Most people like to have a drink or two; maybe just at special social occasions or maybe a bit more often. At Act on Alcohol we hear from a lot of people who recognize they have a problem with how much alcohol they drink, often when the situation has gotten quite serious. If you don’t have a serious problem and just want to cut down a bit here are seven ideas to help:
- If money is an incentive consider how much you spend on alcohol each year – one six pack of beer a week is around $18-20 at least, add that up over the year and it’s $1000; if you drink a lot more than one six pack multiply it by how many you have each week. Think about how much sooner you could achieve that overseas holiday or new surfboard or to move into you own place!
- When you have friends over to your place supply jugs of wonderful mocktails with exotic glasses (when it looks and tastes that good, who needs alcohol?). Search for mocktail recipes on Taste.
- Socialize with your friends at places that don’t sell alcohol. There are a lot of nice coffee shops and cafes which aren’t licensed. Or hang out in parks, gardens and public places where you can’t take alcohol.
- Reward yourself – for every event where you cut back or go alcohol free give yourself a high five and a reward which you had set before the event. What reward would you like? Download a new movie or book, buy that special pair of new jeans, give yourself the night off from the gym, or perhaps not having that hangover is enough of a reward.
- Do lots of active socializing where you need all your wits and reflexes – high ropes, water skiing, sky diving, park runs, gym classes, scuba diving or snorkeling, cycling, four wheel driving, boating, rock climbing, trekking, kite surfing, roller blading, arcade games, paragliding, surfing, walking round the block even… Or do lots of activities where you need your brain working to win – chess, cards, mahjong, bridge…
- Learn what a standard drink is (check out this link) and work out your maximum number of drinks you plan to have. Pace yourself, count your drinks, choose not to pre-drink. If you drink beer or wine, choose a reduced alcohol beer or wine. If you drink spirits, mix them at half strength. And, of course, drink water, sparkling mineral water, soft drink, or juice in between alcoholic drinks.
- Get your family and friends on side as supports to encourage you! There are even social media groups like Hello Sunday Morning which can give you a place to celebrate your successes.
Get to it! Save money, have fun and feel great!