AbstinenceAbstinence can mean many things. To us, it means never drinking or using under any circumstances: Complete abstinence from alcohol and all non-medically-prescribed psychoactive substances. We take no position on medically-prescribed drugs taken as directed, but once you are clean and sober we encourage you to re-evaluate any prescription drugs you may be taking in consultation with your doctors, who probably didn't know about your addictions (we always seem to neglect to tell our doctors that we are drinking like fish or using street drugs on the side, don't we?). We take no positions on nicotine, coffee, chocolate, cat petting, and other matters that are left up to you.
What abstinence does NOT mean is drinking and using in moderation. We who have been there assert that it is far easier to stop drinking and using than it is to continue trying to control our drinking and using. Even if that seems like an impossibility, with a little clean and sober time it won't seem impossible at all. And, beyond a point, it is truly the only way out of the hell of addiction. If you fail, pick yourself up and go at it again, as many times as you need in order to stay abstinent. Abstinence is a foundation stone of Freestyle Recovery, and over time it truly becomes easy.