10 Tips To Reduce Your Alcohol Intake

Many people in the UK enjoy a social drink from time to time or enjoy a small amount in the evening with food or while watching TV. Yet drinking too much alcohol or drinking too often increases your risk of developing an alcohol-related injury or disease and most obviously, alcohol addiction.

You may be thinking it’s time to take control of your drinking, prepare yourself for a detox, want to become sober or even just to reduce your alcohol intake, whatever the reason, following the tips and techniques below will help you to successfully achieve your goals.

People who fear they may be drinking too much should avoid buying rounds in the pub and keep a diary to record their weekly alcohol intake, provides an accurate starting point for a detox or track your reduction progress and keep you on schedule for your future reduction.

More than one in 20 people in England are “problem drinkers” – regularly drinking more than the recommended amount, binge-drinking at the weekend or drinking to prevent withdrawal symptoms, according to the Health Education Authority and Alcohol Concern.

Here are some mini tips to help you cut down on alcohol.

  1. Keep track of your drinking habits.Instead of relying on memory, jot down your drinks in a diary to see exactly how much and how often you drink.
  2. Change your drinking habits. Control the amount of alcohol you drink by setting some goals, such as not drinking alone or when stressed. Schedule at least two alcohol-free days each week.
  3. Don’t drink on an empty stomach. A full stomach slows the absorption of alcohol.
  4. Quench your thirst with water or soft drinks. Otherwise, you risk gulping down alcoholic drinks.
  5. Sip your drink slowly. Put down the glass after each mouthful.
  6. Take a break. Make every second drink a non-alcoholic beverage.
  7. Buy low-alcohol alternatives. Options include light beer and reduced alcohol wine.
  8. Opt out of ‘shouts’. Drink at your own pace. If you can’t avoid buying a shout, get yourself a non-alcoholic drink.
  9. Avoid salty snacks, such as potato chips or peanuts. Salt makes you thirsty and more inclined to drink fast.
  10. Do something other than drink. Hit the dance floor or play a game of pool. You’re less likely to drink out of boredom if you’re busy having fun.

Things To Consider When Cutting Back on Your Drinking

Have you been thinking about cutting back on the amount of alcohol you drink? Maybe you have experienced some negative health effects because of your drinking.

If the amount of alcohol that you have been drinking exceeds recommended guidelines and puts you at risk for developing alcohol-related problems or you are already addicted to alcohol and are physically dependent on it, you may want to try cutting down or stopping completely over a safe period.

cutting back on drinking

Tips To Cut Back

If you are currently drinking more than the recommended guidelines any change that you make, even small changes, will help you reduce the harm that alcohol can cause and minimise the damage that’s already been done from chronic alcohol consumption. The less you drink, the lower your risk of developing or worsening problems that you may already have. It’s called harm reduction.

Your goal is to improve your health and your life by reducing the dangerous effects of alcohol and the damage it causes to your physical and mental wellbeing.

Set Realistic Goals

Write down how many drinks you want to drink per day. Writing down your goals can help remind you that you want to limit your drinking and reduce your alcohol intake.

Count Your Drinks

Recording how many drinks you have may also help you reduce or slow down your drinking.

You can use a handwritten note that you keep in your wallet or record your drinks on your smartphone or tablet, whatever is more convenient for you.

Measure Your Drinks

If you are going to count how many drinks you have and how many you want to reduce by, make sure you are accurate.

Learn what counts as a standard drink so that you can accurately measure how many you have had. Stick to your goal even when you are away from home, dining out or in a bar ect.

You could use a measuring jug or buy a special measuring device to calculate your alcohol units more accurately.

Pace Yourself

Some drinkers trying to cut down have been successful by pacing their drinking. That is, they sip their drinks slowly or make sure they have only one drink per hour.

People who consume drinks quickly, particularly the first few drinks, are at greater risk of developing alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence.

Space Your Drinks

Another trick for cutting down alcohol consumption is to use drink spacers—nonalcoholic beverages between drinks containing alcohol. No matter how much you drink, it’s always a good idea to drink plenty of water along with your alcoholic beverages.

Some drinkers will alternate a drink of water, juice, or soda between their alcoholic beverages to slow down their consumption.

Don’t Forget To Eat

For some drinkers, eating food will reduce their cravings for alcohol. This is not true for all drinkers but if eating something reduces your craving for a drink, make sure you eat a meal at times when you usually drink might help you reduce the amount you drink. Of course, it is not wise for anyone to drink on an empty stomach.

Avoid Your Triggers

Whether you are trying to cut down or quit drinking altogether, it is a good idea to avoid situations in which you are used to drinking. People, places, things and certain activities can be triggers that cause you to have an urge/craving to drink.

