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How to Decrease Drinking

answered 04:53 PM EST, Sun December 30, 2012
anonymous anonymous
I have made the same new years resolution that I am going to make this year for the past 3 years. I want to cut down my drinking. I am not an alcoholic but I do drink too much and I am overweight and unhealthy because of this. I never make it more than a few weeks though before my old habits return. I do truly wish to cut down and to keep it up but I am not really interested in stopping altogether. I go to a lot of dinners and parties and I can’t imagine doing this without drinking anything at all. Can you give me some advice to help me stay true to my goal to reduce my alcohol intake over the next year?

Anna Deeds Says...

Anna Deeds A. Deeds
MSED, NCC, LPC

Thank you for your question.  That's a tough one to answer.  The reason most people choose complete abstinence is because it is easier to stop drinking all together than to cut back.  Once you have that first drink or two, the alcohol lowers your inhibitions and it becomes easy to drink more than you intended.  It doesn't mean you lack willpower.  It's just the nature of alcohol and how it affects the brain. 

You said in your question that you are not an alcoholic.  My suggestion is to talk with someone to see if that is true.  Think about getting a professional assessment of your drinking.  Ask your family and friends if they think you drink too much and what affect your drinking has on them.  Sometimes, other people see things that we cannot see in ourselves.   You do not have to be a daily drinker to be an alcoholic.  The reason I suggest this is because one of the signs of alcoholism is trying to cut back and not being able to.  You are also at higher risk to become an alcoholic if you continue drinking.  Without more information, I cannot determine whether you are an alcoholic or not.  Besides, what you believe is what's important. 

Even if you are not an alcoholic, by your own assessment you are a problem drinker.  I commend you for trying three year in a row to cut back and for reaching out for help here.  The only program that I am aware of that does not require complete abstinence is Moderation Management.  Check out the link to their website.  Whether you are quitting drinking or cutting back, you need support.  Moderation Management has meetings, online support and information on their website.

I would also suggest that you keep track of your drinking.  It's easier to drink more than you intend if you are not keeping track of it.  Try keeping a log of how often you drink and how much you drink.  With support, you may be able to reduce the amount over time.  For example, if you are drinking 6 drinks a day, you could start by reducing that to 5 drinks for one week, then 4 the next week, etc.  

Whatever you choose to do, don't give up.  As long as you keep trying to better yourself every day, you are making progress.  Good luck!

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Page last updated Dec 30, 2012

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