Excessive drinking can lead to numerous health problems, many of which will cause lasting impairments and a lower quality of life. It can damage your heart, making you more susceptible to arrhythmias and cardiomyopathy. It can harm your liver, exposing you to cirrhosis and fibrosis. Too much alcohol consumption can also have an adverse effect on your immune system, opening the door to diseases and infections. If you suspect you’re drinking too heavily, now is the time to start cutting back.
Fortunately, there are several simple steps you can take to curtail the amount of alcohol you drink on a regular basis. We’ll share them with you below. It’s important to realize that these steps do not take the place of a detoxification and rehabilitation program designed to help you quit drinking. But they can prove valuable toward curbing a drinking problem before it gets out of hand.
5 Simple Tips to Reduce Your Drinking Habit
#1 – Set Daily And Weekly Goals
Without goals, it’s difficult to know when to stop. Establish a few clear-cut drinking guidelines and commit to sticking to them. For example, choose when you’ll drink during the week. Will you do so only on the weekends or will you also indulge Monday through Friday? Also, decide how much you’ll drink on those days. For example, consider limiting yourself to a single 12-ounce beer or glass of wine.
Your goals will serve two purposes. First, they’ll be a constant reminder that you’re trying to curtail your drinking. Second, they’ll provide a clear marker past which you know you shouldn’t go.
#2 – Sip, Don’t Gulp
A common habit among those who suffer from alcohol addiction is to gulp down their first two or three drinks. The problem is, doing so makes it far more likely they’ll order additional drinks.
Resist the temptation to consume alcohol quickly. Instead, take your time with your drinks. Sip them rather than slurping them down. As an alternative, limit yourself to one drink each hour or three drinks every two hours. The benefit is that you’ll end up drinking less throughout the evening.
#3 – Eat Before Drinking
Technically, this isn’t a tip for curtailing the amount of alcohol you consume. It’s a way to lessen the impact alcohol has on your body and mind. Alcohol has its most pronounced effect when it is consumed on an empty stomach. There is little to slow it down before it reaches the bloodstream.
If you intend to drink, eat something substantial beforehand. A small sandwich or muffin can dramatically reduce the effect alcohol has on you. It can also help to limit your appetite for alcohol.
#4 – Practice Saying “No Thanks”
The simplest tip may be among the most difficult to put into action. Oftentimes, all it takes to drink less is to say, “no thanks” to the person offering you a beer or glass of wine. Unfortunately, declining such an offer is a major challenge for many people. Doing it effectively requires practice.
Build the habit of saying “no thanks” when someone offers you an alcoholic beverage. Be polite, but don’t hesitate. The more quickly you respond in this manner, the less likely you’ll change your mind.
#5 – Avoid Things That Prompt You To Drink
Each of us is stimulated to take action by certain triggers. They work on a psychological level and are thus sometimes difficult to pinpoint. For example, you might instinctively desire a drink when surrounded by other drinkers. You may be motivated to grab a beer or vodka when attending a dinner party. Many people find themselves holding alcoholic beverages in such circumstances without realizing they had asked for them.
It is important to identify any stimulus that prompts you to have a drink. Once you identify it, take steps to avoid it. Depending on your personal triggers, you may need to make minor adjustments to your lifestyle. But doing so can help you to avoid developing a long-term drinking problem.
As noted earlier, the above suggestions are not meant to replace a program of rehabilitation. If you already suffer from alcoholism, it is highly recommended that you seek help from others. Quitting drinking can lead to better health and a more rewarding life.