How to drink less alcohol

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Drinking less alcohol can make life better in so many ways — bringing better health, more energy and more money in your pocket.
Any reduction can bring a benefit, and the six tips below can help you to stay off the booze when you want to.

Change your social routine

You don’t have to go out drinking to see friends. Go to the cinema, have a walk in the woods, sign up for a class together or meet for brunch instead.

Set a target

Set a weekly target for alcohol units and stick to it. But don’t give up if you don’t make it every week, just have a fresh start the next week.

Drop the rounds

Getting involved in buying rounds of drink can lead to drinking more and/or faster than you’d really like to. Just drink at your own pace instead.

Set the bar low

Try moving to lower-alcohol drinks. That might be beers under 4% ABV or white or rosé wines instead of red ones. Swap some of your drinks for non-alcoholic ones as well.

Don’t start before dinner

Waiting until your evening meal to have your first drink of the day could help you drink less overall, and you might also feel less drunk if you’re not sipping on an empty stomach.

Take up a hobby

If you sometimes drink out of boredom, try taking up sports or hobbies instead. Exercise will make you feel better anyway, and a hobby could occupy your mind and body.

If you think you may be dependent on alcohol, feel unable to function without alcohol, or if stopping drinking causes withdrawal symptoms (like shaking, sweating or nausea), it could be dangerous to stop too quickly, you should access support first.

Key sources and further reading

NHS Live Well: Tips on cutting down on alcohol

31 March, 2023