What does moderate drinking really mean?

Is moderate drinking for you? Find out here. An exclusive Q&A with experts from the Drink Link Moderation Drinking Programs.

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Are you concerned that you, a family member, or a loved one have a problem with drinking? Are you looking to find an alternatives solution to the usual treatment suggestions? Can or should you try moderate drinking?

Read on to find out more about drinking in moderation in this exclusive interview with Drink Link Moderation Drinking Programs. If you are not sure what drinking in moderation is, or how it may help you, please read our Q&A with Donna Cornett, founder and director of Drink/Link Moderate Drinking Programs, below. You may find that moderation is a better solution than the classic treatment.

If you still have questions about whether or not controlled drinking is possible for you…, please post them in the comments section at the end of the article. We will be happy to try to respond to you personally and promptly.

ADDICTION BLOG: What is the definition of “moderate drinking”?

DRINK LINK: Moderate drinking is light, responsible drinking suited to the occasion. It never causes you or anyone else problems.

ADDICTION BLOG: What are some of the reasons that people begin to question their drinking patterns?

DRINK LINK: If they wake up with hangovers too often. If they’re concerned about the long-term health effects of alcohol abuse. If they’re embarrassed by their behavior when they’re drinking. If friends or family comment on their drinking. If they have any health, social, legal, financial or work-related problems because of their drinking.

ADDICTION BLOG: What percentage of people, in your estimation, can go from problem drinkers to moderate drinkers? How thin is the line from moderate drinker… to problem drinker?

DRINK LINK: I don’t think anyone has any idea what percentage of people can go from problem drinking to moderate drinking.

Reverting back to moderate drinking depends on how strongly motivated you are to change and how serious and how long you’ve engaged in problem drinking. If you’re highly motivated to quit drinking and are still in the early stages of alcohol abuse, chances are good you can return to reasonable drinking.

I don’t think the line is that thin. When you start questioning your drinking or you’re having problems because of it, you know you’re in dangerous territory.

ADDICTION BLOG: Are there any specific or scientifically based guidelines for a moderate drinker? Where can someone find those sources?

DRINK LINK: The U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services and the American Medical Association are just two organizations outlining what they think is moderate drinking. The AMA considers one drink a day moderate drinking for a woman and two drinks a day for a man.

ADDICTION BLOG: Are there any clinical or behavioral traits that need to be in place before attempting moderate drinking?

DRINK LINK: You must be highly motivated to change. You must feel confident in your ability to change. You must be committed and follow through even when things aren’t going well and you’re facing obstacles.

ADDICTION BLOG: Is moderate drinking for everyone?

DRINK LINK: No. If you have serious health, social, legal, financial or work-related problems because of drinking you should quit.

ADDICTION BLOG: What’s the main measure of success (in terms of time) for moderate drinking?

DRINK LINK: If you can complete the 7 week Drink/Link Moderate Drinking Program and have reduced your alcohol consumption, you can consider that a success. Long-term success depends on you maintaining that reduction over the course of time.

ADDICTION BLOG: Why do think that moderate drinking has become stigmatized by the mainstream addiction treatment community?

DRINK LINK: In the U.S., alcohol abuse treatment has been dominated by recovering alcoholics who believe the only effective way of dealing with any drinking problem is to stop drinking forever.

Most of these people had serious drinking problem and consequences and quit in A.A. They project their experience and their recovery on anyone with a drinking problem. Anyone who deviates from abstinence and A.A. is stigmatized as a result.

ADDICTION BLOG: What are the steps that need to be taken towards moderation? What are the lifestyle changes that can really help someone attempting moderate drinking?

DRINK LINK: Steps that need to be taken start with being totally committed to improving your drinking behaviors and attitudes. Then, you need to choose a moderate drinking program you think will work for you. Be prepared to be faced with and overcoming challenging situations ahead. Finally, aim to lead a healthy lifestyle – eating healthy, getting enough sleep, socializing and having fun, exercising.

A healthy lifestyle is the antidote to a drinking problem.

ADDICTION BLOG: How can someone know if moderate drinking is an option, or not, for themselves?

DRINK LINK: If one is having any serious health, social, legal, financial or work-related problems because of their drinking, they should stop at least for a while. If you’re not having serious problems but are concerned about it and you really want to do something about it, you’re a good candidate.

ADDICTION BLOG: What does it take to become a moderate drinker?

DRINK LINK: You’ll need to use tools of a moderate drinking program, like Drink/Link, to show you the way.

ADDICTION BLOG: Would you like to add anything else for our readers?

DRINK LINK: There is a difference between a problem drinker and an alcoholic. Most people consider them one and the same. A diagnosed alcoholic will not be able to control her or his drinking.  A problem drinker is still capable of returning to responsible drinking with a moderate drinking program. And problem drinkers outnumber alcoholics four to one.

A moderate drinking approach targeting problem drinkers could drastically reduce the number of people who graduate to full-blown alcoholism.

About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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