If you’re reading this then you’re probably caught in two minds. You like drinking for enjoyment, but you know that too much is bad for you.
There’s nothing wrong with the odd drink, but too much can take its toll. It leads to weight gain and increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes. It also hits you in the pocket. That stuff’s not cheap.
Cutting down drinking has many benefits. It improves your health, your relationships, your sex life, and your bank balance. Drinking too much alcohol can be draining. Going to work or looking after children with a hangover can make things 10 times more difficult.
Why do people drink too much?
There are many reasons people drink too much.
You may have children and find it difficult to leave the house for entertainment. What’s easier than grabbing a bottle or two and having a drink whilst watching a good movie?
Perhaps you get bored easily and want an easy form of entertainment?
There’s nothing wrong with drinking some alcohol. It can help you relax and forget your troubles for a while.
The problem is when you do this most nights.
When you drink most nights, this stops your body from getting a rest from it. As well as the health issues, a more profound thing happens to you…
Your tolerance levels massively increase when you drink regularly. You may need twice as much alcohol to get the same effect. This means more poison in your system, more calories, and more cost.
How to drink less alcohol
So how do you drink less?
First you must find the reason why you drink so much. Look honestly at yourself and your life. Why do you think you drink too much? If you need outside help, ask your partner or a close friend. Here’s a few popular reasons…
2. Partner drinks so I end up following
3. Makes me forget my troubles
4. Gives confidence
Let’s look at these in turn…
A LOT of people drink regularly due to boredom. They might have children, or a job they have to get up early for, so don’t want to leave the house. An easy way to occupy yourself is to have a drink.
The obvious answer to this problem is to stop being bored. Find hobbies which keep you occupied. Try joining a gym or a running club in the evening. Enrol on an evening class in something you’ve always wanted to do. If that doesn’t float your boat, think of something else you can do. There is stuff out there.
If leaving the house is difficult, then find hobbies you can do at home. Learn a musical instrument, paint or draw, learn a foreign language etc.
2. Partner drinks
I know it can be more difficult to refrain from drinking if someone is drinking around you. However you cannot blame them. You are ultimately responsible for what you put in your body. If you play the blame game then it’s going to be difficult for you to reduce your drinking.
Perhaps you can persuade them to take a few nights off. Try doing other things together such as going for an evening walk, salsa dancing or visiting friends or family.
If you cannot persuade them, then perhaps you should do these things on your own. By joining them with their drinking you are re-enforcing their behaviour. They can get into a comfortable rut drinking with you most nights, and you’re facilitating this.
Don’t be nasty about it, but leave them to it and go entertain yourself. After a while of not joining them for a drink all the time, they may join you in some of your activities. Especially if they see you’re happier for it.
3. Forget troubles
The problem with drinking to forget your troubles is that your troubles return the next day. It doesn’t solve anything.
Drinking to forget your troubles does not help you build up your coping strategies. By refraining from drinking you are forced to confront them. This may be painful at first, but it gives you opportunity to toughen up and find ways of dealing with life’s difficulties. Then you can start to find real solutions to your problems.
Alcohol is a depressant, so it actually makes things worse in the long run.
For “problems” in your life, look at ways of finding solutions. If you’ve got money problems then perhaps a part time job would help? Not only will you have more money, it will keep you occupied and away from the booze. And as we all know, alcohol is not cheap!
4. Gives confidence
Many people drink because it gives them confidence. But once the effects wear off, the confidence goes. Then you need more drink.
You need time away from drink to give you the chance to develop your confidence. Hypnotherapy can help build your confidence by removing negative programming in your subconscious. Click here to check out my confidence boosting hypnosis session
A surprisingly small amount of regular drinkers are actually addicted. If you get the shakes when you’re without a drink, or cannot go without it for one night, then you are probably addicted. Seek medical help.
If you are addicted, then cutting down might not be enough. You may have to go teetotal. Some people are unfortunate and have very addictive personalities. The only way to combat an addiction if this is the case is to totally kick it out of your life.
Do you drink for any other reason than these suggestions? Perhaps it’s a combination of a few of them. Whatever the reason, there are many tactics you can employ to reduce your drinking.
