Controlling Your Drinking: Tools to Make Moderation Work for You

William R. Miller, Author, Ricardo F. Munoz, Author Guilford Publications $16.95 (226p) ISBN 978-1-57230-903-6
Few concepts in alcohol treatment have been more controversial than the idea of ""controlled"" drinking. And few researchers have been more influential in the field than Miller, a Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico. This updated (and re-titled) version of his clinically tested 1975 manual will be of great interest to people who are concerned about their drinking, as well as to family members and clinicians. Clear, concise, non-judgmental and practical, it lays out the facts that are often obscured in the heated debate over alcohol treatments. As Miller and co-author Munoz write, under previous conceptions of alcohol problems, a person was either alcoholic or not, and ""if you are an alcoholic, then it's too late for moderation. If you're not alcoholic, then you don't need a book on it."" Research has since disproved these assumptions, finding that alcohol problems occur on a spectrum and that moderation, like other behavior, can be learned. (The authors stress that readers needn't concern themselves over whether they're ""alcoholics"" but should instead focus on changing harmful drinking behavior.) The new book offers tools for successful moderation-like spacing alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones and timing drinks to maintain low levels of blood alcohol concentration-as well as tactics for dealing with common challenges, like hard-drinking friends and social anxiety. It's also been updated to better highlight the most useful techniques. Contrary to fears that offering tips on moderation might help people rationalize further heavy drinking, Miller's work and that of others has found that trying moderation helps drinkers decide for themselves if it is an achievable goal. If not, the self-discovery provoked by being unable to learn to moderate often spurs abstinence-an outcome the authors also applaud.
Reviewed on: 11/15/2004
Release date: 11/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
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