Moderation Management is for Problem Drinkers Who Want to Moderate

Moderation Management (MM) is for problem drinkers who want to reduce their drinking. MM is non-profit and offers peer-run, non-12 step support groups.

It’s an alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other 12-step programs which demand total alcohol abstinence for life. Courts consistently hold AA to be a religious group. This is a problem for many problem drinkers. On the other hand, MM is neither religious nor anti-religious.

Moderation Management is for Problem Drinkers
Audrey Kishline

Audrey Kishline founded MM in 1994 after consulting many experts. MM is non-dogmatic. It believes some problem drinkers are successful only by abstaining. Therefore, it offers the choice of moderation or abstinence.

Some people will find that they’re unable to drink in moderation. Some members who choose abstinence remain in MM. Others find an abstinence-only group to attend.

MM’s “Steps”

moderation management is for problem drinkers
MM’s process of change is based on the recommendation of experts and research evidence. You don’t need to take them in order.

  1. Keep a diary of your drinking to help learn how your problems with drinking occur.
  2. Understand what moderation is. To do so, look at MM’s limits of drinking in moderate.
  3. Consider whether moderation or abstinence seems the better goal for you.
  4. Make a list of the problems drinking has caused you. Also make a list of the benefits you expect from moderation.
  5. Start on a period of abstinence of 30 days or more. This helps you experience the positives of non-drinking. During this period you can work through some steps to help you achieve moderation later.
    1. Learn skills for avoiding drinking when you don’t choose to do so.
    2. Learn skills for controlling drinking when you do drink.
    3. Identify triggers that lead you to over-drink. Then develop means to either avoid or neutralize them.
    4. Develop your own personal rules that will keep your drinking moderate. Start new spare-time activities to displace drinking.
  6. At the end of your period of abstinence, you can start drinking again cautiously. Be mindful of your limits and personal rules for drinking. Maintain a high degree of attention to your drinking during this period, including keeping a diary.
  7. If and when you have slips, do a post-mortem to see what went wrong. Then change your drinking guidelines if needed.

Published research shows that most MM members successfully moderate their drinking.

Resources: Moderation Management for Problem Drinkers

Hester, R. et al. A web application for moderation training: Initial results of a randomized clinical trial. J Sub Abuse Treat, 2009, 37(3), 266–276. ht

Humphreys, K. and Klaw, E. A study of the Moderation Management self-help/mutual aid organization. J Studi Alc, 2001,2 62(4), 528–532.

Kishline A. Moderate Drinking: The Moderation Management Guide for People Who Want to Reduce Their Drinking. NY: Crown, 1995.

Rotgers, F., et al. Responsible Drinking: a Moderation Management Approach for Problem Drinkers. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 2002.