In 2002, the National Association of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA, 2002) reported that physicians diagnosed 2,372,000 people with alcohol related problems (NIAAA, 2002). The Institute of Medicine (IOM) found that only one out of every four-problem drinkers fulfilled the requirements for a medical finding of alcoholism. The IOM (Hoeltzel, Kern, &Rotgers, 2002) also found that 93% of treatment programs base recovery on the philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), which necessitates total abstinence for success. For the 32 million non-dependent drinkers in the United States, the idea of life-long abstinence is a daunting and illogical option, yet abstinence is the most well known selection for recovery. Moderation management offers a solution and a positive outlook for controlling drinking (Hoeltzel, et. al, 2002).
Hoeltzel, Kern, and Rotgers classify moderate drinking as a maximum of 2-3 drinks per occasion, with a weekly limit of nine drinks for women and 12-14 for men (2002).
Moderate drinking includes monitoring one's rate of consumption and blood alcohol concentration (BAC), maintaining a BAC of .045-.055 or lower (Hester, 2000). In a study conducted by Kevin Kraemer (2002) of the University of Pittsburg, 36% (n=77) of subjects experienced an increase in emotional, physical, psychological well-being after diminishing their alcohol use by 30% or more.
Moderation or controlled drinking is the most common resolution for mild to moderate drinking problems and for those who choose not to seek professional assistance (Peele, 1990). Self-moderation or abstinence has the highest rate of success compared to any other form of treatment (Peele, 1990). The NIAAA suggests that physicians direct patients in one of two directions during chemical use screenings, 1) to abstain from use if they are 'dependent' drinkers, or 2) to practice moderation if they are not dependent. A dependent drinker...