Alcoholics Anonymous and its supporters would probably rail against the idea of a ""better"" way to drink, once you have a...


THE BETTER WAY TO DRINK: The Alternative That Works

Alcoholics Anonymous and its supporters would probably rail against the idea of a ""better"" way to drink, once you have a problem. Indeed, one of the less appealing aspects of the cutting-down program devised by this team of psychologists is its emphasis on ""successful"" drinking, as if the whole thing were seine kind of contest. But Vogler and Bartz aren't the first to assert that it is possible to reduce intake, rather than abstain completely. (See Robert Linn's You Can Drink and Stay Healthy, 1979, or Claude Steiner's Healing Alcoholism, 1979.) And they de admit, however grudgingly, that the serious abusers are best-off with total abstinence. But this category, they insist, embraces a minority of drinkers. So they ask readers to assess ""degree"" of involvement by scoring a ""Drinking Survey""--based on the number of hangovers, importance of alcohol to recreation, drunk driving convictions, etc. Mild or moderate abusers are encouraged to utilize a primitive biofeedback technique involving blood alcohol level, or ""BA."" The authors contend that 55 is the limit at which the BA becomes immoderate; above that level, good feelings, physical functioning, emotional control, and stress relief tend to disappear. So they ask readers first to observe others' behavior under the influence of alcohol, and then their own, to determine when the upper limit of moderation has been reached. (Tables taking into account the individual's weight, kind of drink, number of drinks per hour, etc., etc., provide further guidelines.) Vogler and Bartz also delve briefly into seine related topics: helping a friend or relative to cut down (don't lecture, but give them this book); relaxation techniques to replace alcohol in ""unwinding""; assertive techniques for refusing additional drinks. They believe that drinking too much, like smoking and overeating, is a learned habit that can be unlearned. So the kind of person who doesn't yet have an uncontrollable problem, and fancies BA-counting the same way weight-watchers practice calorie-counting, may respond to this. Those in more drastic straits will benefit from Clark Vaughan's Addictive Drinking (p. 726).

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 1982


Page Count: -

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1982

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