Nicole Kolly--Alcohol dependency can pose a massive problem if it affects your health and well-being, and personal and professional lives. Alcohol consumption can be drastically cut down if you focus your efforts in the right direction.
Self-awareness and knowledge about your triggers and drinking patterns will help you deal with the problem better. In certain situations, you may find it hard to resist a glass, or even more, of alcohol. But making a plan to tackle these situations better will enable you to not give in to the temptation.
Limiting alcohol intake has several benefits including better health, a more active lifestyle and a better understanding of one’s health needs. So, the first step towards cutting down one’s alcohol consumption is to realize the benefits that come with it. This will help you stay motivated and act proactively towards achieving your ends.
Here are a few tips to start saying no to alcohol.
1. Start Keeping Track
This is most important where cutting down of alcohol intake is concerned. Always keep tabs on how much you drink. You can do this by carrying a tracker in your wallet or installing a tracking app on your smartphone. If you are downing wine at home, keep tabs using a kitchen calendar or a personal digital assistant.
When you count each glass of drink you consume, it becomes easy to tell yourself to stop when you are overdoing it. You will also be more conscious of your consumption and know of situations in which when you found alcohol irresistible. Alcohol testing kits, like the ones from TestCountry, can help you check alcohol level in your body.
2. Measure What You Drink
If you know the standard drink sizes, you will be able to calculate the amount of alcohol you are consuming with each drink or cocktail. But during parties and night outs, it will be hard to measure alcohol content because serving sizes can vary. The best thing you can do is ensure your host or server is not doubling up on alcohol. Be wary of opting for ‘top-offs’ and refill your glass only when it is empty.
3. Pace Your Drinks at Parties
The smart and the wise people pace their drinks. This means that they prefer to have one standard-sized drink (which is about 14 grams of pure alcohol) during the course of an hour. Drink too quickly and you will get dizzy and lose track of how much you are drinking.
Pair your drinks with protein-rich snacks like cheese, chicken or peanuts. This will slow down alcohol absorption by the body and help you stay within your desired drinking limits.
Another option is to space your drinks with non-alcoholic beverages like soda, juices or “mocktails.” Doing so will also help you stay hydrated as you enjoy the party.
4. Do Not Let Alcohol Be a Lifestyle Activity
For several heavy drinkers, drinking happens as a response to life situations as well. Disappointments, successes, family holidays, and special events are all occasions when alcohol is consumed. When aiming to cut back alcohol consumption, you will have to find different ways of dealing with the various events of your life.
Developing new hobbies and interests, pursuing healthy activities like yoga or aerobics, joining group activity classes or brushing up old and forgotten skills like cooking can give you something to spend your time and energy on.
Learn to cope with mood swings, problems and work issues. Do not let alcohol be an assistant helping you along in dealing with life issues. Seek the help of a counselor or rely on someone close to you to help you manage crises. The more you learn to speak about your problems and the greater the level of trust you have on those who help you out, the better are your chances of avoiding alcohol.
5. Know Your ‘Triggers’
All of us face situations or people who trigger an urge to drink. Stay away from parties where you will be forced to do rounds with friends or where the main reason to get together is to drink. Also, if certain places like your favorite seafood restaurant or a friend’s house make you more prone to drinking, then make your visits less frequent.
It is not always possible to escape from urges or triggers. In such cases, remind yourself of the reasons why you decided to lessen alcohol intake. Carry them with you in the form of a smartphone reminder or write them down in a pocket diary. Talk them through with someone to reinforce your willpower.
If you have the habit of drinking at home, ensure that you keep a limited amount or no alcohol at home. Enlist the help of your partner or family members as well in your endeavor to cut down alcohol intake.
6. Focus on Your Drink Refusal Skills
You will be offered drinks on several occasions like office parties and family get-togethers. Learn the art of saying a polite, but firm ‘no.’ Take a tad longer to refuse, and you might give in to the temptation. Refusing is not infinitely difficult. Remember your priorities and saying ’no’ may not be that hard after all.
Before heading to parties, you can even script an imaginary conversation where you are refusing a drink. Sometimes just holding a glass of “mocktail” or juice in your hand will be enough for the other person to stop pressurizing you. You can also let the person know that you are staying off alcohol due to health reasons or because of your doctor’s advice.
Cutting back on alcohol consumption can have a range of mental, physical, social, and financial benefits. Ensure you have a plan in place and stick to it to see you through to your goals.