A glass of wine to unwind after work can quickly become a habit. Before you know it, it’s Friday night and you realise that you haven’t had a break from drinking all week. You’re not an alcoholic but you’re finding it increasingly difficult to go more than a day without drinking. No person is immune to alcoholism, but the key is to prevent bad habits getting out of hand
Alcohol can cause problems before you reach alcoholism. The good news is that you can still regain control before it becomes a problem. Here are five ways to cut back on drinking throughout the week:
1. Set a goal
You know you’re drinking too much, but exactly how much is too much? Well, it’s recommended that you limit your alcohol consumption to no more than 14 units per week. 14 units roughly comes out to about six pints of beer, six glasses of wine, or 14 25ml glasses of spirit a week.
If you’re drinking more than this, the dietary guidelines offer some good guidance. Instead of drinking three to four drinks daily, shoot for one or two.
If you’re already drinking one or two drinks daily and are having trouble going a day without alcohol, set a goal to take a day off.
Try setting small goals at first and working your way up. A one-day break from alcohol may lead to a five-day break over time. Take baby steps and remember not to “make up for lost time” by having more drinks in any one sitting.
2. Get rid of your alcohol
This may seem like an extreme step for someone who isn’t an alcoholic, but removing temptation may help you resist alcohol.
Get rid of all the alcohol in your home. On nights when you decide to drink, only buy what you plan to drink for the evening. For example, instead of buying a six-pack of beer, you can buy one or two cans or bottles. Drinking out at a bar or a restaurant is another option. Here, it’ll be more expensive, so it may make you think twice about having another.
3. Practice saying no
You don’t always have to abstain, but you should be able to say no when someone offers you alcohol. Try abstaining at the next social event you attend. Notice how it feels to experience the event when you aren’t under the influence. If you can successfully manage this once, it will likely get easier over time.
If you find this to be too difficult a goal to uphold, you may need more help than you though. Most people don’t know this, but alcohol is a disease that often times requires more resources than just sheer willpower. Luckily, there are options available to you, but you need to make the choice to seek them out.
4.Replace the habit
Humans are creatures of habit, and habits can be difficult to break. If you typically drink while watching your favorite show, your brain will associate the show with alcohol. So, you sit down to watch the latest episode and start craving a drink.
In an attempt to combat your cravings, replace drinking with another habit or ritual. Maybe you drink a special tea, have a special treat or take up knitting. Find something constructive that will fill the void.
5. Practice sipping
On days when you do drink, make an effort to appreciate the beverage by sipping slowly and taking breaks in-between. This will help stretch one or two drinks over a longer time period. After you’re done with your drink, drink something else to signal that you’re done with alcohol.
Problem drinking may or may not lead to alcoholism, but it’s a problem nonetheless. These tips may help you cut back on your drinking to potentially avoid bigger issues with alcohol in the future.
Trevor is a freelance writer and recovering addict & alcoholic who's been sober for over five years. Since his recovery began, he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources, addiction awareness, and general health knowledge and is currently writing for Journey Pure Bowling Green. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.