Cutting Down on Drinking
If you’re like many Americans, drinking can be something that we do socially and is often part of celebrations and happy times. For some, however, drinking takes on new meaning; it acts to cover up feelings of sadness, disappointment, and even lessen anxiety.
Here are a few guidelines that health care providers use to measure if you are drinking more than is medically safe.
-You are a man who has 15 or more drinks a week, or you often have 5 or more drinks at a time.
-You are a woman who has 8 or more drinks a week, or you often have 4 more drinks at a time.
Keep track of how much you drink.
When you are drinking:
-Pace yourself. Have no more than 1 alcoholic drink per hour. Sip on water, soda, or juice in between alcoholic drinks.
-Eat something before drinking and in between drinks.
To control how much you drink:
-Stay away from people or places that influence you to drink, and plan other activities that do not involve drinking for days when you have the urge to drink.
-Keep alcohol out of your home.
-Make a plan to handle your urges to drink. Remind yourself of why you do not want to drink or talk to someone you trust when you feel the urge.
-Create a polite but firm way of refusing a drink when you are offered one.
Ask for support from people who may be willing to listen and help, such as a spouse or significant other, non-drinking friends, or a therapist.
Other resources where you can seek information or support for alcohol problems include:
-Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) – www.aa.org
-National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) – www.ncadd.org
Being aware of your alcohol intake is the first step! If you or a loved one has problems with alcohol, there is a chance that you may also not be addressing other important health and wellness factors.