Moderation Management (MM) is a moderation-based support group and behavioral change program for people who want to change their drinking habits. MM is not based in abstinence but instead is geared towards those who are in the early stages of problem drinking and wish to control the role of alcohol in their lives. Moderation Management believes that through early self-recognition of risky drinking behavior, individuals are able to moderate their drinking, or, ultimately, to choose to abstain.

Moderation Management's Nine Steps

MM uses a nine-step program which provides information about alcohol, moderate drinking guidelines and limits, goal setting techniques, drink monitoring exercises and self-management strategies.

1. Attend meetings or online groups and learn about the program of Moderation Management.

2. Abstain from alcoholic beverages for 30 days and complete steps three through six during this time.

3. Examine how drinking has affected your life.

4. Write down your life priorities.

5. Take a look at how much, how often, and under what circumstances you had been drinking.

6. Learn the MM guidelines and limits for moderate drinking.

7. Set moderate drinking limits and start weekly “small steps” toward balance and moderation in other areas of your life.

8. Review your progress and update your goals.

9. Continue to make positive lifestyle changes and attend meetings whenever you need ongoing support or would like to help newcomers.

What, according to MM, is a moderate drinker? Someone who usually: considers having an occasional drink to be a small, but pleasant, part of life; has enjoyable hobbies and interests that do not involve alcohol; has friends who are nondrinkers or moderate drinkers; does not drink for more than an hour or two at any one time; does not drink secretly and does not spend a lot of time thinking about drinking or making plans to drink; does not drink more than one drink per half-hour.

Some people who attempt the MM program (about 30%) are unable to moderate their drinking and may seek help from abstinence groups instead. If you are unsure where you fall, MM suggests you try to remain abstinent for 30 days and then attempt to drink in moderation. If you are unable to stop drinking for this period then MM may not be the right fit for you. MM has meetings throughout the U.S but not yet in all states. They offer tools for their program online and have an online mailing list that they say is like “a group meeting in slow motion.” There is no cost, but voluntary donations are accepted at in-person meetings.

Online Tool

Dr. Reid Hester of Behavior Therapy Associates has developed an online program that incorporates the principles of Moderation Management.

SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices says of

“ and Moderation Management are complementary online interventions designed for non-dependent, heavy-drinking adults who want to reduce the number of days on which they drink, their peak alcohol use on days they drink, and their alcohol-related problems. (MD) is a Web-based behavioral self-control skills training program, and Moderation Management (MM) is an online support group network.”

There is a fee to access, paid as a monthly or annual subscription.

PGDF is not affiliated with and does not endorse this or any program. Please investigate any paid service for yourself before subscribing.


Those in the early stages of problem drinking who wish to reduce their drinking to moderate levels without complete abstinence.

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