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Photo: Mountainside Treatment Center

It's always wise to check with your doctor - she should be able to help you decide whether it is best for you to cut back or to abstain. People who are dependent on alcohol, or have other medical or mental health problems, should stop drinking completely.

But many people may benefit simply by cutting back. If your doctor suggests that you curb your drinking, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) suggests that the following 10 ways may be helpful:

1. Think about why you drink

Maybe your concerns center around your reasons for drinking rather than the amount. Plenty of people use alcohol to numb emotional pain or face stressful situations more easily. It’s common to drink to lighten tension on a first date or before a difficult conversation.

But when it’s hard to face challenges without alcohol, it’s worth considering whether drinking prevents you from finding more helpful ways of managing emotions, Healthlines cites.

2. Set a drinking goal

Set a limit on how much you will drink. You should keep your drinking below the recommended guidelines: no more than one standard drink per day for women and for men ages 65 and older, and no more than two standard drinks per day for men under 65. These limits may be too high for people who have certain medical conditions or for some older adults. Your doctor can help you determine what's right for you, according to Health Havard Edu.

3. Keep a diary of your drinking

For three to four weeks, keep track of every time you have a drink. Include information about what and how much you drank as well as where you were. Compare this to your goal. If you're having trouble sticking to your goal, discuss it with your doctor or another health professional.

4. Don't keep alcohol in your house

Having no alcohol at home can help limit your drinking.

5. Drink slowly. Sip your drink

Drink soda, water, or juice after having an alcoholic beverage. Never drink on an empty stomach.

6. Choose alcohol-free days

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Alcohol-Free Days. Photo: Keep Calm-o-Matic

Decide not to drink a day or two each week. You may want to abstain for a week or a month to see how you feel physically and emotionally without alcohol in your life. Taking a break from alcohol can be a good way to start drinking less.

7. Watch for peer pressure

Practice ways to say no politely. You do not have to drink just because others are, and you shouldn't feel obligated to accept every drink you're offered. Stay away from people who encourage you to drink.

8. Involve your loved ones

Family and friends can provide encouragement and support when you stop drinking.

By opening up about your relationship with alcohol, you might also encourage others to explore their own drinking habits.

9. Find a community

Building new relationships with people who also choose to avoid alcohol can have a lot of benefits.

Here are some ideas:

- Instead of testing your resolve by joining your co-workers for the usual happy hour, why not invite a different co-worker to check out the new bakery down the street?

- Consider cultivating friendship and romance with people who don’t prioritize drinking as an important part of their life.

- Miss the bar atmosphere? Depending on where you live, you might be able to visit a sober bar and socialize without alcohol.

Check out apps like Meetup to find other people interested in alcohol-free activities.

10. Be persistent

Most people who successfully cut down or stop drinking altogether do so only after several attempts. You'll probably have setbacks, but don't let them keep you from reaching your long-term goal. There's really no final endpoint, as the process usually requires ongoing effort.

Here’s how alcohol can affect your body:


Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways and can affect the way the brain looks and works. These disruptions can change mood and behavior, and make it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.


Drinking a lot over a long time or too much on a single occasion can damage the heart, causing problems including Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of the heart muscle, Arrhythmias – Irregular heartbeat, Stroke, High blood pressure.


Heavy drinking takes a toll on the liver and can lead to a variety of problems and liver inflammations including Steatosis, or fatty liver, Alcoholic hepatitis, Fibrosis, Cirrhosis.

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