Moderation Management (MM) is a peer based support group offered as an alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous or other abstinence based and/or 12 step programs. AA is focused on complete abstinence as are many other 12 step programs but MM suggests an alternative that includes the ability to drink moderately. Members are encouraged to set realistic goals to manage their drinking of alcohol and there is plenty of help by attending meetings by phone or in person. Moderation Management has also have developed other resources. Members who use the resources available and participate regularly are able to share with each other and learn to moderate their drinking. Some eventually choose to abstain completely from drinking. Sometimes a coffee and cookies outside the meeting at a coffee shop will offer new members the opportunity to share with more experienced members their struggles. Sometimes members are not able to attend treatment for alcohol abuse due to financial constraints or the inability to take time off work. Each person has to decide for themselves if their drinking has become such a problem that they need to consider getting help from a Dr., treatment or some form of complete abstinence. Members would like to achieve drinking alcohol in moderation but they can also choose to abstain at some point. By sharing their experiences, members do not desert hope and instead come to believe they can still drink alcohol in moderation. Moderation Management is not a treatment program or a rehab. Some treatment centers, like Ria Health offer a program similar to MM.
The program was started in 1994 and was designed for non-dependant drinkers who want help moderating their use of alcohol. Non-dependant drinkers are individuals who have not become dependent on alcohol but drink excessively either occasionally or regularly. By drawing on the experiences of early members, the program grew. Success will often motivate other members to open new groups and the program grows. Moderation Management believes that some individuals are not suffering from a disease of alcoholism but have simply learned bad behaviors. Approximately 30% of mm members will transition to an abstinence lifestyle but some will continue to attend and use the many tools available. Drinking in moderation is considered possible by those in the program but some come to accept abstinence as the only alternative to their problem. Moderation Management makes no promises to members or offers any suggestions about choosing abstinence. There is a prescribed program for members to follow and many helpful suggestions.
Steps of Change allows the individual to break the process down into manageable steps and give a person the ability to achieve realistic goals The ‘Guide to Moderation Management – Steps to Change’ book is a comprehensive guide. This program is a behavioral change system that includes testimonials from members who have had a positive experience. There is other literature available and some of the literature is from outside of mm. The goal is to help individuals self recognize their drinking habits, accept personal responsibility and then empower them to make better choices. By becoming part of the group, members help each other to maintain the behavioral changes required to drink in a more responsible manner or transition to abstinence based recovery.
Moderation Drinking Alcohol
Drinking alcohol in moderation can offer many benefits to health and even daily use is not an indication of a health or addiction problem. Moderation Management is an alternative to abstinence based programs where members share with each other their successes. Drinking in moderation will benefit the individuals but abuse of alcohol will mar the experience of the drinker and those around them. By meeting regularly, members are able to deal with any positive and negative experiences in a new way. Treatment of substance abuse is not always about addiction. Treatment centers, and rehabs are not what every person experiences. A review of their behavior shows that excessive drinking of alcohol is a problem and moderation is desirable. Almost all treatment involves seeing substance abuse as addiction and the health consequences are portrayed as significant. Insurance companies will likely prefer treatment for members who have a goal of abstinence. Some people would like an alternative if they can modify their behavior and learn to drink in a responsible manner. By maintaining a connection to the others in the peer support group, members can freely determine if their self-management is working and incorporate new ideas into their recovery.
Treatment and rehab options are abundant on social media where they appear to focus much of their advertising. Facebook and Twitter can use the information about your alcohol searches or clicks stored in cookies and can direct your social media feeds in a way to highlight alcohol and treatment. Google searches will influence your internet feed as well. In fact, Facebook and Twitter can remind us of the opportunity to enjoy alcohol but also mar the experiences of individuals who struggle with the issues related to drinking which is an unfortunate side effect of cookies. These options can mar an individual’s experiences who might not be ready or willing to try a complete abstinence based treatment. Every time you press enter on your keyboard, the resulting pages can trigger feelings that are difficult to manage alone. The benefit of a peer support system is that you are no longer alone. By making healthy choices, self-esteem improves and making better choices becomes easier as well.
Some members participate in medication based treatment prescribed by a Dr. which could be covered by insurance. Moderation Management does not offer any recommendations for members regarding the use of medications and relies on members setting goals for their health in the moderation of the use of alcohol. When they share their treatment, or talk about past abuse issues with drinking of alcohol, individuals find they are able to moderate their drinking or choose to try complete abstinence. The benefit of sharing with others in the recovery program is that the successes are multiplied and the burdens are halved. Reducing the harm caused by drinking excessively is a realistic goal for many, and success is possible.
Moderation in other aspects of life are beneficial as well and not just for the health of a person but in all areas including mental and spiritual for some. Members share about their addiction to drinking alcohol. Other substances (even cookies!) can become addictive. By working a program of moderation, by sharing their experiences with others, it helps and is a different approach to treatment options. A daily run has benefits to the recovery process which, when shared with the group, might encourage others to start. A complete program of recovery can include so many things. Ongoing issues with drinking excessively and dealing with the consequences can still be an issue. In a safe, non-judgemental environment created by the members, you can decided for yourself what is working and what isn’t working. Some members of mm still decide that abstinence is the path for them. By freely making the choice, it empowers the individual to change their recovery and seek a new balance with the support of the group.
