With the silly season almost over for another year, some people will have found that they have gotten into a habit of drinking more than they intended. While drinking more than you intended in itself doesnt qualify as having a drinking problem, it is the kind of thing that is good to get back to normal sooner rather than later. Fortunately, there are some very easy steps that can be taken to curb drinking and get back into a much more normal relationship with alcohol.
1. Set yourself a drink limit before you start drinking, and stick to it. Try to pick a low number, (eg 2-5 standard drinks), as you will be more likely to remember what your goal was, and you will be more able to follow through with your limit. If you set yourself a larger limit (eg 8+ drinks) you are much less likely to stop when you had intended to; the more intoxicated you become, the more likely you are to continue drinking.
Quick tip: Have a pre arranged ‘going home’ time that you’re comfortable with. This can help you stick to your pre arranged alcohol limit.
2. Alternate alcoholic drinks with non alcoholic ones throughout the night.
For example: 1 standard drink, 1 water/soft drink, 1 standard drink and so on.
Quick tip: Swap full strength beers and cocktails containing multiple shots of alcohol for mid or low strength beers or drinks containing one shot of alcohol
3. Schedule an activity or meeting the day after a social/drinking occasion, so that you are less likely to drink large amounts of alcohol.
Quick tip: Make sure the activity is something you are actually likely to follow through with; making plans for the next day that aren’t important or that you don’t find enjoyable will be less effective in controlling your drinking the previous night.
4. Have some reasons planned ahead of time if you think it’s likely that people will pressure you to drink more- some examples are:
– ‘I’ve got work early in the morning/I’ve got a big day tomorrow’
– ‘I told my partner I’d be home earlier tonight’
– A simple ‘No thanks’ or ‘I don’t want any more’ can also be very effective
Quick tip: Expect others to persist at first when you say no, and plan your reason or explanation more thoroughly. Practicing it briefly in private before you are faced with the situation may sound silly or unnecessary, but can be very helpful when you’re in an uncomfortable or unexpected situation.
5. Start involving yourself in other social activities that don’t involve drinking. One of the most effective ways of reducing your alcohol intake is to engage more in activities where alcohol is not even present.
Here are some starting ideas:
- Meeting others for breakfast/brunch instead of lunch or dinner, as you are less likely to drink in the mornings
- Meeting for coffee or dessert instead of drinks
- Engaging in sports or outings that are active; walking to the park and throwing a ball or Frisbee, walking along the beach, hiking or bush walking, social soccer/tennis/ touch football/netball, bike riding, swimming, Yoga and Pilates
- Going to the movies, going to a theme park
Alcohol can be an enjoyable part christmas and new year, but these times of year can also set a dangerous precedent. Get ready to return to work by getting your drinking back in check.