Can Alcoholics Learn to Drink in Moderation?

Can alcoholics ever learn to drink in moderation? This is a difficult question to answer, as it depends heavily on the individual. For some, moderation may be a realistic goal and achievable if they are willing to put in the hard work and dedication it takes to learn to drink responsibly.

For many others, drinking in moderation is not an attainable goal and abstinence may be the only viable solution. Even in moderation drinking may have many negative consequences.

The most important factor in determining whether a heavy drinker can learn to drink in moderation is the severity of the alcoholism. Those with mild alcohol use disorder may be able to learn how to drink responsibly and in moderation if they are willing to commit to the lifestyle changes they need to make.

On the other hand, those with more severe alcoholism will find it much more difficult to engage in controlled drinking and will likely need to abstain completely in order to maintain a good level of functioning.

Regardless of severity, it is important to remember that drinking in moderation means that many people cannot stop drinking regardless of how much they drink.

 It isn’t something that can be achieved overnight and it is crucial to have a strong support system in place to help keep you on track. Therapy and counseling are beneficial in helping to address any underlying issues that can contribute to substance use and addiction issues. 

Definition of Alcoholism 

Alcoholism is a chronic and progressive disease that affects millions of Americans. It is characterized by an uncontrollable urge to drink alcohol, a decrease in one’s ability to control the behavior once they start drinking and having a physical dependence on the substance. 

Alcoholism is a form of substance abuse that impacts the individual’s physical, mental and social wellbeing. Their pattern of drinking interferes with their daily lives and is met with negative consequences.

Alcoholism is a serious problem that can lead to physical and mental health issues, strained relationships, financial difficulties and even death.

It is important to recognize the signs of alcoholism and seek help if necessary.

Reasons why alcoholics cannot drink in moderation

While some people can drink socially without developing a problem, alcoholics cannot as they are unable to moderate their drinking. One drink usually leads to many as they have no control over their addiction.

Here are some of the reasons why alcoholics cannot drink moderately:

  1. Firstly, alcoholics have an increased tolerance for alcohol meaning that after drinking a certain amount, the effects wear off more quickly than for someone who does not struggle with alcoholism. As a result, alcoholics need to drink more to achieve the same effect as a non-alcoholic.
  2. Secondly, alcoholics have difficulty controlling their drinking. Even if they set out to only have a few drinks, they usually find themselves drinking more than they intended. This is due to a combination of factors, including an intense craving for alcohol and a lack of impulse control.
  3. Lastly, alcoholics often engage in dangerous behaviors while drinking such as drinking and driving, becoming involved in physical altercations or experiencing blackouts. All of these behaviors can be attributed to excessive alcohol use and can be dangerous both to the alcoholic and to those around them.

It is crucial for alcoholics to seek help in order to break the cycle of addiction and live a healthier, happier life. Quitting alcohol makes it possible for alcoholics to live a fulfilling life not ruled by their addiction.

Reasons why alcoholics may be able to drink moderately

While it is difficult to moderate drinking for a person with an alcohol use disorder, some recovered alcoholics are able to drink alcohol in a controlled and responsible manner.

Some of the reasons why an alcoholic may be able to drink moderately include:

  1. The alcoholic has completed a comprehensive treatment program and has developed the necessary skills to control their drinking.
  2. They have a strong and supportive network of family, friends and/or professionals to help them stay on track.
  3. The individual has a strong motivation and commitment to recovery, staying sober and avoiding relapse.
  4. They have a strong sense of self-control and can recognize the signs of relapse and take steps to prevent it.
  5. They are able to recognize triggers that are associated with a desire to drink and can avoid them.
  6. The person has a good understanding of the dangers associated with alcohol and is willing to accept the risks associated with drinking.

Ultimately, the ability to drink moderately is highly individual and is dependent on a variety of factors which vary for each person.

However, with the right support, motivation and skills, it is possible for an alcoholic to drink in a controlled and responsible manner but the risk for relapse is so high that committing to recovery and abstinence will have the best success for living a happy and healthy life.

