How To Cut Back on Alcohol: Top 10 Tips

Picture of Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn is a leading industry addiction expert who runs the UK’s largest addiction advisory service and is regularly featured in the national press, radio and TV.

man jogging on beach to cut back on alcohol

Are you looking to cut down on your drinking? Whether you're aiming to improve your health, lower your blood pressure, save money, or regain control over your habits, reducing your alcohol intake can have numerous benefits.

However, it can be difficult to know where to start or how to maintain your goals. We’re here to help.

As well as connecting you with suitable rehab clinics, we provide honest and helpful advice for overcoming alcohol abuse and addiction. Here are some helpful and practical tips for cutting down on alcohol and achieving your sobriety goals.


1 - Set Clear Goals

If you’re looking to quit or cut down on your drinking, setting clear and realistic goals can be a good first step. Take some time to understand why you want to reduce your alcohol intake and pinpoint exactly what you hope to achieve. For example:

  • Do you want to stop binge drinking?
  • Do you simply want to track and monitor your drinking habits?
  • Do you want to stick within the recommended alcohol consumption guidelines?
  • Do you want to limit drinking to special occasions?
  • Do you want to quit drinking and achieve complete sobriety?


Whether it's improving your health, saving money, or improving your relationships with friends and family, having specific objectives can keep you focused and motivated.


2 - Keep a Drinks Journal

Keeping track of your alcohol consumption in a drinks journal can provide valuable insights into your drinking habits.

Start by recording the type and amount of alcohol you consume each day, as well as the circumstances surrounding your drinking. For example, if you regularly drink several glasses of wine on a Friday after work, record it in your journal. Likewise, if you just have a single pint of average-strength beer with friends, record it.

This can help you identify patterns, triggers, and areas where you can make changes to cut down your drinking.


3 - Alternate Alcoholic Drinks with Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Another way to cut back on your drinking could be to alternate alcoholic drinks with alcohol-free drinks. For example, when socialising or enjoying a drink at home, alternate between alcoholic drinks and non-alcoholic options such as a glass of water, your favourite fizzy drink, or mocktails.

This can help you pace yourself, reduce your overall alcohol intake, and stay hydrated. Additionally, when you alternate between alcoholic and alcohol-free drinks, you can enjoy the social aspect of drinking without going overboard.


4 - Identify Your Triggers

This tip goes hand in hand with our second tip - keeping a drinks journal. A journal can help you identify patterns and triggers. For example, if you notice you drink lots more after being around certain people, their presence could be a potential trigger.

Knowing your triggers can help you to prepare for (or avoid) situations where you may be more likely to binge drink or consume alcohol in excess.

Whether you start drinking due to stress, social pressure, or certain environments, recognising your triggers can help you to develop healthier coping mechanisms and alternative activities.


5 - Change Your Patterns of Behaviour

If you find yourself falling into routines that lead to excessive drinking, it may be time to shake things up and change your patterns.

Do you always find yourself pouring a glass of wine while you are preparing dinner? Is it your way of relaxing after a day at work? Why not decide that the wine will be on the table to have with dinner, but while you are preparing dinner find an alternative way to unwind. Perhaps learn some yoga and spend the time relaxing while dinner cooks.

By changing your patterns of behaviour, you can reduce the temptation to drink and find fulfilment in alternative experiences.


6 - Have Alcohol-Free Days

Be sure to have several alcohol-free days per week. This can help you to cut down on your drinking and give your body a chance to recover.

Aim for at least two to three drink-free days each week. Use a unit calculator to monitor your alcohol intake and track your progress towards achieving this goal.

If you are drinking every day, try and introduce one day a week when you don’t drink anything. You can gradually increase this if you are successful.

Avoid having more than 14 units of alcohol a week - any more than this could increase the risk of various health issues.

If you drink alcohol several days in a row and struggle to break this routine, it may be time to seek support.


7 - Keep Busy

If drinking has been a big part of your social activities, look for other things to do. Take up a new sport or hobby which does not involve being in places where you might be tempted to drink.

Staying busy and engaged in meaningful activities can distract you from thoughts of drinking and reduce the temptation to drink.

Spend time with friends and family, pursue hobbies, exercise, or practice self-care. Keeping your mind and body occupied can make it easier to stick to your goal of cutting down on alcohol.


8 - Don’t Have Alcohol at Home

If drinking at home is a problem, buy less or don’t buy it at all - then you can’t be tempted. Limiting its availability can be a great way to cut down on alcohol.

Avoid keeping alcohol stocked at home, especially if you find yourself tempted to drink when it's readily accessible. Instead, only consume alcohol on special occasions or outings with friends and family.


9 - Don’t Give Up After Setbacks

Setbacks and slip-ups aren’t the end of your recovery journey - they’re just a part of it. Instead of viewing these moments as failures, use them as learning opportunities.

If you are aiming for complete sobriety but indulge in a small glass of wine, a bottle of beer, or even return to binge drinking, you can get back on track.

Reflect on what triggered the relapse and how you can better cope with similar situations in the future. Remember that progress is not always linear - every step towards reducing your alcohol intake is a step in the right direction.


10 - Seek Help From An Addiction Specialist

If you have the desire to cut down on your drinking but are struggling to do so, don’t hesitate to seek professional support.

At Help4Addiction, we have helped binge drinkers, heavy drinkers and long-term alcoholics stop drinking and maintain sobriety.

We can find the most suitable addiction treatment provider to help you overcome your alcohol issues for good. Whether you have a dependence on alcohol or just wish to stop binge drinking, we can connect you with a quality rehab programme.

If you’re looking for a luxury residential rehab clinic with state-of-the-art facilities, trust our addiction specialists to select the most high-end rehab facility for you. If, however, you’re on a budget and looking for rehab treatment that won’t break the bank, we can find high-quality NHS-operated rehab for you.

Begin your recovery journey with Help4Addiction today.

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