If you identify with any of the above scenarios, try the expert advice below to reduce your alcohol consumption (or even eliminate it altogether).
1. Measure your drinks.
“The first step is to understand how much you are drinking,” says Katie Witkiewitz, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of New Mexico and author of the 2019 study, “Advances in the Science and Treatment of Alcohol Use.” IN Science Advanceswith
A standard glass of wine is 5 ounces, which contains about 12% alcohol. A smell of distilled alcohol like vodka is 1.5 ounces and as much as 40% alcohol. A 12 ounce can of beer contains about 5% alcohol, and a standard glass of sherry is 3 to 4 ounces and contains about 17% alcohol, according to the NIAAA.
Use the NIAAA Beverage Size Calculator to determine the amount of alcohol in different beverages.
2. Follow your intake.
“Once you understand how much you are drinking, it is helpful to keep track of how many drinks you have per day,” says Witkiewitz. “You can use a calendar, journal or any number of tracking applications.” Alcohol Tracker or Less Drink Control are two examples of free tracking apps available on iOS devices.
3. Make a plan.
People who set daily drink limits consume 10% less drinks each week than those who do not, according to data from 10,000 US users of the Cutback Coach app. And a good start to the week is a sign of success: Members staying below the planned limit on Monday and Tuesday are almost four times more likely to reach their goal for the week.
“Start easy,” Crews suggests. Instead of aiming for complete abstinence, for example, aim to drink less than seven days a week. “Try sober Monday or sober Monday until Wednesday,” he says.
4. Tell family members and friends you want to be healthier.
Determine drinking as you would with any other health behaviors you want to change, such as better nutrition or more exercise, and share it out loud with those closest to you. This social approach can help normalize the change you are trying to make, says Witkiewitz. “You do not have to have a drinking problem to improve your health and quality of life by reducing your drinking.”
5. Try one month abstinence.
“Try to do a ‘dry’ month like Dry January, Go Dry for July or Sober October,” says Moore. In January 2020, more than 6 million people reportedly participated in Dry January, a campaign to reduce alcohol consumption organized by Alcohol Change UK. Subsequent research suggested that most tended to drink in healthier amounts afterwards.
6. Get exercise.
If you turn to alcohol to relieve anxiety, try exercise as a healthy alternativeMe ““For those who have access to and enjoy outdoor activities and other physical activity options, we know that physical activity, especially in nature, can be very helpful in reducing anxiety and coping with other negative moods,” says Witkiewitz. .
7. Drink water.
You can ask for alcohol when you are really thirsty, says Crews. Drink a cup of soothing tea or a long glass of water before drinking water – once you quench your thirst, you may not feel the need for so much alcohol.
8. Eat before and between drinks.
Food can absorb alcohol in beverages, so eating before or even when drinking can mitigate the effect and make you want to drink less, Crews says.
9. Make a plan for wishes.
The urge to drink will inevitably come – so make a plan for it. Remind yourself why you want to cut back, talk to a friend about it, and distract yourself with a hobby or workout, the NIAAA suggests. Acknowledge that you desire and that it will pass.
10. Remove alcohol from your home.
If you tend to drink a lot whenever there is any alcohol at home, remove it completely, recommends NIAAA.
11. Beware of anger, resentment or resentment.
Do you turn to alcohol when you exercise out of anger? In her book To live soberly, Alcoholics Anonymous suggest navigating these feelings with exercise, talking about the situation with a trusted friend, relaxing, and choosing a “live and let live” mindset instead of drinking.
12. Avoid loneliness.
If you drink to relieve the pain of loneliness, then make a conscious effort to connect with others. Alcoholics Anonymous warn its members not to be too hungry, angry, lonely or tired – all of these can make you more vulnerable to the urge to drink. Find activities that are mentally and emotionally nurturing and bring you joy, and identify ways to socialize with friends, says Witkiewitz.
13. Get online support.
You do not have to leave home to get support from other people who understand and respect what you are trying to do. In fact, you can find it online with sites like Cutback Coach, which helps you create a personalized plan, Tempest, Moderation.org or Ben’s Friends for people working in the food and beverage industry.
14. Avoid triggers.
What drives you to drink a drink? An acquaintance who speaks incessantly? Check out stock market news? “We encourage the use of an informal practice of conscience when you feel challenged, “says Witkiewitz. in spirit and then making a choice of how you want to respond to the situation. Maybe he’s still drinking, maybe not. Maybe it’s calling an old friend, going for a walk or spending time with a child or a loved one. “
15. Learn how to say, “No.”
Prepare for those times when someone will offer you a drink. Find words to help you politely but firmly refuse. “No thank you” is a simple and clear statement. You can also keep a soft drink, instead, ask a friend to support you in difficult situations or just go out early if the temptation gets too strong, the NIAAA suggests.
16. If you slip, go back to your plan.
Do not give in to shame and regret – just restart your plan. “Success really has to do with how you respond to failures and the things that are coming your way,” says Moore. “If one’s strategy for drinking less does not work, it is essential to recognize and reflect on the lessons learned and take action – at least one more step, the right one – to start making a difference.”