The habit of drinking alcohol excessively can have a devastating effect on your health and lifestyle, as such, you may want to control your daily intake or total abstinence.
Whether you want to cut back on your intake or to abstain, it is best to check with your doctor. For people who are dependent on alcohol, or have other medical or mental health hitches, it is advisable for them to completely stop drinking.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) suggests that the following steps may be helpful:
- Make a list:Put to writing your strong reasons for wanting to curtail your alcohol intake. It could be you are sleeping better, feeling healthier or improving your sex drive, as such, you don’t need alcohol again. You can be inspired to stop by the reasons you put down.
- Set a drinking goal:Set a limit on how much you will drink on daily basis on after 2-3 days interval. You should keep your drinking below the recommended guidelines: no more than one standard drink per day for women and for men ages 65 and older, and no more than two standard drinks per day for men under 65. These limits may be too high for people who have certain medical conditions or for some older adults. Your doctor can help you determine the right proportion for you.
- Keep a drinking diary:Keep track of every time you have a drink, for three to four weeks. Include information about what you drank, where you were and the quantity you took. Compare this to your goal. If you’re having trouble sticking to your goal, discuss it with your health professional.
- Avoid keeping alcohol in your house:Having no alcohol at home can help curb your drinking problems.
- Sip your drink:Drink slowly by taking a sip at 3-4 minutes interval. Drink soda, water, or juice after having an alcoholic beverage. Avoid drinking on an empty stomach.
- Choose alcohol-free days: You can decide not to drink a day or two weekly. You may want to abstain for a whole week or a month to see how you feel physically and emotionally without alcohol in your life. Taking a break from alcohol can be a good way to start drinking less.
- Watch your company:You don’t have to take alcohol just because others are drinking or because you are being pressurized to do so by friends. Note that you are under no obligation to accept every drink you’re offered. Practice ways to say no politely. Avoid people who encourage you to drink.
- Keep busy: Take a walk, exercise, play sports, go out to eat, or catch a movie. When you’re at home, pick up a new hobby or revisit an old one. Painting, board games, playing a musical instrument, woodworking and other activities are great options to help you curb drinking.
- Get support:It may not be easy to cut down on your drinking. Allow family and friends know that you need their support. Your doctor, counselor, or therapist may also be able to help.
- Guard against temptation:Avoid people and places that make you want to drink. If you associate drinking with certain events, such as holidays or vacations, develop a plan for managing them in advance. Put your feelings to check when you’re worried, lonely, or angry. Cultivate new, healthy ways to cope with stress.
- Be persistent.Most people who successfully cut down or stop drinking altogether do so only after several failed attempts. You’ll probably have setbacks, but don’t give up, don’t allow them stop you from reaching your long-term goal. There’s really no final endpoint, as the process usually requires constant effort.
Some of these strategies — such as watching for peer pressure, keeping busy, asking for support, being aware of temptation, and being persistent — can also be helpful for people who want to give up alcohol completely.