Responsible Drinking is a workbook produced by the leading voices of the Moderation
Management self-help group.It is based on extensive scientific
literature supporting moderation as a resolution for drinking
problems and offers research-based techniques that will help non-dependent
drinkers to overcome their drinking problems. Most importantly,
Responsible Drinking makes a compelling objective argument that moderation is a realistic,
achievable, clinically responsible, and preferred goal for many
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism,
more than 3 out of 4 people who drink heavily would not be diagnosed
as alcohol dependent or alcoholic. The authors argue that moderation
programs for problem drinkers are rare - two factors have limited
the availability of moderation approach, firstly the belief that
all alcohol problems are progressive and irreversible and secondly
the concern that such services will be misused (that is severely
dependent individuals will use moderation goals to rationalize
continued heavy drinking) or will interfere with abstinence-orientated
treatments for those who are unable to moderate their drinking.
Validated reports of moderation services being misused are lacking
and evidence has accumulated over the years contradicting the
The authors of the book have a wide experience of alcohol problems
and they believe the book will help to bridge the gap between
alcohol research and practice. Frederick Rotgers, PSY.D is chairman
of the Board of Directors and has been at the forefront of using
Moderation Management techniques as a component of comprehensive
alcohol treatment since the mid-1990s. Dr Rotgers is an Associate
Professor of Psychology with the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic
Medicine. Other Directors include Dr Kern , a licensed clinical
psychologist and Certified Addictions Specialist, Ce, whilst Rudy
Hoeltzel resolved a drinking problem in the Moderation Management
program and has led a local Moderation Management self-help group
The aim of the book is to offer a wide menu of practical and specific
ideas, whilst recognising that there are major differences in
peoples problems and circumstances and how they deal with them.
As a result the book provides a great deal of leeway for adoption
to different ways of looking at things and to particular situations,
aiming to build a healthy and risk free relationship with alcohol,
be that drinking in moderation or abstinence.
A central concept of the book is that moderation is a reasonable
and attainable goal for many less severe drinking problems and
that the choice of moderation or abstinence for each person should
be a considered one, based on looking at the pros and cons of
each and also taking responsibility for ones own actions. Personal
choice and empowerment are critical for success and success in
moderation will further build self-efficacy.
The key phases of the process to moderate drinking are as follows:
- A period of abstinence - 30 days or more in the early period as
this period breaks old habits, gives space to practise moderation
as well as other benefits.
- Guidelines for moderation - these should be learnt and internalised
early on and include, not drinking for 3-4 days per week,for women
an upper limit of 3 drinks per occasion and men 4 drinks, and
not more than 9 drinks per week for women and 14 for men, alcohol
should be consumed slowly in order to keep blood alcohol concentration
under .055%. A key aspect of a moderator is that alcohol becomes
a much smaller, though enjoyable part of life.
- Getting clearly in the mind the problems overdrinking has caused
and the benefits of moderation (if used moderately it can actually
protect your health), including new activities (can be targeted
to counter specific triggers for example exercise) , and interests
( such as services to others), which will provide motivation and
- Techniques for dealing with urges to drink ( for example by keeping
the pacing and amounts within guidelines) and techniques for controlling
drinking ( such as count drinks, eat something whilst drinking,
drink other liquids for thirst,dilute drinks and think before
- Identify triggers for over drinking ( i.e stressful or emotional
situations, social situations, low self -esteem and anger) and
develop strategies to manage these triggers more effectively.
- When starting a moderation programme, keep a diary (one reason
a diary is effective is that the diary focuses a little more of
your time each day to the subject).
- Use any slips as a valuable learning experience ( Dont get discouraged,
figure out what went wrong, rehearse the new behaviour mentally).
If moderation doesnt work the book also gives information on
how to achieve abstinence. There are many routes to abstinence,ranging
from the purely self-directed efforts to support groups, to professional
counselling, impatient treatment and a combination of all of these.
The book contains Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Tables, Psychological
Symptom Inventory (PSI - 32), recommended reading and inspirational
words of more than 50 individuals who have faced and overcome
the same problems.
G. Alan Marlett, Ph.D., Professor and Director, Addictive Behaviours
Research Centre, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.,
comments on the book "I strongly recommend Responsible Drinking for those who wish to pursue the path of moderation. Readers
will gain new knowledge and skills about alcohol and moderate
drinking, including an enhanced sense of persona; habit mastery
and greater freedom of choice".