According  to AA it does.  AA is the most effective sobriety group on the face of the earth.  AA teaches flatly that an alcoholic who tries to go back to moderate drinking will inevitably fail and there lasst state will be worse than their first.

HOWEVER NOT all the experts in the field of addiction agree with this absolutist position.  Now Britishers Helen and Edmund tirbutt have written a book called Help them beat the booze: How  to Survive life with  a Problem Drinker.  They then describe two new treatments that have just reached the market.

The new drug Baclofen enables drinkers to be be  cured both from cravings and from the addiction itself.

Another prescription drug  that helps heavy drinkers moderate their drinking is called naltrexone.  A woman named Patricia, 43, formerly an alcoholic drinker now takes a naltrexone an hour before drinking and thendsto never want more than a couple of glasses of wine.

As of now the Toronto Centre for Addiction use both these pills quite  extensively with positive  results.

Do you believe an alcoholic drinker can go back to moderae drinking?

Have you ever known an alcoholic.  How did they cope?

does AA work?

Does sobriety reqire abstinence?

What do you think?


  1. 1
    Gunnar Says:

    Here we go again! It seems that at least once every decade a new miracle drug appears that solves all addiction problems. Yet, somehow addiction – not just to alcohol but to all kinds of drugs – stubbornly refuses to go away. If the new drugs can help some people, great. But I remain sceptical. A drinker does not drink because it tastes good. He drinks for the sensation of intoxication. For the separation from reality. To prevent him from drinking “too much” would be good, but it might not do much to resolve other challenges facing the problem drinker. (Disclosure: I stopped drinking 27 years ago with the help of AA)

  2. 2
    Neil McKenty Says:


    What I find curious is that so many professional treatement centres use this magical drugs for a quick fix knowing they do not deal with the underlying problems.

  3. 3

    An Alcoholic can never drink. Sobriety requires abstinence. Neither can an ex-smoker take a puff. It’s the road backwards.
    I had several alcoholics in my family, so I was extra vigilant about myself and my husband, and choice of friends. Anyone who’s grown up around it, knows why.
    Alcoholics really don’t cope. Everyone around them learns to cope.
    AA does work for some people, some times, although I do know drinkers who “gave it to God” and never drank again because of their faith.
    I never question Divine Intervention.
    Congratulations Gunnar. I am sure that you have never regretted making that supreme effort!

  4. 4

    “According to AA it does.”

    Yeah, well, AA ain’t the ony game in town, is it? They have one point of view that does not fit everyone. Ditto with “giving it to god” or whatever.

    What (and who) defines “problem” drinking? Would it not make more sense to define the reason for the problem and remove it?

  5. Not so easily done My Lady. Addicts of all stripes are dependant personality and when weaned from one dependancy, they will develop another. For instance I have known several A.A.s who just can not live without gallons of coffee. Finding the root cause can be done, some times, but knowing that you have liver cyrhoses does not cure it.
    A miracle pill, a panacea even a placebo can work for a certain period. Methadone was once ailed as a cure for heroin and cocain until everybody realized that it made the patient dependant but without the high.
    Will power is the only known cure but it is in short supply and guys like Gunnar are to be complimented and encouraged but they can not transmit or infuse other people with their will power.

  6. 6
    Neil McKenty Says:

    Agreed, Paul,

    If a problem drinker refuses to admit he or she has a problem no one else canconvince them.

  7. 7

    I can define problem drinking.
    Some have to drink to get high or drunk every day.
    Some are emotional drunks, who drink every time they face an upset.
    Some are weekend drunks-That’s self explanatory.
    Some can be drunks on small amounts of alcohol, but they are dependent on it.
    It’s an insidious disease with many faces. and if the shoe fits…

    Yes, it would make sense to discover the underlying causes, but then what?

  8. 8

    Paul, your response leads me to the next question: WHY is addiction to anything considered to be a bad thing? And why is a “cure” a “necessary” thing?

    Your example of AA members’ gulping gallons of coffee simply reinforces a thought I have long held, going back decades: that human beings are geared to be addicted to something; it’s in our genetics. And “curing” one addiction means having to replace it with another. But…again the question…who decides which addictions are “bad” and why?

  9. 9
    Neil McKenty Says:

    Lady Janus,

    If you had the misfortune to live with an active alcoholic you would soon bloody realize why a “cure” was a good thing.

  10. 10

    Neil, I have done, thank you. And FYI, alcoholism takes many different forms. Most alcoholics are perfectly nice people. Some are extremely talented. And most of them function just fine. The ones who “cause problems” are by far in the minority, and they would very likely cause problems even if they were addicted to something else.

    This entire question goes far, far deeper than just addiction. What CAUSES it? What TRIGGERS it? And most important of all, what do you SUBSTITUTE for the alcohol? Be aware that in trying to answer that last question, you must include a wide range of options, because coffee and dieties are not going to suit everyone.

  11. 11
    Neil McKenty Says:

    S good substitute for alcohol? How about a virgin mary?

