Now that we’ve considered how much you’re actually drinking and how alcohol is affecting your life; you’ve hopefully come to the decision to make some changes.
Now it’s just a case of setting yourself up for success!
- Know what you want to do
- Plan how you’re going to do it
- Take action!
Take some time to think about what your drinking goal is. You may want to discuss it with friends and family.
Remember, when setting goals, it is important to set both, realistic and achievable goals.
If you’re aiming for something you think is quite difficult to achieve, break it down into smaller steps to attain along the way until you reach your ultimate goal.
For example, you may want to set a goal to drink less each week. i.e. during week 1 not drinking 1 day per week; week 2 having 3 alcohol-free days as your goal, and so on.)
When setting your drinking goal, think about:
- How much do you want to drink over the course of a week?
- How much do you want to drink on a normal evening?
- How many alcohol-free days do you want to have?
- What is the most that is OK for you to drink?
- What do you want to do on special occasions? What makes an occasion special, and how much is OK to drink on these special occasions.
Grab a piece of paper and make a list of your drinking goals. But remember: Realistic and Achievable
As with many things in life, good timing is critical. Think about the best time to reduce drinking and leave enough time to get things organised.
If there is a big party this weekend, then it may be best to start the following Monday.
Once you’ve decided on a start date, write it down somewhere and commit to it.
Keep a drinks diary
Be really honest and record everything so you can see improvement as it occurs.
Getting support is good, but getting the right support is vital. Here are some things to think about when asking for support.
- First and foremost, choose someone you can trust.
- Explain that they aren’t responsible for you sticking to your goals or policing you.
- Choose someone that doesn’t nag or undermine you.
- Choose someone who genuinely cares for your well-being.
- Choose someone who wants to support the changes you are making.
- Think about who’s been supportive in the past.
- Consider how they might respond to your request for help, and how you’re going to approach them.
- Be clear about what you want them to help with.
Ground Rules for Change
Set yourself some ground rules you’re going to stick to. They need to be specific and relevant to you.
Some example rules are:
- Not keeping certain types of drink in the house
- Not buying certain types of alcohol
- Not buying certain amounts of drink
- Buying half bottles of wine instead of full bottles
Two Week Break
Consider having a total break from alcohol before you continue with your new controlled drinking.
Here are some reasons why a total break might help:
- It helps to break old habits, and gives you a fresh start in implementing new ones.
- It demonstrates that you don’t have a physical dependency on alcohol. (If you are sweating/shaking then it is not safe for you to suddenly stop drinking).
- It shows you, and others, that you can go without alcohol for a given period of time.
- It may help you identify other parts of your life, or triggers, that contribute to you drinking.
- You may discover you prefer to abstain from alcohol and decide to stay with this goal rather than controlled drinking.
- You’ll appreciate that good things happen when you change.
- It will help you realise this is possible for you to do.
- This is an exercise in freedom and making your own choices – without the influence of alcohol on your thoughts.