29. Buy lower alcohol drinks
Buy a lower ABV (alcohol by volume) brand of wine or beer. For instance, if you drink one bottle of wine a day, drinking an 11% ABV wine instead of a 13% ABV will be equal to reducing your intake by 28 glasses (125 ml) of wine a month. Dropping from a 5.2% lager to a 3.6% lager with 5 x 500 ml cans drunk a night over a month is equal to a reduction of 46 cans a month.
There are lots of brands of low alcohol or no alcohol beer and wines available. Some people drink these because they like the taste, and it still feels like a treat. Some alcohol specialists advise people not to drink these because it maintains the association with drinking alcohol, and the subsequent undesirable affects. Abstinence, even from 0% alcohol beers and wines, is often recommended as it means making a clean break away from drinks that usually contain alcohol, and building up a new pattern of behaviour.
Dilute your drinks. If you use mixers, try and increase the amount over time. Water, lemonade, carbonated mineral water, cola, tonic water, ginger ale, whatever you fancy. Even lots of ice will dilute your drink down. Many people dilute white wine with carbonated water (spritzer). Some people dilute red wine with tonic water. Try to keep topping up your glass with the mixer.
Use a tall, thin glass, so the drink looks like more and you will drink less. Adding fizzy drinks to spirits means the alcohol is absorbed quicker. Still water is better. Of course diluting alcohol with a soft fizzy drink is preferable to drinking it neat. Having a soft drink in between alcoholic ones will also reduce your chances of a hangover.
Keep the drinks in another room or on the side away from where you are sitting. You will be more conscious of what you drink if you have to get up each time. Don’t keep the bottle next to you, as you are likely to drink a greater amount in less time.
31. Start drinking later in the day
Slowly move the time you pour the first drink forward day by day. If you find it helpful, record it on a piece of paper stuck to the fridge. To support this you may need to rearrange the structure of your day, or keep busy to distract yourself until the later time becomes the time you expect a drink.
32. Drink slowly
Drinking alcohol too quickly is dangerous. The body cannot deal with the sudden rise in the level of alcohol in the bloodstream, so blackouts can occur. The blackout can mean the person collapses and falls unconscious, or is conscious and active but will not remember anything that has happened during that time. If people are conscious they can get up to anything – commit a crime, have sex or get into an argument, and they will be unable to remember what happened. If the person collapses and falls unconscious they are at risk from seriously injuring themselves as they fall, from choking on their own vomit as they lie unconscious, and from being mugged, raped, or worse if they collapse in a public place.
How to avoid blackouts:
drink slowly, savouring and sipping drinks, putting down the glass between sips
try to not drink spirits
dilute drinks as much as possible or drink the weakest (lowest ABV) drink available.
33. Don’t buy in bulk
If you store up large quantities of drink at home, you’re setting yourself up for bingeing. If you do start drinking heavily, the desire to drink more may be curtailed by the thought of having to leave the house to get more booze.
Don’t buy boxes of wine, as you can’t tell how much you’ve drunk. Buy one bottle of wine. Special offers (such as 3 bottles for the price of 2) won’t save you money because you are likely to drink more.
Buy spirits in half-bottle or quarter-bottle sizes.
34. Throw some drink away
Throwing alcohol away is a very empowering thing to do.
For every bottle you open, pour one eggcup or glass full of the drink down the sink, or decant it into another bottle. You can replace the bit you’ve taken out with a mixer or water if you wish, so you still have a full bottle to drink. The next day, pour two eggcups or glasses of drink down the sink or into the other bottle. On the third day, three, and so on. After a certain time you will have a full bottle of drink that you’ve spared your liver. You could chuck it away, or use it to continue the process. If you continue this process until you are only drinking three or less glasses/units from the new bottle you have probably cut down enough to not be physically dependent on alcohol (i.e. ’detoxed’ yourself).
35. Pub tips
If you are in the pub, play pool, dominoes, darts, cards or take part in the pub quiz. Activities slow down your drinking.
Don’t drink in rounds. You will save money, and probably drink less. You will be in control of your drinking. It may seem antisocial, so you may need to explain why. You may want to alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks too.
Take only £5 or £10 out with you. Don’t borrow money; just pace yourself or go home when you have spent your money.