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Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Kenneth Anderson is the founder and Executive Director of How to Change Your Drinking: a Harm Reduction Guide to Alcohol (2nd ed.) - Kindle edition by Kenneth Anderson, Patt Denning, Alan Marlatt.
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I had avoided harm reduction a bit, because I had problems with moderation some years ago, and was more interested in an abstinent solution. I was missing the point, that moderation was probably a much more achievable goal at the start. The book is not suggesting that complete abstinence is the wrong approach at all, and that everyone should moderate.

It is more about not damaging yourself and giving yourself tools to change aspects of your life. Even though I have several years of living alcohol and drug free, I really do think it is important to continue to educate myself on different solutions, as I have seen people have major problems late on in sobriety, and so it is important to be able to make informed decisions at various points in our journey.

Some of us drank for many years and have had enough, while others may want to deal with underlying problems and then go back to social drinking after a while. A lot depends on environment, and in the UK, I see a big binge drinking culture compared to the USA and people tend to drink a lot more overall. In the UK, health professionals are realising that the 12 steps are not the answer for everything and methods that are talked about in the book are being adopted, which I think is a practical solution to the problem.

Harm reduction is used a lot with drug addiction problems in most countries, but the USA seems to lag behind. This site is aimed at people who have moved on, or who are moving on from traditional 12 step methods, because they have not found them helpful, or feel they have been harmed by them. There are also a fair number of people, who seem to be new to going alcohol free and who have been put off by the orthodox AA route.

Many counsellors, especially in the USA are 12 step members who are evangelical about that approach, to the detriment of all others. I think they should have a look at the ideas being presented here as they offer a really practical alternative. These people are often lost to the recovery world after an encounter with the moralising, AA approach. I think that the HAMS approach would really suit those, who are free thinkers, who do not have any faith in a so-called spiritual solution.

The USA has a strong religious base compared to other developed countries, that have a reasonable standard of living and education, so you can see why significant numbers would see the 12 step solution as a sensible idea.

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How to Change Your Drinking: a Harm Reduction Guide to Alcohol by Kenneth Anderson

In many places such as the UK , people are less likely to join a recovery group than in the USA, so having books like this, available to us is really important. There have been many high-profile deaths, of people who have used the 12 step solution and relapsed in recent years. I feel many of them could have been helped if they had looked at the ideas of harm reduction and other more practical methods. Therefore I think it is a good idea to read this book!

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Over the Influence: The Harm Reduction Guide for Managing Drugs and Alcohol

HAMS is the first world-wide, harm reduction-based support group specifically for people who drink alcohol. HAMS is lay-led and free-of-charge. Anderson has worked in the field of harm reduction since The book begins by introducing the underlying theories of harm reduction, and is written in a nonjudgmental tone that will be reassuring to most readers:.

How to Change Your Drinking: a Harm Reduction Guide to Alcohol (2nd edition) Kenneth Anderson

We beg to differ with these people. Prohibition does not work because there is nothing essentially evil, sinful, or diseased about having fun.


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There is nothing evil, sinful or diseased about drinking alcohol moderately, and for that matter there is nothing sinful, evil or diseased about engaging in recreational intoxication either. There is not some specific magical quantity which we can say is too much alcohol — free individuals have the right to make up their own minds about how much they believe is too much for them personally. Occasional intoxication is not a symptom of a disease; it is a choice. It is this focus on individual choice and empowerment which personifies this book and differentiates it from much of the rest of the substance misuse canon.

Instead of focusing on problematic labels or clinical diagnosis as a means of demanding perfect abstinence, the author leads the reader on a step-by-step journey toward deciding what their own goals should be, and offers advice and support on the healthiest ways to achieve and maintain them. The opening chapters might seem familiar to many mental health professionals, as Anderson suggests that each reader completes a Cost Benefit Analysis exercise, similar to those used in motivational interviewing techniques:. In fact, they can often produce a litany of reasons why what they are doing is bad for them.