Why don’t we have more abstinence based programs?

Why don’t we have more abstinence based programs?

I came across this piece and thought I would put a link to it on the site. http://www.rehabs.com/pro-talk-articles/why-dont-we-have-more-non-abstinence-treatment-programs/#.VBK-OuqcpM0.twitter I have read quite a bit about harm reduction methods over the last year and am sorry that I was not aware of them, when I needed some help a few years ago. For most people AA is the first recovery group that people hear about when they attempt to stop drinking and the idea of an abstinence only method, is the only way to go.

How to change your drinking

I think non abstinence methods are great for people who are young and have not got into the dreaded cycle of relapsing. They are much more appropriate, than sending somebody to a 12 step group and telling them they have a disease. the religious side puts a lot off and many are not ready to completely give up. I found many people in AA in America, would not even be classed as a problem drinker in the UK, while others clearly needed some help simply cutting down rather than a life time of meetings.

People like myself went on drinking for many years and have found that complete abstinence has been a good solution. I think many in the UK have decided to stop completely as so much of British culture revolves around drinking compared to the norm in the USA. This makes it hard for them to moderate in a safe way. In spite of this, Harm Reduction and non abstinence methods may still help those who attempt complete abstinence but end up relapsing often. This happens a lot to people in AA, who binge after a relapse when they have convinced themself they are powerless. I saw people have nasty accidents after doing this.

Anyway, the post I have linked to presents some good ideas for those who want an alternative to believing they have a disease that can only be stopped by a higher power, such as the 12 step way or those who are not wanting to stop.


Commenting area

  1. I know that abstinence is best for me because I drank to control my OCD and Depression. I have finally gotten help for these problems, but I had such an engrained pattern of drinking for relief that I just can’t afford to drink, since I will always have my mental health issues to some degree.

    I wish Harm Reduction had been a choice when I was having so many problems. I feel like my underlying problems that I drank to try to control would have been addressed in an atmosphere that was not polluted by devotion to the steps.

  2. I find abstinance s best as well. I have completely changed my outlook on life over the years and have a lifestyle that is so faraway from the one I had when I was drinking. However I feel that I was put off seeking help when I was younger by the idea of abstinance even though I reralised I had a problem, and if I had been aware of harm reduction at that stage it may have helped me come to terms with my problems much earlier. I also had a period of stopping on my own, which would often end in binges, and perhaps that could have been avoided if I had found out more about addiction. I left things too long before I acted and then went to AA, which was the start of my long term recovery, but I was not a fan of the religious side of the program, and found a lot of the ideas there unhelpful.

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