Controlled drinkingIf you have been suffering from alcohol addiction, you will know that having “just one drink” rarely works, and more often than not, it leads to another one and another one. For that reason, a very common treatment for alcoholism, also advocated by world-renowned Alcoholics Anonymous group, is to go “cold turkey” and abstain from alcohol forever to achieve a meaningful and long-last recovery.

However, in recent years, another method has been bringing controversy to the world of alcohol addiction treatment, although it has shown itself to be effective: controlled drinking.


How Does Controlled Drinking Treatment Work?

Addictions are about people losing control over the consumption of a substance or over a behaviour which harm them. Controlled drinking is based on the concept that, with professional guidance, alcoholism can be treated by helping the person gradually reclaim power over their addiction, and because they feel in control, the recovery is built on solid foundations.

It is easy to see how this method could feed controversy. However, recent experiments in other medical areas would support this conclusion: for example, it has been demonstrated that terminally-ill patients allowed to self-administer pain relief medication actually used less than would have been prescribed by doctors – empowerment actually resulted in better pain management. When it comes to using a similar approach to alcohol addiction, international studies have also shown that it is a viable solution in many cases.

Controlled drinking may not be suitable for all alcoholics, especially if there are some life-threatening conditions involved such as cirrhosis, but it will be an effective treatment for many. Alcohol abuse is a repetitive behaviour, which can therefore be modified, through setting goals. For example, your goal may be that you will make one drink last for an hour, rather than your usual 20 minutes, or that you will wait a certain amount of time between two drinks, which will reduce your consumption.

The prospect of having to stop drinking suddenly, with all the accompanying withdrawal symptoms, can prove such a daunting prospect that many individuals will not consider any treatment at all, defeated by the task even before they have attempted it. On the other hand, controlled drinking treatment, although it requires commitment and work too, can be perceived as more achievable and can even become the stepping stone which will eventually lead alcohol-dependent individuals to decide to abstain altogether.


Alcohol Addiction Counselling in Auckland at the Robert Street Clinic

The Robert Street Clinic consists of a team of clinicians specialised in the treatment of addictions. Whether you need the support of a psychotherapist, psychologist, counsellor, or medical treatment to cope with the effect of withdrawal, we have it all.

If you are looking for alcohol counselling in Auckland and are ready to reduce your drinking but feel that sudden abstinence is not right for you, contact us or call us on 09 973 5950 for professional advice on how you can take the first step to recovery with controlled drinking.