Is Drinking in Moderation Possible for Alcoholics?

Can Recovering Alcoholics Ever Drink Again? Abstinence vs. Moderation in Long Term Recovery

Is Drinking in Moderation Possible for Alcoholics?

Can recovering alcoholics ever drink again? If you’ve crossed the hurdle of becoming sober, you may have received therapy, attended group sessions, or undertaken other treatment that has helped you maintain this new way of life. Now that your mind feels clear, you may begin to feel a little bit bored. What would happen if you took a drink again?

You may think, now that you’ve seen other “alcoholics”, that you weren’t doing so badly before: Maybe you didn’t have so much of a problem in the first place, and perhaps you could handle drinking in moderation.

Before you go down that rabbit hole of rationalization and revising the past in order to taste alcohol again — and it truly can be a set of mental gymnastics that recovering alcoholics deal with on a daily basis to maintain their sobriety — read the following advice.

What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Drinking?

Let’s review the science behind quitting alcohol. As you ly know, alcohol can do a number on your brain, your liver, and your judgment. Here’s a quick overview of what happens when you stop drinking.

  • Your judgment drastically improves
  • Your internal organs, your heart and your liver, begin to recover or regenerate
  • Your behavior and relationships improve because you are less impulsive, angry, anxious, and emotional
  • Your sleep and your sex life may improve

The benefits of quitting drinking are listed above.

The drawbacks include the fact that you lose whatever feeling you got while drinking — perhaps you were self-medicating an untreated mental health condition, or maybe you just d feeling intoxicated — and the fact that if you were a heavy drinker of hard liquor, you may suffer from serious withdrawal side effects seizures, shakes, and even hallucinations.

If you’re now in the process of quitting drinking and you’re noticing symptoms this, make sure to get in touch with Clean Recovery Centers or your nearest medical professional to be evaluated as soon as possible. You may need medical help in your transition to sobriety to blunt the effects of withdrawal.

Could I Just Figure Out How to Drink in Moderation?

You may be hesitant to propose this topic to your therapist, your sponsor, or your friends in recovery for fear of judgment or even ridicule; however, there are no stupid questions when it comes to recovery.

The more information you have, the easier it will be to find a path to sobriety.

If you feel punished or put down for trying to learn about alcohol’s effect on your body or how to maintain your sobriety in a way that works for you, it may be time to reconsider working with whoever is treating you. You should feel empowered and not kept in the dark.

That being said, it’s not a good idea to take another sip of your drink of choice after you’ve become sober. It’s definitely easy to see why someone who just got sober would want to drink again: It feels good — at first.

If you’ve been sober for long enough to forget the downside of binge drinking or chronic alcoholism, you can n it to an unhealthy relationship in which you remember all the good experiences with the other person and minimize the bad times fights, breakups, and unhealthy obsessions with getting back together.

As a recovering alcoholic, you should remember that un non-alcoholics who can drink in moderation, you will ly never master this skill. And that’s not your fault.

Why Do I Keep Trying To Rationalize My Drinking?

Maybe it’s just the vodka. Maybe I should only drink white wine. Maybe I can have half a can of beer, but only on Friday night after six o’clock.

You’re a master of rationalization when it comes to keeping alcohol in your life! There’s a huge downside to adopting this point of view: One drink can lead to another, and several drinks a week can lead to you convincing yourself that you’re fine and that you can handle drinking again.

If you’re in this position, please take a long, rational look at this behavior pattern or seek out a friend or therapist who can help you do this. 

If it’s been a long time since you’ve had a drink, you may have forgotten the downsides of drinking alcohol on a regular basis: The blackouts, stomach problems, headaches may be specters of your past.

If you’ve caused a strain in your relationships, or if you’ve even lost a romantic partner or friend due to your drinking, you may not be thinking about this when you pick up a glass. If this sounds you, try making a list of all the reasons you stopped drinking and got sober in the first place.

You’ll need to keep it handy — on your phone or on a little piece of paper in your wallet or purse — to pull out when you find yourself slipping. If the urge to drink strikes when you’re out, for example, read through the list before taking a drink.

How Can I Explain All of This to My Friends and Family?

If someone tells you that it’s fine for recovering alcoholics to drink in moderation, consider why this person is telling you this information.

