Tips for drinking less
Going out tonight? Here are some tips on how you can drink less.
- Don’t drink alcohol before you go out.
- Buy smaller drinks – have a glass instead of a pint, a single instead of a double.
- Leave your glass down between sips.
- Wait a while before getting another drink.
- Have a glass of water or try some alcohol free beers, lagers or cocktails in between alcoholic drinks.
- Occupy yourself – play pool, dance, chat.
- Try not to get into rounds – or if you can’t avoid a round buy yourself a non alcoholic drink when it is your turn.
- Don’t play drinking games.
- Go out later and bring less money.
- Don’t borrow money and avoid running a tab.
- Steer clear of late night drinking parties.
- Don’t bring home take-outs.
Home measures tend to be a lot larger than pub ones. If you are offered a drink when visiting someone, try a bottle or a can instead of a short. It is easier to watch what you are having.
Know your limits
If you are honest, you know the point where you start to lose control, or behave differently because of alcohol. Your main target should be not to have more than this.
Low risk weekly drinking limits are less than 11 standard drinks (approximately 110g of alcohol) a week for women and less than 17 (approximately 170g of alcohol) for men. Spread out your drinking over the week with some alcohol-free days. Binge drinking – 6 or more drinks at a time. You are at greater risk of problems now (such as arguments, doing things you regret or accidents) and health problems in the future if you regularly binge drink.
If you drink fast you get drunk and lose control more quickly. Drinking quickly puts a strain on your liver and body and it can be a warning sign of a drink problem developing. Try making every second drink a non-alcoholic one.
If anyone tries to push you into drinking, be prepared. People respect your decisions more when you’re honest, but in the early days it might help to have a few excuses such as “I’m driving home”, “I’ve a match in the morning” or “doctor’s orders”.
Key to Success
Have other things to do that don’t involve alcohol such as family time, hobbies, a course, or work. The less time you have for heavy drinking, the better your chances of success in the long run.
Keep a drink diary
Write down how much, when, and where you drink - and any unwanted results. Do this for a week or two, and then see what you need to change.
Download our Drink Diary to help you.
Reap the Rewards
Reward your hard work by buying something from the money saved on drink. Relish the freedom from hangovers and regrets. If you feel yourself slipping, remind yourself why you are cutting down, and of what you have achieved so far.
Useful resource booklet
Less is More: A Guide to Rethinking Your Drinking
HSE Health Promotion Unit, June 2008
Thinking of cutting down? Need some help? This booklet is for you.