Ways to cut down your drinking

Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Alcoholic drink
Most people are aware of the need to have a limited alcoholic intake. Women should have no more than two units a night, and men should have no more than three. Nearly everybody drinks a few too many from time to time, but if you’re beginning to be concerned about your habitual intake, follow these tips for cutting down.

  • >Keep a diary of your alcohol habits.
    Keeping a record of when and where you tend to drink the most can help you to identify problem areas where you might require extra support. This might be as simple as going for a walk or getting a friend over for a cup of coffee and a chat.
  • Work out what you actually want to do.
    You might not want to give up drinking altogether – maybe you would prefer to stick to the daily recommended limits, or just to drink one or two drinks at the weekend. Whatever it is that you decide on, clarify your policy to yourself.
  • Try not to keep a large amount of alcohol at home
    There’s no point putting temptation in your path. Stock up on other drinks that you enjoy – preferably water, juices and herbal teas etc, rather than sugary or caffeinated drinks.
  • Keep on truckin’!
    Like quitting smoking or getting over an eating disorder, changing ingrained habits takes time. Keep it up and, if you slip up from time to time, go easy on yourself and just set your goals again from a different date. Nobody said you had to do it in one go.
  • Try to have a couple of alcohol-free nights a week.
    Find activities that you enjoy that don’t usually involve alcoholic components – for example, go to the cinema, soak in a hot tub with scented oils or join an evening class (though not in home brewing!)
  • Go to Alcoholics Anonymous if you feel you have enough of a problem.
    Here people who know what it’s like can support you through those sticky moments.
  • Take smaller measures
    Don’t have large glasses of wine or double measures of spirits. Sip slowly rather than taking big gulps.
  • At parties, take cans or bottles of beer so that your drink is not continually topped up.
    Finish one drink at a time – and have a non-alcoholic drink in between.
  • Think up mental strategies that work for you
    For example, organise a trip away early on a Saturday morning, so that a late Friday night becomes less feasible.
  • Try not to drink on an empty stomach.
    Make a policy of having at least a snack with every drink – but try to avoid salty snacks such as peanuts or chips, as they will make you more thirsty.
  • Upon arrival at the hotel or at a party, have a non-alcoholic drink first
    Your thirst will then be more quenched and you will drink less.
  • Don’t ever drink if you feel that you need to.
    Although it might seem like it at the time, drinking is an inadequate response to fatigue, anger or anxiety. If you feel that way, alcohol is only likely to exacerbate the way you feel.
  • Make use of the time that you free up to do other interesting activities.
    Cook new dishes, try your hand at painting or just fix the hinge on the door that you’d been meaning to do for ages!

Related video: study blames binge drinking on parents.

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