Alcohol Moderation- Can people cut back OR do they have to stop completely?

Alcohol moderation

Recently on Reddit, someone was communicating with me back and forth about her boyfriends drinking alcohol excessively and then becoming mean. The girl indicated that he was so nice/kind whenever he wasn't drinking. The boyfriend had a relapse on a special occasion. She was commenting about wanting her boyfriend to be able to have 1 or 2 drinks (especially during celebrations/special occasions) but not let the alcohol get out of hand. Click this link to learn why things always seem to go bad during special occasions.

I got the impression that she was also worried that she would also have to stop drinking if he had to stop.

This is a normal question/desire.

This is a question about ALCOHOL MODERATION. Both people in recovery and their families want to know...Can people CUT BACK, or do they have to STOP COMPLETELY?

Often if one person asks a question, it's an indicator that several people have the same question. I thought I'd post my response here, just in case there are other people out there that are having a similar issue.

I completely understand what you're saying about wanting/needing him to be able to moderate his drinking. I'm pretty open-minded and believe there are many pathways to recovery. I like to consider myself non-denominational recovery. I like all the pathways and believe recovery is different for each person.

That being said, most (I'm guessing about 95%) of people who come into my office eventually decide for themselves that NOT drinking is easier than trying to moderate. There's a lot of biology behind why that's the case.

The best way I know how to explain it is...It's like playing Russian Roulette. Most people can manage their drinking sometimes, but eventually, the bottom drops out. And you never know when that time will be. And when the bottom does drop out, It's BAD! It's not that people can't ever drink manage-ably, it's more that they can't consistently and accurately predict what's going to happen when they drink.

As those bad drinking episodes continue to occur, the person does more and more damage to their relationships and self-esteem which only fuels the drinking even more. This is why so many people decide it's easier to stop altogether.

The way you talk about the 2 different versions of him, makes me think it's likely that he could be in this category. But that's a total guess. I don't know him and I've only read a few paragraphs that you wrote about the issue, so please don't take that as a certainty!

Even if it turns out that he can't moderate, it doesn't mean you have to stop drinking (although it will likely require some lifestyle shift in the short term).

In this video, I go more in depth into this very issue!

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