Can alcoholics drink in moderation?
Stew Broward
Stew Broward
min read
When it comes to alcohol rehab, long-term recovery is the main goal. Rehab centers like ours aim to help those with alcoholism achieve sobriety and maintain it. But here’s an interesting question: Can alcoholics drink in moderation?
This question stems from the idea that addiction is caused by excessive and prolonged intake of alcohol. So, if you’re only drinking a few sips once in a while, does it still count as a relapse?
Before we get caught up with a pile of questions here, let us address the main concern below in this brief post.

Is moderate drinking for recovering alcoholics considered relapse?

Can alcoholics drink in moderation?
If you’re in the process of recovering from alcoholism, it’s important to understand how moderate drinking can potentially affect your journey. As someone who has experienced the challenges of addiction, you know that maintaining sobriety is a top priority.
When it comes to moderate drinking, it’s crucial to consider the risks involved. Even though you may feel confident in your ability to control your alcohol consumption, it’s important to recognize that addiction is a complex and ongoing battle. Moderate drinking can easily blur the lines and trigger cravings, which can make it difficult for you to maintain control and potentially lead to a relapse.
Aside from the risk of relapse, moderate drinking can also have negative effects on your physical and mental health. Alcohol can damage your liver, increase the likelihood of developing certain cancers, and impact your overall well-being. This is much so if you’re already dealing with alcohol-related health issues.
Given the progress you’ve made in your recovery journey, prioritizing your health and avoiding any potential setbacks becomes paramount.
Having a strong support system is crucial during this time. Surrounding yourself with understanding friends, family, or support groups can provide the guidance and encouragement you need to stay on track. Also, it’s important to lean on these resources and reach out for help when necessary.
Ultimately, the decision to drink moderately or abstain completely is yours to make. However, it’s important to carefully evaluate the potential risks and consequences. Don’t hesitate to consult with alcohol rehab in Los Angeles, like LA Wellness Home, to help you make the right decision.

Can recovering alcoholics ever drink again?

The question of whether recovering alcoholics can ever drink again is a highly debated topic. While traditional recovery approaches advocate for complete abstinence from alcohol, there’s a growing recognition of non-abstinent recovery as a valid option for some.
Non-abstinent recovery refers to when recovering alcoholics choose to drink moderately rather than abstain completely. Those who swear by this approach believe that it helps them regain control over their relationship with alcohol and live a balanced life. Also, they believe that for some people, complete abstinence may not be necessary or sustainable in the long run.
However, it’s important to note that non-abstinent recovery is not without downsides. Many addiction specialists and support groups maintain attempting to drink moderately can be extremely challenging and potentially lead to relapse.

The risks of drinking in moderation after alcoholism

Controlled drinking for alcoholics is a gray area for many. After all, it can easily tip the balance between recovery and relapse, which is something we always try to avoid.
So, if you’re thinking of taking moderate sips of alcohol after making progress in recovery, you should keep these risks in mind:

1.  Triggering cravings and relapse

As someone who has battled alcohol addiction, you know that even a small amount of alcohol can reignite cravings and trigger a relapse. Also, moderate drinking can blur the lines and make it challenging to maintain control over your alcohol consumption. Before you know it, you’ve wasted months or even years of hard work to achieve recovery.

2.  Loss of inhibitions and impaired judgment

Alcohol affects your ability to make sound decisions and impairs your judgment. Even in moderation, it can lower your inhibitions and increase the likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors that may lead to negative consequences.

3.  Loss of support system.

Engaging in moderate drinking may dishearten your family and friends from supporting you. They may see it as a lack of regard for their efforts to support you throughout your treatment. With that, it’s important to consider the impact that this loss of support can have on your recovery journey.

4.  Slipping back into old habits

Moderate drinking can easily transition into excessive drinking if you’re not vigilant. The line between moderation and excessiveness is a thin one, making it difficult to recognize when you’ve crossed that line until it’s too late.

5.  Difficulty maintaining accountability

Take note that moderate drinking can make it harder to stay accountable for your actions. Without complete sobriety, it becomes more challenging to track and control your alcohol intake. This can potentially lead to a lack of awareness or denial about the amount you’re consuming.

6.  Self-deception and rationalization

Engaging in moderate drinking may lead to self-deception and rationalization. You may convince yourself that you have control over your alcohol consumption, downplaying the potential risks and consequences. This mindset can be dangerous and may hinder your recovery progress. In the end, you might be relapsing and going back to alcohol dependence.

7.  Difficulty recognizing warning signs

Alcoholism and moderate drinking could make it harder to recognize warning signs of relapse. With sobriety as the goal, it becomes easier to identify when you’re slipping back into old patterns or experiencing red flags that indicate a potential relapse.

8.  Negative impact on your mental health

Alcohol is a depressant and can affect your mood and mental health, even in moderate amounts. It can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. This will make it harder to maintain emotional stability and overall well-being.

9.  Worsening underlying health problems

Alcohol, even in moderation, poses health risks. It can damage your liver, increase the risk of certain cancers, and negatively impact your overall well-being. Given the toll alcohol addiction may have already taken on your body, prioritizing your health should be a top concern.

