Avoid Places Where You’d Normally Drink
Everyone knows how hard it is to drop a bad habit, or start a good one, whether it’s exercising regularly, quitting smoking, or beginning a healthy diet. This is made only harder when alcohol is at the heart of so many social events, making it difficult to say no to a drink.
Whatever your game plan, in the first few weeks it can really help to steer clear of events where lots of people are drinking, says Dr Arunogiri.
“Try to hang out with people during the day rather than the evening â that sort of strategy can help at the start,” she says.
Swap evening drinks at a bar for coffee at a cafe before work. Or meet up with a mate for a walk or swim on Friday night instead of heading to the pub.
“Then it can become easier to reduce and refuse drinks altogether if you’re in an environment where there is alcohol around,” Dr Arunogiri says.
Setting Up A Taper Schedule
It is very important that you estimate your BASELINE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION in terms of standard drinks in order for you to be able to set up a taper schedule. You can find the definition of a standard drink here. Just for reference a 12 ounce regular strength beer is one standard drink. A standard bottle of wine at 12% alcohol contains 5 standard drinks. A 750 ml bottle of 80 proof booze contains 17 standard drinks. A liter of 80 proof booze is 23 standard drinks.
If you have been drinking 20 or more standard drinks a day then we recommend that on the first day of your taper you drink one beer per hour starting when you wake up in the morning for a total of 16 beers the first day. On the second day drink one beer every hour and a half for a total of ten beers. Then continue to taper down by reducing the amounts by two beers per day until you are down to zero.
If your BASELINE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION is less than 20 drinks per day then we recommend reducing consumption by two standard drinks per day. For example, if you have been drinking an average of 12 drinks per day then your taper schedule can be 10 beers the first day, 8 the second, 6 the third, 4 the fourth, 2 the fifth and 0 the sixth day. Likewise if your average consumption is 6 standard drinks per day you can set a taper schedule of 4, 2, 0.
When You Should Completely Quit Drinking
John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. He is the medical director at Alcohol Recovery Medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health .
If you have been drinking at a level that is considered high-risk or heavy drinking, you may want to consider making a change in your drinking patterns or quit altogether. But which is the best choice for you? Should you try moderating your alcohol consumption, or should you try to quit?
Many people do learn to moderate their drinking and are successful in returning to a pattern of low-risk drinking. Just as there are support groups for those trying to quit drinking, there are support groups for those who are trying to cut down or moderate their drinking.
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Abrupt Stop Or Cut Down
It’s really up to you whether you stop drinking all alcohol straight away or reduce your intake slowly, says Dr Arunogiri.
She says if you’ve never had any physical or mental withdrawal symptoms from stopping drinking alcohol in the past, then it’s probably safe to drop to zero drinks straight away.
“But the question is whether that’s going to be easy to maintain,” she says.
“It might be easier for some people to maintain if they slowly reduce over time. But it’s also very tied to the context of their drinking.”
If you regularly drink at work events it might be easier to stop drinking completely in those situations if there’s less social pressure. But it might be easier to slowly reduce your consumption first if your social life is heavily reliant on drinking.
Cutting Down On Alcohol Doesnt Have To Be So Hard
I never thought I would have the willpower to change my drinking. Alcohol had been part of my life for over 20 years. But I knew that it was affecting me badly, and somehow it had tipped from heavy social drinking to a self-abusive challenge to see how much I could drink and still function the following day. My off-switch had broken.
It can happen to many of us at different points in our life but it takes just a few different circumstances to collide, and we find we are drinking more and suffering more the following day. And you dont need to be drinking as much as the guys with the Special Brew in the park for that to happen. It is a fact of life that hangovers are harder to cope with as you get older, and that health conditions are aggravated by the number of units we drink.
A recent study by the government-funded Drinkaware campaign found that one in five adults want to cut back on their drinking. Quitting always felt like an impossible task a very lonely solution to my very social problem. But every other day as I nursed a hangover and the associated shame, I knew I had to do something.
So I made a decision three years ago. A snap decision on the day I got a tax rebate, I paid some cash for a workshop on quitting. The next thing I did right was I told my friends. The look of relief on their faces was visible. I think it was a combination of private management and public proclamation that helped. After that workshop I never drank again.
