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Controlled Drinking Helps People Drink Healthier

There are definitely some people who can never return to drinking in spite of undergoing successful alcohol rehab.

For a host of reasons, many of which relate to one's physical and mental health, a return to drinking, even when drinking "responsibly," triggers something in the recovering alcohol abuser or alcoholic's brain that once again leads them to out-of-control drinking.

For others who are not currently dependent on alcohol but who are concerned about their "problem drinking," however, "abstinence or nothing" is not the only reasonable option that's available.

Indeed, many of these individuals can become intelligent and in-control drinkers who adhere to a "controlled drinking approach."

The idea of "controlled drinking" works on the premise that if people have learned how to drink a particular way that is problematic, they can also unlearn this habitual and unhealthy way of drinking.

In other words, controlled drinking helps drinkers realize that the drinking habits they have established are not "set in concrete" and therefore can be altered.

Fortunately, there are controlled drinking programs that usually last several weeks that teach people various techniques and strategies that help drinkers learn how to drink more intelligently and in an in-control manner.

What Has Been Learned in Controlled Drinking Programs?

Controlled drinking programs usually help drinkers learn the following:

  • How to always adhere to a "guideline" that limits one's drinking to no more than two "standard" alcoholic beverages per day.

  • Rather than drinking an alcoholic beverage when facing tension or a hectic day, first have a drink of mineral water, fruit juice, vegetable juice, or a drink that's a combination of half cranberry juice and half soda water and then later in the evening, pour yourself your favorite "standard" alcoholic beverage.

  • If you are a beer drinker and decide to go out "drinking for the evening," maintain your two "standard" drinks per day limit by alternating these two standard bottles of beer with non-alcoholic beer. This way, you can have four bottles of beer for the evening, that is two "standard" beers and two non-alcoholic beers.

  • If you are a wine drinker and decide to go out "drinking for the evening," maintain your two "standard" drinks per day limit by alternating these two standard glasses of wine with non-alcoholic wine. When following this drinking "game plan" you can drink four glasses of wine for the evening, namely, two "standard" glasses of wine and two non-alcoholic glasses of wine.

  • Become an "assertive drinker" who doesn't have a problem saying "no" to another alcoholic drink without feeling like a party-pooper.

  • Keep a daily "drinking diary" to record when and why you drink so that you can develop ways to change your unhealthy and dysfunctional drinking pattern to one that is always healthy and in-control.

  • Develop a "game plan" what to do or who to call when you are either tempted to go beyond your two standard drinks in a day or when you have actually gone beyond this limit.

  • Help drinkers develop ways to eliminate the "hot buttons" that trigger problematic drinking.

What is a "Standard" Drink of Alcohol?

A "standard" drink of alcohol contains approximately 14 grams of pure ethanol alcohol.

The following represents a "standard" drink of alcohol:

  • One glass (5 ounces) of table wine that has a 12% alcohol content.

  • One shot of liquor (1.5 ounces) that has a 40% alcohol content (80-proof).

  • One bottle of beer (12 ounces) that has a 5% alcohol content.

  • One glass of malt liquor (8 or 9 ounces) that has a 7% alcohol content.

Warning: Controlled Drinking is NOT for Alcoholics

So that no one gets the "wrong" impression, it needs to be openly stated that "controlled drinking" is NOT for every person who has a drinking problem.

Indeed, even if a chronic alcohol abuser or an alcoholic successfully goes through an alcohol treatment program, becoming a "controlled drinker" is NOT an option in the vast, vast majority of cases.

Perhaps the main reason for this is that many recovering alcoholics can "relapse" and go back to their out-of-control drinking pattern with just a single drink of alcohol.

If you are a problem drinker and cannot drink in a "controlled" manner, consider making it a priority to talk with an alcohol abuse and alcoholism professional about getting alcohol treatment as soon as possible.

Reference

1. NIAAA

To view the original source for this article, see controlled drinking programs help people drink healthier and smarter.

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