4 Ways to Avoid Excessive Consumption of Alcoholic Drinks

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4 Ways to Avoid Excessive Consumption of Alcoholic Drinks
4 Ways to Avoid Excessive Consumption of Alcoholic Drinks

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages in a short period of time is the most common consumption pattern in the country, but this is also a recurrent problem in several countries around the world. Drinking too much too soon is not the same as alcoholism, another pattern of alcohol abuse, but this problem also has its own risks. It doesn't matter if you just want to cut down on drinking or stop drinking alcohol altogether, you can learn to plan a series of goals for yourself, create a system of accountability, and increase your chances of success.


Method 1 of 4: Building a Plan

Stop Binge Drinking Step 1

Step 1. Examine your drinking habits

The US National Institute of Alcohol Abuse defines short-term binge drinking as "a drinking pattern that raises blood alcohol concentration levels to 0.08g/dL." For men, this typically takes about five drinks (eight units of alcohol) in two hours. For women, four drinks (six units of alcohol) in two hours. Other warning signs include:

  • You tend to drink quickly.
  • You typically drink in excess of what is considered moderate (one drink/2-3 units of alcohol a day for women; two drinks/3-4 units of alcohol a day for men).
  • You drink to "get drunk".
  • You feel unable to control your drinking or find it difficult to stop drinking once you start.
  • You drink more than you intended or you lose track of how much you've already had.
  • You have developed a tolerance to alcohol, which means that you need to drink more than before to feel its effects.
Stop Binge Drinking Step 2

Step 2. Think about how drinking has affected your life

A sign that you have a problem with alcohol can be seen when it starts to affect other areas of your life, such as work or studies, your personal relationships, or your health. A pattern of consumption that causes these problems is called "alcohol abuse" and, if recurrent, can develop into alcoholism. The ways alcohol can impact your life include:

  • Inability to complete responsibilities at home, work or studies.
  • Feeling of inability to do things you like because of the side effects of drinking (hangover, fainting, etc.).
  • Drink even when your friends don't or drink to feel accepted.
  • Excessive feelings of anxiety or depression.
  • Enter into potentially harmful situations due to alcohol (unsafe sex, drunk driving, etc.).
  • Presenting withdrawal symptoms after a bout of binge drinking, such as trouble sleeping, nausea, vomiting, excessive sweating, irritability, tremors, anxiety, or depression.
Stop Binge Drinking Step 3

Step 3. Decide whether or not you need to stop drinking completely

For many people, drinking is an all or nothing matter: one drink is too much and 20 is not enough. If you've tried to cut back on drinking and have failed, or suspect that you'll never be able to "take just one," it may be better to channel your efforts into stopping drinking altogether.

  • Alcohol abuse can turn into alcoholism, especially if it lasts a long time.
  • If you enjoy drinking socially and wish to distance yourself from abuse, learn to change your drinking relationship to feel comfortable with just a few drinks.
Stop Binge Drinking Step 4

Step 4. Set clear goals for yourself

It doesn't matter if you just need to reduce consumption or eliminate it altogether, setting goals can help. Be reasonable: Remember that significant change doesn't happen overnight, and setting these goals in stages can help.

  • If you have decided to reduce your consumption, define the days you will drink and the days you will not drink. For example: "I will only drink on Saturday nights and Wednesday afternoons."
  • Also limit the amount you drink. Write the amount on a small card and carry it in your wallet. For example: "On Saturday night, I will have no more than three drinks. On Wednesday afternoon, I will only have one cocktail."
  • If you want to interrupt consumption completely, set a deadline. For example "Until July 31st I will no longer drink alcohol".
  • If you drink a lot of alcohol, be aware that quitting "out of the blue" can produce dangerous side effects. Withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, depression, irritability, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, excessive sweating, trembling, headaches, loss of appetite, hallucinations, confusion, seizures, fever, and restlessness. Decreasing consumption progressively can facilitate control over your body until the set deadline.
  • Some studies suggest that drinking a little a day (no more than one drink) can reduce the chances of excessive drinking in a short amount of time.
Stop Binge Drinking Step 5

Step 5. See a doctor if you believe your behavior is a problem

They can help you determine the safest way to reduce or stop drinking, and they can refer you to an expert on the subject, such as a psychiatrist, if you think it will help. Before seeing a doctor, gather some information:

  • Frequency of consumption and quantities of drinks. Be honest, after all the doctor's job is not to judge you and he can't help you unless you tell the truth.
  • Any symptoms you have, such as headaches, nausea, depression, etc.
  • Personal information, such as major issues or events (such as divorce, starting college, getting a new job, etc.).
  • Medicines, supplements and vitamins you are consuming.
Stop Binge Drinking Step 6

Step 6. Inform your loved ones that you believe you have a problem

As uncomfortable as the truth is, if you suspect you need to stop drinking, it's important to let your close friends and family know that you need to make a change. Surrounding yourself with supportive people will help to increase your sense of responsibility and will be a great first step in admitting that you have a problem and need to address it.

