Reducing your alcohol intake can be a real challenge
Before you head out to the pub, enjoy wine at home or pop over a friends for a Friday night takeaway, keep these tips in mind…
Make sure you’re not thirsty
Have a soft drink before consuming your first alcoholic drink. This will stop you from drinking it too quickly to quench your thirst.
Take longer to enjoy your drink
If it takes half an hour to drink a can, make it last 45 minutes. Leave at least 30 seconds between sips and savour the taste. Pay attention to it so you know you’ve enjoyed it, rather than drinking for the sake of it. Always allow time between one drink and the next.
Put your drink down
Keep your glass just slightly out of reach between each sip.
Do something between each drink
You could chew gum, or eat something with a fresh flavour, like a piece of fruit. Avoid salty snacks that make you thirsty!
Put it off
If you’re good at procrastinating, use it to your advantage! You could think ‘I’ll just finish this show before pouring another glass’, or ‘I’ll read this paper before taking another sip’.
Swap to low or non-alcohol drinks such as low alcohol wine or non-alcoholic beer. They can be a bit more expensive, but think of the other benefits and what you can invest into achieving your goal.
Don’t get into rounds with other drinkers, instead, keep pace with the slowest drinker there. If you’re in a drinking game, you can always drink soft drinks without advertising it. Just order vodka and coke without the vodka.
Keep drinks at a distance
Keep your ‘main store’ of alcohol in a different room to the one you’re drinking in. If you’re drinking wine in your sitting room, keep the bottle in the kitchen.
Don’t drink to get drunk
Once you’re intoxicated your resolve will weaken and you’ll struggle to stick to any limits you may have set earlier in the evening.
Make drinking rules around your lifestyle
These could include; not having a drink before the 9pm TV watershed, only having a drink whilst your favourite programme is on, waiting for your partner to get home before having a drink etc.
"Before I knew it I was relying on alcohol to feel I belonged – to be outgoing, funny, one of the lads. I’ve always been pretty open with it – if you don’t tell people you’re struggling with it, people try and get you to have a drink."Read Russell's Story
Just say no
Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. There is a lot of social pressure to drink. People might even encourage you to drink or tell you you’re no fun if you don’t participate, but remember, you are your own person. It’s for you to decide whether you want to drink and how much.
Ways of Saying No
- No thank you
- I’m fine for now
- Not right now thanks, maybe later
- I’ve got one coming already
- No thanks, I’m on a diet
- No thanks, I’m on a health kick
- Not right now, I’m being good and doing what the doctor’s told me to
- Please don’t take it personally, I just don’t want another drink right now
- I’m really trying to cut down, so I need your help to do that
- I’m not feeling too good, so I’m just taking it easy
- I’ve got an early start/busy day tomorrow so I can’t be hungover
- I’m driving
- I’m on medication
- If you’re a true friend, you’ll support me in what I’m doing
The size of the life change you’re making will determine how much effort you’ll need to put in. The bigger the change, the more you’ll have to work at it.
Making these changes won’t be easy and you may encounter difficulties along the way – but that’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t declare yourself a failure. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep going.
Don’t expect the changes you make to revolutionise your life or make everything rosy. You will still have difficult days to deal with, and will find different ways to deal with future problems and emotions, rather than having a drink.