Here’s some suggestions to help you reduce your alcohol intake. Not all will work for everyone. Find the ones that work best for you…
Schedule non drinking nights
Set aside nights where you will definitely not drink. For example you might decide not to drink Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. This gives your body chance to recover from the nights when you do drink.
It also stops you having super human tolerance levels. When you have some nights off, you should find that you drink less on your drinking nights.
Leave it later
If you decide to have a drink, leave it later before you start. This gives you less time to drink as much. That is unless you have a “catch up” mindset. Set yourself a time for when you can start drinking, and stick to it. But don’t race them down to make up for lost time.
How about giving yourself a cut off time when to stop drinking? This gives you chance to drink a non alcoholic drink or 2, which will help you next day. Some people brush their teeth when it’s time to stop drinking because it makes it taste bad.
Buy exciting non alcoholic drinks
Instead of buying alcohol, buy some nice non alcoholic drinks. You could even get into making “mocktails” – non alcoholic cocktails. Buy some fruit and make smoothies. They’re healthier and cheaper – even if you buy expensive fruits and juices.
You could try using smaller glasses when drinking alcohol. This works for some people. The trick is not to bring the bottle next to you. Leave it somewhere where you have to get up for a refill.
Drink the odd non alcoholic drink
When drinking alcohol, throw in the odd non alcoholic drink. At least have one half way through the night, and one at the end. This makes a big difference to how you feel the next day.
Avoid rounds with maniacs!
Drink at your own pace rather than the local beer monster’s. Drinking at someone else’s pace means you ignore your own mind and body telling you to slow down or stop. This trains you to be capable of drinking more next time.
Avoid drinks high in alcohol
To me, spirits should be used to clean your plug holes. If you must drink them, make sure you mix them with plenty of non alcoholic stuff.
If you’re drinking them neat you can get a high amount of alcohol in your system in a short space of time – not good. If you’re drinking at home, buy a measurer or use the cap to measure how much you’re having.
There’s nothing wrong with having a drink and research suggests that moderate drinking is actually good for you. However it’s easy to fall down the slippery slope of drinking too much. Find the tactics that work for YOU, and take control of your drinking levels. Enjoy drinking alcohol, but don’t abuse it.
Here’s what a few friends say about how to reduce your alcohol intake…
Psychotherapist in private practice in NYC
Complete abstinence from alcohol can be a daunting endeavor for someone who
is not ready to give it up, entirely. Here are some guidelines on how to
reduce alcohol intake:
*Leave the Bar:* Studies show that choosing alternative activities such as
movies, theatre, and game-nights where the activity is not centred around
drinking is a great way to avoid alcohol on any given night. Implementing
more than one of these alternative nights per week can help reduce the
frequency of drinking significantly over time.
*Keep The Glass*: People often enjoy the rituals associated with drinking
such as drinking out of a wine glass or the act of preparing a cocktail.
Studies indicate that people often maintain negative habits out of fear
that they will lose a routine that has become familiar. A great way to
keep familiarity is to maintain certain aspects of a ritual. For example,
one can opt to drink seltzer out of a wine glass to replace the act of
drinking wine without losing the ritual.
*Cut Em’ Out*: Studies show that people who struggle with excessive
drinking often feel a social pressure to drink. A good way to cut back on
drinking can be to avoid those social situations where alcohol is
consistently present. For example, planning to meet a drinking buddy for
coffee instead of a routine happy hour can eliminate the pressure to drink
while maintaining the relationship and consistent contact.
As a Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist, I work with individuals who
have tried everything to reduce their alcohol consumption except
understanding what makes them drink.
Removing alcohol from your home, car,
work, etc., can be helpful, however, it likely will not be the long term
solution. You have to understand what triggers you to want to drink. Many
have developed patterns of habit over time that they cannot even remember
what initiated the excess drinking.
Start by writing down everything you
can think of that causes you to want to drink. Then before you drink write
down what you believe is causing the enticement to drink. Once you can
determine the “why” of what you’re doing then you can start moving towards
building successful interventions that will help to significantly reduce
your level of consumption.
I am sold on the notion that everything starts
with a thought. If you can get your thoughts in order then you recognize
what’s necessary to implement change.