New research from a University in Sweden proves that abstinence is a more successful method for addiction treatment than moderation. Of 201 adults in the research who were studied two and a half years after treatment, an overwhelming 90% of abstinence patients were successful at multi-year long term sobriety. Additionally, the study found, that it is actually more difficult to try to “stick” with controlled drinking as opposed to just following abstinence. Even reward systems (rewards for the brain through the material of alcohol) encouraging controlled drinking) don’t work. The research found that only 50% of those who attempted to control their drinking were able to do so.
A vast majority of treatment centers and fellowship style meeting programs like Alcoholics Anonymous advocate for abstinence. Unfortunately, due to the nature of addiction and alcoholism, the fear of abstaining entirely from drugs or alcohol can prevent treatment. Most people in recovery can testify that the cravings, desires, and obsessions do go away in time, but certainly recycle themselves through each spurt of relapse.