Avoiding these triggers can prevent you from drinking when you otherwise might not do so. Remember, your health and recovery is at stake!

You can learn more about triggers, how to recognise them and overcome them here in our previous article.

You can also learn to avoid urges, cravings and temptations and learn to urge surf here. A technique used to ride out cravings, urges and temptations without returning to drugs or alcohol.

Do Something Else

If drinking has become a dominating part of your life, try substituting other activities during those times when you might usually drink. Take up a hobby, begin an exercise program, make new friends or spend more time with your family and friends. Find something that you enjoy that will occupy the time during which you would usually be drinking.

Learn How To Say ‘No’

Chances are you are going to be in situations in which someone is going to offer you a drink or expect you to drink with them as you have done in the past. Learn how to politely say “no thank you,” and really mean it. Say it quickly and firmly so that you don’t give yourself time to change your mind.

You can find 60 ways of saying no in our previous article here.

You may want to practice what you will say the next time your friends ask you to have a drink.

What If You Can’t Cut Down?

If you find that you cannot cut down, you may have already developed an alcohol use disorder and are already physically and mentally dependent on alcohol. You may need to try quitting drinking altogether or seek out professional help from charities, groups and organisations on our help and support page here.

Things To Consider Including In Your Drug & Alcohol diary

  • At what time(s) did you drink?
  • How many drinks you had in total over the 24 hour period.
  • What type(s) of alcohol was it?
  • What strength is it?
  • Where shouts were you when you drank? Indoors, at a pub or bar or someone else’s house ect.
  • Did you drink alone or with other people?
  • What were the reasons, feelings, thoughts or cravings that you experienced, which led you to drink?
  • Were any other drugs or substances used as well?
  • How did it make you feel after you drank?
  • Your reduction goals, when will your alcohol reduction go down next?

Use Our Free Downloadable Alcohol Wheel

You can download our free alcohol wheel which will help you work out exactly how many units you’re drinking. You can find it here.Help and support page

You can find a list of charities, groups and organisations on our help and support page here.

Find More Like This One?

  • How To Help Addicts Stay Safe During This Unprecedented Heatwave And Our Top Hot Weather Life Hacks!
    Most of us welcome some warm, sunny weather, it can be nice to enjoy the sunshine and science even provides us with evidence that it can improve our mood, energy levels, motivation to make and maintain change, as well as improving our physical bodily functions as well as our general mental well-being. However, when it’s too hot for too long, there are serious possible health risks that we need to keep in mind. In England alone, there are on average 2000 heat related deaths every single year, and that’s not even taking into consideration the current unprecedented level 3 heatwave we’re all experiencing! Keep reading to find out how you can stay safe in this weather, how it can negatively impact those with active substance addictions (both drugs and alcohol) and those in recovery, what to watch out for, how you can help yourself and others, and finally but by no means least, our top tips and heatwave heat hacks to keep you cool and comfortable.
  • Heroin Overdose Deaths Often Happen Shortly After Leaving Hospital According To New Cutting Edge Research
    Drug-related deaths are four times more likely to occur in the days after hospital discharge than at any other time among users of opioids such as heroin according to research led by University College London, Public Health England and King’s College London.
  • Our Award Winning Professionals
    One of our therapists has won a contribution award for his dedication to his clients and the therapies he offers to addicts, the homeless and those sleeping rough. He would like to say a big thanks to everyone who nominated and voted for him. You can find out more information about our professional addiction therapies and recovery services in this brief article.
  • Addiction Around The World
    Today’s fact finding post! These statistics are shocking, considering all of the latest technology, medicinal discoveries, human attitudes, improvements in attitudes towards mental health and improvements in neighbourly relations following on from the COVID outbreak, people with substance use disorders (addictions) still face much persecution, judgement, shame, isolation. But it doesn’t have to be this way, find out how you can do your bit in this fact finding article!…
  • DnD Courses, Workshops And Masterclasses Coming In Jan 2022
    This course is currently being designed by industry experts, recovering addicts, addiction campaigners, leading academic researchers and biological scientists to provide a “one stop shop” course to move you from your current situation, no matter whether you are at rock bottom or living an average life in recovery that you would like to improve on, there’s something for everyone.
  • 10 Steps to Take if an Alcoholic or Addict Refuses Treatment
    They don’t believe that they’re sick. They don’t believe that anything’s wrong. It takes a big wake up call to get through the addiction, and to the person that we all know is still inside, screaming to be let out. If Your Loved One Refusing Treatment: 10. Admit It to Yourself If you’re in denial,Continue reading “10 Steps to Take if an Alcoholic or Addict Refuses Treatment”

Published by Drink ’n’ Drugs

Providing useful, relevant, up to date information and support for those suffering from active addiction or those who are in recovery.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: