Can Moderation Be Part Of Recovery From Alcoholism?

Moderation is defined as “the avoidance of excess or extremes, especially in one’s behavior”. Alcoholism could be seen as an excess of alcohol, consumed in the extreme amount. There are some who are able to return to drinking in a moderate way for a lifetime. People can experience alcoholism without developing chemical dependency, or, they might experience some levels of chemical dependency, yet return to consuming alcohol regularly. As “The Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous quips, “If anyone who is showing inability to control his drinking can do the right-about-face and drink like a gentleman, our hats are off to him.” The book continues to explain, “Physicians who are familiar with alcoholism agree there is no such thing as making a normal drinker out of an alcoholic. Science may one day accomplish this, but it hasn’t done so yet.” Every year Alcoholics Anonymous, the official title for the book, is put under review in order to modernize the book or change the text in anyway. The text is over 80 years old and has seen minimal edits or changes. Science has not yet “cured” alcoholism or found a way to prevent full alcoholic relapse in recovering alcoholics.

Moderation might be possible for some. More often than not, someone who has fully developed a chemical dependency on alcohol will realize it is not possible for them to have just one drink or drink in moderation. The memory associations and relationship to alcohol is so deeply, chemically ingrained, that full alcoholic relapse is inevitable, even if it takes weeks or years to get there. For those who can drink in moderation, the negative side effects of alcoholism do not go away. Alcohol is still a harmful toxin to the brain and the body.

New research from England, conducted by the University of Oxford and the University College London examined 550 healthy men and women and their weekly alcohol intake, for over 30 years. The study wanted to see the relationship between “moderation” in alcohol consumption and effects of the brain. Participants who drank more than 30 units of alcohol per week, approximately 17-18 glasses of alcohol, had a higher risk of brain damage- a three times higher risk.


Abstinence is a lifestyle choice, a health choice, and a choice for life. Living without drugs and alcohol is not only possible but enjoyable. At LEAD Recovery Center, we show clients how to make the most of life in healthy, recovery focused ways through adventure and nature therapy in addition to leadership and mentorship. The goal of our transitional care programs is to help each client achieve full autonomy in their lives. Call us today at 800-380-0012.