How to Cut Down Drinking Alcohol

The best way of cutting down on alcohol depends on your relationship with alcohol. We all experience it differently but there are some common problems.

People decide to cut down on drinking for lots of reasons, but the main ones are:

  • Doctor’s advice
  • Suggestions from friends or family
  • Feeling low after drinking too much
  • Concern over drinking too regularly
  • Health

stop alcohol cravings

There are some great methods that can help you to cut down or quit alcohol.

How to Reduce Drinking at Home

The COVID pandemic not only led to more drinking from boredom and a rising mental health crisis, but we got used to drinking at home too. This is an issue with unique challenges. Here are some tips for giving up drinking too much at home.

  • Don’t keep your liquor cupboard full. Having a big stock of alcohol available is tempting and increases the likelihood you will overdo it.
  • Buy the amount you want to drink in the supermarket. You wouldn’t buy twice as much food as you need for the week, so have the same approach for alcohol.
  • Get a drinks measure. You can buy shot measures or wine and beer glasses with a line on the internet for cheap. This means you aren’t pouring a triple without thinking.
  • Find a hobby, activity or interest that is alcohol-free. It is easy to fall into drinking as an activity, but there are plenty of fun other ways to spend time. Exercise also functions as a natural antidepressant.

How to Cut Down Drinking Socially

When your friends drink, it can be hard to be the odd one out. The problem is worse when your social life revolves around getting drunk. You might spend time in places with alcohol at the centre.

A robust social circle is important for your mental health, and studies show your personal success. There are some good ways to cut down on drinking socially without hurting your social life.

  • Buy smaller drinks and sip slowly.
  • Get a soft drink in between. If you don’t want to have a big discussion about why do this when it is your round. It’s unlikely anyone will notice, and if they do, either tell the truth or just say you’re thirsty!
  • Suggest a fun activity that doesn’t involve drinking. You might not be the only one who fancies a night off.
  • Practice saying no. This is a great life skill and something we should all learn to do politely and firmly.
  • Remember if friends pressure you to drink when you aren’t comfortable, you should stand firm. You wouldn’t let them tell you what to eat or wear, so why give in to peer pressure with alcohol?
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Cutting Down on Drinking for Work

This might seem like an odd one, but many people struggle with the pressure to drink at work meetings and on special occasions.

Meeting with clients can often involve drinking, especially in places where it is culturally expected. So, how can you cut down on drinking in a work environment?

  • Meet with clients or work colleagues at times and places which don’t allow or encourage drinking. Think brunches and cafes that don’t sell alcohol.
  • Suggest fun alternative activities for team building and client entertainment.
  • If you feel you must drink, try to alternate with soft drinks. Or order water for the table. It will keep you drinking more slowly.
  • Explain you have other commitments that mean you can’t drink, such as driving, family or sports.

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beer and wine limits

How to Cut Down on Alcohol Generally

There are some issues that are present no matter where we drink or with whom. Here are some general ideas for reducing how much you drink overall.

  • Have a limit. This can be daily, weekly or suited to your needs. For example, I’ll never drink more than two drinks in one day. Or, I will have three alcohol-free days every week. I only want to drink the recommended 14 units a week.
  • Avoid the situations that cause you to drink too much. If boredom causes you to drink, then find something to keep your mind occupied. When Friday night drinks with your workmates are the root of the problem, plan something else or arrange to end the night early.
  • Get support from friends and family or a therapist who specialises in drinking problems. If those around you are on your side, they can keep you on track and help you in cutting down on drinking. Some might even join you.
  • Take up an activity or sport. Drinking and sports don’t mix well, and exercise provides endorphins and serotonin boosts to replace alcohol.
  • Eat healthily and try detox supplements to recover your body. Drinking too much means our body doesn’t work as well, and our liver, brain and stomach all feel the effects. Cutting down on alcohol makes us feel better, and good food and supplements increase this. Feeling good, energetic and well-rested is a big motivation and reward for drinking less.

How to Reduce Alcohol Consumption Safely

If you are experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms when cutting down or stopping drinking, the situation may not be as simple as those with cravings. When the symptoms are mild, it can be hard to understand whether they are definitely withdrawal. Knowing that you are experiencing symptoms of alcohol withdrawal is important as you know how to manage them and that they will end. Common Symptoms of mild alcohol withdrawal are:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Stomach Problems
  • Cravings

More severe symptoms include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Shaking
  • Irregular heartbeat

Tapering or cutting down slowly is one option for people who are not addicted. If you feel you are unable to resist drinking and are on a downward spiral, then you may be suffering from alcoholism. You can maximise your body’s natural ability to detox and recover. A good healthy diet, supplements and gentle exercise can all boost your recovery and ease withdrawal symptoms.

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Cut Down on Drinking Specific Alcohol

How to Cut Down on Drinking Wine

  • If you find you end up drinking a bottle of wine a night, then buying less can help. Miniatures are a bit more expensive, but only per volume. If you drink just one glass instead of a bottle, then it is a saving still.
  • Low-alcohol wine can be very tasty, and it is often lower in calories as well. You might not know which one to get if you are used to your regular brand, but there are lots of reviews for wines under 0.5% ABV.

How to Cut Down on Drinking Beer

  • Buy smaller glasses and bottles. You might be tempted to pour a pint every time, but smaller amounts can help you cut down.
  • Buy lower alcohol beers such as session ales alcohol-free beer is a big thing, and many of the specialist beer companies make some great tasting ones.
  • Avoid buying 12-packs of beer as there is always the temptation to finish it, which can lead to overdrinking.

How to Drink Less Whisky, Vodka, Rum and Other Spirit

  • If you have a shot measuring cup, then you can make sure to have a single only. A bigger glass with more mixer is helpful too.
  • If you can’t resist the temptation of a full bottle, then premixed cans can be bought individually. They may cost more per ml, but if you drink less, then it doesn’t really matter.
  • Avoid shots at all costs. Shots are high alcohol content and take little time to drink.

Why Can’t I Control My Drinking?

If you try everything above but are still not able to cut down on drinking, you may have to stop instead.

For people who are not addicted, moderation is possible. If you find you cannot stop drinking, then you may be addicted to alcohol.

There are many reasons for this. Some are habit-formed, psychological and physical. If you are addicted, moderation is not an option; abstinence is the best choice.

If you find you need help to cut down or stop drinking, then our Desistal High Strength formula can help reduce cravings, boost mental health, and repair the damage done by drinking too much.