  • Tell your drinking buddies that you're worried that your fun is becoming a serious problem. Emphasize that you are not judging anyone or asking them to change their behavior. Ask for their support and say you still want to socialize – you're just not drinking anymore (or as much). For example: "I am not satisfied with some of the effects of alcohol as it is seriously interfering with my life and I would like to reduce it. This decision only affects me and I want to continue hanging out with you, the difference is that I will take one soda instead of beer".
  • If your family members also drink alcohol, consider whether the presence of drinks at home would become a huge temptation. If you think you can't control it, talk to your loved ones. It may be necessary to completely remove alcohol from the household, especially if your goal is to stop drinking. If you inform them of the importance of this problem, they are likely to support you and do everything to help you.
  • If your problem is more serious, ask your friends and loved ones to socialize with you in places that don't serve alcohol. Hanging out with your friends in a bar can put you under a lot of pressure.
Stop Binge Drinking Step 7

Step 7. Learn to recognize triggers that make you want to drink to excess

If you drink with the intention of getting very drunk on a regular basis, it's important to confront the cause of those cravings to avoid temptation. What makes you want to drink? Is an event, person or emotion responsible for this?

  • Peer pressure is a common trigger, especially among young people. About 90% of alcohol consumed by people under the age of 21, for example, occurs in binge drinking sessions. It can be tempting to drink to "fit in" or to keep up with friends who like to drink a lot. People who don't have a drinking problem (or who don't recognize this problem) may pressure you to "have one drink." If your friends continue to drink excessively around you or pressure you to drink with them, you may need to stop socializing with them.
  • Stress causes many people to drink. If you use alcohol to escape the stresses of life at home, relationships, or work, you may need to try to relax and find more productive ways to channel your stress and control your emotions.
  • Boredom makes many people drink. If you're drinking alone on a Friday night, not because you're depressed, but because you don't have anything better to do, or if you're constantly drinking to encourage regular activities like going to the grocery store, spending time with healthier and more productive activities can help you out.
Stop Binge Drinking Step 8

Step 8. Keep a consumption journal

This may sound cheesy and silly, but it can be difficult to answer many of these questions if you are an average drinker who is frustrated with yourself. Drinkers are usually in denial, so it's hard to figure out what makes them drink. Writing regularly about your spending habits, however, can reveal information about you that could not be discovered just by thinking about it.

  • The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse has a form that can help you record your impulses, how you responded to them, and what you plan to do next time.
  • Remember the last time you drank heavily and write about what happened that day. What do you remember? What led to binge drinking? What did you do the next day? How did you feel?
  • Keep a history of how many times you drink a week. When did you want to drink? When did you think about drinking? Why did you want to drink? Stay focused on recording every impulse to learn more about how you think.
  • You can also find mobile apps, such as MyDrinkAware, that help you record your alcohol consumption. These apps can be useful when you are out and about.

Method 2 of 4: Reducing Consumption

Stop Binge Drinking Step 9

Step 1. Establish consumption rules for yourself

It is important to remember the goals you have set if you want to reduce your alcohol consumption. Stick to the goals by setting some rules that will guide your behavior whenever you are in a situation where you might encounter alcohol. The rules are different for each person and you should find what works best for you. Some guidelines that can help you become a casual drinker include:

  • Never drink before parties or other social gatherings (ie no "pre-party").
  • Never drink beyond the "low risk" drinking defined by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse:

    • For women:

      don't drink more than three drinks in a day and more than seven a week.

    • For men:

      don't drink more than four drinks in a day and more than 14 a week.

