moderation with addiction


Addiction recovery is a journey with ups and downs and is a very personal one for each individual. Many schools of thought exist about what works best in recovery from total abstinence of any drugs, alcohol or substances to moderation as key to a long lasting recovery. The idea of moderation in recovery can be controversial so it is important to understand why this can also be a dangerous precedent to set when considering recovery options.


Slippery Slope

A person who has addiction is not able to control the amount or frequency of substance use. Controlled drinking programs or occasional use of marijuana or other substances in recovery have not proven very successful as they are most likely the exception to the rule. Cravings play a huge role in addiction even if the person with addiction is no longer physically dependent upon the chosen substance. Seeing the drug, being around others who use it or hearing a person talk about it can trigger a relapse and even a return to addictive patterns of behavior.



The first few years of recovery are key to staying focused on building strength for the long journey ahead. Keeping cravings under control can be very difficult without the right support.

A person who indulges the cravings with just one ‘puff’ or one ‘drink’ most likely will not feel the cessation of cravings. The fact is they will grow stronger and as addiction progresses it is important to remain vigilant and diligent about ‘slipping.’ Taking the first drink can lead to more which can lead to six, then twelve and so on until the individual slips back into active addiction.


To Moderate or Not

Moderation may seem like a great way to have one’s cake and eat it too. Attempting to moderate use of drugs or alcohol if a person is not yet ready for treatment can be tempting as few persons with addiction find treatment a desirable option. Some may attempt to limit their own behavior and modify drinking or substance use without help. The reality is an individual may enter treatment more than once before finally getting sober, it all depends on the person’s willingness to succeed and enter into recovery. Rehab programs are seen as the last resort for people who struggle to face addiction head on but moderation of one’s own behavior is less likely to be successful without the support of treatment professionals, groups, family and friends. The benefits of enjoying a moderated lifestyle of substance or drug use are far outweighed by the risks of overdose, accidents or return to a lifestyle of active addiction complete with consequences to the individual and loved ones. To enter sobriety with a mindset focused on total abstinence is one which requires strength, fortitude and support to help guide the person towards success now and in the long run.


Hired Power provides support for individuals who seek help with addiction. If you or a loved one need help, call today at 800-910-9299 to find out how we can support your journey to recovery.