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Expanding Definitions of Recovery: Examining the Multiple Pathways to a Life Worth Living

Abstinence from alcohol is often viewed as the most desirable and ideal outcome for individuals with alcohol use disorder. Yet, most individuals with alcohol use disorder do not want to abstain from drinking and do not seek treatment. Over the past 20 years, there have been several significant methodological advances in studying patterns and predictors of alcohol use and drinking reductions, yet most of the work has not had a major influence on clinical practice. The current talk will provide a broad overview of this literature and present new data on the validity of World Health Organization drinking risk levels as a harm reduction target for alcohol use disorder treatment, as well as data on non-abstinent recovery pathways. Results from several recent studies provide evidence that reductions in World Health Organization drinking risk levels are a viable alternative to abstinence as a public health and harm reduction strategy and as an outcome for alcohol clinical trials. The talk will also highlight new perspectives and new empirical data examining non-abstinent recovery from alcohol use disorder.


Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to describe specific benefits of reductions in drinking in clinical trial data.
  2. Participants will be able to evaluate the range of positive functional outcomes that correspond to non-abstinent reductions in drinking and maintenance of non-abstinent recovery over time.
  3. Participants will be able to describe the key limitations of an abstinence-only model for the treatment of alcohol use disorder from a public health perspective.


Speaker: Dr. Katie Witkiewitz is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of New Mexico and the Director of the Center on Alcohol, Substance use, and Addictions. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and conducts research examining patterns and predictors of alcohol and other substance use, harm reduction, and recovery. Her research has also focused on the development, evaluation, and implementation of mindfulness-based interventions in real world settings. She has conducted numerous empirical studies on the efficacy and effectiveness of mindfulness-based relapse prevention as a treatment for substance use disorders, prediction of relapse following treatment for alcohol and drug use disorders, and mechanisms of successful treatment outcomes following mindfulness-based interventions to prevent alcohol and drug use. To date, Dr. Witkiewitz has authored 5 books and over 300 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters. Her research has been supported by grants from the National Institute on Mental Health, National Cancer Institute, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, totaling over $60 million in research funding since 2004.

Starts: Aug. 16, 2023 12:00 pm
Ends: Aug. 16, 2023 1:30 pm
Registration Deadline
August 16, 2023
Event Type
Webinar/Virtual Training
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