  • Never drink alone.
  • Stick to the goals you set (eg "only two beers on Saturday").
  • Avoid drinking with people who consume alcohol excessively.
  • Never drink to relieve stress.
Stop Binge Drinking Step 10

Step 2. Understand what "a drink" means

The American National Institute of Alcohol Abuse has standards for what counts as "a drink," which equals approximately 14 grams of alcohol. However, many people have no idea what this means. If you do not understand what is equivalent to 140 ml of wine, use a measuring cup with colored water to get a better idea. Remember that the alcohol level determines what counts as "a drink", so if you typically consume things like top-fermented beer (which typically has an alcohol level of 6-9%) calculate how much you've already consumed. according to the alcohol content. A drink equals:

  • 340 ml of common beer or cider (5% alcohol).
  • 225 ml malt liquor (7% alcohol).
  • 140 ml of wine (12% alcohol).
  • 45 ml (one serving) of hard liquor.
Stop Binge Drinking Step 11

Step 3. Take it easy and make each drink last longer

If you get intoxicated quickly and end up drinking a lot to calm your nerves, it can be helpful to slow down and make each drink last longer. You'll get more out of each drink and drink less while socializing.

  • Try not to have more than one drink per hour, depending on your tolerance. (For example, men are often able to drink more than women before they feel the effects of alcohol.)
  • Use a straw to drink cocktails. It will take you longer to drink them this way.
  • If you're used to ordering pints, order half a pint. Drink slowly instead of overturning the glass.
  • Order drinks with ice to dilute the alcohol. You will take longer to drink and consume a little more water.
  • Your body absorbs alcohol into the bloodstream faster than it can be metabolized, so the faster you drink it, the more time the alcohol has to run through your body, doing damage you'll regret during your morning after morning hangover..
Stop Binge Drinking Step 12

Step 4. Keep yourself busy

One of the reasons behind the constant drinking is the lack of things to do. What do you feel like doing when you're not moving or participating in something? Dancing, chatting, playing pool and throwing darts can keep you busy and away from drinking. After removing the focus from the alcohol, you should decrease your drinking.

Make a plan in advance of what to do if you can't find anything to keep you busy. For example, if you can't distract yourself, determine whether to politely excuse yourself and walk away, find someone to talk to, or do something to take your mind off the drinks

Stop Binge Drinking Step 13

Step 5. Force yourself to drink four times as much water as alcohol

Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it dehydrates your body because it makes you expel four times more fluid than normal. Drinking water will also decrease your alcohol consumption, as well as decreasing your chances of a hangover the next day.

  • For example, if you consume a cocktail with 50 ml of alcohol, drink at least a 250 ml glass of water before drinking more alcohol.
  • Try a common drink among alcoholic drinks. Taking a sip of soda between alcoholic drinks can force you to drink more slowly.
Stop Binge Drinking Step 14

Step 6. Drink only during meals and don't "go out drinking"

This will allow you to still enjoy the ritual of visiting bars and restaurants with friends, but with a meal time limit. Have a glass of wine or beer with dinner, but stop when the plate is clean.

  • Drinking on an empty stomach increases the chances of hangovers. Eating a healthy meal before or during drinking sessions helps you slow down the rate at which your body absorbs alcohol, allowing it more time to metabolize it. Fats and carbohydrates are great for this!
  • When you've finished eating, have a coffee or a drink of water and call it a day. Don't keep drinking! If you're in a busy restaurant, it might be time to clear the table before they start looking at you.
Stop Binge Drinking Step 15

Step 7. If you are going to meet your friends and you are worried that you may not be able to control yourself, make it impossible to drink more than your desired volume

Disrupting yourself can help you reach your goals even when your motivation is low.

  • Bring just enough cash for two drinks and leave the card at home. Check the menu in advance and take the exact money to pay only for what you're willing to drink.
  • Consume more expensive drinks. More expensive brands have fewer congeners, chemicals that contribute to hangovers, and you won't be able to afford many drinks if you're spending more than usual.
  • Do not store alcohol at home. If you usually drink after the service and want to avoid consuming one crate a night, stop buying them and take them home. It can be hard to resist finding a bunch of beer in the fridge!
  • Buy smaller cups. It can be easy to overdo it if your cups are too big. For example, a glass of wine can contain more than the 140ml that counts as "one drink". You tend to drink too much if the cup is bigger or if you hold it and don't leave it on the table.
Stop Binge Drinking Step 16

Step 8. Set time limits for drinking sessions

If you're going out and you always tend to order another drink, stay another hour, and keep drinking until morning, an effective way to control your binge might be to set a time limit for your binge. If you're going out to meet friends at 9 pm, don't stay past midnight, for example. Choose a time and stick to it.

