Alcohol. It’s your go-to when you want to let loose, have a little fun, be social and relax. Especially with the holidays approaching, it’s hard to say no to the many festive drinks coming your way, that may or may not contain alcohol. Whether you’re popping a cold one on your couch watching TV or out with the gang, it’s fine to enjoy a drink every now and again. Until you realized how much you were actually drinking.
Now it’s become a concern and you’d like to reduce your alcohol intake without abstaining completely. You still want to enjoy social drinking and maybe some wine with dinner, but you want to get a handle on the amount you drink.
Is it possible?
Why Should You Drink Less?
The answer to this question is personal for everyone. Maybe you are drinking so much you don’t remember the night before or maybe you really just want to reduce the risks to your health. Whatever your reasons are, you are making a good choice.
Almost 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes each year, so it’s important to put that into perspective and let it help drive you towards your goal of becoming a moderate consumer. Additionally, reducing your intake decreases your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Not to mention that you’ll sleep better and save some money too.
Step 1: Make a Plan
When it comes to doing difficult things, you need to make a plan of action so that you will have something to guide you and something to turn to when it gets tough. Reducing your alcohol intake is no different.
Sit down and examine your reasons for drinking less. Write them down in a quick bulleted list that you can come back to when you have a difficult time.
Limit yourself and pay attention to your consumption. Determine where you will start with cutting back and set a goal. Be realistic. Gradually reduce the number of drinks you’ll have each day/week and set your end goal. Any improvement is a step in right direction!
Step 2: Recruit Help
You don’t have to go through this alone. Ask family and friends to help you along the way. They can help you keep tabs of your drink count and encourage you each day as you work towards your goal.
Step 3: Pace Yourself
When you are drinking, don’t quickly down your alcohol. If you sip it instead, it will last longer and it won’t be so hard to drink less each evening.
A good trick to going longer between drinks is to have a non-alcoholic drink after each alcoholic beverage you consume. Whether you drink juice, water, tea or soda is up to you — just make sure it has no alcohol in it. Once you finish that drink, you can have another alcoholic beverage if you’d like to.
Step 4: Eat Before Drinking
Eating before drinking is important because it will increase the amount of time it takes for the alcohol to be absorbed into your body. Have dinner before you go out for the evening and then have a glass of water before you start drinking so you may not have the urge to drink so much.
Step 5: Focus on Other Activities
If you only drink when you’re at a bar with friends, limit the time you spend at the bar. Figure out where and when you consume most of your drinks and determine alternate activities and places that you can spend your time. Invite supportive friends along and maybe you will have such a good time that you won’t miss the alcohol. By changing up your habits, you’re already making a step in the right direction – now you just have to continue to focus your energy into new and positive, healthy habits.
Know When to Seek Help
If you can’t reduce your alcohol intake, you may have an alcohol disorder and need to quit drinking altogether instead. It’s okay to need help, so you shouldn’t feel ashamed. Find a program or doctor that will help you stop drinking instead of trying to do it alone.
Now that you have some solid tips to help you reduce your alcohol intake, put them into practice. Why not start today? Remember to give yourself room to make mistakes and permission to ask for help and support when you need it to help you reach your goal of becoming a moderate drinker.