Maintaining Low-Risk Drinking
A few tips to keep you in a healthy range
While there is always some risk associated with drinking, it's likely that for most people a drink or two here and there isn't going to do much to harm you. The best way to ensure that you don't end up with an alcohol-related health problem, it's best to stick to the recommended guidelines - which, for women means no more than 3 drinks in one day and 7 in one week; and for men, no more than 4 drinks in one day and 14 in one week.
Here are a few tips and ideas that could help keep you in that low-risk range:
- Make the guidelines last. Given the low-risk guidelines (see above), you might consider stretching these guidelines out over the course of the night. For example, instead of ordering a double rum and coke, which could be equal to two or more drinks in one glass, order a single. Drink beer out of a 12-ounce bottle. Order the smaller glass of wine.
- Space out the drinks with something else. Between alcoholic drinks, sip on a soda or some water. You'll still be drinking something, but you'll be sharper by the end of the night.
- Take cash, and leave the credit card at home. Less money on hand will make it more difficult to keep ordering rounds for the buddies.
- Avoid rounds. While we're on the topics of rounds, this might be something to avoid participating in. Drinking in rounds makes it easy to lose track of how much you are drinking, since you could be at the mercy of the heaviest drinker in your group! Drink at your own pace by giving the rounds a pass.
- Take breaks. Your body wasn't meant to tolerate night after night of alcohol input, even in light amounts. So, give it a break! Make a conscious choice to not drink every night.
- Deal with that stress. We know that many people use alcohol as a way to cope with stressful events and negative feelings. If you have some stuff going on in your life that's challenging, find a way to address it productively without resorting to alcohol as a way to deaden the feelings. Find a yoga class, meditate, take up knitting, go to counseling... whatever works, just do that instead of turning to the bottle. Even one drink as a way to avoid negative feelings could become problematic.
Want to know more about making small changes in your drinking such as cutting down? Awesome! Click here to do just that.