If you want to know how to control your drinking, you can start a few places. Just a couple of small changes can make a big difference to your drinking habits, and the tips below will give you a good idea of where to begin.
I have come across two main groups of people who have alcohol problems. One group needs and even wants to give up alcohol forever. They realize that even just one sip can lead to continued over-drinking and they cannot keep or stick to limits. The second group is the opposite and wants to enjoy drinking alcohol but not overdo it – i.e. to moderate their drinking and stay in control.
If you are in this second group, then I would like to refer you to the HAMS website – Harm Reduction for Alcohol. They have a “Moderate Drinking Cheat Sheet” with 14 strategies for controlling your drinking.
How to Control Your Drinking Tip #1:
Set Goals – It might surprise you to learn that going cold turkey and giving up alcohol entirely isn’t always the most successful way to change your drinking habits. Just like starting a new diet, making gradual changes and easing into a new lifestyle can make the transition easier.
So rather than saying, “I’m going to give up alcohol forever and ever,” set more attainable goals. “I’m going to stick to low-risk drinking limits” is a good example or maybe, “I’m going to have four alcohol-free days this week”.
Write down your goal and put it somewhere visible to keep yourself motivated – perhaps on the fridge or the bathroom mirror.
Please note: If you suffer from alcohol dependence, suddenly giving up alcohol can be very dangerous for your body. Please consult a doctor if you are unsure about cutting back by yourself.
How to Control Your Drinking Tip #2:
Keep a Diary – Most people underestimate the amount of alcohol they actually drink – even when they are trying to cut back. Make a note of your alcohol consumption in a diary to help keep you on track, and to motivate you to stick to your goals. You can do this in a notebook, on your phone, or even in a document on your computer, just be honest.
How to Control Your Drinking Tip #3:
Pace Your Drinking – If you slow down the pace at which you drink, you will find it much easier to drink less over the course of a night. Try having a non-alcoholic alternative – a glass of water, some juice, a soda, or even a cup of coffee – between each alcoholic drink to make it easier to control your intake.
As well as helping you to cut down on your drinking, choosing non-alcoholic options has the added benefit of rehydrating your body, which can lessen the effects of any unpleasant hangovers the next morning.
How to Control Your Drinking Tip #4:
Get Support from Friends and Family – If possible, let the people close to you know about your attempts to control your drinking. Then, if you are feeling the urge to drink too much and give up on your new lifestyle, you can get the support you need from them to overcome the feeling. If possible, talk to your doctor about your plans as well, as he or she can advise you on the best way to deal with any alcohol cravings that you may experience.
Learning how to control your drinking can be hard work, but it is always worth it in the end. Try following the advice above, and you’ll see that taking small steps can have a huge effect on the amount of alcohol that you’re consuming.
You can also learn how to control your drinking in the privacy of your own home without going to AA or expensive counselling – look at the Give up Alcohol Course to find out more.