There are many other alternatives to the 12-step program, one of them being a harm reduction type known as Moderation Management.
Moderation Management (MM) is a path to sobriety that is secular and based upon relationships with others who are struggling with addiction, similar to the method of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). It provides support groups to the public that are peer run and are for anyone who would like to reduce their alcohol consumption. However, unlike the AA and 12-step method whose goal is abstinence from alcohol and drug use, MM allows members to set their own drinking goals as they feel appropriate. They recognize that someone might want to achieve “controlled drinking.” It was founded in 1994 to create an alternative to the AA path to sobriety. They are for those who are not dependent upon alcohol but who want to limit their drinking, not necessary stop. The goal for members is to moderate their drinking in order to reduce any negative consequences. To do this, MM encourages members to follow particular drinking guidelines, limits, goal setting techniques, and a nine-step program for change.
Moderation Management is a recovery method has helped millions of people find a way to control their drinking. It has even helped men and women bring their substance use to an end. Yet, despite these successes, the life of the founder of this program has had some serious tragedies. MM began, as mentioned, out of a need to find an alternative to the abstinence model. Audrey Kishline, also known as Audrey Conn, wanted to create a way to have a healthy relationship with drinking versus cutting it out of her life altogether.
However, the intention behind the creation of MM has been questioned over the years. It began because of the way that Kishline responded to the MM community after an MM participant was arrested for murdering his daughter. She herself ended up killing two people when blacking out, driving drunk, and swerving into oncoming traffic on the highway. At one point, she confessed to her MM community that she was going to seek abstinence and begin exploring other recovery models in order to stay sober. Finally, recent news indicates that Kishline died in her mother’s home in Oregon, and some sources say that the death was a suicide.
Certainly, Kishline’s life points to the complexities of addiction. Her desire to want to control her drinking, which led to the creation of MM, indicates the strength her desire to want to do something about it. At the same time, the problems that resulted in her life even after MM’s creation points to how addiction can rear its ugly head even when you’re taking measures to control it.
Fortunately, there are some ways in which Kishline’s life will continue to be a source of light for others. The book she wrote with a family member of the two people that were killed in her automobile accident has touched the lives of its readers. MM continues to be a growing and thriving community that facilitates change in the lives of men and women every day. In fact, visit MM’s website and you’ll see its long list of accomplishments for reducing the harm caused by drinking. The site also includes a list of tools, online support, and a directory of local meetings around the country.
Although Kishline lived a difficult life, she created an entire cross-country community of men and women seeking to find balance, healing, and transformation through the healthy moderation of their drinking. She will be known for her innovation, courage, and strength.
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