There are many reasons a person may want to actively avoid alcohol abuse. Perhaps a family member struggles with alcoholism, or the weekly night out with friends is happening several times a week, or the last hangover lasted for two days.
Whatever the reason, there are preventative measures you can put in place to help you avoid alcohol abuse and the risk of developing alcohol addiction.
Don’t Keep Alcohol At Home
If you don’t have alcohol at home, you can’t drink it. Being unable to simply go to the cupboard or the fridge to grab a drink can keep you from developing a pattern of alcohol use that can easily develop into abuse or addiction.
Restricting access to alcohol at home can also work to prevent you from emotional drinking or boredom. Only drinking in social settings helps you maintain some accountability as well.
Know Your Drinking Limits
Often, people try to set their own limits with alcohol consumption. However, the limits of alcohol use and abuse are clearly outlined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
Low-risk drinking for women means no more than seven drinks per week, and no more than three in one day. For men, no more than 14 drinks per week, no more than four per day. The suggested amount, if a person chooses to drink is one per day for women, two for men.
These recommendations are not for people who already have an alcohol use disorder or have completed a substance abuse program. These recommendations may also vary for people who have health problems or different body types.
There is often the argument that no one drinks that little, however the NIAAA has found that 35 percent of people do not drink at all, 37 percent always drink at low-risk levels, and only 28 percent are heavy drinkers.
Surround Yourself With Non-Drinkers
Going out with co-workers to have multiple drinks during the week, and then also going out with friends on the weekend and drinking more than 3-4 drinks places you at a 50/50 chance for developing an alcohol use disorder.
There are people you can spend time with and places you can go where alcohol is not the focal point. If you spend time with people who don’t drink, or don’t drink often, you will be less likely to drink as well.
Socializing does not always mean going to the bar, playing drinking games, doing shots, or partying. Making friends who engage in a variety of activities without drinking can help you control or avoid drinking altogether.
Know The Consequences Of Alcohol Abuse
Sometimes, knowing what excessive drinking can do to you or your body can keep you from drinking to excess.
Excessive drinking can lead to a number of health issues, such as:
- liver disease
- heart disease
- sleep disorders
- high blood pressure
- birth defects
Heavy drinking can also result in legal issues, financial troubles, employment problems, and overall displeasure in daily life. Resuming normal daily functioning after a night of heavy drinking can be problematic, especially with a hangover.
Tell Loved Ones Your Concerns
If you believe your drinking to be problematic, or if you simply would like to cut down on the amount of alcohol you consume, tell someone. Putting those intentions out in the world can help you be more accountable.
Additionally, having the support of those who care about you can also help you maintain your goals.
Overall, it is up to you to make the changes you feel should be made in your own life. Surrounding yourself with people who support those changes will help you stay focused on the life you want.
Treatment Can Always Be An Option
Sometimes we don’t realize that our drinking is a problem until it is out of our hands. Thankfully there are programs, services, and support groups that can help us get back on our path and reach our goals.
Vertava Health of Massachusetts’s alcohol abuse treatment program offers rehabilitation for those who are seeking to make changes and move forward into recovery.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — Fact Sheets-Preventing Excessive Alcohol Use
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism — Preventing Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism- An Update