Ideas for Cutting Back on Alcohol Use
Maybe you've found yourself drinking more alcohol than you'd prefer. If you want to cut back, here are some ideas to try.
- Think before you drink.
Do you really want a drink, or is it just a habit? If you're used to having a drink at a certain time, try doing something else then. If you are going to drink, decide ahead of time what your limit is. And making a plan to stop drinking at a certain time may also help.
- Find substitutes.
Find some no-alcohol drinks that you enjoy, like flavored seltzer water, tea with honey, or tonic with a slice of lime. Or try alcohol-free beer or "virgin" cocktails (without the alcohol).
- Drink more water.
Use the water to quench your thirst. Drink a glass of water before you have any alcohol. Have another glass along with every drink or between drinks.
- Shrink your drink.
For example, have a bottle of beer instead of a pint. Use a smaller glass for wine. Choose drinks with lower alcohol content (ABV%). Or use less liquor and more mixer in cocktails. You could also add more ice to your drinks.
- Slow down.
It's easy to drink quickly and without thinking about it. Pay attention, and make the drink last longer. It can also help to avoid playing drinking games.
- Do the math.
Total up how much you spend on alcohol each month. How much is that a year? If you cut back, what could you do with the money you save?
- Take a break.
Choose a day or two each week when you won't drink at all. Notice how you feel on these days, physically and emotionally. How did you sleep? Do you feel better? Over time, take a break from drinking on more days.
- Practice saying no.
Be ready when someone offers you a drink. Try: "Thanks, I've had enough." Or: "Thanks, but I'm cutting back." Or: "No, thanks. I feel better when I drink less."
Current as of: March 21, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board: All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.