If you’ve ever tried to complete dry January, then you know how hard it can be to live a sober lifestyle. Unfortunately, so much of how we socialize as adults revolves around alcoholic beverages. Drinks are served up at birthdays, lunches and dinner, nights out at the comedy club or theater and so on. People typically ask you to catch up over either coffee or a drink. Unfortunately, this is precisely why Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) doesn’t feel right for a lot of people. Many individuals don’t believe they have enough of a problem that they need to abstain from alcohol entirely. So, perhaps the idea of moderating alcohol intake is more appealing. That’s exactly the basis of a new(ish) program for alcohol abuse: Moderation Management (MM).
What Is Moderation Management?
Most people are familiar with AA, but let’s introduce you to MM. Simply put, MM is a moderate drinking program that provides a solution other than complete abstinence. Moderation Management is a program that looks to set guidelines to help people who struggle with their alcohol intake.
Individuals who participate in the managed moderation program first start with 30 days of sobriety. After that, participants slowly reintroduce alcohol to their routine. However, the MM program sets clear guidelines. Men stick to a maximum of 14 drinks a week, while women stick to nine. Additionally, program members shouldn’t drink on more than three or four days a week.
For many individuals who feel they’re stuck in between not quite having an alcohol issue but drinking more than they think they should, MM offers a plan they can easily follow. Additionally, individuals can attend MM meetings to discuss where they are and how they’re coping. Unlike AA, moderation management meetings aren’t necessarily meant to be therapeutic — although they often are. And similar to AA, the meetings for moderation are anonymous.
History of Moderation Management
MM has a shocking history in many ways. The program was initially founded in 1994 by Audrey Kishline. Unfortunately, the very program that Kishline created was one that worked for others but not for herself. She left the program when she realized that moderation was not something she could stick to. Kishline was an AA member for a while but sadly had a relapse and killed a father and daughter in a drunk driving accident in 2000. She went to prison for her crime and was released in 2003 but committed suicide in 2014.
As anyone would guess, the founder’s dark history with drinking did little to help MM’s following for a while. However, in recent years there has been growing attention to the problems of excessive alcohol. As a result, people have started to turn to alcohol moderation management programs for help. Moderation Management has finally managed to set itself apart from its founder’s mistakes and has grown in popularity.
Looking at the MM Alcohol Program: The Benefits and Problems
The rules that MM provides can help people understand when they’re going overboard. For example, a person who has one glass of wine every night may think they’re okay, but under MM, they’re breaking the rules. It’s crucial that people give their body a break from alcohol every few days, and the MM rules generally encourage this. Individuals can’t drink every day of the week. So, for some, MM alcohol rules can be a good moderator for not being in excess.
Unfortunately, those same rules are also problematic in some ways. Recent research in this field has shown that our previous understanding of how much we can drink without negatively impacting our health was incorrect. Some studies indicate that drinking more than 100 grams of alcohol (approximately seven standard glasses of beer or wine) per week increases the risk of death in all alcohol-related causes. As MM rules allow men to drink up to 14 alcoholic beverages per week, there is growing evidence that these may be dangerous guidelines.
Is MM the Right Path for Some People?
If you’re facing your drinking, you’ve probably tried to moderate it before, with little success. The structure and support groups found in MM are likely similar to AA, but with tolerance and more trust put into the person who has a drinking problem. The simple fact is that if you’re considering any program at all, a part of you likely knows that your drinking is uncontrollable. If you’ve been unable to moderate your drinking on your own, many would ask why you think this program will be any different.
Of course, there is a moderation management success rate. What that success rate is exactly is unclear. There are no long-term studies that can provide concrete insights into the program’s success. But walk into any MM meeting and you’ll find people who boast that it’s the answer to their problems.
The answer to whether MM will work for you lies with each individual person. MM may help some people moderate their drinking, but this program is not the answer for those who are truly alcoholics. Addiction is a disease that leaves one powerless over drugs or alcohol. This disease is not a choice, so believing you can control it when you have an addiction can be dangerous and naive.
Many medical professionals will willingly share their concern that MM is another fad in addiction treatment that will go out the window in a few years. Instead, individuals struggling with addiction should likely stick to clinical intervention and abstinence as the best path forward.
It’s important to remember that alcohol addiction can have devastating impacts on the individual and their loved ones. People who battle addiction can hurt themselves, hurt others, damage their health, make irresponsible choices and even risk prison time or death. If you have a history of problems where alcohol is the root cause, it’s not the time to play around with new forms of treatment. Professional programs of therapy and abstinence have been successful for thousands of people to reclaim control of their lives and move on from addiction. When it comes to your health, go with the method that has proven success.
Addiction Treatment at FHE Health
FHE Health has over 15 years of treating alcohol addiction with various programs that help people through withdrawal, treatment and post-rehab care. Our caring medical staff will help you get better today. Book a consultation by calling (833) 596-3502 or reaching out to us online.