If you’re struggling with your relationship with alcohol then the first thing you’re going to want to do is cut down.
We all have different relationships with the substance and we all have different points in our lives where we want to give it a break. For some it might be just one big night out too far, for others it may be years of addiction and the need to go through an alcohol detox and withdrawal to give up the booze for good. See here for additional information.
For many of us, it’s a case of the former, just wanting to adjust our lifestyle slightly to live that bit healthier or lose that beer belly that may have crept in after a long summer. Cutting down is a lot easier said than done however.
Temptations are always there, whether it be an invite out from friends, the stress of a long day at work, or the appeal of a glass of red over a steak dinner. However, there are some great tips out there to drop your consumption of the substance…
1. Make a plan
Planning is always important in life and by having a solid plan you can be a lot more disciplined with your drinking. You can set out particular days in which you can have a drink and how much you have. While that may seem pretty regimented, it’ll set out a bit of a pattern that will regulate how much you drink.
You’ll see an immediate impact in that compared to just consciously trying to cut down and you can adapt your plan to make that consumption smaller and smaller as you go.
2. Take it day by day
You can then take that plan day by day and tick them off as you work through your plan. By sticking to it, every day is a success and you’ll also be able to monitor your achievements as you go. Give yourself booze free days and you may find that one day turns into two days and beyond quite easily.
3. Turn a pint into a half
When you do go for a drink, order a half not a pint or a small not a large. This way you can still enjoy those nights in the pub or a glass of wine at a restaurant, you’d just be consuming half of what you usually would.
4. Manage your ABV
Monitor the strength of the alcohol you’re consuming too. If you’ve typically drank beverages with a high ABV, why not cut down the percentage a little. For example, if you’re a beer drinker and typically partake in options that are around the 5.5% mark, why not choose something a little more sessionable at 3.5-4%?
5. Tell people
If you are cutting down on the amount you drink, let others know too and you’ll not only get support from them but also face less pressure to have an alcoholic beverage from them. Which will help significantly.
6. Find new hobbies
If you’re used to spending your time in the pub to socialize, which is then leading to drinking, then why not consider meeting elsewhere or starting a new hobby? Consider what you like to do, or what you’ve always liked to try and give it a go!
You don’t need alcohol to try out pottery for the first time or when you learn to dance. Yet you’ll get a great buzz and maybe even find something you’ll take up for life and share with friends and family. Hobbies can be a great distraction from alcohol and see you live a much healthier and social lifestyle too.
7. Find an alcohol alternative
If you’re still wanting to spend evenings in the pub or with a glass by your side in an evening, then a substitute drink that’s alcohol free can be a good option. For beer fans, there are tons of fantastic non-alcoholic beers around that taste as good as the real thing, with many breweries now putting more emphasis on them.
Alternatively, there are some fantastic non-alcoholic cocktails and non-alcoholic wines also widely available in supermarkets and the likes today.
8. Don’t buy rounds
For those days when you are drinking, if you’re out and about with friends, don’t buy into rounds. Rounds will ultimately mean the tempo in which you’re drinking isn’t dictated by you, which can have an impact on how much you drink and whether you stick to a plan.
By purchasing your own drinks you can control a number of aspects. Firstly, you can control how much you drink – so how many pints you may have for example.
You can also control how fast you drink them, what drinks you have – so you can choose lower ABV drinks, while you will also be able to skip rounds or alternate between alcoholic and soft drinks to stay on track.
9. Don’t stock up at home
Where once you may have had a cupboard full of booze, if you’re trying to cut down on alcohol, don’t replace bottles or add to your stock. By keeping your alcohol cupboard low you’ll be less likely to succumb to temptation.
Not only will this allow you to monitor and decrease the amount you’re drinking, but you’ll also make a saving financially too.
10. Freeze cooking wine
Of course, we often use wine for cooking too, and for many one of the benefits of that is pouring a glass while you’re in the kitchen. While there’s much pleasure to be had in that, if you’re trying to give up the booze it’s probably not the best idea.
To combat this temptation, any leftover wine you have from cooking, just pop it in the freezer until you need to use it again for your cooking. Not only will this stop you from drinking, but it’ll also mean you don’t need to buy a new bottle when you’re looking to cook up something good in the kitchen and require wine once again. You can either put the bottle in the freezer, or pour it into ice cubes for easy access.