Tips for Staying Low Risk

The following tips can help keep your drinking low risk and manage high risk situations.

Avoid drinking situations

Go to places where alcohol isn't served, like the movies or the beach. If you drink because you are bored or stressed, a walk or playing a sport that you enjoy may help.

Count your drinks

Remember to keep your drink diary to help with this. Check the label on the bottle or can of alcohol as it will tell you how many standard drinks it contains.

Slow down your drinking

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.

Take less alcohol with you

When you go out take less alcohol with you and take some non-alcoholic drinks.

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.

Eat before or while you are drinking

With food in your stomach you are likely to drink more slowly and the alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream at a slower rate.

Avoid top-ups

With top-ups, you can't be sure how much you are drinking

Drink water with a meal

Have water available on the table while you are having a meal.

Practise 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.

Try low alcohol alternatives

There are now a range of low and medium-strength beers, or you can dilute your wine and/or spirits to make your drink last longer.

When you are thirsty, have a non-alcoholic drink or water first

This helps quench your thirst so you will be able to drink alcohol more slowly.

Stop drinking when you reach your limit

Start having water, soft drinks, fruit juice etc. You'll find you can do without that extra drink after all.

Avoid drinking in rounds

Set your own drinking pace. The following strategies can help you avoid drinking in a 'round':

  • Simply opt out. Say you just don’t want to join the round
  • Join the round but occasionally order a non-alcoholic drink for yourself as a spacer
  • Buy a round (to show your generosity) but then opt out and buy your own. You may pay a bit more, but will limit the potential harm to your health
  • Pass up a drink during the round, your friends won’t mind — you’re saving them money.

If these suggestions for managing drinking in rounds are too difficult, you may consider avoiding situations where the pressure is on you to drink in groups.

Page last updated: 20 July 2020

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