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.

Research by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and others has repeatedly demonstrated that many people, including those diagnosed as alcoholic, can learn to moderate their drinking.

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, which is more than for any other single approach for the treatment of alcohol problems.

The findings of these research studies are consistent and can be summarized in four points:

  1. People who seek help (including self-help books) to moderate their drinking are generally experiencing significant problems because of their drinking, but are not as seriously dependent on alcohol as are those who enter abstinence-focused treatment programs.
  2. Those drinkers who receive behavioral self-control training generally reduce their alcohol use - by amounts averaging 50-70% - and significantly reduce their risk of alcohol-related health and social problems.
  3. Drinkers using a self-help guide, on their own, to learn behavioral self-control tend to be as successful in reducing their drinking as those receiving outpatient behavioral 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 patterns. 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. Other self-help resources promoting moderation include:

  • 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.

Disclaimer: This website is informational only. It makes no suggestions or recommendations about alcohol, drinking, rehabs, programs, or any other matter and none should be inferred. Neither this website nor your host receives any compensation, directly or indirectly, from listing or describing any program. Such listing or description does not imply endorsement. [+]


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

Readings and References

  • 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: University OS 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 University Press, 1999.
  • Heather, N., and Robertson, I. Controlled Drinking. London, England: 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. Psychology Today, January/February, 1996.
  • Lolli, G. Social Drinking: How to Enjoy Drinking without Being Hurt by It. New York: World Publishing, 1960.
  • Marlatt, G. A., and Gordon, J. R. (Eds.). Relapse Prevention. New York: 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. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1991.
  • Sanchez-Craig, M. Saying When: How to Quit Drinking or Cut Down. Toronto, Canada: Addiction Research Foundation. 1993.
  • Sobell, M. B., and Sobell, L. C. Problem Drinkers: Guided Self-Change Treatment. New York: 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. New York: 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. New York: Master-Media, 1990.

Filed Under: Resources