Just about everyone today has heard the phrase “everything in moderation” at some point in his or her life. For those with addictive tendencies, following this axiom can be harder than it is for most. Read on to find out about four effective strategies for resisting addictive tendencies to build a toolkit for success.
Make Sober Friends
It’s common for heavy drinkers to use socializing with friends as an excuse to overindulge. Unfortunately, for those with addictive tendencies, a quick beer with friends can quickly spiral into days of alcohol use. The best way to avoid social triggers is to form friendships with sober people who share common interests or hobbies and are willing to say no when opportunities to overindulge come up.
While some heavy drinkers are able to cut back and exercise moderation, some find that it’s easier to just not drink at all. Those who have decided that even casual drinking isn’t worth the risk can check out the services available at Harris House to help them get sober and stay that way.
Set a Drinking Goal
It’s easier for consumers to keep their alcohol consumption within the CDC’s recommended guidelines if they set personal drinking goals for themselves. The 2015-2020 guidelines recommend consuming no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men over the age of 21, but individual consumers can set stricter goals. Try only drinking on weekends or saving that glass or two of wine for special occasions.
Sticking to drinking goals can be hard. People who want to moderate their drinking can write their goals down and keep a daily diary to help them stay accountable. Those having trouble following their predetermined goals may want to consider speaking with an addiction specialist.
Those who have a history of heavy drinking often find that revisiting the places they’ve habitually visited with the intention of getting drunk can act as a trigger. It may be easier to stick to personal drinking goals while avoiding bars where other people are likely to overindulge. Instead of meeting friends at a bar, try to find a restaurant that provides an environment more conducive to exercising moderation.
Even when consumers are avoiding potential environmental triggers, it’s still important to monitor internal triggers like feeling worried, angry, lonely, or stressed. One key to moderation for those with a history of using alcohol to self-medicate is to only drink when they feel strong and emotionally stable. This is particularly relevant to people who struggle with mental illness.
It takes most people at least a few attempts to cut back on drinking, and some find that they’re never able to have just one drink without risking a relapse. There’s plenty of hope for most people who want to live more moderate lifestyles, though. Recent research has shown that overcoming one addiction may even act as a protective factor against further substance use disorders. Don’t let one slip-up become an excuse to give up, and ask for help when it’s needed.
The Bottom Line
Some heavy drinkers find that developing strategies for resisting addictive tendencies is enough to allow them to drink in moderation. Others find that complete sobriety is the only way to improve their lives. In any case, trying to cut back to healthy levels of alcohol consumption is a good place to start.