Are you aware of how much you are drinking, or whether your drinking pattern is risky? If you aren’t sure, take this anonymous survey from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
The Institute suggests these ways to start cutting down:
Keep track. Keep track of how much you drink. Find a way that works for you: Make check marks on a kitchen calendar, or enter notes in a mobile phone notepad or personal digital assistant. Making note of each drink before you drink it may help you slow down when needed.
Set goals. Decide how many days a week you want to drink and how many drinks you’ll have on those days. Have some days when you don’t drink.
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.
Avoid “triggers.” If certain people or places make you drink even when you don’t want to, try to avoid them. If certain activities, times of day, or feelings trigger the urge, 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, 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.
Read all of the Institute’s Tips to Try.