  12. 12

    Sorry Lady J. You are unusually off the mark on this one. I think that you may just be presenting another side of the argument.
    Alcoholics are NOT generally Nice people-Just ask the families they have to try to support and live with.
    They usually waste their talent and potential in life.
    And very often (usually) cause problems: Not just the DUI’s, but day to day chronic bad behaviour supporting their addiction. Theft, aggression, uncommunicative, and lets not forget all the birth defects caused by alcohol.
    Have you visited an elementary school lately?
    Don’t minimize the effects of alcoholism. Don’t defend.

  13. 13
    jim Says:

    I first bumped into Naltrexone a couple of decades ago, when it was mentioned by a doctor from the Eastern Townships, who was at this convention. It has been mentioned as a cure for alcoholism and 45 other afflictions including internet porno. One problem is that every snake oil salesman has bought himself a horse and rig and is making the rounds. This has caused many Nal pills to be sold for some cures before the clinical trials have been completed. This means that if some cures work, their application will be deminished by all the applications which didn’t work, and won’t trust it. Nal blocks part of the brain that feels pleasure.when one takes a drink containing alcohol. It makes one feel less of a need for a drink.There is normally a catch when one uses a drug. This one is that for Nal to work you must take alcoholic drinks with it. Over a period of time, maybe you’ll stop drinking. Another problem is, if you’re an alcoholic, and you take a drink to make all your problems go away, and they aren’t going away, what’s the solution? Well dump the Nal of course. Aaaah, I’ve got my feel-good back. Bye-bye Nal, hello Jack Danials. Dr. Wodak wrote a book on this. “I woke up cured of Naltrexone”
    If one wants to take the Nal route, they should partake in follow-up of some kind. The best in town, as I understand, it is AA. Other help groups are conspicuous by their absence. Here are some one-liners I’ve picked up over the years from some of my AA friends”-
    True, AA is not for everyone. It is not for anyone who wants it, it is for anyone who needs it.
    There are no experts on alcoholism. There is no religion in AA unless you bring it with you. A heavy drinker is not necessarily an alcoholic. The only item one turns over to God is a piece of carbon (their will) and He returns it to them, when He thinks they are ready, as carbon, now all polished up, and it looks like a diamond (their will). Willpower is what got all these guys and gals into trouble. Does anyone know how much willpower it takes to drink the same poison in the morning, that got you sick the night before?
    You want to know who defines your problem drinking? The landlord does, as well as the insurance company , the finance company, whoever is standing behind you rolling their eyes, the bill collectors, the cops, the doctors. Everyone at sometime or another will get that sober moment in their life when thay will hear that voice, or hear that bump in the night which says “times up”.and at that very moment the alcoholic will define his own problem abd make a move. Addiction is bad if it harms you or someone else. Exception – Doing IT with sweetie. Anyone want to drink the worlds worst coffee, go to AA.

  14. 14

    “Alcoholics are NOT generally Nice people-Just ask the families they have to try to support and live with.
    They usually waste their talent and potential in life.”

    You are confusing “nice” with “productive.” Don’t do that.

  15. 15

    “There is no religion in AA unless you bring it with you.”

    No? Then explain “higher power.” If that ain’t religious in nature, what is?

  16. 16
    jim Says:

    Lady Janus – “Higher Power” in my book, brought me spirituality, not religion.
    If you believe that “Higher Power” is religious, what religion is it?

  17. 17

    You tell me — you’re the one who thinks there is such a thing.

  18. 18
    Barbara Says:

    I believe Higher Power can be interpreted as meaning a source of inner strength. However,

  19. 19
    Barbara Says:

    I meant to erase that However. Oops. I was going to write that However, I was never a member of AA and cannot be 100% certain. I am constantly astounded how absolutely convinced everyone is of their interpretation of things.

  20. 20
    jim Says:

    Lady Janus – Who’s on first?
    Barbara – What you wrote about inner strength, sounds good to me.

  21. 21

    Since when do those of us who believe in God and the presence of God in our lives acquiesce to those who don’t?

  22. 22

    Patti, who says you do? Or that you have to? But those who don’t believe as you do are not subservient to your beliefs, either.

  23. 23

    I think that there is room to show respect for each others opinions and beliefs.

  24. 24

    In that case, start “respecting” and stop whining.

  25. 25
    jim Says:

    The mouse that roared.

  26. 26

    I have read these comments with interest.Most of the reservations raised about the new drugs mentioned are answered in detail in Help Them Beat the Booze. The new drugs clearly CAN enable many physically addicted drinkers to go back to drinking in moderation,and baclofen can even help cure many of the underlying problems that drive people to drink in the first place. So can a dietary approach we describe in our book called the 101 Method. But it is essential to realise that there is no one approach that works for everyone. Finding a cure for a drink problem is like having a bunch of keys, and you might have to try one key after another before you find the one that fits a particular drinker’s door. But the type of success rates achieved by the more modern methods (between 78% and 92%)
    are considerably higher than those achieved by rehab and AA. I would therefore suggest that anyone seeking to rubbish these methods should first read a copy of Help Them Beat the Booze (which can be obtained inexpensively from before doing so.They might find themselves thinking very differently as a result.

  27. 27
    Neil McKenty Says:

    Hi Edmund,

    Thank you for your informed and thoughtful comment. I am looking forward to reading your book.

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