4 Tips for Cutting Down on Drinking Alcohol
Many people drink alcohol to be social or simply enjoy drinking on specific days and for certain occasions. However, some people sadly become addicted to the habit of drinking alcohol and start drinking an abundance on a daily basis. For many people, having a drink every now and then will not lead to any adverse effects in their life but for others the habit of drinking can prove detrimental to their life in numerous ways.
The first step to cutting back your alcohol intake is deciding if you do indeed have a drinking problem or if you simply want to cut back for other reasons. You may not be addicted to alcohol, but maybe you are looking to lose weight, feel more energized, or simply don’t like the person you become when you drink. If you do find yourself addicted to alcohol, choosing to kick your bad drinking habit could help you avoid the many diseases, negative mental health issues such as depression, and other potential dangers associated with drinking too much alcohol.
People with alcohol addiction need to learn how to stop binge drinking so that they can live a normal and more fulfilling life once again. It can be difficult for some to stop binge drinking but with professional help and dedication it is possible to cut down on your alcohol intake. Here are four top tips to help you cut down on drinking alcohol.
Set a Realistic Goal
The first step after deciding you want to reduce your alcohol intake or abstain from it entirely is to set a realistic goal. While some lucky people may be able to quit cold turkey with little problems, you shouldn’t expect forgoing alcohol will be an easy task.
The key is to recognize and understand the reasons why you wish to reduce your alcohol intake and stay focused and committed to those reasons. Having a positive benefit to look forward to will help drive you during your path to alcohol reduction.
If you find yourself drinking every day, you may want to start by scheduling a few alcohol-free days into each week. You can also start setting limits for how much alcohol you consume on the days you do allow yourself to drink. Everyone will have a different pace for how quickly they can reduce their alcohol intake and it’s important for you to go at a pace that feels comfortable and achievable to you.
As you start to see benefits from drinking less, it will further motivate you to continue on your path to reduced alcohol consumption. It does get easier as time goes on for most people. One thing that will increase your chances of achieving your goal is to let your family and friends know that you want to start drinking less. They can give you support and offer ideas that may help you achieve success quicker or more easily. There are also many online personal support networks when it comes to drinking that can help if you aren’t ready to confront the people closest to you about your drinking problem. The key is knowing you do not have to go it alone.
Track your Alcohol Intake
It is recommended that men should not take more than four drinks on any given day. For women, the limit is three drinks. When one regularly exceeds these limits, then they can be considered to be a heavy drinker or at least an “at-risk” drinker. For this reason, you may want to start tracking your alcohol intake to first make sure you are within the healthy drinking range and then proceed to adhere to the personal goal limits you impose on yourself to curb your drinking.
It can be surprisingly more difficult than you think to track your drinking using solely your memory, especially when you’re enjoying time and conversation with friends or family. Distractions can easily have you wondering if you just had your third or fourth drink. Physically writing down each time you have a drink in a sort of personal diary or something like a smartphone notepad app will help you see exactly just how much you have had. You will want to learn the size of each specific standard drink so you can accurately record your alcohol intake.
If you don’t trust yourself to write down every time you have a drink, then ask a friend or family member to do it for you so they can advise you of when you need to stop. Having a physical logbook of how many drinks you have consumed each week will allow you to more easily track your progress. If you are keeping a physical diary of your drinking habits, placing motivational quotes or the reasons you want to quit will remind you of why you are logging your drinking. You can even schedule reminders on your phone that will alert you of the need to limit your drinks when you plan to go out to the bar with friends.
Pace Yourself and Space Your Drinks
Another great way you can cut down on your alcohol intake is by pacing your drinking. The first step in doing this effectively is to delay your first drink when you go out. The earlier you start drinking, the more you are likely to drink. It’s that simple. Start with a glass of water which will quench any thirst you may have and this will in turn reduce the urge of wanting to down an alcoholic beverage quickly right off the bat.
Drink spacers are non-alcoholic drinks such as soda, fruit juice, or water that are consumed in-between alcoholic drinks. Alternating between the two is an easy way to cut your alcohol consumption in half right away since let’s say of the four drinks you may consume, only two of them will be alcoholic.
Going out with friends or family that are known to be responsible drinkers is another great way to pace your own drinking as you can use them as a gauge for when you should be ordering your next drink to stay within a healthy range. Learn to sip your alcoholic drinks slowly and put your glass down each time you take a drink. Really focus on a conversation you are having or some kind of task to distract you from feeling the need to keep on drinking without pause.
When it comes to drinking safely both in terms of yourself and others, it’s a good idea to always eat something to slow the absorption of alcohol. However, you will want to avoid certain foods that tend to make you overly thirsty. You don’t want the food you are eating to trigger more drinking unless of course you choose healthy non-alcoholic drinks. On average, people’s bodies can break down one standard drink of alcohol per hour but there are many factors that can come into play regarding this.
Avoid your Drinking Triggers
Another crucial step to reducing your alcohol intake is knowing what your drinking triggers are so you can avoid them. Triggers are different for everybody and they can take the form of certain people, places, events, or situations. Many people are influenced by others to consume more alcohol than they would like to thanks to peer pressure. If you know you are more likely to drink more with certain people, you may want to reduce your outings with them and maybe start hanging out with people who don’t drink and won’t enable your drinking.
Sadly, many social events involve alcohol being present which can make avoiding someone offering you a drink almost impossible. If you cannot avoid going to certain social events where you know alcohol will be present, practice effective ways to say no to a drink.
When just starting out on your path to drinking less, avoid or at least minimize the time you spend at places where you normally would drink in the past. Change up your weekday and weekend routines, seeking out healthier alternative activities than simply heading to the bar or having a backyard barbecue with friends. Suggest a bike ride or other physical activity to enjoy with your coworkers after work instead of heading to the local watering hole.
Lastly, make your home an alcohol-free or at least limited-alcohol zone. By reducing the amount of alcohol you keep at home, the less opportunity you have to drink. Purchase healthier drink alternatives that will distract you from focusing on the fact there is less alcohol on hand at home.
We hope these four tips assist you achieving your goal of reducing your alcohol intake regardless of what the reasons are for you choosing to do so. By setting yourself a realistic goal, sticking with that goal, and allowing others to assist you, you will find that success is achievable.