Never drink alone. Photo: Thinkstock
"No one should need alcohol to function socially."
People often don’t realise they have a drinking problem. Unlike other health-destroying habits, such as illegal drugs, drinking is something that most adults do, and it’s quite healthy in moderation. Moreover, it’s woven into our cultural fabric.
So how do you know when your drinking has become a problem? Look for the small signs, such as waking in the middle of the night with a raging thirst or finding it harder to get out of bed in the morning. If this is you, it may be time to cut back. These 16 strategies will help you do it. One caveat, though: alcoholism is a serious disease. If you think you might be, or you know you are, an alcoholic, you need more help, so please see your doctor.
• For optimal health, limit your drinking to a level slightly lower than ‘Safe limits’: up to two drinks a day for men and women, preferably with at least one alcohol-free day each week. And no stockpiling: going without alcohol today doesn’t increase the amount you can have tomorrow. In particular, you can’t save up for a weekend binge.
• Meet friends, dates or business associates at a coffee bar, not a pub. If the point of the get-together is fun, casual conversation in a friendly environment, there are many ways to do that without the alcohol. Coffee shops and cafes are good places to meet. Other possibilities include bistro-style restaurants, bowling alleys and even sushi bars.
• Never, ever drink alone. Make it a rule. Not because it is so evil – indeed, there are plenty of times when a glass of wine by yourself is appropriate. Rather, do it for the discipline. If you get into the habit of drinking alone, it’s too easy to start drinking excessive amounts.
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