If you are serious about controlling your alcohol intake, monitoring your drinking is the first step in developing an effective strategy. If you’re are diligent in your self-assessment you’ll be able to identify (and rectify) any patterns of problem drinking before a problem develops. Decide to hold yourself accountable now and you may save yourself and your loved ones untold heartache, sleepless nights and countless tears. Willing suspension of disbelief may be beneficial at the movies, but when it comes to your life, only rigorous honesty will result in long term happiness. By monitoring and/or logging your chemical intake, whether it be drugs or alcohol, you give yourself a fighting chance against the enemy of our souls, Addiction. Not one person on this rock called earth is immune to its effects. It’s a formulaic equation. Put up defences early by practicing discipline, integrity and self-assessment. We do the enemies work for him when we refuse to acknowledge the reality of our circumstances. We might as well fly the flag of defeat when we let laziness, denial and ego take over. The good news is that it’s never too late to take control. And while it’s undoubtedly harder to undo addiction than it is to never succumb to it, you will develop spiritual muscles with a strength only known by those tried on the battlefields and trenches of addiction warfare.
If you are struggling with America’s favorite legal drug, and number one cause of chemical dependency, you may feel like you’ve lost control of your life. Like this whole drinking thing has taken spiraled way out of control. It might even seem, if you’re being totally honest, overwhelming. (Maybe even unmanageable? Perhaps we feel powerless? Eh, any first steppers?) Maybe you can’t even admit those feelings out loud yet. That’s okay. You don’t have to tell me or anyone else, and you definitely don’t have to start a website declaring your addiction to the world (only a masochist would do that ;). But if you do have that inkling deep down in your heart that something may be amiss, these tools can help you assess the problem. And you don’t have to share the results with anybody until you are ready. Start taking control of your life back today. No one but you can determine the severity of your problem or your best course of action. And no one but you can do anything about it. Whether your goal is abstinence, moderation or time-off, these tools will help you monitor (and therefore control) your drinking, and provide you with the information required to develop an effective strategy against addiction.
What is Sensible Drinking? – First things first, what is the recommended standard for alcohol intake? The World Health Organization breaks it down.
Quick Drink Assessment– Want a fast answer to a tough question? See how your drinking stands up to the recommended guidelines in a few shorts questions.
Standard Drink Formula – When keeping a log of your drinking, it does no good to fudge the numbers. No, one 24oz can of beer does not equal one drink! Here you’ll find out exactly what one drink entails.
Drink Calculator – Did your last equation in high school? This tool will help you keep an accurate log of how many drinks you’ve consumed in a day. It does all the math for you!
Drinking Diary – Time to get real. Start a drink diary to log exactly how much alcohol you consume in a week. There’s no point in fudging the numbers. You’ll only hurt yourself.
Am I Drinking Too Much?– Once you know exactly how much alcohol you consume in a week, take this quick and dirty test to see how you stack up to the recommended standard.
Do I Have A Drinking Problem? (Full Assessment) – Take the SMART Recovery drinking assessment to analyze how problematic your drinking really is.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has suggested these 11 steps for people serious about controlling their drinking. The same steps can be utilized by people trying to abstain from alcohol (or drugs) completely.
- Put it in writing. Making a list of the reasons to curtail your drinking — such as feeling healthier, sleeping better, or improving your relationships — can motivate you.
- Set a drinking goal. Set a limit on how much you will drink. You should keep your drinking below the recommended guidelines: no more than one standard drink per day for women and for men ages 65 and older, and no more than two standard drinks per day for men under 65. These limits may be too high for people who have certain medical conditions or for some older adults. Your doctor can help you determine what’s right for you.
- Keep a diary of your drinking. For three to four weeks, keep track of every time you have a drink. Include information about what and how much you drank as well as where you were. Compare this to your goal. If you’re having trouble sticking to your goal, discuss it with your doctor or another health professional.
- Don’t keep alcohol in your house. Having no alcohol at home can help limit your drinking.
- Drink slowly. Sip your drink. Drink soda, water, or juice after having an alcoholic beverage. Never drink on an empty stomach.
- Choose alcohol-free days. Decide not to drink a day or two each week. You may want to abstain for a week or a month to see how you feel physically and emotionally without alcohol in your life. Taking a break from alcohol can be a good way to start drinking less.
- Watch for peer pressure. Practice ways to say no politely. You do not have to drink just because others are, and you shouldn’t feel obligated to accept every drink you’re offered. Stay away from people who encourage you to drink.
- Keep busy. Take a walk, play sports, go out to eat, or catch a movie. When you’re at home, pick up a new hobby or revisit an old one. Painting, board games, playing a musical instrument, woodworking — these and other activities are great alternatives to drinking.
- Ask for support. Cutting down on your drinking may not always be easy. Let friends and family members know that you need their support. Your doctor, counselor, or therapist may also be able to offer help.
- Guard against temptation. Steer clear of people and places that make you want to drink. If you associate drinking with certain events, such as holidays or vacations, develop a plan for managing them in advance. Monitor your feelings. When you’re worried, lonely, or angry, you may be tempted to reach for a drink. Try to cultivate new, healthy ways to cope with stress.
- Be persistent. Most people who successfully cut down or stop drinking altogether do so only after several attempts. You’ll probably have setbacks, but don’t let them keep you from reaching your long-term goal. There’s really no final endpoint, as the process usually requires ongoing effort.