Strategies for Reducing Risk  Strategies for Reducing Risk

Tips for Cutting Back

Using Online Supports

When Cutting Back Isn’t Working

Finding Treatment

More Information on Drinking

What is Moderated or Healthy Drinking?

Who should moderate and abstain?

Potential Consequences of Excessive Drinking

Drinking Across the Lifespan

The following is a list of available online supports for reducing or quitting drinking. As you can tell, some of these are internationally based. Be aware that each country has a different definition of a standard drink. We have provided you with information from the US.
Guidelines for healthy drinking will differ across countries. For example, a standard drink in the U.S. = 14g of alcohol, whereas in Australia it is 10g of alcohol

Moderation Management is a lay-led non-profit dedicated to reducing the harm caused by the abuse of alcohol. (If your life is challenged by alcohol, you have arrived at the right place.)

Through a combination of positive health promotion campaigns and behavior change products, we support any individual to change their relationship with alcohol, whether that relationship means abstaining, taking a break, or simply understanding how to have a healthy relationship with alcohol.

Hello Sunday Morning delivers campaigns to reduce stigma around alcohol and encourages people to consider their relationship with alcohol. For those that need extra support to change, we have developed a behavior change program called Daybreak, the world’s leading online support community of people working together to change their relationship with alcohol in an anonymous, safe, and secure environment.

Down Your Drink (DYD) is a web-based program (based in the UK) intended to provide people with the information they need about alcohol consumption. Through a 15-minute guided visit, users enter information about their weekly alcohol consumption patterns and receive feedback on their risk level for alcohol-related problems and the benefits of cutting down. In a worksheet, users are encouraged to manually list and compare benefits of not changing vs. changing their drinking habits.

DYD provides users with psychoeducational information (text-based) on the benefits of reducing alcohol consumption, how to reduce alcohol consumption, and how to stay on track. It also addresses how to handle risky situations, refuse drinks, deal with cravings and urges, and be assertive in the face of peer pressure.

Users can maintain a diary to track their daily alcohol consumption and check on their progress. Additional features include tools to calculate blood alcohol levels and units of alcohol consumed; worksheets to record binge drinking episodes and factors preceding these episodes (e.g., social situations, feelings, and emotions); and the Severity of Dependence Scale to measure users’ dependency on alcohol.

Step Away is a mobile app aimed at helping users to change their drinking habits. When entering the program, a video tutorial gives users a clear explanation about how the program should be used. Users are then asked to complete a short screening questionnaire to establish their drinking profile and are given feedback about their risk level. The program leads users to set a goal: either to moderate their drinking or to abstain from drinking for a set number of days.

The program is designed as a sequence of steps. The developers recommend completing one step each day and using the app over a period of three months. Steps include choosing how to reward a goal accomplished, information and tips about dealing with cravings, coping strategies, etc. The program also features a daily goal tracker, which is summarized in a weekly report that describes the user’s state in relation to his or her goals. An additional feature is a “Help” button that offers coping tools in times of need (e.g. having a craving, feeling stressed, etc.).

SMART recovery has both online and in person meetings to help individuals reduce their risky drinking. While not available in all cities, it can still be a useful resource.

VetChange is a mobile and web-based self-management program intended to help active duty military personnel and Veterans build skills to better manage their drinking. The program starts with self-assessment questionnaires which are intended to help users understand more about the risks and problems associated with their drinking and some of the factors that may be affecting their drinking.  After each questionnaire, users receive feedback which could guide them in making decisions about their drinking habits.

The “Make a Decision to Change” section contains texts and videos meant to answer remaining frequently asked questions. Next, users complete a text based section to decide whether reducing/stopping drinking is right for them. Finally, users can work through three (text and video) modules intended to help them identify events and situations that trigger their drinking, develop action plans to manage those in a way that helps them meet their goals, and enhance their knowledge about common problems faced by active duty military personnel and Veterans.

VetChange also provides users with an interactive dashboard which allows them to set new goals, track their drinking, and check in on their progress. The app has a 15 min countdown clock to assist when urges occur (program states that an urge typically passes after 15 min). The developers suggest users to try a different strategy to cope with their drinking every week and revise their action plans until users find the strategy that works best for them.

For women who are interested in abstinence and want to be connected to help tailored specifically for women, Women for Sobriety can help. There are online resources, as well as in-person meetings available in many cities across the US.

Paid Programs

CheckUps & Choices is a web-based program designed to help users assess their drinking habits and, if they choose to, manage their drinking. The program consists of two parts: the “checkup,” in which users evaluate and receive feedback on their drinking habits, and “choices,” which is a 3–12 month program for moderating or completely stopping alcohol consumption. Users can choose to complete only the first part or both. When users first enter the program, they fill out a free short screening questionnaire about their drinking habits; this is followed by feedback and general recommendations for treatment. Further progress in the program requires users to pay. The “checkup” is a series of assessments designed to thoroughly evaluate various aspects of users’ drinking habits, including motivations, consequences, etc. The developers state that the evaluation process contributes to users’ motivation to take action and control over their drinking. In the “choices” part, users select one of the alcohol management options offered: moderate or abstain. There are also options to abstain from gambling, marijuana, opioids, or stimulants. After users make their selection, the program leads them through a series of steps designed to educate users and encourage their self-reflection on their reasons and motivations to continue or change their drinking habits. Users also set personal goals and develop strategies. Subjects include motivation, getting started (e.g., setting personal rules and committing to them), keeping track (e.g., why keep track, what to say to others), triggers (e.g., identifying triggers), urge to drink (e.g., dealing with your urges), lifestyle (e.g., healthy alternatives), lapses, relapses, and other resources. Additional features include a tracker – where users can keep a daily record of their alcohol consumption – and push notifications (via email) designed to help users continue with the program.

Through the free resources provided via the blog, the weekly Hip Sobriety Newsletter, the HOME podcast, my online Sobriety School (you can sign up to stay in the loop on the next one here), and self-paced digital courses.

Ria Health provides effective alcohol addiction treatment you can use. Our physicians and coaches get you started and help with every step of the program. Consult with them through our mobile app, 24/7.