A Harm Reduction Approach to Addiction Treatment Works - 5 Ways

Updated: Sep 11

By: Logan Cohen, Professional Therapist & Online Life Coach - Balanced Man Plan


Are you ready to make some significant changes in your Life, but do not like feeling of traditional addiction treatment? If you are interested in changing patterns of substance use, or even considering formal addiction treatment, then you have likely looked around a bit at your options to see that “abstinence” is the most widely practiced approach.


Abstinence is the most commonly suggested approach to addiction treatment, which means the expectation is that you are to completely avoid the substance of choice – potentially even all mind-altering substances altogether.


The concept of mandatory abstinence pushes a lot of People away who are otherwise ready to make some real changes in their Life. Given this, it surprises many People to hear that a harm reduction approach is NOT the most recommended for addiction treatment when it comes to public safety and health.


So even though an abstinence-based approach isn’t the most therapeutically appropriate way of doing things, it continues to be the most commonly considered route for addiction treatment.?? If you are curious about WHY the United States has avoided more strategic support of a harm reduction approach to addiction treatment as recommended by the CDC for public health concerns, check out this other article here.


If you are interested in how a harm reduction approach works to support addiction treatment, then just keep reading.

While some People require abstinence to be a part of their ongoing sobriety - like those with more severe substance abuse issues or those that involve high-risk behaviors that are just too dangerous – there is a lot of “meat on the bone” when it comes to a harm-reduction approach to addiction treatment.



Here are 5 Ways a Harm-Reduction Approach Works for Addiction Treatment:


#1 Way a Harm-Reduction Approach Works for Addiction Treatment - Slowly, but Surely

A harm reduction approach to addiction treatment does not require abstinence


In order to practice a harm-reduction approach to addiction treatment, abstinence from the substance or behavior of choice will not be required. This achieves many different ends simultaneously – ensures optimal engagement, builds a personal sense of responsibility, and develops a sense of autonomy as recovery is managed.

While a sustainable and Balanced relationship with substances or high-risk behavior must be established and maintained with harm reduction approaches, refraining from substance use altogether is not a requirement for successful addiction treatment.



#2 Way a Harm-Reduction Approach Works for Addiction Treatment - Accountability

A harm reduction approach to addiction treatment builds personal accountability


The practice of a harm reduction approach does not mean that addiction treatment will involve someone else telling you what to do. If that was going to work, then that would have worked by now. One of the main reasons a harm-reduction approach to addiction recovery is so effective for so many People is that a main ailment from the disease of addiction itself is an under-development of impulse control and implementation of “big picture decision-making” - especially when a CRAVING is “in play”.


It can be hard to stop misusing substances and engaging in high-risk behavior. We always started doing it for a reason and it became somewhat of “a crutch” at some point. Unless we authentically want to change, the likelihood that this change will be sustainable is low.


A harm-reduction approach makes sure personal accountability is prioritized so you can get the best results possible from your addiction treatment. Our online life coaching for men is designed to support you getting your whole Life in Balance from the inside out so that you can set yourself up for success.



#3 Way a Harm-Reduction Approach Works for Addiction Treatment - Stay Motivated

A harm reduction approach to addiction treatment builds and sustains an optimal level of motivation


Just as important as someone struggling with the disease of addiction actually wanting to make some changes, it is just as important that momentum can be maintained so that Life can get all the way back into Balance. Making small changes here and there can help here and there – but if you want Life to change more generally, then that usually means things are out of Balance.


When this is the case, it is just as important that we can keep things rolling once we get them going. The personalized online life coaching plans offered by the Balanced Man Plan are designed to do just that. Our online life coaching for men is an ideal supplement to your addiction treatment efforts, or even just a "set of tools in your tool-belt" to help you do what you can – where you can – from the privacy and comfort of your own Home.



#4 Way a Harm-Reduction Approach Works for Addiction Treatment - Get Real

A harm reduction approach to addiction treatment is realistic


Life moves quickly these days and one aspect of that in a capitalist economy is that marketing to sell consumer goods can be INTENSE. Slick salespeople are selling “snake oil” remedies that sound almost too good to be true while promising you the WORLD. We just want to help you get real-world results that you can actually sustain without drastic, invasive, or expensive medical procedures. A harm-reduction approach to addiction treatment allows the Person who is experiencing the symptoms to be the center of their own addiction treatment and recovery pace.


The Balanced Man Plan is an ideal adjunct to a harm-reduction approach for addiction treatment, as well as a preventative measure in and of itself, or even the foundation of an ongoing sobriety maintenance plan.



#5 Way a Harm-Reduction Approach Works for Addiction Treatment - Good Fit

A harm reduction approach to addiction treatment can be HIGHLY customized, but is not for everybody


It cannot be overstated that a harm-reduction approach is not appropriate for everyone who struggles with substance misuse or addiction. There is no such thing as recreational use of methamphetamine, heroin, or even alcohol if someone is a pretty hardcore alcoholic. A harm-reduction approach is most suitable for People who have low to moderate degrees of substance misuse. Again, if you or a Loved One are struggling with more severe levels of substance misuse involving intravenous use, crystal meth, or physical alcohol dependence, then a harm-reduction approach is not appropriate. In these cases, complete abstinence is still seen as best medical practice in the ongoing recovery from more severe addiction issues.


On the other hand, a harm-reduction approach to addiction treatment can be highly customized when used in appropriate cases. Many People are ready to decrease their level of use and Live their Lives a bit more fully for many different reasons and The Balanced Man Plan is there in full support. The beautiful part is that this will look a bit different for everybody and as long as there is a sustainable level of Balance with other important contexts of Life, then who is anybody else to judge??




The Balanced Man Plan provides online life coaching for men in an easy to access digital platform. In addition to our extensive blog articles CHALK full of FREE information, we also offer premium therapeutic programming for men who are ready to make some real changes in their own Lives from the comfort and privacy of Home.




My name is Logan Cohen and I am a Professional Therapist & Life Coach with over 10 years in the field of Counseling Psychology. I am a Clinical Supervisor for the American Association of Marriage & Family Therapy, as well as the founder of New Leaf Counseling Group, LLC in Charlotte, NC. After spending tens of thousands of clinical hours with my own clients, starting a successful group practice, as well as a beautiful Family, I “picked my head up from the grindstone” to check in on childhood Friends & Loved Ones.


I painfully discovered that more than a few of my childhood Friends passed away at a young age from preventable health conditions and decided that as a Man, Husband, Father, and Friend, I could no longer stand by as People suffered in silence and self-destructed rather than ask for help. It doesn’t have to be like that and the holistic healing methods offered by the Balanced Man Plan is designed to help People “get unstuck” and break free from old patterns that are the barriers between Self & quality of Life.


The Balanced Man Plan is a therapeutic digital experience delivered through Self-Guided Coaching Plans created by a Male Therapist with the common barriers & strengths of Men in mind. The Balanced Man Plan has the goal of introducing a natural Balance back to Life so it is sustainable for the optimal Health & Well-Being of Self and Loved Ones - and ALL from the privacy and comfort of Home. If you have enjoyed what you see so far, check out our Self Guided Coaching Plans!

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