drinker type and you can have a drink and not go on a week long bender is moderation or harm reduction viable alternatives to deal with the issue. I guess this question opens up a whole another can of worms as to when one qualifies as a alcoholic.
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Old 08-14-2017, 06:37 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Maybe you have not heard that moderation has worked for anyone because if it did work for a particular person they would not come back to this site so you would never know about it. There problem would be solved. Just a thought
theres a TON of threads here from people who thought they could moderate.
hope thats enough of this scientific evidence mumbo jumbo to stop you from thinking about moderation.

theres also a thread or 2 from people wanting this scientific evidence and cant string together much sobriety.
but here is a FACT:
100% of the people that work a recovery program( no matter which one) 100% remain sober 100%.
i dont need someone with a bunch of letters after their name to tell me that- just read here.
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Old 08-14-2017, 06:44 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Thanks for your response. Very well thought out. Guess it comes down to if the person is actually an alcoholic or not. If you are moderation and harm reduction wont work. most likely. I guess my question is if you are more the problem drinker type and you can have a drink and not go on a week long bender is moderation or harm reduction viable alternatives to deal with the issue. I guess this question opens up a whole another can of worms as to when one qualifies as a alcoholic.
"A week long bender" is not necessarily the only outcome after "a" drink. There is a wide field of bad outcomes and not very many good ones for a Problem Drinker. I had times when I could have a drink. Thing is, that wasn't 100% reliable. I couldn't guarantee that every time I wanted *a* drink that I would stop before something happened which wasn't intended...like 12 drinks.

In the last several years I've never accidentally had 12 drinks, because I never had one drink.

"Alcoholic" is just a word - subject to a lot of subjective definitions and not really all that useful here in general.

I take it you admit you are a problem drinker.

If alcohol is a problem then stopping using it is the solution. Full stop.
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Old 08-14-2017, 07:12 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Personally I suspect that once someone has crossed the line to 'week long benders' they're slightly more than 'problem drinkers'. Why, in your (Scientific and non-personal) opinion would someone let an intended 'normal' drink turn into the 'week long bender' other than not being able to control their drinking or make rational decisions about drinking once they had alcohol in them?

I'd also be interested to know your (scientific and non-personal) definition of an alcoholic.

If I wasn't 'allergic' to sweetcorn so much it would actually kill me, but just give me explosive bowels, and knowing that if I started eating it I might just (based on past experience) go on a week long bender, cramming my face with the stuff til I made myself sick and everyone else sick of me, then I reckon I probably wouldn't touch it again. I suspect that if someone had had a couple of experiences with alcohol the same as that but were NOTalcoholics, and it was a problem they didnt want to repeat, then they would probably shrug and decide not to drink again.
An alcoholic though.... He is not going to give in to reason and rational thinking THAT easily. Not on your nelly!. He's going to rationalise (read make excuses for) his drinking. He's going to make a science of risk-assessments around his drinking - changing the who, what, where and when of it for a good while (in my case decades) in a search for the Holy Grail of Moderation.
They might even try some short-term abstinence just to prove that they are NOT alcoholic (I did several months like this). Now I realise that all I proved with these efforts was that, AS an alcoholic, it is the FIRST drink that does the damage. Not the tenth, or the last one.

If there is a problem that is bigger than us, we can waste our lives engaging in combat with it, or concede defeat and learn to live in peace instead.

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Old 08-14-2017, 07:23 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I would be interested in what percentage of us had to do a lot of "research" personally before giving in to just not drinking?

I think for SOME people, harm reduction or moderation could possibly be a step towards complete abstinence. My last relapse, basically finished off that way.
But, what HUGE, COLLOSAL GAMBLE THAT WAS.
Some people get to that fork in the road and take the dangerous path.
Thank God I didn't.

Once you've crossed the line there's no going back, and only each individual can gauge that for themselves.
Every drink is a gamble. And it's russian roulette for those who have crossed the line into addiction, whether or not they acknowledge it.

I moderated for years, in my opinion at the time. Then I harm reduced.
Then I almost died a number of times so I threw in the towel on drinking (more than once)

Everyone has a different perspective maybe on how we get there.
But I think the vast majority of people who come to be researching the different methods know deep down, they have a serious problem and just need to stop.
(I was one of them. It got pointed out to me. I left this site for 3 years and drank my way straight into a hell of my own making.)
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Old 08-14-2017, 07:47 AM   #18 (permalink)
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If alcohol is causing you problems, that in itself is a problem. I call that problem drinking. If you stop, problems associated with alcohol stop as well. Sure, you can limit your drinking to lessen problems, but you still get problems. ( health for one)

I got sick and tired of dealing with alcohol problems: weight, tired, hung-over, depressed and I was not drinking all the time.
In fact, I would have a few beers and stop a lot of the time.

But it held me back, kept me from being the best H-Town I could be, I thank God I stopped and stayed stopped. It is so much easier for me not to drink at all rather than wake up disappointed in myself because I did drink.
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Old 08-14-2017, 07:59 AM   #19 (permalink)
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if you are truly an alcoholic your best route is to quit all together. If your more of a problem drinker without a physical addiction per say. (irresponsible ******* is what I like to call it lol) perhaps moderation or using harm reduction strategies is the best way to go.
The endless ways we discuss how to keep including something in our lives that causes problems amazes me.
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Old 08-14-2017, 08:45 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jay37 View Post
Guess it comes down to if the person is actually an alcoholic or not.
Yep - you are correct.

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Originally Posted by jay37 View Post
I guess my question is if you are more the problem drinker type and you can have a drink and not go on a week long bender is moderation or harm reduction viable alternatives to deal with the issue.
Probably - but you can answer this question without answering your first question first.

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I guess this question opens up a whole another can of worms as to when one qualifies as a alcoholic.
Actually it's the same question as the first one. And only you can truly make it for yourself.

I tried the circular logic method for years. I tried "Moderation Management" too ( the official one ). I also tried the following

- Drinking only after 5pm
- Drinking only 3 beers a day
- Drinking non alcoholic beer mixed in with regular beer
-Drinking low alcohol beer
- Drinking only with meals
- Drinking light beer
....and countless other attempts at "moderation".

Every single one failed, every single time. I always ended up returning to every day binge drinking within a short period of time. I did it for years until I finally accepted that total abstinence was the only possible solution.
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