I’ll start with a confession.
The main reason I have ended up drinking less was probably because I was forced to. But, that said, I have managed to resist going back into my party girl ways, even though I’m now “allowed” to drink alcohol again.
Why? Because I found life with much less alcohol was a nicer way to live.
How? Surprisingly easily as it turns out…
The joys of being hangover free
When I first had a few drinks again after being off alcohol, the hangovers were, quite simply, dreadful.
It was probably partly the shock of having a hangover after being used to waking up every morning with a clear head.
I realised that hangovers meant lying in bed for hours, unmotivated to do anything, wanting to eat rubbish and watch crap TV. Without alcohol, I’m quite literally leaping out of bed at 7am, grabbing a green juice and heading off to the gym. Well maybe not leaping, but a relatively energetic exit out of bed in any case.
Now, there’s no way I could have imagined I would be doing this a few years ago either. But even if you never drink a green juice in your life, I can assure you that you’ll still feel a hell of a lot better without a hangover.
I think my motivation to drink less alcohol has been key. For me, it was the following:
Not wanting to end up in hospital again
Loving getting up to go horse-riding or do yoga early in the morning
Finding it easier to keep my weight how I wanted it
Avoiding the crashing lows and guilt associated with being drunk/hungover/doing something stupid whilst one or the other
I have also stopped losing my phone every other month as well, which is a definite bonus.
If you can find yourself a few really solid reasons why drinking less will benefit your life, it will really help!
Socialising without alcohol
There’s a common conception that you can’t have a social life if you’re not drinking. For many, a western social life revolves around drinking alcohol (or at least mine did).
Fact: you can go out and still have fun when not drinking alcohol, or having two drinks as opposed to ten. The people you are hanging out with are your friends. They should still be entertaining without you having to drink a bottle of wine beforehand.
Likewise, you do not lose the ability to be funny or have fun because you’re not five drinks down. Have faith in your social skills!
Easiest way not to drink? Drive. It’s a socially acceptable reason and the law will make you stick to it (I hope!). It also saves money on cabs and means you can leave when you want.
Another good one is to make a pact with someone that you’ll both drink less. You’ll hold each other accountable and it provides you with an excuse for others. Which leads me to...
How to handle other people
Drink sparkling water. Tell people it’s a G&T. Job done.
When I discuss trying to drink less, pressure from other people seems to be the key reason why people struggle or cave in.
Statements like “don’t be that girl/guy” or someone simply buying you an alcoholic drink anyway can easily push you into drinking a drink you didn’t want to.
Having a solid reason is really helpful here and tends to make people back off. “I’m getting up early, I’m driving, I’m trying out not drinking much for a month to see how I feel” all seem to be socially acceptable from my experience.
Stick to your guns! Once you give in once, you’re like to give in for the rest of the evening/week/forever. If you let people persuade you otherwise once, they will do it again. Conversely, if you say no once, it will be much easier next time.
Nowadays, people accept that I will only sometimes be drinking. They offer to buy me water. Not one person has stopped being my friend because I’ve said no to a shot of tequila!
Still drinking, but drinking smart
I probably could stop drinking altogether, and I’ve definitely considered it.
Truth is, sometimes it’s nice. I like champagne. I like having a couple of drinks and getting silly with my girlfriends.
When I could only have one alcoholic drink a week, I savoured that drink so much! I planned out when I was going to have it, what it was going to be and who I was going to have it with. I become so conscious of when I was drinking and how much.
Start questioning every drink - do you actually want it? Do you need it? Will you really enjoy it? If not, why the hell are you having it??
Drink slower, and turn down rounds. You can get a long way but simply drinking a bit less when you do go out. Don’t force yourself to match other people.
Drink more expensive drinks and make them drinks you really want to drink. Generally, the prospect of the bill will make you think twice before ordering another. Then enjoy your fancy cocktail whilst also feeling smug!
Hang around with people who drink less, and mirror them. Pregnant friends = ideal.
It’s your choice
(It's a mocktail)
I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t drink alcohol. I am just saying if it was possible for me, it is possible for anyone. I find myself healthier, happier and richer (in all senses of the word).
Is it something you’ve been thinking about? Where are you going soon that you could try drinking less alcohol? And don’t hesitate to ask me questions or request further tips - I love talking about this!