Are they a well-meaning friend who doesn’t really understand alcoholism and everything you’ve been through? Maybe they want to have a fun night out with you — you used to have with them before you got sober.

This person ly misses the camaraderie you used to have when alcohol was involved; they probably do not care whether you actually drink.

On the other hand, you may have relationships with people who are angry that you don’t drink anymore. Maybe they feel you’ve left or abandoned your friendship when you no longer go out with them.

Try to put yourself in this person’s shoes, and don’t give up your sobriety to maintain a friendship. Remember: A real friend will not ask you to start drinking again to spend time with them.

If they truly don’t understand or blame you for your actions that are keeping you healthy (and alive!), it may be a good time to look for healthier relationships.

If, after reading the above, you’re wondering if you, as a recovering alcoholic, can take up drinking again and lead a completely different life than you led when you were drinking: The answer is no, probably not. We know this is a disappointing point to keep hammering home, but you’re better off safe than sorry.

Recovery is a process, and it’s a lifelong one. Keep in mind your goals for the future, the progress that you’ve made thus far, and be proud of the sobriety you’ve attained.

If you would to talk to someone about alcoholism, the urge to drink, or anything related to your treatment, get in touch with Clean Recovery Centers today.


What Are The Effects Of Drinking Alcohol Everyday?

Is Drinking in Moderation Possible for Alcoholics?

Many adults in the United States identify as “moderate” or “social” drinkers. Moderate drinking is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) as drinking no more than two drinks a day for men, and one for women.

The health effects of drinking alcohol in moderation can vary a person’s overall health, how much they drink, and other factors. Drinking in moderation doesn’t always mean having a drink every day. Many adults who consider themselves moderate drinkers drink alcohol a couple of times a week, or less.

The effects and implications of drinking on a daily basis can be more complicated. People who have a drinking problem will ly have difficulty reducing or stopping how much they drink. This feeling of lacking control or craving alcohol can be a sign of dependence and addiction.

Alcohol dependence and addiction are just two risks of drinking every day. Heavy alcohol consumption can pose several other health risks, including gastritis, and eventually liver and heart disease. Continue reading below to learn more about the effects of drinking every day and treatment options for alcohol abuse.

Short Term Effects Of Alcohol

Alcohol can have a number of short-term effects on both the brain and body, affecting how a person behaves, their ability to focus, and coordination. Drinking alcohol can also increase the risk of dangerous behaviors such as drinking and driving.

Drinking and driving are one of the most dangerous and deadly activities associated with alcohol use. The U.S. Department of Transportation states that in 2017 alone there were 10,874 reported alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities, occurring once every 48 minutes.

In general, alcohol can have mental and physical effects that can put a person at greater risk for engaging in risky behaviors, suffering injuries, and being either the perpetrator or victim of violence.

Short term effects of alcohol include:

  • poor judgment
  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • difficulty concentrating
  • decreased coordination
  • slowed reaction time
  • blurred or double vision
  • increased blood pressure
  • decreased body temperature
  • mood swings
  • vomiting
  • blacking out

Whether or not a person experiences some or most of these short-term effects will depend on factors such as how much the person has drunk, body-size, age, and tolerance for alcohol.

When Is Moderate Drinking Unsafe?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are some circumstances in which even moderate drinking can be unsafe.

In general, daily or moderate drinking may not be safe for people who are:

  • pregnant or breastfeeding
  • under the age of 21
  • have certain medical conditions that can become worsened with alcohol use
  • taking medications that interact with alcohol
  • recovering from alcohol abuse or alcoholism
  • operating large or powerful machinery, including motor vehicles

If you can relate to one or more of the situations above, be sure to talk to your doctor before drinking alcohol. Continuing to drink while meeting one of the above criteria may result in harmful effects on your health and wellbeing.

Although there have been statements in the past asserting that moderate drinking can have some positive health benefits, the CDC now states that this may not be true. Although heavy drinking is more harmful than the occasional drink, even moderate drinking may increase the risk for some cancers and liver disease.

Long Term Effects

The short-term effects of alcohol, such as the increased risk for injuries and alcohol poisoning, are concerning. However, what’s become additionally worrying is increasing evidence pointing to some negative long-term effects of drinking, even in moderate amounts.

