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Take Control of Your Drinking

A Practical Guide to Alcohol Moderation, Sobriety, and When to Get Profe
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For decades, the standard treatment for people struggling with alcohol consumption has focused on convincing them to admit that they are an alcoholic, to stop drinking entirely, and to enter into a program, most commonly Alcoholics Anonymous. But in his more than thirty-five-year career as an addiction specialist working with people who want to change their drinking habits, Michael S. Levy has found that the routes to behavioral change actually vary. And although abstinence is the successful route for many people, others can moderate their drinking on their own or with professional help. In this practical, effective, and compassionate book, Levy helps people take control of their alcohol problem by teaching them how to think about and address their drinking habits. Beginning with a set of self-assessments that reveal whether the reader's use of alcohol is creating problems, Levy explains the causes of problem drinking, discusses the growing recognition of the various ways an alcohol use disorder can show itself, and talks about why it is so difficult to change. Offering advice for choosing between moderating your drinking or abstaining altogether, he also touches on coping with slipups, fighting helplessness and the fear of failure, and knowing when moderation is not achievable. The book is unique in that instead of telling people what they need to do, it meets people at their stage of change and level of readiness to change and helps them decide for themselves what they need to do. Drawing on the latest scientific evidence, this new edition includes * a chapter on the concept of self-medication-a useful but at times overused idea; * a chapter on the concurrent use of drugs (particularly cannabis) during recovery; * an exploration of modern strategies for dealing with drinking, including technology (apps that count drinks, for example) and medications that curb alcohol consumption; * reflections on the use of stigma; * communication strategies for individuals seeking to share their struggle with others; * an exploration of common triggers; * additional worksheets and tips to achieve success; * further material about self-help programs; and * insights about the dark side of addiction treatment. Ultimately, Take Control of Your Drinking empowers people to tackle their drinking problem and gives them the freedom to do so in a way that fits with their own lifestyle and values. This book is useful for anyone who may find that they are drinking too much, for the loved ones of such people, and for clinicians who want to broaden their skills when working with people who struggle with alcohol.
Introduction Part I. Making Sense of Your Situation Chapter 1. Do You Have a Drinking Problem? Chapter 2. Why Does Drinking Cause You Difficulty? Chapter 3. Self-Medication Part II. Before You Get Started Chapter 4. Getting Ready and Staying Motivated Chapter 5. Can You Really Help Yourself? Chapter 6. You May Need Medical Help Chapter 7. What to Do: Abstinence or Moderation? Part III. Moderating Your Drinking Chapter 8. Moderation: General Techniques Chapter 9. Your Personal Moderate Drinking Contract Chapter 10. Bumps and Detours with Moderate Drinking Part IV. Quitting Drinking and Staying Sober Chapter 11. Managing Your Thoughts to Quit Drinking Chapter 12. What You Must Do to Quit Drinking Chapter 13. Managing Urges to Use Chapter 14. Slips and Falls on the Path to Sobriety Part V. Other Resources Chapter 15. The Need for Outside Help Chapter 16. Self-Help Groups and Apps Chapter 17. Professional Treatment Chapter 18. Medications Part VI. Other Drug Use in Recovery Chapter 19. Can You Smoke Marijuana? Afterword Bibliography Index
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