Whether you go to treatment or rehab or simply try and moderate your drinking on your own, mm offers to help. Rather than mar the experiences of the individual seeking help, one of the ‘cookies’ of the program is the opportunity to share with others and receive encouragement. There are many health benefits to drinking alcohol. If a person is able to moderate their drinking, and their Dr. doesn’t raise concerns about addiction, then ‘why not’ is an idea that is discussed. Users of Twitter and Facebook or searches of web pages will have content related to alcohol for recipes and show groups of people meeting socially to drink. Being part of a social group can be important to many people and drinking in moderation can be achievable by some. The press will often portray the worst cases of alcohol abuse and mar the idea of drinking responsibly. Help is available. A Dr. might share with his or her patient some guidelines about daily consumption of alcohol. Alcohol consumption in moderation is beneficial to health. Some patients will try and find programs to help but are not ready to commit to abstinence. Whatever choices a person makes, they can seek the guidance and support of the group. The new information others learn will benefit new members and old, who might need to hear some different ideas.
Substance abuse of drugs is not something a person is wanting to share on Facebook or Twitter. Another person might be completely comfortable with their share about addiction on Facebook or Twitter. A person reviews their own ideas about what works best for them. Having a place to share with others can be valuable. Insurance companies are not always willing to pay for treatment of addiction. Insurance coverage may not be a comfortable topic for someone who is reviewing their own drinking (alcohol) or other drug use until they need help with paying for treatment or rehab. Some people will approach their Dr. about their drug or alcohol use. It is never a good idea to run away from these discussions. Over time, when a person is able to share about their alcohol or drug use, then getting help becomes easier. Anyone can get involved as we review our approach and what works for others. When we do share on Facebook or Twitter about our concerns about addiction, it might allow others to approach us. Some kinds of behaviors about sharing might only have occurred after a few drinks but now someone might find they are able to be more open. Sharing about having drinks could mar our relationship in an abstinence based program, but mm encourages us to share honestly with us about the drinks or drugs we use. In the safety of the group members can be encouraged to openly discuss their recovery and eventually bring friends, family and coworkers into the discussion if they choose.
US Moderation Management
Moderation Management started in the US. The first meeting was in california. Audrey Kishline founded the program because of her own issues with drinking. Eventually she decided to see help in other programs when she made the choice to be completely abstinent. Unfortunately, she relapsed back into drinking and was involved in an accident that killed a father and his twelve year old daughter. She was found negligent and served 3 ½ years in prison. Kishline was released and struggled until her death at the age of 59, in 2014.
During her time in prison, the members continued to refine and improve the program. Eventually other groups formed. There are a number of states that offer face to face meetings now including;
- New Jersey
- New York
There is also the opportunity to join communities of mm members on Facebook and Twitter not just in the US but in other areas of the world. Members also utilize phone supports with many numbers listed on the website above in the US. Having some drinks in moderation alone will mar a person’s experience but when you can share your failures with others the recovery process will help if you are trying out moderation. MM is about what works and members can share.
Help from MM in the US
Moderation Management utilizes a number of tools and techniques to help members with treatment of their drinking disorder. Meetings and phone support options are available. There are lists of suggestions and you can review what has worked for others. Sometimes the press, Facebook and Twitter will contain links to information. They have books that they have created and recommended literature to read. Moderation can extend another substance and not just alcohol. Moderation is the goal of the program and members can share their successes to help other individuals.
As well, mm as an app that will help members to stay on track to their goals. The app is called ABSTAR and it is a drink tracker with connection to other members. The app connects you with other members who also use the app and by doing so, you can get real time support. By tracking your drinking in the app you can help focus on recovery. This honest and open approach to recovery is to improve a members self-management and self-esteem by allowing for open discussion with others, in a non-judgmental environment.
MM also produces a newsletter to help maintain an atmosphere of unity and provide additional tools for members. Newsletters are a great way to communicate with members about new ideas or events. New groups can also get the word out about events or changes to the tools utilized by everyone. As the program grows and expands, communication will prove to be beneficial to the survival of mm.
One discussion that is available on the website is about BAC, or Blood Alcohol Content. BAC is a measurement of the levels of alcohol in the blood. As the level rises, drinkers will experience different sensations and alcohol frees up the inhibitions of the individual. People who never dance, might after a few drinks and some might have an easier time talking rather than being crippled by social anxiety. Moderate drinking can be a wonderful tool for people who are not dependent on the substance. The benefits of drinking in moderation can be enjoyed, without experiencing the consequences associated with risky behaviors.
MM outside the US
MM had spread outside the US; Facebook, Twitter and Google will provide a great deal of information about Moderation Management overseas. As reviews of the program come in that offer a positive overview, the program will start to spread to other countries. The Press can also influence the spread of the program overseas. Ultimately the goal of the program is to improve the life of the members, and work with other agencies to raise awareness of the help available.
Time will tell if the moderate use of drugs or drinks can become possible with the application of the programs that members share. Addiction to a substance like alcohol can really mar a person’s approach to life but not everyone is dependent. Programs like mm give a Dr. the opportunity to share a solution with patients and everyone can benefit from the moderate use of alcohol. If or when it becomes apparent, the drinker can choose to abstain and still seek the support of the group.
One of the unique aspects of mm is the opportunity for other organizations to sponsor this non-profit organization. Many abstinence based prefer to be entirely self supporting but for mm, sponsors provide financial support and this offers stability as they expand. MM is supported by members, volunteers and staff at the offices they maintain. All of the services and programs require funding to maintain. Continued financial support provides the many members, volunteers and staff the opportunity to expand the program. MM is a registered 501(c) non-profit but they benefit from any support, either from individuals, businesses and other non-profit organizations. Anyone or any organization who would benefit from an end to alcohol abuse could support this non-profit organization.