Drinking alcohol can increase the risk for a number of health conditions and diseases, including:

  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • cancer (throat, stomach, oral cavity, breast cancer, esophagus, liver, rectum, colon)
  • nutritional deficiencies
  • memory problems
  • erectile dysfunction or irregular menstruation

Drinking on a daily basis, and in large amounts, can also lead to changes in weight, cause dehydration, and be more risky for people with health conditions such as diabetes.

These long-term health consequences are more ly to occur when a person is drinking more than a ‘moderate’ amount of alcohol – i.e. more than one or two drinks per day.

This does not mean that moderate drinking, or drinking on a daily basis, is completely safe. Every person who goes on to develop a drinking problem has to begin somewhere, and for many, that starting point can be moderate or daily drinking.

Drinking alcohol every day is not a definitive sign of alcohol abuse or addiction by itself.

Signs that someone may have a drinking problem include:

  • continuing to drink in the face of negative effects on health, relationships, or work-life
  • unable to reduce or cut down on drinking
  • experiencing cravings for alcohol
  • needing to drink more than you used to in order to feel the same effects
  • often drinking more than you expected or wanted to
  • hiding or lying about how much you drink

If you are uncomfortable with how much you drink or are worried about your drinking habits, consider talking to your doctor or an addiction specialist. Drinking problems tend to grow worse over time and can have consequences on all aspects of your life beyond just your health.

Alcohol Dependence And Addiction

Millions of adults in the United States are dependent or addicted to alcohol in any given year. Although many adults in the U.S. who drink do not develop a serious problem, a sizeable amount of adults go on to develop a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol.

These struggles are problems that develop over time. Although alcohol is the direct cause of dependence, the reasons behind why a person develops a drinking problem can be complicated and complex.

One of the most important questions to ask yourself if you are drinking on a daily basis is: why? Relieving stress or wanting to feel more comfortable in social situations are common reasons people claim to drink, but these can also be warning signs of a problem.

If you:

  • feel unable to control your drinking
  • are unable to stop drinking
  • drink to avoid or numb feelings
  • experience withdrawal effects (e.g. tremors, headaches, anxiety, sweating, insomnia)
  • can’t imagine yourself not drinking on a daily basis

Then you may have a problem. Many people with alcohol dependence or addiction are on some level aware that their drinking habits are not normal. It is also common to be in denial, although this can be more difficult to maintain as the issue progresses.

Are You Concerned About Your Daily Drinking?

If you are concerned about your own drinking habits, or that of someone else, the first step is to reach out to a professional. At Vertava Health, we have a free and confidential helpline that operates 24 hours a day, answering questions about alcohol abuse, addiction, and rehab options.

Our treatment centers, operating at several locations nationwide, offer various rehab programs that can be customized the severity of your drinking and other personal needs.

Don’t wait to reach out to our specialists. Contact us today to learn more about treatment for alcoholism at Vertava Health.


Can an Alcoholic Drink in Moderation?

Is Drinking in Moderation Possible for Alcoholics?

This is one of the most common questions asked by people who are struggling to overcome their alcohol addiction.

They typically wonder “can I drink in moderation?”. The thought of never having another drink again could seem terrifying to some people, this could be a reason why they’re asking themselves this question.

First of all, what is moderate drinking? describes “moderate consumption as limited to one to two alcoholic drinks per day for healthy men and one alcoholic drink per day for healthy women. One drink is equivalent to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits”.

Former alcoholics are ly to have stared directly into the abyss which is ‘alcoholic withdrawal syndrome’.

This is a memory that although painful, seems to belong firmly in the past. After all, you’re cured. You’re strong. And above all, you’re untouchable… or are you?

This sense of confidence amongst former addicts is all too common. If you’re reconsidering a return to the bottle, albeit, from a place of moderation, we urge you to think again.

We at least urge you to get as much information as you possibly can and consider the real risk of slipping back into alcoholism.

There could be some pressure to drink

Christmas, weddings, and other celebrations often exert pressure on you to consume “just one drink”. But only one. Or maybe two. Or perhaps three. Call it four. OK, I hope you see where this is going.

