Alcohol & The Myth Of Moderation

If you’re struggling with what you think may be an addiction to alcohol, well-meaning websites, friends, or family members may suggest that you simply try to drink alcohol in “moderation.” “Just have one drink,” they might say. Or, “don’t drink until after 6pm!” They’re probably just trying to be helpful without being too blunt. They may not know how to help you or may want to avoid being too blunt by calling on you to quit drinking altogether. But by proposing moderation, they may be proposing a solution that is contradictory for your situation. Learn more about the myth of moderation, and get help today.

What is Moderation?

Moderation means approaching alcohol in a balanced way. This may look like only having one drink per night, or simply regulating alcohol intake in some way. Many people can do this with no problem. But if you already think you have a drinking problem or are thinking that you can’t possibly approach alcohol in such a way, then moderation is simply not a helpful way to address an addiction.

Why Moderation Doesn’t Work

This is because, by definition, those who have an addiction to alcohol are unable to moderate their alcohol intake… and addiction is the result. You wouldn’t try to fix any other illness with the cause of the illness. Likewise, you can’t try to fix a drinking problem with the thing that helped to cause it in the first place –an inability to moderate alcohol.

Many people try to approach alcohol moderately, and it results in more suffering. A constant internal debate ensues. One must constantly justify what alcohol they drink and set boundaries for those drinks that are usually quickly swept away. Many people that try to drink moderately end up binging anyway.

Simply changing how much or when you drink won’t solve this problem. Inevitably, most people fall back into alcoholism over and over again, becoming more and more discouraged. Above all, moderation in terms of alcohol use for the addicted is contradictory because it’s asking a vulnerable person to exercise willpower after consuming a mind-altering substance!

What Works

What really helps to ensure sobriety is to quit alcohol altogether—making the decision each day to remain sober, and then repeating that decision day after day. With this approach, there is no internal debate or weak justifications for drinking. You’re not moving the boundary line over and over again. You are refusing to play the game.

There are a few things required for this approach, of course. At the very least, it’s necessary to have a support system of family and friends willing to help keep you accountable and help you avoid putting yourself in situations that will lead to a binge.

Moderation as a Myth

It truly is a myth that moderation is a way to address a drinking problem. It’s not. It’s a way to prolong it without getting help to address it. The reality is that avoiding alcohol altogether is the best way to help ensure you can live a life you love, uninhibited by an addiction to alcohol.

Consider A Sober Living Environment


If you are struggling to stay clean and sober, a sober living environment may be right for you. The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation offers men’s sober living residences in the beautiful coastal region of Charleston, SC.

Contact us today. We would love to talk to you about how we can help.