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Wayne State College
Counseling Center
Student Center, Rm. 103
1111 Main St.
Wayne, NE 68787

Phone: 402.375.7321
Fax: 402.375.7058



AOD Information > Effective Abstinence > Committment To Abstinence


Try Effective Abstinence: Avoid a Lifetime of Meetings.


Effective Abstinence is a concept based on REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy), a cognitive-behavioral approach used with substance addiction (1,2,3). Some reasons for educating yourself on Effective Abstinence are:

  • Even though alcohol or drugs may be causing you problems in your life, there is nothing that prevents you from abstaining.

  • You may not yet know how to abstain, but planned abstinence is a skill that anyone can learn.

  • Many people quit substance addictions on their own.

  • Most people prefer independent problem-solving and would be more motivated to help themselves.

  • Quitting a substance addiction is difficult, but it can be done.

Effective Abstinence suggests that any substance user or abuser learn about EA concepts before doing anything else. Effective Abstinence may be suitable for many college students for a variety of reasons:

  • EA emphasizes individual human power and the capacity for self-growth and self-development (1,3).

  • One does not have to be labeled "alcoholic" to participate. In fact, labeling of any kind is to be avoided (4).

  • EA advocates lifetime abstinence for those who cannot obtain moderation, but it does recognize that some problem drinkers can and do learn to drink in moderation (5).

  • The religious/spiritual element associated with Alcoholics Anonymous is not an issue in the EA program (4,6,7).

If you would like to learn more about Effective Abstinence, visit the Counseling Center for more information.


Similar to Rational Recovery, (6,7) EA is the concept of self-recovery through planned abstinence put into practice and is not meant to be a long-term support program. Participants attend meetings until they have learned what they need to know in order to make changes in their lives, then they move on. An important factor of EA is the concept that a person can become a recovered, not a recovering, alcoholic (3,6,7,8).

Appealing Aspects of Effective Abstinence:

  • EA is simple and obvious, once understood

  • EA can be life-saving

  • EA is free

  • EA is not a philosophy or world-view (although yours may adapt to what you've learned)

  • EA is not a psychological theory or a part of one

  • EA is not a spiritual or religious method (personal growth and self-understanding is often the outcome)

  • EA is education on planned abstinence

Effective Abstinence Links:

  —Crash Course on Effective Abstinence

  —Committment to Abstinence

  —Effective Abstinence Home




Ron Vick, MA, LPC
Counselor / Academic Advisor
Int'l Student Advisor




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