Our society is soaked in alcohol. So many activities are drenched with it. This can make it tough to cut back, and easy to overdo it.
The good news is, you can take several steps to keep your alcohol consumption in check. Try out the following six simple tips – they’ll help you develop healthy habits and avoid falling into the trap of alcoholism.
# 1 Don’t Stock It
Some people always have milk on hand; others keep plenty of OJ stocked in the refrigerator. A case of beer became the staple item in Jeff’s fridge…and that made it all-too-easy to drink throughout the evening. And when friends came over, they brought bottles of wine or whiskey (depending on the friend.) They always told him to keep whatever was left at the end of the night. Afterward, Jeff felt obligated to finish everything off over the next few days. The overall result: Jeff drank a great deal more than was healthy for him.
Jeff discovered a simple truth: If it’s not in your house, it’s a lot harder to drink it. He started filling his fridge with other drinks – ones that were much better for him. If friends or relatives brought booze to a get-together, he sent the leftovers home with them or he just poured them out (it’s just as wasteful to drink something you don’t need as it is to throw it away.)
# 2 Don’t Drink Emotionally
When Nathan had a particularly rough workday, he’d down a few drinks in the evening. When he got into an argument with his wife, he’d knock back a few drinks. When he was sad, worried, or felt any other “down” emotion, Nathan turned to alcohol. Nathan noticed he also turned to alcohol to celebrate. Whether he felt happy or sad, Nathan found himself drinking. He figured this was pretty normal. After all, isn’t it a common theme to turn to alcohol when you’re feeling sad or stressed? Isn’t it also customary to raise a glass to celebrate?
Nathan decided this wasn’t a healthy norm. He noticed that drinking alcohol – a depressant – only made things worse. He decided it was time to find other ways to cope with negative emotions…and healthier ways to celebrate.
# 3 Don’t Binge
When she went to a party, Donna noticed she (and all the other guests) constantly had a cup in hand. As she socialized, she flew through drinks. She realized she drank an alarming amount of alcohol in these situations and admitted she needed to slow down a bit.
Donna forced herself to slowly sip her drinks at parties. She started alternating between alcoholic drinks and glasses of water or non-alcoholic beverages. This kept her hydrated, filled her up, and prevented her from drinking too much alcohol. She also made it a policy to always say “no” to drinking contests. Donna’s super competitive, but she realized she can find healthier, non-alcoholic ways to prove herself.
# 4 Don’t Go to Bars
Well, duh! This one might seem a bit obvious, but it was very difficult for Michelle. She wanted to hang out with co-workers during happy hour. She wanted to be with her friends.
Many people do their socializing in bars, but Michelle discovered they don’t have to. She started suggesting different activities. They go to movies. The play sports. They take turns hosting game nights…non-drinking game nights! By hanging out in a place where the sole purpose is not to sell alcohol, Michelle is less likely to drink.
# 5 Don’t Get a Beer Belly
Beer bellies aren’t really caused by beer, but excessive drinking can cause weight gain. It’s all empty calories. And drinking is often accompanied by other unhealthy lifestyle choices that add to belly fat.
Mike quickly discovered this truth. His waist size had increased significantly over the past few months – so had his drinking, time in front of the TV and general feelings of sluggishness. To prevent a full beer-belly look, Mike got in the habit of exercising. As he built muscle, trimmed fat, and started to look and feel better, Mike was less likely to drink because it made him feel sluggish, unhealthy and heavier.
# 6 Don’t Hang Out With Drinkers
Chris realized that everyone he socialized with drank…quite a lot. Being around these drinkers encouraged Chris to drink more and, to be honest, he hated the way it was impacting his life – the constant hangovers, the “morning after” regrets, the missed days at work.
Chris made a concerted effort to shift his social circle a bit so he was surrounded by more non-drinkers. It was challenging at first, but he was able to find others who either didn’t drink at all or consumed very little alcohol. Thanks to this new source of support, it became easier for Chris to stay sober.
Additional Reading: Got 15 Minutes to Spare? Why Not Spend it Reducing Impulsive Drinking?
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