How to Change Your Drinking

How to Change Your Drinking: a Harm Reduction Guide to Alcohol is the handbook of the HAMS Harm Reduction Network and is written by the executive director of the Network, Kenneth Anderson.

HAMS stands for "Harm reduction Alcohol abstinence, and Moderation Support." It is a free support and information group for people who want to change their drinking for the better.

Harm reduction programs

  • meet people "where they are" with their drinking,
  • don't label people as addicted, diseased or alcoholic,
  • empower people to choose their own goals, which can be safer drinking, reduced drinking or abstinence, and
  • help people achieve the drinking goals they have chosen.

How to Change Your Drinking presents 17 elements (not steps) from which readers can choose to use in their program of harm reduction. The many supporting chapters are short and reader-friendly but based on solid research.

This handbook is pragmatic and excellent.

Note: This website makes no health or medical recommendations and none should be inferred. Neither this website nor its host receives any benefit of any kind from reviewing this book.


  • Anderson, Kenneth. How to Change Your Drinking: a Harm Reduction Guide to Alcohol. HAMS Harm Reduction Network, 2010. ISBN 978-1453636619

Readings on Alcohol Harm Reduction

  • Daley, D.C. and Marlatt, C.A. Managing Your Drug or Alcohol Problems: Client Workbook. San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corp., 1997.
  • Des Jarlais, D.C. Harm reduction: A framework for incorporating science into drug policy [Editorial]. American Journal of Public Health, 1995, 85 (1), 10-11.
  • Ellis, A. and Velten, E. When A.A, Doesn't Wrok for You: Rational Steps to Quitting Alcohol. NY: Barricade, 1992.
  • Eskapa, R. The Cure for Alcoholism: Drink Your Way Sober without Willpower, Abstinece or Discomfort. Dallas, TX: Benbella, 2008.
  • Fletcher, A.M. Sober for Good: New Solutions for Drinking Problems - Advice from Those Who Have Succeeded. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001.
  • Horvath, A.T. Sex, Drugs, Gambling & Chocolate: a Handbook for Overcoming Addictions. San Luis Obispi, CA: Impact, 1998.
  • Kern, M. Take Control, Now! Los Angeles, CA: Addiction Alternatives, 1994.
  • Kilmer, Jason R. (with others). Harm reduction strategies for substance use and abuse. In G.A. Marlatt. G. Alan (Ed.), Harm Reduction: Pragmatic Strategies for Managing High-Risk Behaviors (pp. 145-217). New York: Guilford Press, 1998.
  • Marlatt, G.A., & Tapert, S.F. Harm reduction: Reducing the risks of addictive behaviors. In J.S. Baer, G.A. Marlatt, & R. McMahon (Eds.), Addictive behaviors across the lifespan (pp. 243-273). Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1993.
  • Marlatt, G.A. Harm reduction: Come as you are. Addictive Behaviors, 1996, 21(6), 779-788.
  • Peele, S. and Brodsky, A. The Truth About Addiction and Recovery: The Life Process Program for Outgrowing Destructive Habits. NY: Fireside, 1991.
  • Schaler, J.A. Addiction is a Choice. Chicago, IL: Open Court, 2000.
  • Single, E. Harm reduction as an alcohol-prevention strategy. Alcohol Health and Research World, 1996, 20, 239-243.

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