It is incredibly easy to get into a routine where you are drinking too much and the longer you let things drift that way, the harder it becomes to pull back.
Let’s take a look at what alcohol does and some steps you can take to change things.
How does alcohol ‘work’?
Many would answer “In mysterious ways!”, but the fact is it does a couple of things to the brain that are actually opposites.
When you have that first drink it is often the case it goes down very well. This is because in the short-term alcohol depresses the part of your brain responsible for inhibition, it makes a person far more confident, relaxed and less stressed.
It all sounds great so far, but unfortunately from there it downhill rapidly. Alcohol is actually a depressant, so if you have subsequent drinks they affect the brain by making it harder to remember things, slowing down reactions, allowing your concentration to go south and those decision-making skills become decidedly less certain. The more you consume in a session the worse things get.
Building a tolerance is NOT the way to go:
Your mind and body like the feelings alcohol give, indeed they like it so much that once you have had a couple of drinks it is often the case you feel like more. This ‘egging on’ process does not come without penalty.
If you begin to drink regularly your body’s tolerance increases which means you need more alcohol to achieve the same state as previously attained.
Carry on this way and you are heading for dependence:
It stands to reason that the more you drink, the more your body and mind feels they need. The fact is that more alcohol is required simply to attain the same ‘feel good factor’ you are rapidly getting used to.
Millions of men and women (mostly men!) are currently dependent upon alcohol and that dependence will get worse unless something is done about it.
Let’s not dwell on the harm drinking too much often creates:
We could bang on about the serious stress you are placing on your liver. This organ takes the brunt of alcohol consumption, or all other body parts affected due to the fact alcohol gets into the bloodstream.
Then there is the unwarranted strain, stress and tension drinking to excess causes between you and a partner, family members and friends, or just how much money a person is spending to damage themselves in more ways than one, but it is time to be positive and look at ways of cutting back on your alcohol consumption.
Enjoy a drink but do so sensibly:
If you feel that the amount of alcohol you are drinking is getting out of hand, then it would be good to see just how easy you manage staying away from it for a week or two, but if that initially feels to difficult then it is a must that you work to cut down consumption.
Before giving a few suggestions on how to achieve this it is important to understand one thing. If you really cannot stop drinking or reduce alcohol consumption, then professional help should be found as soon as possible.
There is no shame in this whatsoever, indeed it is a very sensible thing to do and does not mean alcohol is ruling your life. It simply means you recognise there is a problem and are taking positive steps to resolve it.
Alcohol reduction measures:
- Recruit your partner or close friend(s): If your partner also drinks they are the perfect foil. Maker a pact to cut down together and fill any spare times with pastimes you both enjoy but perhaps have let fall by the barstool. The cinema, theatre, ten-pin bowling, swimming or country walks are all excellent diversions. Rest assured there are many more.
- Create positive motives: Don’t be afraid to write these large and leave them prominently displayed. Health is an obvious one, improved sex life, getting fitter (the last 2 could go together!), and because you will be drinking less you will be spending less, so put a couple of things down you want, but have just not got around to buying, or start a holiday fund. You will be amazed how quickly the kitty builds up.
- Be honest then set goals: Admit to yourself how much alcohol you have been averaging over the last few months and then set definite goals as to what you want this reducing by. Seeing it in black and white helps more than you will believe. It can also help you refrain if you are getting too close to your set limits.
- Dry days: Try and target at least 3 or 4 days a week where you drink no alcohol. These should be spaced days wherever possible. If this is achieved, you will be surprised at how quickly the routine falls into place.
- Excessive purchases at the supermarket or bottle store: Either stop these visits or reduce the amount you buy. Even consider going for 1 expensive bottle of wine rather than 4 ‘that do the job’. This will also help you to look forward to a drink at home, and if you are drinking spirits in the house get an optic, jigger or measuring cup. It is amazing how ‘generous’ a self-serving bar person is!
There are lots of other tips to help you reduce alcohol intake, but by dusting off your determination and waking up your willpower it can most certainly be achieved.