What Is Drug Abstinence in Addiction Treatment?

Treatment for drug addiction has come a long way over the years. What started out as a fully abstinence-based approach has evolved in numerous ways. Other popular forms of treatment include harm reduction therapy as well as medication-assisted treatment.

But are these more ”modern” approaches to recovery more successful? Or is abstinence treatment a successful model that has stood the test of time? The reality is that recovery is dependent on the individual.

We help people with addictions and substance use disorders recover. Get mindfulness training and learn the 12 Steps for deeper healing.

How Does Drug Abstinence Recovery Work?

Recovering from drug addiction is hard work — not just in an emotional and mental way, but physically, too. Nowadays, the approach of abstinence-based recovery may seem a little harsh. But it has proven success rates for hundreds and thousands of people looking to get their lives back on track.

The premise of complete abstinence-based recovery is to do so without any access to drugs, alcohol, and other medications that assist with the effects of drug withdrawal. In other words, it’s defined as ”complete cessation from substance abuse of any kind”.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), abstinence-based treatment is the safest approach to treating drug addiction. It’s still the most commonly used form of addiction treatment across the U.S. today.

With this approach, experts believe that the only way to prevent substance abuse is to completely avoid it. Including prescription and over-the-counter medications.

Full abstinence aims to remove all known temptations from a person’s life entirely.

The Benefits

Many experts believe that those struggling with drug addiction cannot successfully moderate their substance use, without full abstinence. This is because of certain substances, such as alcohol, lower inhibitions. This then increases the risk of relapse due to poor judgment.

So one of the main benefits of abstinence is the removal of all forms of temptation. Abstinence also ensures that those in recovery do not develop another addiction to another substance. Essentially swapping out one addiction for another.

Without access to any type of substance that can cause relapse, a person has a 100 percent fair and equal chance at making a full recovery.

What Is the History of Drug Abstinence Treatment?

When Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was created in 1935, they developed their primary text, also known as the ”Big Book” of recovery from alcoholism. From here, alcoholism became widely accepted as a disease.

Treatment for alcoholism in the 1940s was pretty dire. You were either jailed or committed to a mental institution and considered mentally ill. But the idea of abstinence treatment gained traction, thanks to AA.

Today, most addiction centers across the United States base their abstinence approach on the Minnesota Model. In the 1950s the model was brought to life by its 10 fundamental tenants. The model was first created to treat alcoholism but can be used to treat various forms of addiction.

Just a few of the primary tenants of the Minnesota Model include:

  • Alcoholism is an involuntary disease that is diagnosable
  • It is not curable, but the disease can be treated
  • It is a chronic and progressive disease

The treatment for addiction includes physical, psychological, social, and spiritual aspects.

Alcoholism and other addictions must be treated in an environment centered on dignity and respect.

In addition to this, most court systems across America rule in favor of abstinence-based treatment for addicts who find themselves in trouble with the law. Most drug courts aim to divert those with addiction from incarceration. However, they must meet certain requirements and agree to regular drug testing.

Most courts will not permit those under supervision to attend a medication-assisted drug treatment facility. They try to emphasize the use of abstinence-based recovery in order to achieve sobriety.

Find Long Term Recovery Success With Renewal Lodge

While drug abstinence treatment may not be your first choice, it has its many benefits and has revolutionized sobriety for good reason. At the end of the day, you have to decide what’s best for your future and the type of treatment that will guarantee long-term recovery.

If you’re looking to get sober and stay that way, Renewal Lodge is your go-to. Based outside of Austin, we offer residential treatment options. Reach out to us and get your life back on track today.

Find Healing At Renewal Lodge

Simply fill out the form below and an admission specialist will contact you shortly.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Dear Renewal Lodge Visitors,

My name is John Bruna, co-founder of the Mindfulness in Recovery® Institute, and more importantly, a grateful member of the recovery community. I am incredibly fortunate to have found my recovery in 1984. Of course, I did not achieve continuous recovery through willpower or my own efforts, but through the guidance and caring support of countless others that selflessly taught me how to live through the 12 Steps.

My journey of recovery brought this once homeless, shame-based, traumatized, insecure young man to a life far beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I discovered self-worth, the joy of helping others, the gifts of parenting and grandparenting, and most importantly the ability to live a meaningful and purposeful life with integrity.

One of the greatest gifts of recovery is that I have the opportunity to give back and help others discover their self-worth, dignity, and the skills to fully live lives that they find truly meaningful. This is the inspiration for developing the skills of Mindfulness in Recovery® (MIR) to meet the needs of new generations struggling with alcohol and other substance use disorders. MIR is a set of evidence-based skills designed to help people fully integrate their tools of recovery in ways that are personalized, practical, and in alignment with their deepest values.

While we train counselors and therapists throughout the United States and abroad, I personally have chosen to work directly with the amazing team and clients at Renewal Lodge to develop the model MIR 12-step program for the nation. I choose Renewal Lodge because of the vision of its mission and the dedication of its team. Renewal Lodge is an extremely rare environment in which the staff embodies the very mindfulness and 12-step practices and skills they offer their clients. The results have been beyond my expectations. It is an honor to be here and I treasure my personal time with every client I meet.

With Gratitude,

John Bruna
John Bruna
Director of Mindfulness
View Insurance Providers