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Get Inventive With Alternatives
The trend for NoLo is growing in popularity in pubs and other venues. There are also lots of alcohol-free and lower strength alcohol alternative drinks on supermarket shelves these days. You can find alternative wines, alcohol-free spirit mixers to make cocktails and both alcohol-free and low ABV beers.
Mocktails are a great way to reduce how much your drink and keep your calories in check.
Need A Little More Support Here Are Some More Resources
Plan to arm yourself with some one-liners that you can throw out to your friends or colleagues as to why you’re not drinking, says psychologist Michelle Jongenelis from Curtin University.
“It’s a shame that we do have to come up with excuses for why we’re not drinking, rather than just saying ‘I’m not drinking for my health’, but it still seems unavoidable,” Dr Jongenelis says.
It can be as simple as saying you have an early start the next morning.
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Give Yourself A Budget
If you’re cutting down on drinking but not stopping entirely, then it’s a good idea to give yourself a budget. You can set a weekly or monthly limit on how much you’re allowed to spend on alcohol. In order to help you cut down, you should give yourself a budget that will only allow you to buy a small amount.
There are ways to ensure that you stick to your budget. For example, you could get your drinking allowance out in cash at the start of the month and only take a small amount with you when you’re planning to drink. Without a debit or credit card, you won’t be able to buy more than you are allowing yourself.
You could even come up with some form of forfeit if you fail to stick to your budget. You could deduct your overspend from next month’s budget, or do a household chore that you don’t like doing. Alternatively, you could motivate yourself with a reward if you stick to your budget. Why not use the money you have saved to treat yourself to some new clothes or a fancy dinner?
Try Drinking Low Alcohol And Alcohol
Alcohol-free beers, ciders, wines and more used to be rubbish, but theyve improved so much in recent years that theyre winning awards in place of their full-strength competitors. Lots of supermarkets now have alcohol-free sections. Check out our no- and low-alcohol reviews to help you get started.
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Keep Track Of Your Alcohol Units
The UK Chief Medical Officers’ low risk drinking guidelines recommend its safest for both men and women to not regularly drink more than 14 units each week.
14 units is equivalent to six pints of average strength lager , or six medium glasses of wine .
Remember to spread your units out over the week and take several drink-free days. Use our Unit and Calorie Calculator to make calculating alcohol units a lot easier or download our free Drinkaware: Track and Calculate Units app to track your drinking over time.
Drinking Wine And You
Here are some more reasons why its difficult to moderate when youre drinking wine. These are to do with you, your experiences and your habits. They may not be true for you, of course. But they are observations about typical wine drinking behaviour:
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Weigh The Pros And Cons Of Drinking
On a sheet of paper, draw a simple pros and cons table. Under pros, write what alcohol gives you. In the cons, write what it has taken away. This can be something as small as a few extra dollars spent on a beer last night or as large as a relationship.
If one of your pros is that alcohol helps you relax, one of your cons might be that your relaxation takes away from the time you could be spending with others. It also takes away your energy and keeps you from facing your problems.
Stay Strong And Reap The Benefits
Those are our tips for cutting down your drinking or giving up entirely. As has been noted, reducing your alcohol intake is no easy task, especially in such turbulent times as the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s important to maintain self-discipline and stick to your goals, but it’s equally important to celebrate every milestone. One thing you should definitely do along the way is to take note of all the benefits you are enjoying. These include:
- Better sleep – you will feel less tired throughout the day your concentration will improve.
- Better mood – hangovers often make you feel low, but you don’t need to worry about those anymore!
- Stronger immune system – your body will be better at fighting infections.
- More money – the average UK household spends £868 on alcohol each year. Think of how much you will save!
- Better skin – alcohol causes dehydration, the main culprit behind wrinkles, redness, blotchy skin and enlarged pores.
- Better weight management – if you’re carrying a few extra pounds, alcohol can be an obstacle when it comes to weight loss.
Once you’ve decided to cut back or quit, why not keep a log or journal of the process? This will help you track your goals and understand how far you’ve come.
For more tips on how to cut down your alcohol intake, take a look at the Drinkaware website.
