"HAMS is a person-to-person, grass roots effort to translate into ground-level reality the often abstract claims made by what has become the major reform movement in drug (less so alcohol) policy and (less often) treatment - harm reduction. The truth is that people struggle over their lifetimes to reduce problems associated with substance use and abuse; that few human beings abstain completely and permanently (even among those claiming to do so under the auspices of AA and rehab); yet nonetheless most make improvements in their lives and substance use. NOTHING WE CAN DO by passing laws, trying to herd every substance abuser into treatment, or admonishing high school students never to drink or to take drugs can change this larger human reality. In fact, the reverse is true, and the need to recognize the extent of substance use and abuse in our society increases rapidly, and more people require realistic, harm reduction oriented help. This is not a popular - even an acceptable - truism in the United States, despite ample evidence every day that our larger political and public health policies are meaningless, or worse, counterproductive.
"HAMS is for the large majority of substance users who have problems who remain unserved by our current Alice In Wonderland approaches. The often unacknowledged, majority."
"Harm reduction programs:
- meet people "where they are" with their drinking,
- don't label people as addicted, diseased or alcoholic,
- empower people to choose their own goals, which can be safer drinking, reduced drinking or abstinence, and
- help people achieve the drinking goals they have chosen.
"How to Change Your Drinking presents 17 elements (not steps) from which readers can choose to use in their program of harm reduction. The many supporting chapters are short and reader-friendly but based on solid research.
"This handbook is pragmatic and excellent."
--David J. Hanson, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of Sociology, SUNY, Potsdam.
Web site - Alcohol: Problems & Solutions
"In the world of one-size-fits-all treatment programs for alcohol problems, Kenneth Anderson's book is unique in offering a veritable smorgasbord of choices--everything from safe drinking strategies to cognitive and behavior therapies to naltrexone and The Sinclair Method and more. Mr. Anderson is to be applauded for making a host of options available to people who have been failed by more conventional treatment approaches. Because of its wide scope, I believe that this book should be required reading for psychologists, nurses, medical students, families, 'alcoholics' and substance abuse therapists, family practitioners, and law enforcement officials."
"Ken Anderson's book is an excellent and refreshing resource for those wishing to successfully modify their drinking and/or avoid the life-killing programs that now pass for 'treatment' in the U.S. Not only does the material reflect the actual research, but it also debunks the AA/12 Step myths that have dominated our culture to the extent that intelligent people have nowhere to turn for help. I am happy to recommend this book to anyone looking to educate and inform themselves, spouses, family members and friends."
"Finally! A comprehensive, user friendly, intelligent look at reducing the risks associated with alcohol use from a Harm Reduction perspective. Every aspect, including history, myths and facts, physical/emotional manifestations of alcohol use, and of course, harm reduction theory and action steps toward minimizing negative effects, recovery and beyond. Take your time…this 'manual' reads like a work book and can be one of your most important references on this topic. This has also become mandatory reading for all of our direct services staff and a reference for participant discussion. Well worth adding it to your library."
"How do some people drink and not turn it into a problem? How to Change Your Drinking: A Harm Reduction Guide to Alcohol discusses how to encourage moderation and reduction in one's drinking habits, whether one just wants to clean their habits up or simply wants to quit entirely. From preventing blackouts to cultural differences and more, How to Change Your Drinking is a useful read for anyone who wants to bring their alcohol consumption under their control."
--The Midwest Book Review
MBR Bookwatch - Volume 9, Number 10 - October 2010
Table of Contents (2nd ed)
- PREFACE by G. Alan Marlatt. PhD
- INTRODUCTION by Patt Denning, PhD
- PART I: BETTER IS BETTER - THE NUTS AND BOLTS OF HARM REDUCTION
- Chapter One: Introducing Harm Reduction for Alcohol
- Chapter Two: How the HAMS Approach Works
- PART II: HOW TO BUILD YOUR OWN ALCOHOL HARM REDUCTION PROGRAM - THE HAMS ELEMENTS
- Chapter Three: Weighing the Pros and Cons of Your Drinking
- Chapter Four: Choosing Your Drinking Goal
- Chapter Five: Risk Ranking
- Chapter Six: The Alcohol Harm Reduction Toolbox
- Chapter Seven: Making Your Plan
- Chapter Eight: Alcohol-Free Time
- Chapter Nine: Coping With Life Without Relying on Booze
- Chapter Ten: Alcohol and Outside Issues
- Chapter Eleven: Having Fun Without Booze
- Chapter Twelve: You Are What You Believe
- Chapter Thirteen: Charting and Measuring
- Chapter Fourteen: Tweaking the Plan
- Chapter Fifteen: Damage Control: Dealing With Slips, Setbacks, and Ricochets
- Chapter Sixteen: Patience, Practice, and Persistence
- Chapter Seventeen: Graduating, Staying, or Returning
- Chapter Eighteen: Praise yourself for every success
- Chapter Nineteen: Moving at Your Own Pace
- PART III: EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT ALCOHOL*
*But you got told to go to AA and not to ask
- Chapter Twenty: Alcohol and the brain
- Chapter Twenty One: Alcohol and the body
- Chapter Twenty Two: Preventing Alcohol Withdrawal
- Chapter Twenty Three: Alcohol Tolerance
- Chapter Twenty Four: Hangover
- Chapter Twenty Five: Preventing Alcoholic blackouts
- Chapter Twenty Six: Facts and myths about cross addiction and cross tolerance
- PART IV: HARM REDUCTION IN CONTEXT
- Chapter Twenty Seven: Harm Reduction Information for Friends and Family of Drinkers
- Chapter Twenty Eight: The HAMS Support Group
- Chapter Twenty Nine: Harm Reduction and the Stages of Change Model
- Chapter Thirty: Alcohol, Individual and Environment
- Chapter Thirty One: How the Meaning of the Word "Alcoholism" Has Changed
- Chapter Thirty Two: To the Health Care Professional
- APPENDIX I: Alcohol and Drug Interactions
- APPENDIX II: BAC Charts
- APPENDIX III: Naltrexone and the Magic of Pharmacological Extinction
- APPENDIX IV: How Effective Is AA and 12 Step Treatment?
- APPENDIX V: Carbs, Sugar, and Alcohol Content of Various Alcoholic Drinks