HAMS: Harm Reduction for Alcohol

The Seventeen Elements of HAMS

HAMS does not have steps--HAMS has elements. What is the difference? First: the HAMS elements can be done in any order. Second: all of the HAMS elements are optional--you get to pick and choose the ones which work for you--nothing is required. You can start at element one if you want or you can start elsewhere. See Getting Started with HAMS for more information about this.

HAMS 17 Elements Video Playlist on YouTube

HAMS is not like 12 step programs where every time that you finish step twelve you are expected to go back and start over from step one for the rest of your life. You can leave HAMS when you are done or you can choose to stick around to help others--a free choice. Here are the elements:


1. Do a Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) of your drinking
youtubeHAMS Element One - YouTube Video
My Drinking CBA Worksheet
Sample Drinking CBA Worksheet
My Generalized CBA Worksheet
Sample Generalized CBA Worksheet

2. Choose a drinking goal--safer drinking, reduced drinking, or quitting
youtubeHAMS Element Two - YouTube Video
My Drinking Goal Worksheet
Sample Drinking Goal Worksheet

3. Learn about risk ranking and rank your risks
youtubeHAMS Element Three - YouTube Video
My Risk Ranking Worksheet
Sample Risk Ranking Worksheet

4. Learn about the HAMS tools and strategies for changing your drinking
youtubeHAMS Element Four - YouTube Video
The HAMS Toolbox

5. Make a plan to achieve your drinking goal
youtubeHAMS Element Five - YouTube Video
My Drinking Plan Worksheet
Sample Drinking Plan Worksheet

6. Use alcohol-free time to reset your drinking habits
youtubeHAMS Element Six - YouTube Video
My Alcohol Free Day

7. Learn to cope without booze
youtubeHAMS Element Seven - YouTube Video
RET Worksheet

8. Address outside issues that affect drinking
youtubeHAMS Element Eight - YouTube Video

9. Learn to have fun without booze
youtubeHAMS Element Nine - YouTube Video
Alcohol-Free Fun Worksheet

10. Learn to believe in yourself
youtubeHAMS Element Ten - YouTube Video
A Self-Confidence Enhancement Exercise

11. Use a chart to plan and track your drinks and drinking behaviors day by day
youtubeHAMS Element Eleven - YouTube Video
My Drinking Chart
Sample Drinking Chart
My Risk Tracking Chart
Sample Risk Tracking Chart

12. Evaluate your progress - honestly report struggles - revise plans or goals as needed
youtubeHAMS Element Twelve - YouTube Video

13. Practice damage control as needed
youtubeHAMS Element Thirteen - YouTube Video
Damage Control: Dealing With Slips, Recycling, And Ricochets
Urge Management

14. Get back on the horse
youtubeHAMS Element Fourteen - YouTube Video

15. Graduating from HAMS, sticking around, or coming back
youtubeHAMS Element Fifteen - YouTube Video

16. Praise yourself for every success!!
youtubeHAMS Element Sixteen - YouTube Video

17. Move at your own pace--you don't have to do it all at once
youtubeHAMS Element Seventeen - YouTube Video

Please bear in mind that different people have different time frames for how quickly they change. Although a few people can make a final drinking plan and implement it all at once and never look back--the majority of us will change more gradually and perhaps with some slips and regressions on the way. So remember to be gentle and go easy on yourself--this may take some time. For more information about the HAMS timeframe please visit our web page How Long Does It Take To Change A Habit?

For an in-depth discussion of the 17 elements of HAMS please get the HAMS book.


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