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Nhs Guidelines On Alcohol
In 2016, the Chief Medical Officers issued new guidelines on alcohol consumption. The latest UK guidelines on alcohol advise that men and women should not regularly drink more than 14 units per week. This is equal to:
- Six pints of 4% beer.
- Six glasses of 13% wine.
- 14 standard 25ml glasses of 40% spirits.
If you do drink 14 units per week, the NHS suggests that you spread your drinking out over three or more days. Meanwhile, anybody who is pregnant or planning a pregnancy should not drink any alcohol at all.
If You Slip Return To Your Plan
Dont give into shame and regretjust restart your plan. Success really is about how you respond to setbacks and things that are thrown your way, says Moore. If someones strategy to drink less doesnt work, its crucial to recognize and reflect on lessons learned and take actionat least one next, right stepto begin making a change.
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Tell Family Members And Friends You Want To Get Healthier
Reframe drinking as you would any other health behavior you want to change, such as eating better or getting more exercise, and share it aloud with those closest to you. This social approach can help normalize the change youre trying to make, says Witkiewitz. You dont have to have a problem with drinking to want to improve your health and quality of life by reducing your drinking.
Wine: How To Cut Down The Smart Way
Drinking less may suit you better than abstinence, and one way to do that is to go for wines with lower abvs
Almost invariably, new years resolutions relating to booze involve some sort of period of abstinence. But wouldnt it be rather more sensible to reshape our drinking habits simply by drinking less instead?
One obvious way to achieve this would be to drink wines with less alcohol in them. As Ive pointed out here before, one 175ml glass of 14% abv wine is 2.5 units, or as much as the guidelines say a woman should be drinking in a day, whereas a 125ml glass of a 12% abv wine is only 1.5 units. Sure, this may involve retraining your palate, which wont happen overnight, but it can be done just think how you gave up sugar in tea, say, or milk in coffee.
Red wine tends to be more of a challenge in this regard than white, but I recently drank an 11.5% abv syrah with a richly sauced grouse dish to which it stood up admirably well. The hugely appealing Domaine Condamine Syrah-Mourvèdre Côtes de Thongue2013 is slightly higher in alcohol than that, at 12.5% abv, but it would do a similar job and I dont think anyone would regard it as wimpy. Or at the same abv, try the , a fresh, juicy carignan that still has plenty of robust Languedoc character.
Fiona has been voted International Wine and Spirit Competition Blogger of the Year 2014 for her website matchingfoodandwine.com
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Realistic Tips To Reduce Your Drinking Without Quitting Altogether
Whether you’re guilty of having ‘a few too many’ on a Friday night or treat the end of each working day as an excuse to unwind with a glass of wine, it’s hard to deny that drinking is a big part of many Australians’ routines.
From sporting events to weekend getaways and everything in between, booze is more often than not a big part of our plans.
So it’s hardly surprising that our tendency to drink is reflected in some less than impressive statistics. Research has shown that more than 75% of Australians believe that we have a problem with alcohol and on average West Australians, each drinks approximately 12 litres of pure alcohol per year. That’s 141 bottles of wine a year.
So while you may not feel it’s realistic to ditch alcohol altogether, what can you do if you’re looking to cut down?
We’re all aware of the tried and tested techniques — a glass of water between each drink — but what about some tips that are easy to action and can actually reduce your alcohol intake considerably?
Sometimes the best way to realise that we’re overdoing it is by confronting ourselves with evidence. Set up a drink diary on your phone and each time you have a drink, make note of it in your diary.
“Keeping a record can be tough but it’s a smart way of confronting yourself with how much you’ve been consuming,” said GP with more than seventeen years experience, Dr Brad McKay.
For many people coming home from work after a long day is synonymous with cracking open a bottle.
Is Brut Wine A Good Low
Brut is the French word for dry, so its no surprise that sparkling brut or extra brut are bubbly wines that feel dry on the palate.
While sweeter styles of sparkling wine add sugar after aging, brut is left as is.
Due to its high acidity, brut pairs easily with a variety of dishes. It cuts through rich, fatty foods like a knife. Try it with smoked salmon, artisanal cheeses, or sushi.
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