Abstinence from Alcohol Addiction

Abstinence is the practice of abstaining from using any alcohol products containing alcohol, such as beer, wine and spirits.

Abstinence is an important part of recovery for those struggling with alcohol abuse and alcoholism as it allows them to focus on their recovery and to avoid the risk of relapse.

Abstinence is a difficult goal to achieve and requires a great deal of commitment and support. To increase the chances of success, it is important to have a strong support system and to be committed to making lifestyle changes that support the decision to abstain.

This can include attending support groups, counseling and other forms of treatment.

Abstaining from alcohol is not a short-term goal, but rather a lifelong commitment. It is important to remember that relapse is common and that it is not a sign of failure.

It is vital to have a plan in place for when relapse occurs and to seek help when needed. With the right support, abstinence is possible and is an important step towards a life of sobriety.

Treatment Options for Alcoholism 

There are several treatment options available to those suffering from alcoholism. 


Detox is an important part of the journey to recovery from severe alcohol addiction. It is the process of removing toxins from the body and it is essential for individuals who are trying to break their dependence on alcohol.

The first step of detox is to quit drinking and begin the process of withdrawal. This can be a difficult and uncomfortable process but with medical supervision it can be achieved safely and successfully.

During the detox process, individuals will be monitored for any complications, signs of relapse and they are encouraged to engage in counseling to address the underlying issues that may be contributing to their addiction.

Detox can be a difficult, but necessary, part of the journey to recovery for individuals with alcoholism.

It is important to remember that individuals should never attempt to detox on their own, but should instead seek out the help of a medical professional and get the necessary support from family and friends.

Medication- Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medications are effective in treating alcoholism as they work to reduce cravings and help individuals maintain abstinence.

There are various medications that can be used under medical supervision.

Effective MAT includes engaging in therapy as medication cannot resolve the underlying issues that contribute to alcohol addiction.

Inpatient / Residential Treatment

Inpatient treatment involves living in a residential facility for an extended period of time in order to receive specialized care.

This type of treatment typically lasts between 30 and 90 days and is designed to help those with alcohol use disorder to stop drinking, examine their drinking patterns, develop healthier ways of coping with their addiction and start the process of recovery. 

Once the detoxification period is complete, the individual will begin a recovery program designed by the team who will work closely with them to create a personalized treatment plan which is tailored to their specific needs.

This may include individual and group counseling, 12-step programs, relapse prevention strategies, educational and recreational activities and alternative therapies.

Inpatient treatment provides a safe, supportive environment with 24-hour care where the patient can focus on getting better without the distractions and temptations of everyday life.

Various forms of therapy are used to address the underlying mental health issues, also known as co-occurring disorders, that have contributed to the development of the disorder and support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous can provide individuals with a community of peers who understand their experiences and can provide encouragement and guidance. 

Support Groups

Support groups can be a valuable resource for those who suffer from alcohol addiction as they provide a safe and supportive environment where individuals can share their experiences, feelings and struggles with other people who are going through a similar situation.

It creates a sense of community, connection and belonging for people who have been living in isolation. These groups help members stay motivated and committed to their recovery and can be a powerful way to find hope, strength and encouragement.

Support groups can focus on things such as identifying and understanding triggers, building healthier coping strategies and reducing cravings. Members learn about the different stages of recovery and discuss strategies for relapse prevention.

Through peer-to-peer support, individuals can gain new insight into their addiction and learn how to create a plan for recovery. They also provide access to helpful resources, such as referrals for treatment and support for family members. 

No matter which approach is chosen, it is important to remember that treatment for alcoholism is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Each individual may respond differently to treatment and it is important to find the right combination of approaches that works best for the individual. 

Effective Addiction Treatment for Alcohol Abuse

Luxe Recovery offers a world-class treatment program for people suffering from alcohol use disorder.

If you or someone you care about are struggling, please reach out to talk to one of our amazing admissions staff.

They are here to listen and help find a solution that works for your situation. Please do give us a call today and get alcohol addiction treatment.

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