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Self-Help for Alcohol Problems
Many people are concerned that they may be drinking more than is desirable for health, social, or other reasons. Here are practical suggestions for either cutting down or abstaining from alcohol along with tips for helping loved ones who have a drinking problem.
Could you or someone you care about drink too much?
The more of these questions that apply, the greater the chance that you might have a problem with drinking. But having a drinking problem doesn't mean that you are alcoholic or that you have to abstain from alcohol. Most, people who experience problems from drinking choose to reduce their consumption to moderate levels rather than to abstain. You might consult with your doctor for advice.
How to Cut Back on Drinking:
Be especially careful at home:
Keep only a small amount of alcohol, or even no alcohol, at home. This will help reduce temptation.
Keep your blood alcohol content (BAC) low:
When you drink, sip your drink slowly. Drink for taste rather than effect.
Don't drink on an empty stomach.
Consume no more than one drink per hour.
Eat food or "munchies" while drinking. High protein and high fat foods like cheese and nuts are especially good at keeping your blood alcohol content low.
Drink soda, water, or juice after a drink containing alcohol.
Learn to say "no" when you don't want a drink:
You don't have to take a drink just because it's offered to you.
You can "lose" unwanted drinks that are given to you. For example, set them down and later walk away.
You can drink non-alcoholic drinks that look like alcoholic ones. For example, tomato juice, lemonade, iced tea, water with ice cubes, club soda with orange juice, tonic water with a twist or wedge of lime, and either orange juice or 7-Up with grenadine.
Stay away from people who give you a hard time about not drinking as much as they do.
Saying "no" gets easier the more you do it. Practice refusing drinks politely. Say something clever.
I don't need any more hair on my chest
I'm performing neurosurgery in the morning
It sloshes too much when I jog
No thank you
Cutting down on your drinking can be difficult at times. Ask your family and friends for support to help you reach your goal. Talk to your doctor if you are having trouble cutting down; medications are available to help make it easier. Talking therapy can help. Get whatever help you need to reach your goal.
Stay away from people who want you to drink more than you want to. Watch out for people, times, places or situations that encourage you to drink too much.
Don't give up!
If you don't reach your goal the first time you try, don't get discouraged. Try again. Remember, get support from people who care about you and want to help. Don't give up!
Some signs that may indicate a drinking problem in a loved one include:
Helping a Loved One:
Having a drinking problem does not mean that a person is alcoholic, or addicted to alcohol. The person may only need to cut down rather than abstain. Many find the idea of drinking in moderation more acceptable and achievable than abstaining entirely from alcohol.
The decision whether to reduce drinking to moderate levels or abstain entirely from alcohol is best made after consulting with a doctor.
Helping a person who drinks too much takes knowledge, compassion and patience. Some actions are helpful and others are not.
Remember that changing behaviour, especially becoming an abstainer, is very difficult. Be understanding and patient, but don't accept any responsibility or guilt for the behavior of another person. You are responsible only for your own behaviour.
Whether you decide to cut down or to abstain entirely from alcohol, DON'T GIVE UP!
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