for Veterans and the Public
Alcohol drinking diary and change plan - Alcoholic Liver Disease for Patients
To keep track of how much you drink, use a drinking diary. Record the number of drinks you have every day. At the end of the month, add up the total number of drinks you had during each week.
One way to make any kind of change in your behavior is to come up with a "change plan." This exercise has you list the specific goals you would like to achieve, outline the steps and challenges you will meet in reaching those goals, and figure out ways to overcome those challenges. (A Drinking Diary and Change Plan are included in the resources section.)
Tips for Cutting Back on Drinking
The National Institutes of Health offers the following tips to help people cut back on drinking:
Watch it at home.
Keep only a small amount or no alcohol at home. Don't keep temptations around.
When you drink, sip your drink slowly. Take a break of 1 hour between drinks. Drink water or non-alcoholic drinks after a drink with alcohol. Do not drink on an empty stomach! Eat food when you are drinking.
Take a break from alcohol.
Pick a day or two each week when you will not drink at all. Then, try to stop drinking for 1 week. Think about how you feel physically and emotionally on these days. When you succeed and feel better, you may find it easier to cut down for good.
Learn how to say NO.
You do not have to drink when other people drink. You do not have to take a drink that is given to you. Practice ways to say no politely. For example, you can tell people you feel better when you drink less. Stay away from people who give you a hard time about not drinking.
What would you like to do instead of drinking? Use the time and money spent on drinking to do something fun with your family or friends. Go out to eat, see a movie, or go for a walk.
Cutting down on your drinking may be difficult at times. Ask your family and friends for support to help you reach your goal. Talk to your doctor if you are having trouble cutting down. Get the help you need to reach your goal.
Watch out for temptations.
Watch out for people, places, or times that make you want to drink, even if you do not want to. Stay away from people who drink a lot and avoid bars where you used to go. Plan ahead of time what you will do to avoid drinking when you are tempted.
Do not drink when you are angry or upset or have a bad day. These are habits you need to break if you want to drink less.
Do not give up!
Most people do not cut down or give up drinking all at once. Just like going on a diet, it is not easy to change. That is OK. If you do not reach your goal the first time, try again. Remember, get support from people who care about you and want to help. Do not give up!