Ask an Expert: How Can I Stop Being a Mean Drunk?

By Tessie Castillo 02/03/15
Today's question is on how to stop being nasty when drinking without getting sober entirely.

I am 24 years old and like alcohol a lot and the problem is I get nasty when I get drunk, which happens pretty easily. All this anger comes out of me. I don't want to stop drinking because I like it and would feel excluded from going out after work with other employees and also with friends. I have heard of something called moderation management programs and would like to know if any of your experts endorse them and can give me some guidance about them. I read what they have to say at but would appreciate some independent guidance here.  - Wendy


Tessie Castillo: Since you aren't ready to stop drinking, it might be good for you to look into moderation management programs (MM). These are harm reduction programs that work with you to create personalized goals to manage your drinking, whether it be abstinence or a reduction in drinking. If you get nasty when you get drunk, perhaps a worthwhile goal for you would be to control your drinking enough so that you don't develop those mood swings. 

MM programs have been shown to have fairly good success rates in helping motivated people to bring their drinking down to manageable levels or to stop altogether. Members of MM are also more likely to be female (49%), under 35 (24%) and employed (81%) than members of abstinence-only groups. 

Keep in mind that MM is for people who want to manage their drinking but are not dependent on alcohol. If you experience signs of withdrawal when you don’t drink such as anxiety, shakiness, sweating, nausea or insomnia, then you may be alcohol dependent and should consider an abstinence-based program. 



Tessie Castillo is the Advocacy and Communications Coordinator at the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, a leading public health and drug policy reform organization in the Southern United States. She is an expert on harm reduction, overdose prevention and response, naloxone, the drug war, and policy reform.    Full Bio.

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