A bit of my history: Some of you know I had 15 + years abstinent after treatment and about three years of AA (which I consciously stopped going to because it felt bad) and tons of therapy. I attribute therapy for my ability to stay sober that long. Then I lapsed after those many years, drank for 4 years, then I began attending SMART and got sober with a few slips in about an 8 month period (with some added substance abuse counseling-about 4 months). I have been drinking moderately before starting therapy again and my therapist seems to support moderation, which I never knew about her, since my focus was on abstinence. I was shocked when she suggested it. It has never been in my vocabulary.
I have recently gotten some books on the underlying causes of addiction. I have been reading about moderation and what's funny is I didn't even know what these books where going to be about or say when I got them. According to Stanton Peele, there is more of a success rate from moderation (from destructive relapse) than there is from abstinence. This moderation thing goes way against anything I have been taught or heard in recovery treatment. It's like this door is being flung open in my mind, trying to wrap my head around these new concepts. Stanton Peele says the scientific route is a huge waste of time for professionals to be going down. That the solution is more cultural, psychological and depends on the individual which treatment works. Not all alcoholics are the same to him. In Britain and Europe these treatments work (moderation training) for a majority, (like 60-70%) but the American medical community, the American recovery community all just flat out reject it. As long as its treated like a disease, we will get nowhere..according to him.
As open minded as I am, this stuff is curling my hair. He supports his stuff with study after study. Tons of data....
Stanton Peele also categorizes compulsive behaviors as "addictions" in that the destructive affects and withdrawal can be the same. But he does not paint with huge broad strokes... He does separate physically addicted from problem drinkers and abusers. But moderation can work for them too. The most shocking thing I have read lately is that people who do treatment have the highest relapse rate. I think he said that only 10% (in the U.S.) that do any kind of treatment (counseling, AA, rehab) are able to stop or moderate. The books I have been looking at are
"7 tools to Beat Addiction" by Stanton Peele, Ph.D., J.D. "The Meaning of Addiction" by SP. and The Heart of Addiction by Lance Dodes, M.D.
I am not trying to convert anyone-it's our own individual pathe to walk. I think I will always be looking for truth in this fascinating subject.