We work with people to explore their relationship to substances and develop the tools to achieve their goals for abstinence or drinking in moderation.
The concept behind drinking in moderation or controlled drinking is that not everyone who has misused alcohol is prepared to give up the substance entirely. Although the widespread assumption is that abstinence is necessary, not every one can make that commitment. Further, for some it is possible to control the use of substances even when substance use has been out of control in the past.
The broader framework for drinking in moderation is the public health model called “harm reduction” which has been in practice since the early 1970s.
The notion is that if we can help someone use less, or use the substance less harmfully, that represents meaningful and worthwhile progress for the alcoholic or addict, for their family, and for society.
Can everyone drink moderately? No. But in some cases, discovering that controlled drinking isn’t possible while under the care of a trained professional can set the stage for making a commitment to abstain.
For others, moderate drinking is a long term option.
The prevailing wisdom is that even for those who wish to attempt a program of drinking in moderation, a period of abstinence is recommended prior to resuming drinking.