Abstinence is the self-imposed discontinuation of a drug, often an addictive one.
In addition to craving the drug, abstinence may be accompanied by withdrawal syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that occur for 1-2 weeks when a person stops taking an addictive or prescription drug.
Narcotics Anonymous describes itself as "a program of complete abstinence from all mood or mind-altering substances." This description includes alcohol, because alcohol is a drug, and is widely known to also include any kind of prescription narcotics, like painkillers (opiates), anti-anxiety medicine (benzodiazepines), diet pills (amphetamines), stimulants, or marijuana.
Abstinence is touted as the most effective treatment for the disease of addiction, where any use of any controlled substances can result in the obsession to use drugs clouding the mind, and, in the case of most drug addicts, the total loss of control to stop using once started again. Some drugs may require gradual withdrawal. The practice of abstinence is a learned behavior, and comes slowly over time with a behavioral health psychology group or individualized therapy, and socializing with people in the recovery support community.
Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Internet. Accessed on January 18, 2016.
From Post-Acute-Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS): An In-Depth Guide. Internet. Accessed on July 12, 2018.