HAMS: Harm Reduction for Alcohol
Bettering the lives of both drinkers and nondrinkers by promoting safe alcohol use
8 PM Eastern Time, Thursdays
WHAT IS HAMS?
HAMS is a peer-led and free-of-charge support and informational group for anyone who wants to change their drinking habits for the better. The acronym HAMS stands for Harm reduction, Abstinence, and Moderation Support. HAMS Harm Reduction strategies are defined in the 17 elements of HAMS. HAMS offers information and support via a chat room, an email group, and live meetings--as well is the articles on this web site. All information on this site may be reproduced free of charge as long as the HAMS copyright is included.
HAMS supports every positive change. Choose your own goal--safe drinking, reduced drinking, or quitting. For more information please visit our page How HAMS Works.
WHAT IS HARM REDUCTION?
Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies intended to reduce the negative consequences of high risk behaviors such as overdrinking or drug use. Harm reduction is a nonjudgmental approach that attempts to meet people "where they are at" with their drinking or drug use. Instead of demanding perfect abstinence, this pragmatic approach is supportive of anyone who wishes to minimize the harm associated with a high risk behavior such as drinking or drug use. Harm reduction accepts that high risk behaviors such as recreational alcohol intoxication are part of our world and works to minimize their harmful effects rather than simply ignore or condemn them. Harm reduction does not attempt to force people to change in ways which they do not choose for themselves. Harm reduction is a compassionate approach whose primary concern is the increased well-being of its constituency. Moreover an overwhelming body of scientific evidence shows that harm reduction works!!
BABY STEPS MOVE MOUNTAINS
Harm reduction works on the premise that it is easier to get people to make small changes than to get them to make big changes. Because of this it is possible to have a far greater positive impact on society by getting a large number of people to make small positive changes than by getting only a few people to make big changes. It is easier and far more effective to get people to use seat belts than to eliminate the automobile and driving entirely. It is easier and far more effective to get people to have safe sex than to attempt to make people stop having sex entirely. And it is easier and far more effective to teach people how to plan their drinking and drink safely than to try and eliminate recreational intoxication entirely. Prohibition and coerced abstinence do not work. Harm reduction does.
WHY A HARM REDUCTION APPROACH TO ALCOHOL IS NEEDED
Traditional approaches to alcohol problems which are based on AA and the 12 step model are wonderful resources for the people that they work for. However, these abstinence-based 12 step programs have relatively low success rates--it is estimated that anywhere from 60 to 95 percent of clients who enter such programs either drop out or otherwise fail to maintain abstinence from alcohol. Moreover, the NIAAA tells us that only around 7 percent of people who suffer from an Alcohol Use Disorder will seek treatment in any given year.
By way of contrast, simple and sane harm reduction approaches ranging from seatbelts in automobiles to condoms for safe sex save countless lives every day of the week. This is because many people who would never consider giving up activities like driving or sex are willing to take simple steps to make these activities safer. HAMS is a revolutionary new approach to alcohol problems which brings the harm reduction approach to people who drink alcohol. HAMS fills a giant gap left by other programs by offering a realistic and pragmatic program which addresses the needs of people who are either unwilling or able to abstain from alcohol. Harm reduction saves lives when abstinence-only programs fail
The HAMS Harm Reduction Network provides information and support for people who wish to reduce the harm in their lives cause by the use of alcohol or drugs. HAMS neither encourages nor condemns alcohol use or alcohol intoxication. HAMS recognizes recreational intoxication as a reality and seeks to reduce harms associated with it. HAMS believes in the autonomy of the individual and supports each individual's choice of a goal vis a vis alcohol - whether the goal is safer drinking, reduced drinking, or quitting. HAMS supports every positive change. The focus of HAMS is alcohol harm reduction, but users of any substance are welcome. HAMS offers support via live and online groups and offers information via the web and printed page. HAMS support groups are lay-led and free-of charge.
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INTRODUCING THE HAMS ALCOHOL HARM REDUCTION PROGRAM
THE STAGES OF CHANGE MODEL
Alcohol Harm Reduction Exercises (PDF)
Addiction and Learning (PDF)
Damage Control: dealing with slips, recycling, and ricochets (PDF)
How to Change Your Spouse's Drinking (PDF)
Alcohol Prohibition and Consumption
SADD - Short Alcohol Dependence Data Questionnaire
HAMS Position Statement on Psychiatric Medications
Guidelines for HAMS Meetings
Disciplinary Policies for HAMS Groups
HAMS Annual Reports
HAMS Financial Statements
The HAMS Harm Reduction Network, Inc.
P. O. Box 498
New York, NY 10012