Controlled Drinking Found To Be More Successful In Combating Alcohol Addiction

There is an alternative treatment approach for addiction that many countries have adopted called “controlled drinking”.  As opposed to our American “abstinence-only treatment” though, this treatment continues to cause controversy in the alcohol field. In the US, alcohol dependence is typically depicted as a ‘recurring disease’ and the ‘successful abstainer’ is considered as ‘recovering’ though never a ‘recovered’ alcoholic.


A critical review proposes that the provision of abstinence and controlled drinking in the name of ‘best clinical practice’ are both viable practices. Despite 35 years of evidence supporting controlled drinking as a treatment option controlled drinking in the US is still often seen as an interim goal on the way to abstinence or a goal that is just doomed to fail.


There is research, by Prochaska and DiClemente (1986) which is almost universally accepted recognizing that people often move through a cycle of drinking many times before achieving any long-term success. In this way a relapse is accepted as part of a cycle of change and not as failure. This seems to verify both the thought process and validity behind the spiritual approach of the law of attraction. For it may take several cycles of drinking before the individual has built up enough energy to attract the final faithful action of controlling the addiction.


In ten-year follow-up studies Booth (1990) demonstrated that controlled drinking may be an appropriate choice for not only young people new to dependency, but also an appropriate choice for the severely dependent. There seems to be no hard and fast rule for who is a candidate for controlled drinking and the clinician must help in the determination of suitability.


Though America is slow to accept control drinking as a treatment alternative, for over 30 years most of Europe has incorporated controlled drinking as one of their goal choices for patients. Most feel this is due to the type of language used to describe controlled drinking. When discussing controlled drinking in terms of sensible drinking or moderation there is less confrontation and fewer arguments of its merits as a treatment modality.


To access what type of treatment a patient is best suited for, many feel that the best way is through the use of motivational interviewing. This approach gives the client and the therapist the ability to negotiate change from a non-judgmental approach and to accommodate a range of goals and choices to help with alcohol dependency.


However resolved, by either attaining abstinence or controlled drinking it is always difficult and considered a huge achievement for those who do succeed.


The need to develop rapport and help the individual to do a detailed assessment of their own desires to achieve either total abstinence or controlling their drinking by drinking in sensible amounts on special occasions only is critical in determining whether to use controlled drinking or any other approach.


Rapport can only be developed when an individual feels non-judgment, understanding and empathy in treatment. This is only possible when as healers we are in a state of universal oneness, when we have the ability to allow God energy to work through us. Successful rapport can be established and work if we access this energy.


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Dr. Lewis Jordan has over 20 years experience in psychotherapy, counseling, education and public speaking. Dr. Lewis Jordan’s Psychotherapy ServicesFlorida therapy offices for Therapy & Neurofeedback Services are located in various locations throughout South Florida as well as offices in New York City and South Carolina.  Please click here for Dr. Lewis Jordan’s current Educational Videos

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