Enjoying alcohol responsibly is fine, but many of us have developed some less than healthy habits when it comes to alcohol. Drinking excessively can cause a host of health problems, so it’s well worth watching your intake. If you often drink to excess, drink more than you wanted to, need alcohol to feel confident, or automatically turn to alcohol to celebrate, ease stress, or cheer yourself up, then you might benefit from cutting back. Here’s how to do it.
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If you’re worried about your drinking, then it is a good idea to seek support from a service like https://www.sunshinebehavioralhealth.com/texas/midland/. In the mean time, use these tips to cut down.
Measure Your Drinks
Understand how much you are actually drinking. A standard glass of wine is 5 ounces, which contains about 12% alcohol. A shot of distilled spirits, such as gin or vodka, is usually 1.5 ounces and about 40% alcohol. One 12-ounce is about 5% alcohol, and a glass of sherry is around 3 to 4 ounces and 17% alcohol.
Pay attention to the size of your drinks and keep a tally, so you know when you’ve had enough.
Track Your Intake
Once you have a clearer idea of how much you’re drinking, it is helpful to track how many drinks you are having every day. You can use a calendar, journal, or tracking app on your phone to keep a close eye on your intake. Seeing it written down might be enough to shock you into cutting down.
Make A Plan
People who set a drink limit tend to consume fewer drinks each week than those who don’t set themselves a limit. Starting the week well is an indicator of access too. If you stay under your planned alcohol limit on a Monday and a Tuesday, you are a lot more likely to achieve your goal over the rest of the week.
Start off easy. Instead of trying to go completely alcohol-free, for example, aim to drink on less than seven days a week. You could try a sober Monday or a sober Monday to Wednesday.
Tell Family Members And Friends You Want To Get Healthier
Try to think about drinking in the same way as you would any other health behavior that you want to change, such as getting more exercise or eating more healthily. Share your new goal with your loved ones. Taking the social approach can help you to normalize the change that you’re making. You don’t have to have a problem with drinking to want to improve your health and quality of life by cutting back on your drinking.
Try A Month Of Abstinence
Try doing a dry month, like Dry January, Dry For July, or Sober October. After finding out how much better you feel when you don’t drink, you are likely to find it much easier to drink less when you return to drinking again.
If you find that you turn to alcohol to ease your feelings of anxiety, try exercise as a much healthier alternative. For people who have access to and enjoy outdoor activities and other physical activities, that physical activity, especially outside, can be very useful for reducing anxiety and coping with other negative moods.
Some of us reach for alcohol on a night out, when actually we’re just thirsty. Instead, drink a cup of tea or a big glass of water before you start drinking alcohol. Once you have quenched your thirst, you might not want the alcohol drink quite so much after all. Alternating alcoholic drinks with water when you do drink can help too.
Eat Before And In Between Drinks
Food can help to absorb the alcohol in beverages, so eating before or while you’re out drinking can help to lessen the effect. You might want to drink less too. Have a proper meal before you go out, and if you need it, have something to eat later in the evening too.
Make A Plan For Cravings
The urge to drink will happen at some point, so have a plan for when this happens. Remind yourself of why you’re cutting back, talk to someone about it, and distract yourself from the cravings with a hobby or some exercise. Accept that you have a craving, but that it will pass.
Remove Alcohol From The House
If you drink too much at home, it can help to get rid of alcohol from the house altogether and only drink when you’re out.