Moderation Management: A Recovery Option For Problem Drinkers

Are friends and family giving you a hard time about your happy hour habit? Are you able to manage, limit and control your drinking or do you have a more serious problem with alcohol? The debate continues in the world of recovery, especially as more problem drinkers successfully discover that learning to moderate their problem drinking may trump a life of total abstinence. If they can, that is. It doesn't work for everyone. Moderation Management or MM, like AA consists of meetings, peer support and online services to support problem drinkers.

Just for the record, MM would prefer that clients maintain a 30-day period of abstinence as a suggestion to test whether one can abstain from alcohol for a short period of time (it also gives the brain a break from alcohol). This test also provides an opportunity to shine the light on your lifestyle, patterns and habits, and the role that alcohol likely plays in your life. Which opens the door for you to really think about the nature of your relationship with alcohol. Is it your primary relationship? Is drinking your main hobby or preoccupation? How would your life, your work, your relationships improve without alcohol? Can you seriously commit and maintain a life of moderation, or is abstinence a better (and possibly the only) option for you? These are all really good, and difficult questions to kick around. The 30-day without alcohol trial gives clients an opportunity to understand and evaluate personal strengths and weaknesses (with a clear head!) and sort out one's priorities.

If you're at a point in your life where you're ready to get some help, click on the Moderation Management website FAQs to help clarify whether your drinking is a problem, or not. Have a look at this article from one of my favorite addiction websites The Fix on how to moderate your problem drinking. Also read these articles from Psychology Today: Abstinence is Not the Only Option and Toast to Moderation. Some have found the book How to Change Your Drinking: A Harm Reduction Guide to Alcohol, by Kenneth Anderson helpful. If meetings and support groups are of interest to you, consider SMART which stands for self-management and recovery training.

Moderation Management is not the appropriate solution for all problem drinkers and abstinence is the only option for many. There is a subgroup of MM members who would certainly meet the formal diagnostic criteria for alcohol dependence. These are individuals who report blackouts, shaking when not intoxicated, delirium tremens, convulsions and cravings for alcohol when waking or who have experienced consequences related to legal issues, harm to themselves and others, and problems with their job, health, and family situation. If you're not sure about whether you are alcohol dependent vs a problem drinker, and to ensure your safety, it is important to work with a mental health expert to help you figure it out. You can then smartly create a treatment plan that best supports your recovery. An addiction expert can help make distinctions between problem drinkers who are able to return to moderate drinking and those individuals who are not.

Please google or find on iTunes these APPS that may serve as companions in your recovery. Some of the apps below may provide helpful skills and tools to address any underlying issues that drive your problem drinking such as trauma, depression, PTSD, eating disorders, anxiety and more:

Practice acceptance, try compassion and change what you can. Take care, KS

NYC Therapist Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a skilled Psychotherapist, Relationship and Stress Reduction Expert in New York City. She provides therapy, EMDR & Coaching to individuals and couples.

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a licensed Psychotherapist, EMDR Therapist and Personal Coach with a private practice in New York City. As a clinician who is passionate about the interplay between mind and body, she practices mind-body psychotherapy, providing holistic counseling and coaching for her clients. Her counseling modalities include: psychoanalytic psychotherapy EMDR therapy, CBT, DBT, mindfulness, crisis counseling and coaching with expertise in anxiety, depression, pain and chronic disease management, eating disorders (anorexia, binge eating, bulimia), addictions, alcoholism, trauma resolution, relationship + marital difficulties, women's issues (postpartum depression, new parent, divorce, separation, hormone imbalance), performance blocks, self-defeating behaviors, loss, grief, loneliness, self-esteem issues, post-rehab support and sexual problems. Via Skype, Kim Seelbrede provides life coaching, executive, personal and career coaching. Kim Seelbrede works with celebrities and high-profile individuals as well as high-level entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 executives around the world including London, Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Connecticut and Washington. Her professional personal and executive coaching services are tailored to each clients individual needs and targets concerns such as feeling stagnate and stuck, self-assertion, self-sabotage, substance abuse, pain management, chronic illness, work/life balance, performance problems, communication challenges, anxiety and stress management/reduction.

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Beauty Queen: A Memoir to be released late 2016