Controlling Your Drinking: Tools to Make Moderation Work for You is a practical guide for drinkers who want to reduce their consumption and drink in moderation.

controlling your drinkingResearch by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and others shows that many people, including alcoholics, can and do learn to moderate their drinking. See Alcoholics Can Recover from Alcoholism & Drink in Moderation.

Using behavioral self-control training, the book provides specific, proven alternatives to the prevalent all or nothing 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 findings of these research studies are consistent.  They can be summarized in four points.

  1. People who seek help (including self-help books) to reduce their drinking are generally experiencing significant drinking problems. But they are not as seriously dependent as those who enter abstinence-focused treatment programs.
  2. Those 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.
  3. 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 from professional counselors.
  4. Those who are 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 guides them in setting realistic goals, establishing limits, and maintaining control.

Of course, no single book or approach will work for everyone. If one technique, such as that detailed in Controlling Your Drinking doesn’t work, try another.

There are other self-help resources for controlling your drinking.

  • Amit, Z., Sutherland, E.A., & Weiner, A. Guide to Intelligent Drinking. NY: Walker & Co., 1977.
  • Dimeff, L.A., Baer, J.S., Kivlahan, D.R., & Marlatt, G.A. Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS): A Harm Reduction Approach. NY: Guilford Press, 1999.
  • Heather, N., Richmond, r., Webster, I., Wodak, A., Hardie, M., & Polkinghorne, H. A Guide to Healthier Drinking: A Self-Help Manual. Sydney, Australia: Clarendon, 1989.
  • Kishline, A. Moderate Drinking: The Moderation Management Guide for People who want to Reduce their Drinking. NY: Crown Trade, 1995.
  • Miller, P.M. Personal Habit Control. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1978.
  • Robbins, J., & Fisher, D. Stopping Excessive Drinking. In How to Break Habits. NY: Wyden, 1973.
  • Robertson, I., & Heather, N. So You Want to Cut Down on Your drinking? Edinburg, Scotland: Health Education Board for Scotland, 1999.
  • Rotgers, F., et al. Responsible Drinking: A Moderation Management Approach for Problem Drinkers. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 2002.
  • Sanchez-Craig, M. DrinkWise: How to Quit Drinking or Cut Down. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Addiction Research Foundation, 1993.
  • Vogler, R.E., & Bartz, W.R. The Better Way to Drink. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1982.
  • Williams, R.L., & Long, J.D. All things in Moderation: Controlled Drinking. In Toward a Self-Managed Life Style. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1979, 2nd. ed.).
  • Winters, A. Drinkwatchers. Haverstraw, NY: Gullistan Press, 1977.


  • Christopher, J. Secular Organizations for Sobriety is an Effective Self-Help Program. In: Barbour, S. (Ed.). Alcohol. San Diego: Greenhaven, 1998. Pp. 128-134.
  • Christopher, J. How to Stay Sober: Recovery without Religion. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus, l988.
  • Crandell, J. S. Controlled Drinking Can Help Alcoholics Recover. In: Cozic, C. P., and Swisher, K. (Ed.). Chemical Dependency. San Diego: Greenhaven, 1991. Pp. 218-224.
  • Dorsman, J. How to Quit Drinking without AA: A Complete Self-Help Guide. Newark, DE: New Dawn, 1993.
  • Ellis, A., and Velten, E. When AA Doesn’t Work for You: Rational Steps to Quitting Alcohol. Fort Lee, NJ: Barricade, 1992.
  • Fingarette, H. Heavy Drinking: The Myth of Alcoholism as a Disease. Berkeley: U. California Press, 1988.
  • Fox, V. Addiction: Change and Choice: The New View of Alcoholism. Tucson, AZ: See Sharp, 1993.
  • Granfield, R. Coming Clean: Overcoming Addictions without Treatment. New York: New York U. Press, 1999.
  • Heather, N., and Robertson, I. Controlled Drinking. London: Methuen, 1983.
  • Johnson, V. E. I’ll Quit Tomorrow: A Practical Guide to Alcoholism Treatment. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1980.
  • Kishline, A. Alcoholism Should Not be Treated as a Disease. In: Barbour, S. (Ed.). Alcohol. San Diego: Greenhaven, 1998. Pp. 105-112.
  • Kishline, A. A toast to moderation. Psych Today, January/February, 1996.
  • Lolli, G. Social Drinking: How to Enjoy Drinking without Being Hurt by It. NY: World, 1960.
  • Marlatt, G. A., and Gordon, J. R. (Eds.). Relapse Prevention. NY: Guilford, 1985.
  • Parker, C. B. When Someone You Love Drinks Too Much. New York: Harper & Row, 1990.
  • Peele, S. et al. The Truth about Alcohol and Recovery. NY: Simon and Schuster, 1991.
  • Sanchez-Craig, M. Saying When: How to Quit Drinking or Cut Down. Toronto: ARF, 1993.
  • Sobell, M. B., and Sobell, L. C. Problem Drinkers: Guided Self-Change Treatment. NY: Guilford, 1993.
  • Trimpey, J. Rational Recovery is an Effective Self-Help Program. In: Barbour, S. (Ed.). Alcohol. San Diego: Greenhaven, 1998. Pp. 135-143.
  • Trimpey, J. The Small Book: A Revolutionary Alternative for Overcoming Alcohol and Drug Dependence. NY: Delacorte, 1992.
  • Turk, M. For problem drinkers: A moderate proposal. Business Week, October 23, 1995.
  • Wright, B., and Wright, D. G. Due to Confront! How to Intervene when Someone You Care About Has an Alcohol or Drug Problem. NY: Master-Media, 1999.


1. Adapted from Miller, W.R., and Munoz, R.F. Controlling Your Drinking: Tools to Make Moderation Work for You. NY: Guilford, 2005.

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