Tips on cutting down

There are a number of things you can try to reduce the amount you drink.

Make a start to reducing your drinking

Why not begin by making a plan and before you start drinking, set a limit on how much you're going to drink and stick to it.

You could set a budget and only take a fixed amount of money to spend on alcohol.

There are other things you could try too:

  • taking part in special alcohol-free initiatives such as Dry January or Go Sober for October
  • trying alcohol-free drinks or a selection of mocktails
  • learning about mindful drinking at Club Soda
  • having a smaller drink
  • cutting down alcohol by swapping strong beers or wines for ones with a lower strength (ABV in %)
  • taking a glass of water before you have alcohol and alternate alcoholic drinks with water or a soft drink
  • having several drink-free days each week
  • cutting back a little each day and make every day you do a success
  • let your friends and family know you're cutting down and it's important to you, they can support you

Drinking diary

If you're aiming to cut down your drinking, a good thing to do is to keep a note of what you drink and when.

On a daily basis, make a note of:

  • the alcoholic drinks you've had
  • what time you had them
  • where you were
  • how many units you drank – use the Scottish Government's alcohol unit generator and alcohol unit calculator to work this out

This will give you a good idea of:

  • how much alcohol you're drinking
  • the situations in which you drink
  • how you could start to cut down

Download, or ask your GP for a copy of the daily drinks diary from NHS Health Scotland to record your progress.

If you're a heavy drinker and want to cut down or stop Scottish Health Action on Alcohol (SHAAP) have also produced a useful guide to help you if you would like to cut down your drinking.

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