How to cut down on your drinking…

Has your drinking crept up over lockdown?

There is no shame in it, it’s ok, it’s easily done. And the good news is you can change it. You can reduce your drinking.

The thing with alcohol is it’s a legal, socially acceptable drug, that’s hugely habit forming for lots of reasons. And super easy to get into a spot of bother with it.

It gives us that dopamine release, that reward, it signals the end of a day. Maybe your wine o clock has got a little earlier each day? The problem with that is that as we get older, particularly for women, we feel the impact of alcohol more.

The hangovers get worse, impact on your sleep, you may suffer anxiety, maybe you just feel sluggish. One of the best things you can do for your physical health and emotional health is to drink less, trust me. I have worked with thousands of people and a huge proportion of them feel better when they reduce, take a break, or stop drinking.

Alcohol is one of our most harmful drugs. If you want to feel healthier, be healthier, the less you drink the better. If optimum health is your goal then no alcohol is best.

Be honest with yourself. Has alcohol become a bad habit? Are you using it to cope? Has it become a crutch? Do you use it to manage stress? Is it your only pleasure?

If so time to make some changes.

You can reduce. Some people find it easier to just stop and take a break. However, please check that it’s safe for you to just stop before you do so. Alcohol is a physically addictive drug and taken daily, and or in significant quantities, you can build up a physical addiction. Withdrawal from alcohol can be fatal, so it’s always good to check with a medical professional first. If you are not sure, feel free to message me.

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Here are some tips that hopefully will help:

  • Try this. Just have one. Whatever you decide to do, just have one drink, then stop. Then don’t have another one for a while, at least a week. Remember the habit thing.
  • Drink slowly.
  • Think about who you are drinking with. You may have noticed that you drink more with certain people. If this is the case, maybe stay away from those people for a bit while you reduce, or have a chat with them. Tell them what you are doing. You never know, they may also be up for reducing and be supportive.
  • Don’t drink on your emotions, this will really help you reduce.
  • Always have a soft drink first, a big one, you know a pint of lime and soda, something like that. Drink it slowly. So you are delaying your start time.
  • Drink soft drinks in between alcoholic drinks.
  • Enjoy drinks with lots of mixer in.
  • Use an app and count how many units you are consuming. This can be a real eye opener. Also count the calories and money. It’s interesting to see which one motivates you.
  • Think about alcohol the same as you would any drug, because that’s what it is. Do you want to take a drug daily? Do you want to be a regular drug user?
  • It’s about appropriate use of the drug. Alcohol is a social lubricant, think about how you use it. If you drink at home alone, could you make a rule of no home alone drinking? Only drink on special occasions, planned?

If you are interested in taking this further check out my five-day alcohol-free challenge or read my book There is no Magic Button.

Stephanie Chivers

About Stephanie Chivers

I'm a habit and addiction specialist, author of There Is No Magic Button. I also lead a closed Facebook group for woman that want to change their relationship with alcohol.