Tips for Cutting Down on Drinking

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  • Cutting Down 
    Keeping Track  
    Keep track of how much you drink. Find a way that works for you, such as a 3x5” card in your wallet, check marks on a kitchen calendar, saving beer caps/tabs, or a personal digital assistant. If you make note of each drink before you drink it, this will help you slow down when needed.
     
    Counting and Measuring
    Know the standard drink sizes so you can count your drinks accurately. Measure drinks at home. Away from home, it can be hard to know the number of standard drinks in mixed drinks. To keep track, you may need to ask the server or bartender about the recipe.
     
    Setting Goals
    Decide how many days a week you want to drink and how many drinks you’ll have on those days. It’s a good idea to have some days when you don’t drink. Drinking within the limits below reduces the chances of having an alcohol use disorder and related health problems.
     
    Avoiding “Triggers”
    What triggers your urge to drink? If certain people or places make you drink even when you don’t want to, try to avoid them. If certain activities, times of day, or feelings trigger the urge, plan what you’ll do instead of drinking. If drinking at home is a problem, keep little or no alcohol there.
     
    Planning to Handle Urges
    When an urge hits, consider these options: Remind yourself of your reasons for changing. Or talk it through with someone you trust. Or get involved with a healthy, distracting activity. Or “urge surf”— instead of fighting the feeling, accept it and ride it out, knowing that it will soon crest like a wave and pass.
    cutting down
    Knowing Your “No”
    You’re likely to be offered a drink at times when you don’t want one. Have a polite, convincing “no, thanks” ready. The faster you can say no to these offers, the less likely you are to give in. If you hesitate, it allows time to think of excuses to go along.
     
    HALT Your Drinking
    Don't drink if you're Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. Your body and your mind are much more susceptible to the effects of alcohol when you are in these states.

    Pacing and Spacing
    When you do drink, pace yourself. Sip slowly. Have no more than one drink with alcohol per hour. Alternate “drink spacers” — non-alcoholic drinks such as water, soda, or juice — with drinks containing alcohol.

    Including Food
    Don’t drink on an empty stomach — have some food so the alcohol will be absorbed more slowly into your system.