How to Drink Responsibly

Group of friends drinking at a restaurant
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Many binge drinkers and heavy drinkers decide that they want to start drinking responsibly. But with all the information out there about the dangers of alcohol, it can be difficult to know where to start. This article will tell you how to drink responsibly in simple steps.

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: 2-4 weeks

Here's How:

  1. Establish Your Drinking Goal

    Check whether you are a suitable candidate for controlled drinking. Some people shouldn't drink at all.

    Read When No Alcohol is the Best Choice.

    If you realize you should quit completely, talk to your doctor about getting help with quitting alcohol and staying sober.

    If you are a good candidate for controlled drinking, think about your goal. Some possible controlled drinking goals are:

    • I just want to drink at weekends.
    • I want to lower my overall intake to a healthy amount.
    • I want to be able to drink at parties and other events, without getting drunk.

    Write down your goal.

  1. Assess Your Current Alcohol Intake

    Keep a drinking diary for one week. Write down how many drinks you consume, where, when, and with whom. Also write down any negative effects or situations that arose that you would like to avoid in the future. This will give you a good idea of the times, places and people where your drinking tends to become excessive or problematic.

  2. Calculate Your Safe Alcohol Limit

    Your safe alcohol limit is based on your blood alcohol concentration, and is the amount of alcohol you can drink in a single drinking session. It is based on several factors, including your sex, weight, and how quickly you drink.

    When you have figured out how many drinks you can drink, write it down, along with the drinking time period.

  3. Purchase Alcohol in Small, Measured Amounts

    Stocking up on wine, beer and liquor is the quickest way to sabotage your plan to drink responsibly. For drinking at home, follow these tips:

    • Buy only the amount of alcoholic beverage you identified in step 3, on the day you intend to drink it. If necessary, purchase individual cans or single serving or half-size bottles of wine.
    • If you know you will want more drinks, but not more alcohol, purchase the same amount of alcohol-free or low-alcohol wine or beer.
  1. Plan Your Journey Home

    Even though you will be drinking at a sensible level, you will still be impaired and should not drive.

    Arrange for a ride home with a sober driver, or pre-book a cab. If that is too costly, plan your bus journey home so you know when to leave while the buses are still running.

    Leave your car at home so you will not be tempted to use it. Get a ride or take a bus to your drinking event.

  1. Pace Yourself

    Drink only the amount you wrote down in step 3, and at the speed specified. If you want more to drink in between, drink water, or alcohol-free or low-alcohol beverages.

  2. Watch for Peer Pressure

    Look at the drinking diary you completed in step 2. If there are any people who encourage you to drink too much, try to avoid them for the first month or so while you get used to your new style of drinking.

    Check out my five ways to say no to alcohol in case you can't avoid people who pressure you to drink.

    If you are constantly surrounded by peer pressure to drink, start making new friends who don't drink as much.

  3. If At First You Don't Succeed...

    Try again!

    It's possible you may have an alcohol problem, in which case, talk to your doctor about getting help.

    You may also find a self-help group, although 12 Step groups probably wouldn't be a good choice, unless you have decided to quit alcohol completely.

What You Need:

  • Printout of drinking diary
  • Pen and paper

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