The desire to return to moderate drinking following a period of recovery is common. The echelons of the rehab industry have preached against the ‘just one drink’ urge for years.

This sacred cow has come under fire, most notably through a cohort of academics and the ‘Moderation Management’ organisation. Perhaps so much so that recovered alcoholics are confused.

Moderation Management vs. Total Abstinence

If you’re a recovered alcoholic it’s easy to see yourself in a position of strength. A position that can be deceptive. Here at Cassiobury Court, we’ve seen first-hand that the tipping point back into addiction can be very slippery indeed. We agree with the traditionalists in frowning on the ‘just one drink’ mentality.

The recovered alcoholic has ly suffered lasting alterations in their brain’s ability to produce the “feel good” chemicals and “just one drink” is often the start of the downfall which could see you plunging back into an addiction nightmare.

Abstinence is, for the totality of recovered alcoholics, the only viable safe choice. Whatever benefit you derive from that ‘one drink’ is far outweighed by the potential risk it carries and we think it is fair to say that a recovered alcoholic who does successfully return to the bottle in moderation was perhaps incorrectly diagnosed as an addict in the first place.

What could be the effects of a drink in moderation?

One simply cannot be ‘cured’ outright from their addiction, ‘recovering’ as opposed ‘recovered’ is an omnipotent word in the rehabilitation vocabulary. Many people who rehabilitate from alcohol addiction and go on to try moderate drinking, actually come to the realisation that abstinence is the only option.

If you were suffering from a severe alcohol addiction, recover, then go back to a drink, albeit in moderation, you’re still highly ly to experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop, even after a small drink.

These could include psychological symptoms such as bad dreams, fatigue, feeling jumpy or nervous, feeling shaky, rapid emotional changes, irritability, anxiety, depression, or difficulty thinking clearly.

Not to mention the physical symptoms which could include paleness, headache, insomnia, loss of appetite, clammy skin, high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, tremors, intense sweating, and nausea and vomiting.

You’ll ly forget the downsides of drinking such as hangovers, upset stomach, conflicts with loved ones, and the feeling of remorse the day after. Once you start drinking, even if you plan to have it in moderation, you can never predict or control how much you’ll actually end up consuming.

For those people who are wondering ‘is it possible for alcoholics to drink in moderation?’, the ly answer is no, not without their alcohol addiction returning.

So, can an alcoholic ever drink again in moderation? explains that for years, the answer to this question was assumed to be an unequivocal no.  However, they go on to say the emergence of traditional treatment programmes which are being influenced by modern research can sometimes create new and improved strategies of addiction treatment, causing people to question everything.

On one hand, the 12-step model is absolute abstinence which is still scientifically accurate, but on the other hand, there’s a relatively new ‘moderation management’ approach which could be considered by some.

The main aspect that really depends on which method which may work for you, is what kind of drinker you were, why did you drink, and how long did your addiction to alcohol last? These questions need to be asked as the level of consumption and the drinking patterns associated can change the physical characteristics of your brain.

Here at Cassiobury Court, the aim of our alcohol rehabilitation programme is to of course, remove your cravings and desire for drinking. Our dedicated team will help you to set goals to achieve your long-term recovery from alcohol addiction, helping you to live a happier and healthier life free from substance abuse.

We understand that when you leave our alcohol rehab and return home, you’re at risk of relapsing, particularly within the first 12 months.

Whilst relapsing can be fairly common, it’s something we’d to avoid through our relapse prevention sessions and ongoing aftercare programme.

Especially during this early period of recovery, we certainly wouldn’t recommend that you drink alcohol in moderation.

If you’ve slipped back into old ways we one of our expert consultants here at Cassiobury Court will be on hand to advise you further. You can contact us at Cassiobury Court on 01923 369 161, or text HELP to 83222.



Alcoholics Drink Moderately? Is That Ever Possible? Important Facts

Is Drinking in Moderation Possible for Alcoholics?