Setting a time limit doesn't mean you should drink as much as you can until the time. Remember the ultimate goal or you won't get results

Stop Binge Drinking Step 17

Step 9.Make other plans, after all, the fun doesn't have to involve alcohol

Instead of going out drinking, suggest that you and your friends do something different. If you're worried that you won't be able to resist if you're in a bar, go to a movie, a show, or do something active.

Stop Binge Drinking Step 18

Step 10. Practice saying "no thanks"

You will likely find yourself in situations where you will be offered a drink or where you will be encouraged to drink on a day where you are "off alcohol". Say not politely but firmly.

  • Make eye contact when refusing the drink to reinforce what you said.
  • Keep the answer short and simple. Long answers or excuses tend not to convince others. Be to the point and say something like "No thanks, I don't want to" or "No thanks, today is my alcohol-free day and I would be disappointed in myself if I didn't stick to this."

Method 3 of 4: Stopping at Once

Stop Binge Drinking Step 19

Step 1. Restrict your access to alcohol

If you have a cupboard full of spirits, get rid of it. Donate your drinks or recycle your bottles, as remembering the existence of alcohol can increase your desire to drink.

  • If you always stop at the same bar on the way home, take another route to avoid it. Go straight home or find another place to de-stress after work, like a gym.
  • Avoid places where you used to drink and ask your friends to help you avoid alcohol for a while. You can get to the point where you don't mind being in a bar without drinking, but take a break beforehand and avoid temptation as much as possible.
Stop Binge Drinking Step 20

Step 2. Expect the physical effects of withdrawal

You don't need to drink daily to develop a physical resistance to alcohol. Considerable overconsumption, even if it is infrequent, can lead to side effects if you discontinue it completely. Even if you just cut back on the amount, you may be able to see a number of signs that can stress you out and make you drink again. If you regularly consume alcohol to excess, you are likely to experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Excessive sweating.
  • Nausea.
  • Headaches.
  • Dizziness or shivering.
  • Insomnia.
Stop Binge Drinking Step 21

Step 3. Inform your loved ones of your goals

You will need the support of your friends and family to get through this, so let them know that you are concerned about your alcohol consumption, that you believe you are incapable of drinking "in moderation" and that you need to stop drinking altogether.

If you face pressure from unsupportive peers or friends, distance yourself from them as you try to control the drinking problem. Being around people who also have this problem can hinder your progress

Stop Binge Drinking Step 22

Step 4. Talk to a doctor about disulfiram

This medication was created to make alcohol consumption undesirable by producing hangover symptoms instantly and blocking the liver's ability to process alcohol. It can be extremely effective in combating alcohol cravings. Other medications of this type may also be prescribed by doctors to help you manage stress and cravings. Talk to a general practitioner and find out if this is a good option for you.

If you suffer from other addictions, be careful when trying to stop. Stopping certain drugs, such as cocaine, crack, heroin, and some prescription drugs, is something that should be done under medical supervision. Drastic or sudden changes in the consumption of these substances can cause serious medical complications or even death

Stop Binge Drinking Step 23

Step 5. Find a substitute for alcohol

If you're psychologically stuck on drinking after work, replace alcohol with something healthier. Order an iced tea in a glass of beer and sit in the same spot to enjoy the same ritual without alcohol. Soft drinks, teas, coffees and other beverages can be "healthier" alternatives.

Stop Binge Drinking Step 24

Step 6. Don't discuss your decision with others

If you decide to stop drinking alcohol completely, it's possible that some friends – especially your drinking buddies – will try to convince you that you don't have a problem or want to discuss it with you. It's best to avoid this kind of discussion, as that's your business.

Stop Binge Drinking Step 25

Step 7. Find a support group as it is very difficult to stop on your own

Learn to count on others and surround yourself with people who support your desire to stop drinking and who will help you through this process.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is the most famous group and is one of the most effective ways to stop drinking. Even if you don't consider yourself an alcoholic, attending a few meetings can be an excellent way to find support and effective ways to stop drinking

Method 4 of 4: Staying Motivated

Stop Binge Drinking Step 26

Step 1. Take charge of stopping

Find a way to be honest with yourself, because drinkers usually lie and make excuses not to rationalize excessive drinking. Keeping an alcohol journal and setting specific, clear goals will help keep you on track.

