Moderation. It’s hard to achieve. We want to live life to the fullest. We are attracted to people who live big. We salivate over tales of celebrities who exhibit everything but moderation.
This morning on the radio I listened to an interview with a specialist on addiction. Okay, it was on the Kevin & Bean show but the guy had a Phd! or is that PHd? I know a rock ‘n roll radio station is not the best source for in depth exploration of anything but this specialist presented a very cogent argument for moderation and a program called Moderation Management.
He pointed out that only about 20% of people who could be classified as addicts or alcoholics seek assistance. The rest go it alone and, surprisingly, about 60% of those do sort through their issues but the 40% of the 80% who don’t sort it through are left to struggle and, usually, to fail.
The current treatment for addiction – whether it be drugs or drink – is to demand abstinence. It’s the “just say no” approach. If you aren’t willing or able to just say no, they won’t help you. They wait until you’ve hit rock bottom.
But, this doctor pointed out, just doesn’t work. For many people the thought of never having another drink or never getting high again holds no attraction. Then there are those cases where someone is trying to kick a serious addiction – to heroin for example – but they don’t want to quit smoking weed. They would be refused admission into the current addiction programs because they won’t just say no.
This doctor has started a treatment program which actually incorporates a moderate amount of alcohol or drugs into a persons routine. He teaches them how to manage their addiction. They learn moderation. They learn not to let one drink send them on a week long bender. They learn how to stop at one joint or one hit of a joint.
This makes sense to me. We don’t ask over eaters to just say no to food. They are taught how to diet, how to manage their food cravings. Why are substance cravings, for isn’t that what addiction is all about, treated differently?
I believe I am a chocoholic. I find it hard to stop at just one bite of a chocolate bar, chocolate cake, brownie etc. If you were to tell me the only way to deal with my chocolate addiction is to never have another piece of chocolate – I’d tell you to get lost. I enjoy chocolate. Why would I want to never enjoy it again? Just because it’s not good for me (pretend it’s not good for me)? That wouldn’t do it. But tell me that I can learn how to enjoy a single brownie without eating the entire pan? That I would be interested in. It’s the same with alcoholics and drug addicts. We need to acknowledge that they like what they are addicted to and go from there.
The doctor did admit that there are people for whom this program of moderation doesn’t work. They cannot control themselves. For those the traditional approach is the best. For everyone else, I think it’s marvelous that an alternate exists. Unfortunately it only exists in Beverly Hills and in one other state, I think it was Texas but I can’t be sure.
If you’re interested, go to the KROQ website and see if anything is posted. Or Google Moderation Management.
I hear a chocolate bar calling my name, gotta go!