Moderation Management Shows Benefits, Raises Questions

WineDrinkerA study out of The Journal of Groups in Addiction & Recovery examined the benefits of Moderation Management (MM) and while it offers some promise to alcoholics, questions remain.

Moderation Management is a stepped recovery program designed to help problem drinkers establish a realistic target to keep their drinking under control without demanding complete abstinence. Participants are given tools to customize the drinking behavior they think most appropriate.

The study found one overarching benefit: the attractiveness of a program that didn’t require entirely stopping drinking made it much more likely that problem drinkers would seek help. This is in contrast to AA or other abstinence based programs where the focus is on avoiding alcohol altogether. The result of a more tolerant stance was a greater penetration into the drinking community and a reach that abstinence based programs couldn’t match.

On the questions remaining side, the researchers were unable to determine how effective Moderation Management was. There was also concern about goal setting because participants vary in what they wish to accomplish, with some drinking much more than others. Typically, one of the problems with self paced programs is a denial of how bad problems actually are and how much behavior really needs to change.

Still, when all was said and done, pending further research to answer outstanding questions, the program was deemed beneficial, and even more so when participants had access to other, concurrent treatment options.

Also of interest was the mention that online participation in any type of program (Moderation Management has a robust online, virtual meeting forum) yielded results equivalent to a short-term professional treatment program. This alone represents a huge cost savings and boost in “ease of access” – valuable features in their own right.

For now, it looks as though Moderation Management is here to stay. More can be found at the Moderation Management website.

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