10. Reinforcing addictive patterns

For individuals with a history of alcoholism, moderate drinking can reinforce addictive patterns and behaviors. It can give your brain and body a taste of the substance you were once dependent on. This can potentially lead to a desire for more and a return to excessive drinking. So, with this, non-abstinent recovery isn’t a good idea for those with severe to chronic alcoholism.
So, is moderate drinking possible for alcoholics? If you want to maintain your recovery and avoid all these risks, we recommend that you stay on the path of sobriety.

Healthy coping mechanisms for recovering alcoholics

Can alcoholics drink in moderation?
While harm reduction in alcoholism can work for some, it requires professional supervision. But for the majority of individuals who are recovering from alcoholism, it’s best to stick to healthy coping mechanisms.
The good thing is that an addiction treatment center like LA Wellness Home can provide you with the tools and knowledge to develop these positive habits.
Here are some of the good ways to cope with alcohol addiction recovery without having a cold one again:

1.  Exercise and physical activity

Engaging in regular exercise not only benefits your physical health but also your mental and emotional well-being. It’s because exercise releases endorphins, the feel-good hormones, which can help alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression.
Whether it’s going for a brisk walk, practicing yoga, swimming, or hitting the gym, finding an activity that you enjoy can provide a positive outlet for any pent-up emotions.
Additionally, exercise can help improve sleep quality, and boost self-esteem. Also, it will provide a healthy way to manage your cravings by redirecting your focus to something productive.

2.  Mindfulness and meditation

Mindfulness practices and meditation are helpful in keeping you grounded and present in the moment. By focusing on your breath and observing your thoughts without judgment, you can develop greater self-awareness and emotional resilience against drinking.
Also, regular meditation can help reduce stress, enhance clarity of thought, and foster a sense of inner peace. This practice allows you to acknowledge and accept your feelings instead of drinking alcohol whenever you feel overwhelmed.

3.  Hobbies and creative outlets

You can explore hobbies and creative activities to channel your energy and emotions in a positive direction. For example, you can try painting, playing a musical instrument, gardening, or cooking. This provides a healthy distraction from alcohol and allows for self-expression and personal fulfillment.

4.  Support groups and counseling

Connecting with support groups or seeking professional counseling can provide invaluable support on your journey to recovery. This way, you can get advice about having thoughts of drinking again and how you can manage it.
Aside from that, professional counseling provides an opportunity to explore the underlying factors contributing to your alcohol cravings.

5.  Healthy social connections

Cultivating healthy relationships with friends and family who support your recovery journey will help you avoid drinking. You should surround yourself with positive influences and individuals who uplift and encourage you, which can significantly impact your emotional well-being. This way, you can maintain your sobriety free from alcohol-related pressures.

6.  Self-care practices

Prioritizing self-care is important for maintaining emotional and mental balance throughout your recovery process. Self-care practices may include setting aside time for leisure activities that bring you joy or engaging in relaxation techniques.
It can also be as simple as taking soothing baths or establishing healthy boundaries to prevent you from drinking alcohol.
This way, you’ll have a sense of self-fulfillment while preventing distractions that could lead to drinking.

7.  Maintaining a nutritious diet

Adopting a balanced and nutritious diet will also help maintain your recovery and sobriety. Nutritious food will ensure that you are in shape and less likely to experience mood fluctuations, which is often a trigger to relapse.
Aside from that, you can explore cooking as a way to channel your energy. You can try making new recipes or preparing meals for your family, so you won’t be thinking of drinking again.
And who knows, you might be a good cook and manage to turn this distraction into a food business.

8.  Journaling and Self-reflection

Journaling and self-reflection work as coping mechanisms against alcohol by helping you process your emotions. Through regular writing, you can assess your triggers, cravings, and emotional responses related to alcohol. It provides a safe outlet for you to self-reflect about the idea of moderate drinking.

9.  Volunteering and giving back

You can also use acts of kindness and volunteerism to keep your mind off the idea of drinking again. Giving back allows you to make meaningful connections with others, which is crucial in maintaining sobriety.

10. Seeking professional help

Sobriety is a journey that you don’t have to take alone. You can always approach addiction specialists and rehab centers to guide you in fighting back the urge to drink again.
They can do this through continuous psychoeducation, including therapy, counseling, and wellness activities. Aside from that, rehab centers have an alumni program where you can meet other people who are also on the path to sobriety. From there, you can strengthen your support system even more.
And if all these coping mechanisms aren’t enough to keep your mind off alcohol, a rehab center can help further.

How do you decide what’s right for you?

Moderate drinking while recovering from alcoholism is like walking on a tightrope. Your control is only as good as your sense of balance. And if you don’t have an athletic level of discipline, it’s easy to fall back to your old habits.
Here at LA Wellness Home, we believe that sobriety is always the main goal of rehabilitation. This could only happen if you’re willing to turn your back on the same substance that caused a lot of suffering for yourself and your family.
If you need help managing your cravings or you need advice about maintaining sobriety, don’t hesitate to call us. We can also refer you to our outpatient care facility, where you’ll receive the best mental health support.
If you need help with alcoholism, call us 24/7, and our recovery advocate will assist you.
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