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Have you ever woken up after a night of partying and wondered if you were drinking too much – not just the night before, but in general? Have your friends, family members or loved ones ever commented on your drinking? If the answer to either of these scenarios is “yes,” then it could be time for you to start thinking about drinking less alcohol.
There are several reasons why you might want to cut back on your drinking. The benefits of drinking less include:
- No more hangovers
- More money in your bank account
- Better mental & physical health
- Reduced risk of alcohol addiction
The list could go on, but really, it’s the last two items that warrant the most attention. In this post we’ll share our top tips for cutting back on alcohol consumption so you can start feeling better mentally and physically. Of course, if you believe you already have a serious alcohol addiction problem, it’s better to seek professional help sooner rather than later.
How to Cut Down on Alcohol Right Now
1. Structure Your Free Time Around Positive Activities
It’s easy to drink too much when alcohol is central to everything you do in your free time. So, try to set aside time each day for alcohol-free activities. Wondering how to pass the time? Easy! Just think about the things that interest you. Books, video games, outdoor activities, photography… you name it. Make a plan to spend a couple hours each day engaging with healthy activities you love.
2. When You Do Drink, Set Limits
If you know you’re going to drink alcohol, give yourself a boundary and stick to it! A boundary could be deciding not to drink during the week, taking 2-3 days off between drinks or allowing yourself a set number of adult beverages. After you decide on a boundary, put it in writing and consider keeping a journal of what you drink. This could make it easier to hold yourself accountable.
3. Alternate Between Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Beverages
The next time you find yourself in a situation where your peers are consuming large quantities of alcohol, remember that you don’t need to keep up with them. For every adult beverage you consume, follow it with an equal amount of water. Your body will thank you the next day.
4. Tell Friends & Family You’re Cutting Back on Alcohol
Be honest with your peers and tell them you want to drink less. If they have your best interests at heart, they should be more than happy to help you cut back on your drinking. And if they don’t? Well, it could be time to find more positive influences.
5. Don’t Drink So Fast
Are you a craft beer aficionado or a wine enthusiast? If so, slow down. Don’t gulp your drinks one after the other. Craft beers, wine and spirits contain more alcohol than light beer or hard ciders, and it’s easier to become intoxicated. In fact, one double IPA could contain two or three times as much alcohol as a single light beer.
BONUS TIP: Learn How to Turn Down a Drink Like a Pro!
Sometimes saying “no” to a drink is awkward. If you’re thinking about cutting back on drinking, figure out a response in advance for passing on an offer to consume alcohol. Easier said than done? Check out our article: 5 Ways to Turn Down a Drink Like a Pro.
Difference Between Problem Drinking and Alcohol Addiction
Alcoholism is the most severe form of problem drinking. But, not every problem drinker is an alcoholic. The difference? Alcoholics are physically and mentally dependent on drinking. They struggle with maintaining sobriety every day. Problem drinkers, on the other hand, are not physically addicted to alcohol. In fact, they can often go long periods of time without drinking. However, when they do drink, it causes problems – either in their own lives or in the lives of the people around them.
If you aren’t sure whether you’re a problem drinker or an alcoholic, try cutting back on your drinking using the tips we’ve explored here. If you find that you are physically unable to drink less alcohol, it might be time to consider a professional alcohol addiction treatment program.