TAKE THE QUIZ RESOURCES STANDARD DRINK SIZES ABOUT US


Strategies for Reducing Risk  Strategies for Reducing Risk

Tips for Cutting Back

Using Online Supports

When Cutting Back Isn’t Working

Finding Treatment

More Information on Drinking

What is Moderated or Healthy Drinking?

Who should moderate and abstain?

Potential Consequences of Excessive Drinking

Drinking Across the Lifespan

WHEN CUTTING BACK ISN'T WORKING

For most people, reducing your drinking on your own is possible. It may be easier for some than for others. If you are high risk and you begin to experience withdrawal, even if you are merely reducing your drinking, consult a doctor immediately.

Strategies for Cutting Back

Below are some strategies for reducing the potential harm of drinking alcohol.

Knowing what is a
standard drink

Part of changing your drinking is know what is a standard drink. This way you can understand exactly how much alcohol you are consuming.

Keep Track

Keeping track of your drinking is important. There are many ways to do this, so use the method that works best for you: carry a drinking tracker card in your wallet, make check marks on calendar or on the fridge, or enter notes in a mobile phone notepad. Making note of each drink before you drink it raises your awareness of how much you drink, how automatically you drink, and may help you slow down when needed.

Count and measure your drinks

Counting your standard drinks accurately is vital to understanding just how much alcohol you are consuming. Measure drinks at home. Away from home, it can be hard to keep track. Mixed drinks often have more alcohol than you think. You may need to ask the host or server not to "top off" a partially filled glasses of wine or to give you water in between servings.

Set 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. People who abstain at least a couple of days a week tend to be the most successful at moderated drinking. Individuals who stay within the low-risk limits when they drink have the lowest rates of alcohol-related problems.

Make a plan

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. People who abstain at least a couple of days a week tend to be the most successful at moderated drinking. Individuals who stay within the low-risk limits when they drink have the lowest rates of alcohol-related problems.

Find Alternatives

If drinking has occupied a lot of your time, then fill free time by developing new, healthy activities, hobbies, and relationships, or renewing ones you've missed. If you have relied on alcohol to be more comfortable in social situations, manage moods, or cope with problems, then find other healthy ways to deal with those areas of your life.

Avoid “triggers”

Certain people, places, or activities may prompt you to drink even when you don't want to. Especially at the start of changing your drinking, try to avoid them. If certain activities, times of day, or feelings trigger the urge to drink, plan something else to do instead of drinking. If drinking at home is a problem, keep little or no alcohol there.

Plan to handle urges

When you cannot avoid a trigger and an urge hits, consider these options: Remind yourself of your reasons for changing (it can help to carry them in writing or store them in an electronic message you can access easily). Or talk things through with someone you trust. Or get involved with a healthy, distracting activity, such as physical exercise or a hobby that doesn't involve drinking. Or, instead of fighting the feeling, accept it and ride it out without giving in, knowing that it will soon crest like a wave and pass. Also, see the short module to help you handle urges to drink.

Saying “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 you time to think of excuses to go along.