I.   Alcoholics Drink in                      Moderation?

II.  Evidence

III. Conclusion

IV.  References

Alcoholics drink moderately? Is that ever possible? Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) has an adage. It’s “once  a pickle, never again a cucumber.” That expresses A.A.’s belief that an alcoholic will always be alcoholic. That an alcoholic can never go back to drinking in moderation. A.A.

asserts that “Because the illness progresses in stages, some alcoholics show more extreme symptoms than others. Once problem drinkers cross over the line into alcoholism, however they cannot turn back.”1

states that “We understand now that once a person has crossed the invisible borderline from heavy drinking to compulsive alcoholic drinking, that person will always remain an alcoholic. So far as we know, there can never be any turning back to ‘normal’ social drinking.

‘Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic’ is a simple fact we have to live with.”2

A.A. Warning

A.A. warns alcoholics that “After they have been sober a while in A.A., some people tend to forget that they are alcoholics, with all that this diagnosis implies.

Their sobriety makes them overconfident, and they decide to experiment with alcohol again. The results of such experiments are, for the alcoholic, completely predictable.

Their drinking invariably becomes progressively worse.”3

Similar assertions about the assumed inability of alcoholics ever to drink in moderation appear throughout A.A. writings.

In reality that belief is simply an ideological one. And the evidence doesn’t support it. Research for decades has reported that some alcoholics can and do learn to drink in moderation.

However, A.A. defines an alcoholic as a person who can never drink in moderation. Thus members reject the strong and mounting  evidence to the contrary. The common reaction is to argue that the alcoholics really wern’t alcoholic. If they were, they wouldn’t be able to drink in moderation. They use their arbitrary definition to ignore the evidence.

II. Evidence: Some Alcoholics Drink Moderately

When the first scientific evidence was published in 1972, it was met with strong resistance. That was for two main reasons.

  • First, the evidence was a direct threat to A.A.’s theory of alcoholism. The idea that alcoholics drink in moderation was heresy. It was a rejection of faith.
  • Second, there was great fear that some abstaining alcoholics would resume drinking hoping to do so moderately. According to A.A. ideology, all such attempts would be doomed  to certain failure. The results would be disastrous.

In short, the fear was simple to understand. All such evidence was wrong. But much more important, it was very dangerous to the health and very lives of alcoholics.

Major Study

Yet the evidence that some alcoholics can learn to drink in moderation has grown stronger. Federal research showed it years ago. The government conducted nation-wide survey of over 43,000 adults in the U.S. It found that almost 18% (17.7o%) diagnosed alcoholics were moderate drinkers by the time of the study. That is, they consumed within recommended  federal guidelines.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) conducted the study. It also found that about 12%  (11.90%) were then drinkers with no symptoms. However, their consumption patterns increased their chances of relapse.

The NIAAA reported that 27.3 percent were in partial remission That is, they exhibit some symptoms of alcohol dependence. Only one quarter (25.00%) continued to be alcohol  dependent. For more, visit Alcoholics Can Recover from Alcoholism & Drink in Moderation.

So who’s right? A.A. and its ideologial belief that “once a pickle, never again a cucumber”? Or the empirical researchers and their scientific findings?

III. Conclusion

Is Alcoholism a Disease?

Is Alcoholism a Progressive Disease?

We can’t ignore the evidence. Nor should anyone try to dismiss it by definition.

We know that some alcoholics drink moderately whereas others don’t. At this point, we should ask a more important question. “What distinguishes alcoholics who drink  in moderation from those who can’t seem to?”

In the meantime, what should alcoholics do? It’s probably very unwise for abstaining alcoholics to try to begin drinking. Why take an unnecessary chance? Another option might be the medical  Sinclair Method  under the supervision of a  doctor. However, the safest choice is to continue abstaining from alcohol.

In the final analysis, it’s a very personal decision. It’s best to make it in consultation with a qualified  and health care provider.

But remember that this website makes absolutely no suggestions or recommendations about any subject.

Adapted from NIAAA. Survey Finds That Many Recover From Alcoholism. NIAAA press release, Jan19, 2005. The study defined alcohol use disorders and their remission according  to the clinical criteria of the American Psychiatric Association.

IV. References for Alcoholics Drink Moderately?

1. Alcoholics Anonymous. Is There an Alcoholic in Your Life?  AA.’s Message of Hope.

2 __________. This is A .A.  An Introduction to the A.A. Recovery Program, p. 10.

3 __________. Frequently Asked Questions About A.A., p. 31.


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