I'd like to reduce my drinking

Great! You've made the decision to reduce your drinking. This means you’ll soon be on your way to reducing your risk of the harms associated with drinking. Not only that, get ready for some of the other possible benefits of drinking less – improved skin, better sleep and more energy.

So how can you do this?

Read on to get our top eight practical, everyday tips to help you drink less.

1. Take Drink Free Days

How many drink-free days do you regularly take?

Taking drink-free days helps you stick to the recommended 14 units per week. It gives you the opportunity to pick up a new hobby, increase your exercise or find new ways to socialise. Drink Free Days is not only about reducing your drinking but improving your physical and mental health. Our DrinkCompare Quiz helps you build a personalised action plan to support your commitment to reducing your drinking.

2. Know the limits

The advice is the same for men and women. To keep your risk of health harms low, drink no more than 14 units of alcohol each week.

6 pints of 4% beer is the equivalent of 13.6 units? Use the Unit and Calorie Calculator to see what's in your drink.

3. Set your goals

Each week set a goal and track your progress, whether you’ve achieved your goal or not. And remember, slip ups happen so don’t beat yourself up – if you haven’t hit your goal one week make a fresh start the day after.

4. Plan ahead

If you have a stressful week ahead and you know that having a drink is normally a way to unwind, plan ahead for something different to do. This can be as simple as going for a long walk, going to the cinema or booking a meal out. Plus it gives you something different to look forward to.

5. Be pro-active

Make life easier – don’t put yourself in situations you know will make it difficult to stick to your goals. For example, meet people in a cafe rather than the pub, offer to be the designated driver or perhaps join a sports team or a running club with your friends or partner.

Top drink-free activities 

6. Identify your drinking triggers

Do you know when and why you drink alcohol? Perhaps it’s a reward after a tough week or maybe a celebration goes hand-in-hand with a drink. Identifying your drinking triggers will help you recognise when and why they happen in order for you to think about how you can replace alcohol with something else.

7. Try low or no alcohol

You might be surprised that low and no alcohol drinks are popping up in more pubs and supermarkets. They are a tasty alternative to alcoholic drinks and can be lower in calories as well as price. Also, the growing market means there is a wider variety for drinkers. Simple tricks include making sure you have a selection of low and no alcohol drinks at home, chilled and ready to drink; ask bartenders what low and no alcohol drinks are on offer (or check out the Club Soda guide to find venues near you). If you’re heading to someone’s home, why not take some of your new-found low or no favourites for your friends to try?

Try some delicious mocktail recipes

8. Ask for support

Having a supportive friend that knows you’re trying to cut back on your drinking can make a big difference. Tell them how important it is for you and why. Remember, you might not be the only one wanting to cut back, and you might even end up encouraging someone else to team up with you.

9. Confidential support is available

Drinkchat is a confidential online web chat service, for anyone who wants to talk to someone about their own or someone else's drinking. It's available weekdays 9am to 2pm. Alternatively, call Drinkline on 0300 123 11 10 on weekdays 9am to 8pm and weekends 11am to 4pm.

Alcohol support services

If you are concerned that you or someone you care about has a problem with alcohol there is a lot of help available. Here you can find useful links and phone numbers to get the support you need.

Support services

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Tips to change your relationship with alcohol