How To Cut Down On Alcohol
11 Steps You Can Take
- Cut down on your serving size—have 3 ounces of wine instead of 5, or a smaller can of beer.
- “Stretch out” drinks by adding water, plain or flavored seltzer, club soda or even 100-percent juice.
- Sip, don’t chug.
- Limit yourself to one standard alcoholic drink per hour or two. If you need to constantly sip, alternate booze with non-alcoholic drinks.
- Decide to make some days of every week alcohol-free and put a limit on drinks on the other days.
- Choose low- or no-alcohol beer or wine.
- Learn how to recognize a standard size drink and cut your consumption at bars and restaurants that serve oversized drinks.
- Keep a log of how much you drink. Make notes in your smartphone, mark up a calendar on your fridge or carry an NIAAA drinking tracker card in your wallet. Noting each drink before you drink will help you be more aware of how much you’re drinking and know when to stop.
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Food slows down the speed at which alcohol is absorbed into your system.
- Avoid salty items that can encourage you to drink more, like the freebies often served at bars.
- Avoid situations that trigger the urge to drink. Triggers can be people or places, times of day or feelings that encourage you to drink even when you don’t want to.
- Be polite yet firm and say “no, thanks” when you’re offered a drink you don’t want. The faster you can say no, the less likely you are to give in.
Need more ideas? Check out the NIAAA’s suggestions to build drink refusal skills.
If you’re concerned that you have a drinking problem—you want to cut back, but can’t, for instance—talk to your health professional or go to the Alcoholics Anonymous website at www.aa.org.
Resource: Rethinking Drinking