How to learn to drink less?
- Count how much you drink
If drinking is gradually increasing but you have no idea whether you should start to worry, try adding up the doses consumed over a day and then a week. You will understand if you should drink less or your alcohol consumption fits the norm (3-4 units per day for men, 2-3 for women).
- Diversify your Life
Diversity gives colourfulness to life and helps to cope with bad habits. If you can’t imagine some daily routine, like watching TV, without alcohol, do something else – listen to your favourite music, prepare a fine dinner with the money you saved when you didn’t buy a bottle of wine or a couple of beers.
- Try Something New
Analyse when you drink – maybe it happens most often when you just want to relax? Therefore, if you are thinking of drinking after a hard work day, a better choice would be a hot tub, a short walk, an entertaining TV show or movie. At least a couple of evenings a week, replace alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks. It does not have to be orange juice. Try something new – make a non-alcoholic cocktail! You will feel the difference when you have a clear head the next day.
- Be Smarter with your Money
Try to count how much money you spent on alcohol during the previous week or month. Calculate how much you would save by drinking less and buy a gift for yourself from the money saved – it will stimulate you even more.
- Do not Drink on an Empty Stomach
Do not drink alcohol before dinner. At first, eat at least a little bit or drink a glass of water to reduce the effects of alcohol on the body.
- Do not Drink Quickly
Try to understand when you drink too fast. Sometimes, in fact, you simply feel thirsty instead of wanting to drink alcohol. First, drink a glass of water, juice or some other non-alcoholic beverage and then check if you want anything else. If you drink alcoholic drinks, do not rush, enjoy it slowly. This way you will better appreciate the taste of your favourite alcoholic beverage.
If you are Hangover
- Sleep. Besides that, it’s better in a warm place, rather than a cool one, but it should be a well-ventilated space! After eight or nine hours of sleep, you will definitely feel better.
- Try to drink as much liquid as possible. It is better to quench your thirst by juices that contain a lot of vitamin C – orange, lemon, grapefruit. You can also only drink water.
- If your hangover is not very strong, a moderately strong tea with lemon and honey, sugar helps too.
- Mix kefir with a pinch of black pepper, tip of red pepper, salt, half a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of chopped parsley! You can also mix kefir with tomato juice.
Alcohol addiction develops slowly over several years, and the individuals themselves never notice it. The most typical alcoholic’s opinion of their drinking is “I can stop at any moment.” However, the truth is the opposite: alcohol addiction is a disease, and help is needed in order to cure it.
How to know if the Problem is Serious?
- Doses of alcohol increase. One glass of wine in the evening after work is gradually replaced by an ever-increasing volume, up to a bottle or more. A person increases their tolerance to ever-larger amounts of alcohol.
- The need to have a drink the next day to feel better. A healthy person does not need to drink alcohol the next morning to feel better.
- Lost control. The person themselves does not notice how drunk they get.
- Memory loss.
- Repeated attempts to drink less.
- Trouble caused by alcohol abuse – drink-driving, mistakes at work, fights.
- Bouts of Depression.
- Drinking alcohol after trouble caused when being intoxicated to “wash” away the grief.
What to Do?
Do any of these symptoms fit a friend or family member, and do you want to help? You will need to be understanding and sensitive. Think about how you would like to be talked to if you had drinking problems. Show care and compassion, not incomprehension and condemnation.
- Use Positive Language:
“I have noticed that you are no longer in such a good mood since you’ve been drinking more. You’re not the same person I knew. I do not want to offend you, I’m just worried.” “I think your health would improve if you tried to drink a little less.” “I see you do less sports.” “In my opinion, you felt / looked better when you did yoga / played football etc.”
- Do not criticize harshly or make critical judgments:
“You drink so much you must be an alcoholic!” And when the person denies that, continue insisting and pointing fingers by saying “No, you are!”
- Better to ask open questions:
“I have noticed that you drink more. What do you think?” rather than asking “Don’t you think you have alcohol problems?”
How to Prepare for the Conversation
It is important to choose the right moment. Speak when the person is not depressed and drunk, and when you are calm and confident (it’s not worth it to start a conversation when you are frustrated, especially about something that your friend or family member has done while intoxicated). Preferably, have a lot of available information that you can use – so you can recommend what to do and where to look for help.
If you persuade a person you care for to seek help, that will be a step towards changing their drinking habits. Suggest following their drinking units, trying gradually drink less. You need to get the addict to be aware of the problem themselves, so that not only you feel it is a problem. This may require more than one conversation. It may also occur that an individual agrees with what you have said just to get away from you. Be prepared for an agreement and yet no changes!
If you can’t do it on your own and drinking continues, affecting you more and more, causing you to feel ashamed and guilty – it’s worth looking for outside help. Talk to your family doctor or psychologist, talk to friends who have had similar experiences.
- Riga Psychiatry and Addiction Centre, Tvaika street 2, Call 67080142
- Health Promotion and Prevention Unit of the Riga City Council’s Department of Welfare, Call 67037333
- Alcoholics Anonymous, Helpline 67333523
- “Esi brīvs!” Union
- Minnesota Program for the Treatment of Alcoholism
- Hospital Ģintermuiža Jelgava, Filozofu Street 69/7. Reception phone numbers 63022805, 63007157
- Straupe Narcological Hospital, Straupe Parish, “Lielstraupe Palace”, Cēsis region, Call 64132224