If Your Resolution Is to Cut Back Drinking, Here’s How to Get Started
If your resolution is to cut back or quit drinking this New Year’s – congrats! It’s an ambitious goal, and one with positive effects that you will experience all year long.
Taking the first few steps is often the hardest part of treatment, but here are some ways to start off strong.
First, Reconnect with Your Personal Values
Maybe drinking has made relationships with your family difficult, something that can be particularly top of mind during the holiday season. Maybe you’ve had a hard time paying attention to a job you used to love. If you want to change your relationship to alcohol, start by identifying:
- Your highest priorities
- How drinking relates to those – in good ways and bad
- Achievable goals that will help you reconnect with the things that matter most to you
Then, Get Informed
When it comes to drinking, many people aren’t exactly sure what qualifies as a drink, or what actually constitutes heavy drinking. Knowledge is power!
Did you know you might actually be drinking more than “one drink” in a single glass of wine? It’s true! When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends “no more than one drink for a woman or two for a man” each day, they are talking about a “standard drink.” Click here to learn how to measure one “standard” drink.
Answer three simple questions and learn where you stand. The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a simple, three-question tool that can help anyone determine whether their drinking could put them at risk. Take the assessment for yourself here.
Next, Set Your Own Goals — Ideally with the Support of Your Provider(s)
Once you know if your drinking habits are within healthy guidelines — and how much you’re actually drinking at a time — keep track. Simply knowing more about heavy drinking and how it’s related to the things you care most about will increase your awareness and may help you self-regulate. But if you find that it’s hard for you to cut back on drinking, having this information on hand will help you speak with a trusted health care provider about a responsible and reasonable goal (read more about setting your own drinking goal here).
Stick With It
I know this is easier said than done, but re-committing to your values and your goals will help you. Write your goals down and then track your progress afterwards. Physically committing by writing them down helps you commit to them mentally (for more tips on sticking to your goals during the holiday season, click here).
I wish you the very best of luck as you head into 2018! Check back in the coming weeks and months for tips from Annum about staying on track with your resolution!