If you're concerned about your drinking habits, one of your New Year's resolutions may have been to quit alcohol entirely. But, though "the cold-turkey approach is deeply rooted in the United States," there is another way, writes Gabrielle Glaser, author of a book on women and alcohol, in the New York Times. In her research, she found that Moderation Management, a free nonprofit support group, helped many female "nondependent problem drinkers" to control their drinking. The basic idea: Abstain for 30 days, mindfully reintroduce alcohol, then stick to just nine drinks per week, with no more than three on any particular day.
Of course, this won't work for those "severely dependent" on alcohol, but "those on the more moderate end of the spectrum ... outnumber dependent drinkers by about four to one," and this method can help those drinkers to "set limits, self-monitor while they’re drinking, get feedback on their progress, and identify and manage triggers to overdrinking," Glaser writes. It's not a quick fix, but most participants have improved their habits within six months. The method jibes with research showing that many problem drinkers can be helped with practical advice on how to cut back. "While it’s not healthy to pour yourself a third or fourth glass every night," writes Glaser, "it doesn’t mean you’re powerless to do anything about it." Click for her full piece.