Ideas to Help You Cut Back on or Stop Using Alcohol - Topic Overview
If you think you might be
dependent on alcohol, talk with your doctor before
trying to stop drinking.
If you are dependent on alcohol, you should stop drinking, not just
cut back. If you are dependent, you might develop severe
withdrawal symptoms if you stop drinking on your own.
Whether you are dependent on alcohol or not, or whether you are
trying to cut back or quit, the first thing to do is get support. Ask your
doctor, family, and friends to help you reach your goal.
Here are some ideas that may help you succeed.
- Stay away from people who give you a hard time
about drinking less or not drinking. Spend time with people who support your
desire to cut down on or stop using alcohol.
- Stay away from places
or events that make you want to drink. Stay away from people who drink a lot or
bars where you used to drink. Plan ways to avoid drinking when you are
- Stay active. It is easier to avoid drinking alcohol when
you are busy doing things that you like to do. Take time to really think about
how you would like to spend your time. Have you wanted to learn a craft or
hobby or play a musical instrument? Now is a good time to
- Avoid temptation by getting rid of all alcohol in your
- Learn to say no. You do not have to accept an
alcoholic drink each time someone offers you one. Practice the following ways
to say no politely:
- "Thanks, I've had
- "Thanks, but I have work to do later and I don't want to
- "Thanks, but you know, I've noticed that I feel
better when I drink less."
- If you drink, drink slowly. Take a break of 1
hour between drinks. Drink soda, water, or juice after a drink with alcohol. Do
not drink on an empty stomach. Eat food when you are drinking.
- If you drink, take a break from alcohol. Pick a day or two each
week when you will not drink at all. Gradually take more break days every week.
Think about how you feel on these days. Do you feel better physically and
Most importantly, do not give up. Most people
do not cut down on or give up drinking all at once. This is okay. If you do not
reach your goal the first time, try again.