When a person who is dealing with an addiction hears the word “abstinence”, it can be terrifying. Many people have a visceral response to being deprived of something they have become dependent on.
Their reaction is akin to a willingness to do just about anything as long as it doesn’t mean stopping the thing they are addicted to forever. Is entire abstinence the only way to end addiction?
If a person has a strong addiction, abstinence is the safest, surest, and most straightforward way to stop repeating past behaviors. Some people try to ease their way into breaking away from a substance they are addicted to.
However, the simplest way to eliminate the problems caused by addiction is to go for complete abstinence. It is much easier to give up something bad for you entirely than trying to moderate or control addictive behavior.
Many studies have proven that irrespective of the method used to get sober, the primary factor in success is the ability to commit to stop using the offending substance permanently. In other words, it is complete abstinence.
What Does It Take to Commit to Abstinence?
It does take mental determination to pursue the course of abstinence and stick to it. Most people will try the gradual approach or attempt to moderate their substance use. Only after they fail time and time again and suffer the negative consequences of failure do they get fed up with their addictive behavior to the point where they decide to give abstinence a try.
When a person first starts a recovery program, it can take some time to set their mind on a commitment to abstinence. Abstinence must be something you are committed to and not something you want to do if it is possible. Create a program, stick with the program, and let the decision to abstain from substances solidify in your brain and affect you emotionally. That is when you know you are ready to commit.
But Is Abstinence the Only Option?
In some cultures, a minuscule percentage of people who have gone to recovery for alcohol abuse can return to moderate drinking. Still, the chances of long-term success are not clear.
When you weigh things on the scale, the risk associated with moderate alcohol or substance consumption for someone who has battled with addiction is usually not worth the consequences of completely falling off the wagon and giving in to the addiction. If a person’s personal, financial, and familial life has been a disaster because of addiction, why play around with the moderate use of an addicting substance if the risk exists of returning to that depressing lifestyle?
It is beneficial for anyone thinking they can control their substance use after giving themselves over to addiction in the past to do an honest self-examination. Ask questions like:
- •What has been the pattern in your life?
- How successful have you been at moderation?
- What are the pros and cons of putting yourself at risk of falling back into addiction?
Answering these questions honestly can help recovering addicts determine whether abstinence or moderation is the correct answer. Of course, abstinence is not a realistic option in all cases. For example, if a person is addicted to eating or has sexual addictions, abstinence is either not possible or prudent. In these instances, being committed to moderation is crucial to success.
Make a Commitment and Stick to It
Don’t commit yourself to abstinence until you are sure that you are ready to go down the path to sobriety. Also, remember that a commitment to abstinence is not a commitment to perfection. This doesn’t mean that you have a license to relapse. However, the reality is that most people take a few steps back on the road to sobriety.
Are you ready to get started? We want to help you. Call us today at 954-523-1167. We look forward to hearing from you.