Control Your Drinking: Tools to Drink in Moderation

Want to control your drinking? Controlling Your Drinking: Tools to Make Moderation Work for You is a practical guide. It’s also for those who want to stop drinking.

Using behavioral self-control training, the book provides specific, proven alternatives to the abstinence-only approach. The authors report that at least 32 controlled clinical trials have evaluated behavioral self-control training. That is more than for any other single approach for the treatment of alcohol problems.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) is the major alcohol agency in the U.S. Its research shows that many alcoholics learn to lower their drinking. See Alcoholics Can Recover from Alcoholism & Drink in Moderation.


I.   Control Your Drinking

II.  Options

III. Resources

I. Control Your Drinking: Research Findings

The findings of these research studies are consistent. We can summarize them in four points.

People who seek help to reduce their drinking are generally having significant drinking problems. That includes those reading self-help books. But they are not as seriously dependent as those who enter abstinence-focused treatment programs.

    1. control your drinkingThose drinkers who receive self-control training generally reduce their alcohol use. The amounts average 50-70%. They also greatly reduce their risk of alcohol-related health and social problems.
    2. Drinkers using a self-help guide, on their own, learn self-control. They tend to be as successful as those receiving outpatient self-control training.
    3. The most successful in maintaining moderate and problem-free drinking tend to be those with less severe problems and alcohol dependence.1

Controlling Your Drinking empowers drinkers to take charge of their drinking. It helps them in setting realistic goals, establishing limits, and maintaining control.

Of course, no single book or approach will work for everyone. If one doesn’t work, try another.

II. Options to Control Your Drinking

There are other self-help resources to help you control your drinking.

    • Amit, Z., et al. Guide to Intelligent Drinking.
    • Heather, N., et al. A Guide to Healthier Drinking. A Self-Help Manual.
    • Kishline, A. Moderate Drinking. The Moderation Management Guide for People Who Want to Reduce Their Drinking.
    • Miller, P. Personal Habit Control.
    • Robbins, J., & Fisher, D. Stopping Excessive Drinking. In How to Break Habits.
    • Robertson, I., & Heather, N. So You Want to Cut Down on Your Drinking?
    • Rotgers, F., et al. Responsible Drinking. A Moderation Management Approach for Problem Drinkers.
    • Sanchez-Craig, M. DrinkWise. How to Quit Drinking or Cut Down.
    • Trimpey, J. The Small Book. A Revolutionary Alternative for Overcoming Alcohol and Drug Dependence.
    • Vogler, R., & Bartz, W. The Better Way to Drink.
    • Williams, R., & Long, J. All things in Moderation. Controlled Drinking. In Toward a Self-Managed Life Style.
    • Winters, A. Drinkwatchers.

III. Resources

    • Christopher, J. Secular Organizations for Sobriety is an Effective Self-Help Program. In: Barbour, S. (Ed.). Alcohol. Pp. 128-134.
    • ________. How to Stay Sober.
    • Crandell, J. Controlled Drinking Can Help Alcoholics Recover. In: Cozic, C., and Swisher, K. (Ed.). Chemical Dependency. Pp. 218-224.
    • Dorsman, J. How to Quit Drinking without AA. A Complete Self-Help Guide.
    • Ellis, A., and Velten, E. When AA Doesn’t Work for You.
    • Granfield, R. Coming Clean.
    • Heather, N., and Robertson, I. Controlled Drinking.
    • Johnson, V. I’ll Quit Tomorrow. A Practical Guide to Alcoholism Treatment.
    • Kishline, A. A toast to moderation. Psych Today.
    • Lolli, G. Social Drinking. How to Enjoy Drinking without Problems.
    • Sanchez-Craig, M. Saying When. How to Quit Drinking or Cut Down.
    • Sobell, M., and Sobell, L. Problem Drinkers. Guided Self-Change Treatment.
    • Trimpey, J. Rational Recovery  In: Barbour, S. (Ed.). Alcohol. Pp. 135-143.
    • Turk, M. For problem drinkers. A moderate proposal. Business Week.
    • Wright, B., and Wright, D. Due to Confront! How to Intervene when Someone You Care About Has an Alcohol or Drug Problem.

1. Adapted from Miller, W., and Munoz, R. Controlling Your Drinking. Tools to Make Moderation Work for You.

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