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Drinking Habits

How To Break a Bad Habit (and Replace It With a Good One)

December 19, 2022
10 min read
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Written by
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.
December 19, 2022
10 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.
December 19, 2022
10 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.
December 19, 2022
10 min read
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Reframe Content Team
December 19, 2022
10 min read

Most of us have bad habits that we'd like to break. Whether it's smoking, drinking, overeating, or something else entirely, we all have at least one thing we know we should cut back on. The problem is, bad habits can be tough to break. They often become ingrained in our daily routine, making it hard to change our ways. However, it is possible to cut back on drinking. It just takes a little effort and perseverance. So, if you’re wondering how to go about breaking a bad habit or replacing habits that no longer serve you with those that do, this is a great place to start!

Breaking a Bad Habit

Bad habits can interrupt our life and prevent us from accomplishing our goals. If you’re wondering how to stop a bad habit, there are a few effective ways to begin.

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If you're a heavy drinker, try cutting back on the amount of alcohol you consume. Start by eliminating alcohol from one day each week.

Gradually increase the number of days you go without drinking.

You can also try setting limits for yourself, such as having only two drinks per night.

Causes of Bad Habits

Everything from biting your nails to drinking every weekend can be a simple response to stress and boredom.

Many people don't realize most bad habits are actually caused by these two triggers. When we're feeling stressed and bored, we often turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms like excessively drinking alcohol. The good news is that there are steps you can take to cut back on your bad habits.

If you're feeling stressed, exercise or meditation can help. If you're bored, find ways to occupy your time that are positive and productive, like reading or taking up a new hobby. By making a few simple changes, you can break the cycle of bad habits and improve your overall health.

You can teach yourself new and healthy ways to deal with stress and boredom, which you can substitute in place of your bad habits.

Bad Habits Can Signal Deeper Pain

Stress or boredom that are on the surface can be caused by deeper issues. These issues can be tough to think about, but if you're serious about making changes, you have to be honest with yourself.

If you find that your bad habits are symptomatic of something bigger, seek professional help to address the underlying issues. Even small changes can make a big difference in your overall health and well-being.

Don't be afraid to start making some positive changes today.

Why Habit Change Is Important

Are you trying to cut back on drinking alcohol? For many people, cutting back on drinking can be a difficult task. There may be a number of beliefs or reasons behind this bad habit. Recognizing the causes of your bad habits is crucial to habit change.

For example, if you're afraid of social situations, you may drink alcohol to help you feel more comfortable. Or, if you're trying to cope with a difficult event, you may turn to alcohol as a way to numb yourself from the pain.

Whatever the reason, it's important to identify the underlying cause of your drinking habits so that you can address it head-on. Only then will you be able to cut back on your alcohol consumption in a sustainable way.

How To Replace Habits That No Longer Serve You

Many people find that they drink alcohol to temporarily cope with stress. If you are struggling to cut back on drinking, there are a few things you can do to help yourself.

  1. Identify the situations or emotions that trigger your need to drink.
  2. Find healthy ways to cope with these triggers.
  3. Cut back on the amount of alcohol you keep at home.
  4. Track your drinking.

We all screw up every now and then; it's part of being human. If you're trying to make any kind of change in your life, there's a good chance you'll experience a setback at some point. Rather than beating yourself up over a mistake, plan for it. Those who are the most successful at making changes get back on track quickly because they plan for setbacks so they don’t upset any progress.

Here are three tips to keep your progress going:

1. Know Your Triggers

Identify your triggers. What are the situations or emotions that lead you to drink? After you know what your triggers are, start avoiding them or at least be aware of them so that you can be prepared when they arise.

2. Lean on Your Inner Circle

It's helpful to have a support system in place. Let your family and friends know you're trying to cut back on drinking and ask them for their support. Having someone to talk to when you're feeling tempted can make all the difference.

3. Reframe the Setback

The way we think about setbacks can make all the difference. Try to think of it as a learning opportunity! Once you’re on the path to changing a habit, there’s no such thing as “going back to square one” or “starting from scratch.” Instead, it’s just part of the journey.

Summing Up

If you find that you're drinking more alcohol than you'd like, it may be helpful to cut back. Drinking too much can be the result of stress or boredom, and it can have negative consequences on your health, relationships, and work life.

Remember that setbacks are normal and expected. Don't beat yourself up if you have one — just get back on track and continue working toward your goal. And we’re here to cheer you on as you move forward in your journey!

The Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking with quick and easy daily activities. These activities are designed to help you become more aware of your drinking habits and make small changes that can lead to cutting back overall.

Change Your Habits With Reframe!

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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