Psychological Self-Help

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Hough & Kavanagh, 1997). Most importantly, prepare carefully and in
detail for possible lapses (this chapter and Method #4 in chapter 11).
Always reward your progress and be proud of your developing self-
control, it's a tough undertaking (Methods #16 and #19 in chapter
It is important to realize that relapse rates are quite high even
among addicts who have completed a professional treatment program
(remember 6 out of 7 drop out of such programs) and have received
Relapse Prevention Treatment (plus perhaps attending AA). It is very
hard to maintain your gains (as with weight, once "clean" we may
"slack off" too much). However, Dimeff and Marlatt (1998) found that
relapse prevention training doesn't prevent "slips" but reduces the
harmful consequences of relapsing, enabling the addict to get back on
his/her feet faster. They also recommend two more things to help
prevent relapse: (1) maintain occasional contact with your addiction
therapist, and (2) take very seriously the idea that other mental health
problems may need to be dealt with in order to maintain your
therapeutic or self-help produced gains. 
For hundreds of books about alcoholism and 12-step (AA)
programs write or link to Hazelden (, Box
11, Center City, MN 55012. Yoder (1990) lists many recovery
resources. Even the almost 60-year-old AA "bible," which has helped
millions, has been updated (J, 1996). Most of the Hazelton books focus
on chronic drinkers, but actually more people are "problem drinkers,"
i.e. have some problems due to drinking (arguments with spouse or
friends, late to work, hangovers, etc.) but are not totally dependent on
alcohol, yet. With that idea in the air, there is now an impressive stack
of learning or cognitive-behavioral based self-help books on the
market. Sobell & Sobell (1993), Fanning & O'Neill (1996), Miller & Berg
(1995), Trimpey (1996), Dorsman (1998), Kishline (1995), Sanchez-
Craig (1995), and Miller (1998) have developed self-management
programs (sometimes administered in cooperation with therapists) for
problem drinkers who haven't become addicted, yet. Other researchers
(Hester & Delaney, 1997) have developed and tested a Program for
Windows (, a
computer program which teaches self-control methods for problem
drinkers. Although research is rare in self-help, the effectiveness of
some of these books and programs have actually been published, e.g.
Sobell & Sobell, Sanchez-Craig, Miller and Hester. If anger seems to be
an important part of your addiction and precedes your relapses, see
Clancy (1997) or Santoro & Cohen (1997). The books above are your
best sources of advice if you are hoping to curtail your own drinking. 
Some of the treatment manuals might serve as excellent guides for
the self-helper, e.g. Higgins & Silverman (1999), Motivating Behavior
Change Among Illicit-Drug Abusers, Kadden, et al. (nd), Cognitive-
Behavioral Coping Skills Therapy Manual, from the NIAAA and also
Monti, Abrams, Kadden & Cooney (1989). Alan Marlatt (1998) has
recently coined a phrase, Harm Reduction, describing a therapy that
helps the user understand the risks involved in his/her habit and then
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