Can an App Help You Drink Moderately?


This is a piece I wrote for The Fix about my adventures trying to moderate with iPhone apps. (Spoiler alert: I was unsuccessful.) I’d love to hear your thoughts and/or about your own moderation experiences.


8 thoughts on “Can an App Help You Drink Moderately?

  1. I tried moderation. Two a day turned to three a day…etc. Didn’t work for me. I drink NA beer sometimes, but that’s about it.

    I’m so low tech, I wouldn’t be able to figure out the apps. I’m lucky I can blog. Good luck!

  2. I gave up long before smart phones were on the scene. However I did sign up (twice) to an online advisor thing run in the UK by Alcohol Concern. Now for someone a little worried about the financial or health effects of their drinking this thing may work and shock you into moderating your consumption…. Me… I just lied on the damn thing! After 25 years of an increasinly unhealthy relationship with booze where I was drinking.

    The NHS recommends:

    Men should not regularly drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol a day
    Women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units a day
    If you’ve had a heavy drinking session, avoid alcohol for 48 hours

    “Regularly” means drinking this amount every day or most days of the week. (source –

    And a binge is … Binge drinking for men, therefore, is drinking more than 8 units of alcohol – or about three pints of strong beer. For women, it’s drinking more than 6 units of alcohol, equivalent to two large glasses of wine. (Source –

    I drank Guinness mostly as my poison of choice – that is 2 units a pint.

    I normally drank on 6 days a week – sometimes all 7 rarely less than 5. On a normal day I drank at least 8 pints more like 10 – 12… by the end it was creeping further up that scale, 15 not uncommon. So lets take 9 pints as my avg daily input – that was 18 units a day. 5 days a week that is 90 a week…. and that is a low end avg for me weeks about 100 wouldn’t have been a surprise. My lunchtime was a binge by the measure above.

    Simply put I never set out on any day to drink like that – I needed “one or two” to “settle me down”. But once I started I couldn’t stop. Only in rehab and AA did someone say “Don’t take the first drink. Then you wouldn’t take the 8th or 9th”. Genius. I tried changing drinks, all sorts of rules, I did try at times drink diaries but I forgot, lied, etc. with them.

    My advice to anyone with a problem with alcohol is to ask yourself this. “Do you need to drink alcohol at all to live?” Answer has to be No – you can eat and drink any number of other things, it is never an essential of life. Therefore just cut it out totally is my advice.

  3. Oh, I conducted lots of moderation experiments. Follow NIH safe drinking guidelines (I think no more than 3 in one sitting, no more than 7 in a week). OK, whoever came up with those is clearly insane–how about only when out to dinner or friends over. Well, that sucks. How about just “one with dinner” every night if I want, at home, but really just one (OK, maybe two, sometimes. In the big glass). OK, fail again, now I’ve got to take it out of “normal life”–special occasions only (but aren’t lots of things special?)

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