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3 smart ways to trick yourself into drinking less alcohol

People toasting glasses of water at a table

Whether you’re embarking on Dry-ish July or just trying to manage your mid-week drinking, here are three tricks to make it easier to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink, plus some delicious alcohol-free drink ideas.

When it comes to drinking less, many of us default to ‘willpower’ to get us through but, the problem is, willpower just isn’t that reliable. Even if you commit wholeheartedly to a full week without drinking and are sure you’ll be able to get through, it is easy by about Thursday to think: ‘Well you know, it is nearly Friday…’

If you are committed to drinking less, whatever your reason, these smart solutions can help.

1 Make it much more difficult to access alcohol

Out of sight really can help keep the urge to drink out of mind. Store spirits inconveniently in the garage. Keep white wine away from the fridge – you know only tastes nice when it’s cold. Make beer, RTDs or whatever else you are into, much less easy to find. Reduce temptation.

2 Make it easier to access other healthier alternatives

Put your herbal tea bags out on the bench as a visual reminder that they are a great choice. Maybe have some kombucha at the ready and easy to see in the fridge. You could also try putting bottles of still or sparkling water in the door of the fridge, so they are the first thing you see and easy to grab. Add sprigs of mint or ‘hot ‘n’ cold’ brew tea bags, if you like something that has a bit more taste than plain water.

3 Look at what drives your drinking habit

It’s one thing to remove the booze and swap for the kettle or tap, but that doesn’t solve the problem of how you feel. If you are planning to take a step back from drinking, this is a great opportunity to address your relationship with alcohol and figure out what it is that makes you drink in the first place. Is it just because you like the taste; because you like drinking when your friends are too; or does the habit run deeper?

If you find you often drink because you are feeling stressed or lonely, let’s be honest, sparkling water isn’t going to cut the mustard in the same way a glass of red would.

It is easy to use alcohol to manage our feelings to make us feel better in the short term but long term, we often feel worse.

When you feel like having a drink over the coming days and weeks, stop and take a closer look at what is motivating you to crack open that beer or pour the wine. Is it just a habit you can reprogram by having healthier options close by? Or are you drinking to manage your feelings?

If you do find that you are often motivated to drink to try to feel better in some way, now is a great time to identify some alternatives to manage your feelings that are not food or drink related.

Maybe your new habit when you feel like a drink can be to call a friend and have some connection, or have a long shower, until that craving passes.

If you drink to fill a sense of emptiness, maybe it’s time to start a new hobby – learn how to box, get into art or start an online course, to give you something else to focus on that is a new healthier outlet for your feelings.

If you want to make a habit change that can be healthier and last, it is well worth scratching below the surface and looking at what drives you.

Keen to check out some new alcohol-free alternatives? Try these 10 smart options.

Or try our fabulous mocktails.

First published: Jul 2020

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