Drinking socially can be a lot of fun. It’s a sort of social lubricant that can help people relax around people they don’t know or have a good time with friends. Also, drinking can take the edge off after a long day of work.
However, drinking can also lead to a lot of problems. When people move from casual occasional drinking to regular drinking, they consume a lot more calories, increasing other health risks. Drinking can become a destructive addiction that can ultimately lead to early death.
Reducing the amount of alcohol they drink is a fantastic idea for people who want to feel healthier. You typically have more energy to exercise when you stop drinking as much. You’ll also feel better able to think clearly and manage obligations more effectively.
Sometimes, reducing drinking takes more than a mental decision not to drink tonight. Habits are hard to break, so you need other strategies to help take your mind off drinking and tell your body that it doesn’t need those drinks right now. Here are some things you can do starting today to reduce how much you drink.
Set a Drink Limit
Put up some guardrails around how much you drink and when. Of course, this can be different for everyone based on their goals, but tracking how much you drink keeps you accountable.
For example, you can tell yourself that you’ll have two drinks maximum at your friend’s weekend party or just one at the office happy hour. Also, you can do things like limit your weekly alcohol intake.
Don’t Drink Alone
Stop drinking alone to reduce how much alcohol you drink. Drinking alone, especially for people who want to stop drinking, is a major red flag. If you find yourself making cocktails or grabbing beers while in the basement watching TV at night, it could indicate bigger problems down the road.
When drinking becomes a daily habit, it’s easier to develop into a problem that’s harder to manage. Avoid alcohol problems by only drinking with other people around.
Think About Your Environment
It’s hard to say no to drinks when you’re constantly around alcohol and other people who are drinking. However, your environment plays a big part in how much you drink, so think twice about where you spend your time and with whom you’re spending it.
Avoid parties, socials, and work functions where alcohol is the main event. Instead, stay active in things that grab your attention in positive ways like exercise classes, hobbies, etc. You won’t feel like you need to drink to be part of the group and will drink less as a result.
Tell People You’d Like to Stop Drinking
This move might get you a little nervous, particularly for people who will feel a bit hypocritical if they still keep drinking the same after the announcement. But telling your friends and family that you’d like to cut down on how much alcohol you’re drinking can be a big help.
They’ll give you friendly reminders, sure, but most of all, they’ll avoid putting you in situations where you’re tempted to drink. For example, your spouse or friends may opt to skip serving wine at dinners when you’re there. They’ll drink water along with you instead.
Get Something to Look Forward To
Perhaps the best way to stop drinking is to fill your time with other activities that help you not think about drinking. When you have something you look forward to, like a new hobby or a club you’ve joined, then you’re much less likely to want to drink. You’ll want a clear mind so you can participate fully in any activities.
Take up a new sport, learn an instrument, or start learning a new skill that will earn you money. When you’re driven by purpose, you won’t need alcohol as much.
Controlling those impulses is challenging. Peptides, though, are short chains of amino acids designed to trigger specific responses in the body. Melanotan 2 is a peptide known to help with oxytocin signaling. Past studies in rats, for example, show that those that received Melanotan 2 reduced their alcohol intake and increased how much water they drank. The results were impressive even in rats who previously preferred drinking alcohol.
Researchers believe the peptide produced such impressive results because it taps into the process of craving and desire in the brain. It may point to craving pathways and help researchers better understand what drives impulses.