There is a very important and big difference between wishing to reduce alcohol consumption a little and realising that you have a problem and need to regain control. Local alcohol rehab clinics might not be needed quite yet, but could realistically become necessary if you continue heading the same way. Having a good time is one thing but becoming aware that you have started drinking compulsively and habitually despite getting not much joy out of it is another thing entirely.
On the plus side, it has never been easier to take an entirely new and proactive approach to the matter, without the need for professional assistance. Speaking to the professionals is always a good idea when you realise you do have a problem, but there is also plenty one can do themselves to help bring a drinking habit under control.
So if you have made the decision to regain control of your own wellbeing and health, what follows is a short overview of a few helpful guidelines from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism:
1 – Determine Your Goals
First of all, it will be significantly easier to stick to your goals if you first take some time and determine them carefully and clearly in written form. It might be as simple as stating exactly how many glasses of alcohol you permit yourself on a weekly basis, or perhaps the amount of money you will allocate yourself on alcohol for a given time period. Make sure the goals are positioned prominently so you will be able to see them regularly and keep them in sight all the time. Additionally, it’s also important to make sure the goals you have chosen are all realistic and don’t forget to revisit them every now and then.
2 – Start a Diary
As it goes with many things, it is not until you start writing down each and every alcoholic drink you consume that you might realise just how many really you are drinking in a given period of time. It’s quite common for most adults to continuously forget how many drinks exactly they consume during any given day or night. That could be easily helped by keeping an accurate diary and rereading it after a month or so. Suffice to say, you might be in for a little bit of shock!
3 – Set a Budget
As mentioned earlier, it could be extremely helpful to set a very specific amount of money every month or week to alcohol, making sure that you exceed the limit under no circumstances. A great deal of willpower could of course be needed and the idea shouldn’t come down to using the allocated budget to buy as many cheap alcoholic drinks of the lowest possible quality. When the plan is approached proactively however, it has the potential to become an extremely effective approach.
4 – Drink Slowly
Another very beneficial tactic when it comes to significantly reducing your alcohol consumption is to try to break the habit of drinking alcohol too quickly. This essentially means to pace yourself by timing yourself – allowing yourself one alcoholic drink every hour or another time period that you think will be appropriate, in order to make it possible for you to take your time. Additionally, it is important to never drink in rounds as this till inherently mean you will be drinking at the pace of somebody else, rather than your own.
5 – Have a Bite
One could give two very good reasons why it is so very important to make sure you eat well when you plan on having some alcoholic drinks. The first is because of the way in which the fuller your stomach is, the less space there is available for any drinks. The second reason is research has shown that having an alcoholic drink on an empty stomach is directly connected on the brain part responsible for restraint and positive decision-making.
6 – Acknowledge Your Triggers
All individuals have their triggers when you thinks about the activities and things that one way or another encourage drinking alcohol. Some of the obvious examples include pub visits, music festivals, nightclubs, concerts and so on. In other cases it might be something as simple as hanging around with certain individuals, listening to certain music or watching certain movies. Once you identify your own unique triggers, it becomes a simple case of making sure you control your exposure to these things at all times, thus controlling how much you eventually drink.
7 – Do Something Different
Last but not least, an extremely effective way of reducing your alcohol consumption or cutting it out completely is to find an activity that gives you more pleasure than drinking alcohol. Many times, it is not until you stay sober for some time that you begin realising how great and enjoyable life can be when it doesn’t involve alcohol. Try something you have never tried before with family members or friends, perhaps also encouraging them to reduce their alcohol consumption at the same time as you.