AA Alternatives: What is HAMS?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is a complex illness and you cannot treat every person the same way. Each addiction like each person is unique and treatment has to be unique as well. Although Alcoholics Anonymous helps many people recover from their alcohol addiction, it is not right for everyone. Fortunately, there are Alcoholics Anonymous alternatives. One of these alternatives is called HAMS.

What is HAMS?

HAMS stands for Harm Reduction, Abstinence, and Moderation Support. Like Alcoholics Anonymous HAMS works to help alcoholics control, taper, or stop their drinking only with a different approach. Unlike Alcoholics Anonymous, you do not have to quit drinking to be a part of the program, but you do have to want to change your habits. This is the principle basis of HAMS, the desire for change.

The Principles of HAMS

AA Alternatives

Unlike with AA, you do not have to quit drinking alcohol to join HAMS.

  1. The Cost versus the Benefits of Drinking – this principle asks you to examine how much the drinking costs you both financially and as a person and compare it to how much you benefit from drinking.
  2. Set a Goal – choose between reducing your drinking, making your drinking safe, or stopping your drinking all together.
  3. Learn and Rank your Risks – by learning and ranking what your risks are, you will be able to better decide which goals are right for you.
  4. Use the Tools and Strategies Provided by HAMS – the HAMS program has a large collection of tools at your disposal for helping to achieve your goals.
  5. Make a Plan – make a plan to achieve your goals.
  6. Reset your Habits by Planning Alcohol Free Time – Having specific times to not drink eventually forms new habits.
  7. Learn to Cope with Life without Alcohol – using the tools and goals, learn to cope without the use of alcohol.
  8. Address Underlying Causes – address the underlying cause of your drinking and seek help when you need it.
  9. Learn to Have fun Without the Alcohol – schedule times for fun and abstain from alcohol.
  10. Believe in Yourself – By believing in yourself you can accomplish anything that you need to.
  11. Track your Drinking and Drinking Behavior – make sure to keep a drink diary, this helps you identify how, when, and why you drink.
  12. Evaluate your Progress Regularly – make sure to evaluate where you are at, at regular intervals. Be sure to keep track of your successes and struggles.
  13. Practice Damage Control – some backsliding and relapse is inevitable, when you backslide practice good damage control. Only by doing this can you resume your HAMS plan.
  14. If You Slip Start Again – slips are a part of recovery. If you slip get back to your program as soon as you can.
  15. Move at Your Own Pace and Praise your Successes – Remember that you are working towards your goal and when you reach a small goal praise your success.

Committing to Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Know When You Need Help

One of the things that HAMS believes in is knowing when you need outside help. Alcohol withdrawal can kill, it is important to seek help when you need it. You can find more information on the HAMS program and treatment for alcohol addiction by calling 800-839-1686Who Answers?. We can help.

How Our Helpline Works

For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the AlcoholicsAnonymous.com helpline is a private and convenient solution.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by American Addiction Centers (AAC).

We are standing by 24/7 to discuss your treatment options. Our representatives work solely for AAC and will discuss whether an AAC facility may be an option for you. Our helpline is offered at no cost to you and with no obligation to enter into treatment. Neither AlcoholicsAnonymous.com nor AAC receives any commission or other fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a visitor may ultimately choose.

For more information on AAC’s commitment to ethical marketing and treatment practices, or to learn more about how to select a treatment provider, visit our About AAC page. If you wish to explore additional treatment options or connect with a specific rehab center, you can browse top-rated listings or visit SAMHSA.