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Developing a Plan to Moderate Your Drinking and Stick to It
Drinking Habits

Developing a Plan to Moderate Your Drinking and Stick to It

Published:
June 13, 2024
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8 min read
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Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
June 13, 2024
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8 min read
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
June 13, 2024
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8 min read
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
June 13, 2024
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8 min read
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Reframe Content Team
June 13, 2024
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8 min read

Building a healthier relationship with alcohol can be a transformative journey. Whether you're looking to cut back on your drinking or just want to ensure you maintain a moderate intake, having a structured plan can make all the difference. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you develop a plan to moderate your drinking and stick to it.

Understanding Your Motivation

Developing a Plan to Moderate Your Drinking and Stick to It

Before diving into the mechanics of moderation, it’s crucial to understand why you want to change your drinking habits. Reflect on the reasons that drive you. Is it for better health, improved relationships, or perhaps to enhance your overall well-being? Knowing your motivation can provide the necessary fuel to stay committed to your plan.

Identifying Triggers and Setting Goals

Identify Your Triggers: Reflect on the situations, emotions, or people that prompt you to drink more than intended. It might be social settings, stress, or even boredom. Recognizing these triggers can help you develop strategies to manage them effectively.

Set Clear Goals: Establish specific, achievable goals for your drinking habits. For instance, you might decide to limit drinking to weekends, or set a maximum number of drinks per week. By having clear targets, it's easier to track your progress and stay accountable.

Small Habits Lead to Big Changes

Implementing small, consistent habits can significantly impact your drinking behavior over time. According to The Role of Habits in Drinking Less or Quitting Alcohol, starting with manageable changes, like drinking water between alcoholic beverages or opting for alcohol-free days, can gradually lead to substantial improvements.

Practical Steps to Moderate Drinking

  1. Limit Time in Bars: Spending less time in environments that encourage drinking can help reduce your alcohol intake. If socializing at bars is part of your routine, consider suggesting alternative activities like coffee outings or hikes.
  2. Skip Drinking Alone: Drinking alone can often lead to higher consumption. Find healthier ways to cope with emotions or boredom, such as engaging in a hobby, exercising, or reaching out to friends and family.
  3. Find Comfort Elsewhere: Instead of turning to alcohol for comfort, explore other ways to manage stress and emotions. Activities like meditation, yoga, or even a relaxing bath can be effective substitutes.
  4. Set Drinking Limits: Establish clear boundaries for how much you will drink. For example, you might decide to have no more than two glasses of wine per night. Writing down these limits can reinforce your commitment.
  5. Track Your Progress: Keep a record of your drinking habits. Apps like Reframe can help you stay conscious of your alcohol intake and make informed decisions about your drinking patterns.
  6. Opt for Lower-Proof Options: Choose beverages with lower alcohol content to reduce your overall intake. Mixing drinks with non-alcoholic options, like seltzer water, can make a significant difference in your consumption levels.

Dealing with Social Pressure

Social settings can be challenging when trying to moderate drinking. Here are some strategies to help you navigate these situations:

  • Plan Ahead: Decide in advance how much you will drink and stick to it. Consider bringing your own non-alcoholic beverages to social gatherings.
  • Practice Saying No: It’s okay to decline a drink. You can simply say you’re taking a break or that you’re driving.
  • Stay Busy: Engage in activities that don’t revolve around drinking. Dancing, playing games, or engaging in conversations can divert attention from alcohol.

Coping with Stress Without Alcohol

Stress is a common trigger for drinking. Developing healthier coping mechanisms is essential for moderating your alcohol intake. Explore activities that help you relax and unwind without relying on alcohol:

  • Exercise: Physical activity can reduce stress and improve your mood. Whether it’s a brisk walk, yoga, or hitting the gym, find an exercise routine that works for you.
  • Meditation and Mindfulness: Practices like meditation can help you manage stress and stay present. Apps and online resources can guide you through mindfulness exercises.
  • Hobbies and Interests: Engaging in hobbies can provide a sense of fulfillment and distract you from the urge to drink.

Monitoring Your Progress

Regularly reviewing your progress can help you stay on track and make necessary adjustments to your plan. Reflect on the following:

  • What’s Working: Identify the strategies that have been effective in helping you moderate your drinking.
  • Challenges: Acknowledge any obstacles you’ve faced and think about how you can overcome them in the future.
  • Adjustments: Be flexible and willing to adjust your goals and strategies as needed.

Seeking Support

Don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or professional resources. Joining a support group or talking to a counselor can provide additional motivation and accountability.

Developing a plan to moderate your drinking is a positive step towards healthier living. By understanding your motivations, setting clear goals, and implementing practical strategies, you can successfully manage your alcohol intake and improve your overall well-being. Remember, small changes can lead to significant results over time. Stay committed, be patient with yourself, and celebrate your progress along the way.

Moderate Your Drinking Effectively

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet millions of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol. 

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app through the App Store or Google Play today!

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At Reframe, we do science, not stigma. We base our articles on the latest peer-reviewed research in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral science. We follow the Reframe Content Creation Guidelines, to ensure that we share accurate and actionable information with our readers. This aids them in making informed decisions on their wellness journey.
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