Alcohol & Health
Treatment
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Updated on February 2, 2023
4 min read

Moderation Management

What is Moderation Management (MM)?

Moderation Management (MM) is an alcohol consumption management program. It offers guidance regarding alcohol consumption and a peer support network for people interested in changing their drinking behavior. 

MM was the first moderation-based alcohol addiction treatment program that offered assistance to people who struggled with alcohol. They acknowledge that for many, moderation is more easily achievable than abstinence. 

It offers a supportive environment that encourages members to cut back or stop drinking before an addiction or severe drinking problem develops. It is a nine-step program that provides the following strategies to help people practice controlled drinking:

  • Information
  • Guidelines
  • Exercises
  • Goal-setting assistance
  • Self-management strategies  

The goal is to help members find balance and moderation in all areas of their life, including alcohol consumption.

What is Considered Moderate Alcohol Consumption?

Many health experts believe it is possible to consume limited amounts of alcohol safely. According to their recommendations, moderate alcohol consumption is:

  • Two drinks per day or less for men
  • One drink or less per day for women. 

Moderation guidelines are not intended to encourage non-drinkers to drink one or two drinkers per day. Instead, they are meant to say, “if you drink, don’t drink more than this.”

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How Does Moderation Management Work?

Moderation Management is a nine-step program. It promotes abstinence for the first 30 days of the program, followed by practicing moderate drinking.

Members can choose to abstain from alcohol or set limits based on their personal needs and desires. They also have access to peer support and education.

Moderation Management Approaches 

Moderation Management works with  the following perspectives:

  • “Problem drinking” and alcoholism are different
  • Many problem drinkers don’t qualify as full-blown alcoholics with a physical dependence
  • People need an alternative to AA and its requirement to commit to abstinence
  • It’s possible to help more people with a moderate approach
  • Viewing problem drinking as an uncontrollable disease isn’t productive and disempowers people victimized or disenfranchised by society
  • Harm reduction is better than no harm reduction

9 Steps of Moderation Management

MM members follow these nine steps:

  1. Attend meetings online or in person and learn about the program Moderation Management
  2. Abstain from alcohol consumption for 30 days and complete steps three through six during this time
  3. Examine how drinking has affected their lives
  4. Write down their life priorities
  5. Examine drinking habits⁠—how much, how often, and under what circumstances they’ve been drinking
  6. Learn the MM guidelines and limits for moderate drinking
  7. Set moderate drinking limits and start weekly “small steps” – the goal is to work toward balance and moderation in all areas of life
  8. Review progress and update goals
  9. Make positive lifestyle changes and attend meetings for ongoing support or to help newcomers

Who is Moderation Management For?

Moderation Management is for those who want to change their drinking behaviors but do not have an alcohol use disorder. It allows members to determine their ultimate goal, whether abstinence or moderation.

However, Moderation Management is not for everyone, and the program acknowledges that. It accepts that there are numerous solutions to dealing with alcohol use. People should find the best solution for themselves.

It’s also possible for someone to try Moderation Management and find it ineffective. Members can then opt for a more intensive treatment program.

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How to Attend a Moderation Management Meeting

Moderation Management meetings are available in person and online. During this time, they examine the effect of alcohol on their life. They should record their priorities and assess when, where, why, and how much they drink.

Members set moderate drinking limits once in the program and take small steps weekly to practice responsible drinking. The goal is to achieve balance and moderation in all areas of life. They frequently review their progress and update their goals as needed.

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Moderate Drinking (MD) vs. Moderation Management (MM)

Moderate Drinking (MD) and Moderation Management (MM) are similar programs.

Some people use both programs. Both programs offer support and guidance for heavy drinkers who do not have alcohol use disorder. The goal is to help people reduce their alcohol consumption before it becomes a problem.

Moderate Drinking (MD) is a confidential program that helps people achieve and maintain moderation. The program is a behavioral self-control training program for people who want to stop drinking alcohol. It includes four elements:

  • Goal setting
  • Self-monitoring
  • Controlling drinking
  • Tracking progress

Moderation Management is a support network. It includes:

  • Peer support
  • Self-help tools
  • Recommended alcohol consumption guidelines 

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) vs. Moderation Management (MM)

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Moderation Management (MM) are designed to help people improve their health regarding alcohol consumption. However, the programs have very different approaches.

The primary difference is how the programs view abstinence. AA requires a commitment to abstinence. On the other hand, Moderation Management encourages moderation and allows the member to determine if abstinence is possible and/or preferred.

Both programs offer face-to-face and online alcohol support group meetings. There are other tools, as well, including:

  • Online forums
  • Books
  • One-on-one peer support

Summary

Moderation Management is an alternative to programs like AA. It’s for those who want to change their drinking habits without giving up alcohol altogether. 

The program has nine steps to follow. During it, you will learn about your drinking patterns and develop strategies to manage your drinking.

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Updated on February 2, 2023
7 sources cited
Updated on February 2, 2023
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