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substance and addiction prevention branch​
​​Drink Less

Tips to Drink Less Alcohol

Are you ready to start drinking less? Even small changes can make a difference. If you drink alcohol and                want to cut back, try these tips:

Put it in Writing
Put it in writing. Write down your motivators or reasons for drinking less alcohol. For instance, your reasons may include to feel healthier or improve relationships. Keep an image or a list of your motivators as your phone screen saver as a constant reminder.
Set Limits
Set drinking limits. Make a plan to drink only on certain days and only a certain number of drinks. For instance, you may decide to only drink on Friday night or Saturday night and have only one drink. 
Designate Days
Designate alcohol-free days. Choose at least one day a week to not drink any alcohol. Set yourself up for success by choosing a day when you know you'll have fewer temptations.
Count your drinks. Keep track of how many and what kind of alcoholic drinks you are consuming.  Keep in mind that different types of alcoholic drinks have varying amounts of alcohol content.
Go Slow
Drink slowly. On days when you choose to drink alcohol, do so slowly. Do not drink on an empty  stomach. Drink water or another non-alcoholic beverage after having alcohol.
Don't keep alcohol in your house. It may be helpful to avoid the temptation to drink alcohol by not having alcohol in your home.
Keep Busy
Keep busy. Keep your mind and body busy by picking up a new hobby or doing more activities that you enjoy and that don't involve alcohol.
Manage Triggers
Manage your triggers. If certain people, places, or activities tempt you to drink more than you intended, make a plan to avoid those triggers. For instance, instead of a happy hour event with friends, suggest catching up over coffee instead. 
Have a Plan
Guard against temptation. If you know you will be exposed to alcohol during a party, event, or vacation, develop a plan for managing temptations such as staying away from the bar or asking a friend to help keep you accountable.
Say No
Learn to say no. Avoid people who pressure you to drink and learn to say no, politely but firmly. Don't feel obligated to explain to others why you are not drinking or drinking less.
Monitor Feelings
Monitor your feelings. If you tend to be tempted to drink when you are feeling certain emotions such as stress, worry, sadness, or anger, learn to monitor and manage these feelings without the use of alcohol. You may try things like meditating, going for a walk, or talking with a friend as ways to cope.
Find Support
Find support. Ask for support from a friend, family member, health care provider, or someone else who will support your choice to drink less.
Don't Give Up
Don't give up. Whatever strategies you choose to cut back on drinking, be persistent. It may take time for a strategy to stick. And if one approach doesn't work, try another.


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