Cutting Out Alcohol


Alcohol misuse presents itself as habitual drinking above recommended limits or occasional to regular binge drinking, all of which have a vast range of worrying physical, psychological and social health implications.

According to Market Research World approximately one third of Europeans are teetotal. There are many reasons why someone may choose to opt for complete abstinence, but here in the UK health concerns are high up on the list.

Reducing or Excluding Alcohol?

If one or more of the following apply to you, your best bet may be to cut out alcohol completely.
  • You’ve told yourself “no more hangovers” on many an occasion……..and then you find yourself with yet another hangover.
  • You know that saying “yes" to one drink is ultimately the slippery slope to several.
  • You can barely entertain the idea of moving on to soft drinks when the night/party/dinner is still in full swing.
  • You always, without fail, spend more than your intended budget.
  • You are known to your friends as the one who’s always persisting “just one more”, even when it is well and truly time to go home.
  • Your GP has advised you to reduce your alcohol intake, but attempts have been unsuccessful.

Whether you decide to reduce your consumption or exclude alcohol completely, be crystal clear in your own mind about your intentions. Do not rush the decision making process. Rather, take time to consider the options and evaluate what would be in your best interests both in the short- and long-term. Weigh up all the pros and cons of your choices of action and list any barriers to success and possible approaches to overcoming these. It is important to be well prepared when setting out to change any habitual behaviour, as it can be a deeply ingrained element of your identity. Thorough preparation equals a greater chance of long-lasting success.

Tips for Excluding Alcohol

  • Don't keep any alcohol in the house.
  • Take pleasure in the wide range of non-alcoholic drinks on offer. Go to places where there are lots of interesting and delicious alternatives available.
  • Arrange social occasions that won’t involve alcohol, e.g. go to the cinema, try different sports or check out galleries or museums in your area (and head to the coffee shop or juice bar afterwards rather than the pub). Make the most of the renewed energy you’ll feel when you are beginning to establish an alcohol-free routine.
  • Don’t make allowances for yourself. If you’re cutting out, you're cutting out! Don’t be tempted to reward yourself with a drink – find alternative treats for sticking to your goal.

Whether You are Cutting Down or Cutting Out…..

  • Make alterations to other aspects of your drinking routine, e.g. if you usually choose steak at a meal out, try fish instead; if you usually go out with friends on a particular evening, do it on a different day of the week. It’s amazing how modifying associated habits can make changing co-existing drinking habits so much easier.
  • Take time every day to visualise yourself achieving your goals. Do not rush these visualisations and hold onto them in times of temptation.
  • Support visualisation techniques with positive affirmations. Choose statements such as: “I am taking control of my life” or “I am calm, confident and clear-headed in sobriety”.
  • Spend more social time with light drinkers and less with heavy-drinking friends.
  • Make additional healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle. Adopting a healthier approach overall will make drinking alcohol far less appealing.

If you are concerned about your health or struggling to reduce your alcohol intake successfully seek professional advice and enlist the help of trusted friends, family or colleagues.

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