Wine to overcome alcohol addiction: Is it possible?


Total abstinence has always been the premises for overcoming alcohol addiction. However, in Ottawa (Canada), a shelter for homeless people is conducting a rehabilitation program that includes wine as part of the recovery.

The program – which recently has been echoed by, a French online publication, and by the website of the BBC  is called Managed Alcohol Program (program regulated alcohol, MAP for short) and it was funded in 2001 by two NGOs-the Shepherds of Good Hope and Ottawa Inner City Healthy-. Broadly speaking, the program provides to the approximately 50 people participating measures of 140 ml of white wine every hour and a half (between 7:30 and 21:30) so as to reduce the consumption in a controlled environment.

As stated by one of the directors of the hospital in Ottawa, Dr. Jeff Turnbull, the creation of this program was born with “The thought was that if we could stabilise the craziness of their lives, the day that begins with the search for alcohol and all the complications that occur with that, then maybe we could make inroads with their mental health, addiction to alcohol and their physical illnesses”.

The MAP was launched in 2001 in a shelter for homeless and then in 2010 moved to Oaks center, a permanent residence that offers care and treatment to people who have lived on the streets. Although its implementation has not been easy, and it is, in fact, a program that generates controversy, the staff in charge say that it has saved the city “millions of dollars” by reducing “emergency calls, hospital emergency services, and disagreement with police and medical services.”

For Dr. Turnbull, ideally, everyone should abstain completely from alcohol. However, it is not always possible or feasible, so at least the center “provides stability” and people “are happy, and they have a reasonable standard of living.”

*Imagen: Patrik Nygren

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