Q: I want to cut back on my drinking. Are there any tips or resources that can help?
There are many reasons people are choosing to drink less alcohol or try out the “sober curious” trend. Cutting back on how much you drink can help you sleep and feel better, and it can also reduce your risk of cancer, liver disease, and other health problems.
Whether you’re cutting out alcohol entirely, or just wanting to drink less, there are resources that can help.
A good place to start is by talking with your primary care provider. They can assess your drinking and connect you with tools to help you reach your goals, whether that means sharing tips for cutting back, or prescribing medications that help people abstain.
Other tools include taking a self-assessment to figure out how much you’re drinking and learn about your risk factors. Use this information to set a goal for how much you want to cut back. Then take time to think about your motivation. You’re more likely to stick with your goals if you remember that you’re drinking less because you want to be healthier, or so you can be more present with your kids.
Make a plan for cutting back, whether you’re using an online toolkit, or just writing it down in a notebook. For example, you might decide to limit your drinking to weekends, and only have one drink. Whatever you decide, set a limit for the number of days you’ll drink and how many drinks you’ll have, and plan a few alcohol-free days each week.
Changing habits can be hard, so plan ahead to manage your triggers. If certain people or places make you likely to drink more, make a plan to avoid those situations, or distract yourself when you get a craving. And ask a caring family member or friend to support you as you cut back.
Finally, it’s especially important to talk with your doctor if you’re a heavy drinker. If you are dependent on alcohol, or if you drink heavily every day, quitting cold turkey can actually be dangerous. So work with your doctor to reduce your drinking in a safe way.
You can find more tools and resources at mauihealth.org/drinkless.