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How Do I Stop Drinking? Make a List of Reasons: First you should take time to make a list of reasons for cutting down or stopping. It may be because you want to improve your life, your relationships with others, or your health.

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Take time and formulate a list of reasons. These can be things you can reflect upon.


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The reasons can be indicators to you why you need to keep moving forward with your efforts to fix your drinking struggle. Change in Attitude: Cutting back or quitting can be a little easier with a change of attitude.

Recommended Alcohol Guidelines - Moderate Drinking Plan

Remember, you are doing this to help yourself and those you care about. Instead, see alcohol abuse for the negatives it brought to your life and move forward. Setting Goals Set goals for yourself when it comes to drinking. It's always wise to check with your doctor — she should be able to help you decide whether it is best for you to cut back or to abstain. People who are dependent on alcohol, or have other medical or mental health problems, should stop drinking completely. But many people may benefit simply by cutting back. Some of these strategies — such as watching for peer pressure, keeping busy, asking for support, being aware of temptation, and being persistent — can also be helpful for people who want to give up alcohol completely.

Once you've cut back on your drinking so you're at or below the recommended guidelines , examine your drinking habits regularly to see if you're maintaining this level of drinking.

Some people attain their goal only to find that old habits crop up again later. If this happens, consult your doctor. Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

These tips will help you cut back on drinking alcohol Are you concerned about your alcohol intake? Making a list of the reasons to curtail your drinking — such as feeling healthier, sleeping better, or improving your relationships — can motivate you. Set a drinking goal. Set a limit on how much you will drink. You should keep your drinking below the recommended guidelines: no more than one standard drink per day for women and for men ages 65 and older, and no more than two standard drinks per day for men under These limits may be too high for people who have certain medical conditions or for some older adults.

Your doctor can help you determine what's right for you.

How To CUT BACK On Drinking Alcohol (You SHOULD Know This)

Keep a diary of your drinking. For three to four weeks, keep track of every time you have a drink.

Casual Drinking, Problem Drinking & Alcoholism

It's best to avoid getting sucked into any kind of debate or discussion about whether you're "overreacting" or whether or not you really have a problem. It's nobody's business but your own. Find a support group. It's very difficult to quit on your own. Learn to lean on others and surround yourself with supportive friends and loved ones who will support you in your desire to quit drinking and will make the process easier on you.

Alcoholics Anonymous AA is the most famous and one of the most successful ways of quitting drinking. Even if you don't consider yourself an "alcoholic" strictly speaking, going to a few meetings can be an excellent way of finding support and concrete steps to quitting. Method 4. Make yourself accountable. Find a way to keep yourself honest. Drinkers are often adept liars, often making lots of excuses to rationalize excessive drinking. Doing things like keeping an alcohol journal and setting clear, specific goals will help you keep yourself on track. Keep track of any slip-ups.

Tell a particular person, a close friend who you'll trust to not judge you, but who you know you can't hide things from. Confide in this person. Go to support group meetings regularly. Avoid people who make you want to drink. If you used to drink a lot socially, or used to hang around people who drove you to drink to excess for whatever reason, you might need to sever ties completely, or at least significantly restrict your access to these people.

Surf your urges.

Drinking and Your Health

Remember that the urge can only rise so far before it breaks and falls, just like a wave. Take a physical inventory. Take a few moments to breathe deeply and focus your attention on your body. Notice where you feel that craving, and how it manifests. For example, maybe you feel your craving most strongly in your mouth and nose, or perhaps your hand feels twitchy.

Focus on one area where you find yourself experiencing this urge.

It’s never completely safe

Pay close attention to your physical sensations. I feel like having a beer would be so cold and refreshing. Manage your stress levels. Find healthier ways to process your stress that don't involve drinking alcohol. Stress can be a reason that we drink, and can act swiftly and powerfully in forcing us to give up our principles and take a drink. You might have several months on the wagon, but one terrible day at work or a bad argument with your partner can make a beer sound awfully good.

Find other ways to process that stress and that frustration without turning to the bottle. Instead, find another activity to do when confronted with the same scenario. Maybe you head to the park and shoot hoops, or head to the gym and lift heavy stuff, or head to the basement and throw darts at an effigy of the boss. Instead of drinking, call your supporting friend and talk about how you want to have a drink. Be accountable before you slip. Talk out your craving and help make it disappear together.

Come up with a distraction and get distracted.

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The craving will pass. Find new hobbies and interests. If you used to spend a lot of your free time drinking with friends, sobriety can seem kind of boring at first. What else is there to do? Find new hobbies and productive ways to spend all that time you used to spend drinking. Take up creative projects you've always meant to get down to. Write that book you've always wanted to write, or pick up the guitar , or learn how to knit.

Develop a new creative skill that will get you enthusiastic and motivated to do other things.


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If you can, try to join social groups that will allow you to spend time with people in a social setting that doesn't involve drinking. Join a hobby club , or a bowling league, or a kickball group.