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Ways to reduce your alcohol use

Reducing how frequently you drink

  • Have a few alcohol-free nights a week. Enjoy the summer weather and go for a walk, or go to beach/park when you get home from work, rather than drinking alcohol once you walk through the door after work. It can also be worthwhile doing exercise after work (straight from work, don’t go home first!) – physical exercise can help relieve tension and relax your mind.
  • Change your “after work routine”. Start putting the kettle on when you get home, instead of going straight to the fridge on those alcohol-free days.
  • Drive on Saturday night. Being a designated driver is a good way making sure you don’t drink.
  • Go somewhere where you don’t have to drink such as the movies, or picnic at the beach or park.
  • Try not to keep alcohol in the house. When it comes to drinking, easy access it the ultimate enabler and if all it takes is opening the fridge then you're potentially on a slippery slope. Not keeping alcohol in the house is an effective method to kerb drinking behaviour. If it's not there, you can't drink it. Instead of keeping a steady supply of alcohol nearby, make your house a drink-free zone and only head to the bottle shop if you specifically need drinks for an occasion. The added bonus being that if you have to drive to get drinks the effort required means you'll only go if it's really necessary.
  • Reducing how many drinks you have

  • Drink low strength alcohol. Having low alcohol drinks is a smart way of ensuring you are drinking less and minimising the negative impacts of alcohol. That way if you're out at a long social function you can drink something with lower alcohol content over a long period of time, if need be.
  • Rather than having a few drinks before eating when out to dinner, wait until dinner is served. Aim to only have 2 standard drinks. 1 full strength stubbie or a glass of wine has around 1.5 standard drinks, so why not only have one drink with dinner. Consuming food at the same time also helps as it slows down drinking.
  • Don’t drink in rounds if you head out on Saturday night. Drinking in rounds is also one of the behaviours that makes you drink more than you would want to. If you don’t do rounds you'll be able to drink at your own pace plus you can leave whenever you'd like, as opposed to waiting for someone to 'catch up' on the shout round.
  • If going to a friends’ house take less alcohol with you and take some non-alcoholic drinks that you enjoy drinking. Remember to pack some variety – soda water and lime can get boring.
  • Practice saying 'no'. It may be difficult at first, but you'll be surprised how quickly it can become comfortable to say 'no' and others will get used to it.
  • Make every second drink a non-alcoholic drink. Drink non-alcoholic drinks as 'spacers' such as a glass of water, soft drink, soda water or juice. Drink these slowly (do not gulp them down and fill up with your drink because you have “had a spacer”!)
  • Slow down your drinking so you can enjoy your drink just as much, if not more, if you drink slowly. Try and remind yourself to sip, not gulp as this will help you to control your rate of drinking. Concentrate on drinking every drink slowly.
  • Think about your non-drinking or low-drinking friends – invite them out.
  • In this section
    What is a Standard Drink?

    In Australia, a standard drink is any drink containing 10 grams of alcohol, regardless of container size or alcohol type (e.g beer, wine, spirit).

    Online tools

    We have developed three tools that allow you to learn more about standard drinks, the benefits of reduction in drinking levels to reduce the risk from alcohol-caused death, and to identify low, medium and high risk patterns of alcohol consumption.

    Alcohol and Your Long-Term Health

    Regular drinking can cause long term damage to the body. Alcohol can increse the risk of cancer, liver disease, cardiovascular disease and stroke.

    Alcohol During Pregnancy

    Alcohol can affect the growth of the baby in pregnancy. For women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning a pregnancy, not drinking is the safest option.

    Alcohol and Short-Term Harm

    Short term harm is what may occur as a result of one (single) drinking occasion. With every drink, the risk of accidents and/or injury increases.

    The Festive Season

    The Christmas and New Year period has an increase in parties, gatherings and functions. The festive season is a good time to reflect on our drinking culture.

    Strong Spirit Strong Mind

    Strong Spirit Strong Mind promotes the uniqueness of Aboriginal culture as a central strength in guiding efforts to reduce alcohol and other drug-related harm.