Many people decide to give up drinking for one reason or another. For some people, these are health or financial reasons, and some just don’t like the way the alcohol feels, but for others it becomes a necessity. If you’re an alcoholic, you can’t control how much alcohol you drink, and it starts affecting everyone and your whole life. However, if you have managed to control your drinking problem, you may be wondering why you must be sober all the time. Can recovering alcoholics ever drink again?
Purpose of treating alcohol addiction
The goal of addiction treatment is to help stop drug use, remain drug-free, and increase productivity. The goal of abstinence is similar. It consists in stopping the consumption of alcohol, remaining without alcohol, and thus achieving productivity again. The goal of abstinence versus controlled drinking is hotly debated. Some people find it unreal to abstain from alcohol forever. They believe that controlled drinking is a more achievable goal. On the other hand, others think abstinence is the only viable option, because drinking in moderation is too dangerous and can cause a serious relapse.
Alcoholism and alcohol abuse
Alcoholism is an addiction. It is a chronic disease, which by definition is a disease that persists. For someone to drink in moderation, they cannot be addicted.
Not everyone who drinks excessively or abuses alcohol has alcoholism. Not everyone who is seeking treatment for drinking is an alcoholic.
Someone who abuses alcohol simply drinks too much, but eventually can stop or limit drinking if they want. These are people who quit drinking, sometimes for a long time, and then easily go back to social drinking. However, these people are not addicted to alcohol.
An alcoholic is someone who has become addicted to alcohol and continues to drink despite the negative consequences. They engage in compulsive drinking and are unable to control it, even if they harm themselves or others. They can’t stop drinking, even if they want to.
What is drug-assisted treatment (MAT)?
Drug-assisted treatment is a method of treating substance use disorders by combining treatment, counseling and behavioral therapy. This approach applies to the whole individual, trying to address both the biological and behavioral aspects of addiction.
Although medications alone sometimes help reduce drinking, they are often most effective when combined with therapy and counseling.
Why not me
Alcoholism is a disease like any other. In fact, alcohol is one of the leading causes of death that can be prevented in the United States. Therefore, it should be treated as a real disease, using real treatment. Some people view alcoholism as a moral or social problem instead of a disease that requires treatment. So you may be tempted to think, “If they can drink, why can’t I?”
This kind of thinking can lead to problematic behavior. Instead, we must think of alcoholism as a disease requiring treatment. If you’re struggling with alcoholism, treatment is the first step to getting back to a satisfying and healthy lifestyle. Life without alcohol can still be fun and full. Learning to live without drinking is the first step to making the most of your life.