Cutting Back on Your Drinking
Do you enjoy a drink while socializing with friends or relaxing at the end of a long day? Are
there times when you wonder if you may be drinking too much? Here is some basic information
to help you find out if you’re drinking at a risky level, and some tips to cut down.
What’s a standard drink?
What is “low risk” drinking?
What’s the harm?
Not all drinking is harmful. You may have
heard that regular light to moderate drinking
(½ -1 drink a day for women and 2 drinks a
day for men) may even be good for the
heart. However, with at risk drinking or
heavy drinking (any more than described in
above diagram) the risks outweigh the
Thinking about a change? Here are some
tips to help:
ξ Keep track of how much you drink;
making note of each drink before
you drink it may help to slow you
ξ Count and measure; know standard
drink sizes and always measure at
home. Be careful, when you are
away from home drinks may be
stronger than you think!
ξ Set goals; decide how many days a
week you want to drink and how
many drinks you will have on those
days. It’s a good idea to have some
days you don’t drink at all.
ξ Pace and space; sip slowly. Have no
more than one standard drink with
alcohol per hour. Make every other
drink a nonalcoholic one, like water
ξ Include food; don’t drink on an
empty stomach. Food helps the
alcohol be absorbed into your system
ξ Find alternatives; fill free time by
developing new healthy activities,
hobbies and relationships that don’t
ξ Avoid triggers; if certain people or
places encourage you to drink even
when you don’t want to, try to avoid
them. If drinking at home is a
problem, keep your home alcohol
ξ Plan to handle urges; remind
yourself of the reasons you are
making a change, talk to someone
who understands, distract yourself
with exercise or hobbies.
ξ Know your “No”; you’re likely to
be offered a drink at times when you
don’t want one, have a polite and
convincing “no thanks” ready.
Rethinking Drinking: Alcohol and Your
National Institutes of Health
US Department of Health and Human
For More information: niaaa.nih.gov
Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Services Administration: www.samhsa.gov
Alcohol screening: How much is too much?
Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse: Signs,
Symptoms and Help: www.helpguide.org
Spanish Version #7628s
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 2/2017. University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7628