  • Keep a record of any slips. For example, if you drank on a day that you shouldn't have, or if you went over a set limit, make a note of it.
  • Find a close friend who won't judge you but who you can't hide things from and tell him everything.
  • Attend support group meetings regularly. Knowing that you must be responsible for your friends in the group can help you stay on track.
Stop Binge Drinking Step 27

Step 2. Avoid people who want to make you drink

If you used to drink a lot socially or surrounded yourself with people who drank to excess, you might need to cut ties with them or at least significantly restrict your access to them. You may need to avoid:

  • Compulsive drinkers.
  • Competitive drinkers.
  • Stressful friends.
  • Toxic relationships.
Stop Binge Drinking Step 28

Step 3. "Surf" on your wishes

You will probably want to drink and there is no way to control it. Instead of fighting the urge, accept it and ignore it. Remember that this urge will last for a limited time before it fades away like a wave.

  • Accepting the desire is not the same as giving in to it. Rather, it means you are not struggling in vain to feel something different.
  • Take a physical inventory. Take a few moments to breathe deeply and focus on your body. Notice how these desires manifest. For example, maybe you feel them in your mouth and nose, or maybe your hands start to shake.
  • Focus on the area that is experiencing the craving and pay attention to the physical sensations. Try to describe how you feel, but don't judge yourself, after all you don't want to feel bad, you just understand what's going on. For example: "My mouth is very dry. I feel like a beer would cool me down. I keep swallowing saliva and imagining the bubbles going down my throat."
  • Repeat this process with every part of your body. With time and practice, the desire may not go away, but you will be able to understand it and wait for it to pass.
Stop Binge Drinking Step 29

Step 4. Find healthy ways to process stress that don't involve drinking alcohol

Stress can be the reason we drink and it can force us to give up our principles to drink alcohol. You may have been booze-free for months, but a bad day on the job can bring your cravings back. Find other ways to deal with this stress without spilling a bottle.

  • Recognize when you are feeling a craving that came about because of stress. If you've just come out of a long and frustrating shift at work, it can be tempting to stop by a bar on your way home. Instead, find another activity to do, like visiting a park and playing some ball, going to a gym to lift weights, or throwing some darts at a target with your boss's face.
  • Instead of drinking, call up supportive friends and talk about how much you want to drink. Talking about the desire can help you make it go away.
Stop Binge Drinking Step 30

Step 5. Find new hobbies and interests

If you're used to spending a lot of your free time drinking with friends, sobriety can seem a little tedious. What else can you do? Find productive ways to spend all the time you'd waste drinking.

  • Start the creative projects you've always wanted to do. Write that book in your head, learn to play guitar or knit. Developing a new creative skill can motivate you to do other things.
  • Try joining social groups that allow you to spend time with others without drinking. Join a hobby club or bowling team. Make new friends with common tastes.
Stop Binge Drinking Step 31

Step 6. Start exercising

Exercising can make the idea of ​​excessive drinking seem awful. If you get excited about getting in shape, you'll hardly waste time thinking about drinking.

  • Studies show that aerobic exercise of moderate intensity has positive effects on the recovery of people who abuse alcohol.
  • Aerobic exercise also improves symptoms of anxiety and depression, which may be causing alcohol abuse.
  • Mindful meditation is also helpful for people recovering from alcohol abuse, as it focuses on observing your body and thoughts without judging them. This can help you recognize cravings without giving in to them.
  • Competitive sports can also be healthy distractions. You can play basketball with your friends, participate in tennis competitions, or swim or do activities that don't involve drinking.
Stop Binge Drinking Step 32

Step 7. Reward yourself for periods of sobriety

At the end of the first week, go out to eat at that restaurant you've always wanted to visit. At the end of the first year, take that trip abroad that you've been craving for a long time. Encourage yourself to stay sober for the long term.


  • Don't go out with the intention of getting drunk while celebrating something. Instead, think about why you're celebrating and about the people who are following you.
  • Although not everyone who consumes alcohol excessively is an alcoholic, this can be a sign of alcoholism, especially if your life is negatively affected by alcohol and you are unable to stop it. If you're worried that your drinking habits have become more than an occasional problem, it's time to get some real help.


  • Do not drive under the influence of alcohol. Be responsible and call a taxi or, better yet, stay sober!
  • Drinking excessively in a short time can lead to alcohol intoxication. Signs of this problem include: confusion, vomiting, seizures, slow or irregular breathing, bluish skin, hypothermia, and fainting. If someone has been drinking and has these symptoms, call 911 immediately.

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