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How to Drink Less and Still Have Fun

Drinking alcohol has arguably become a big part of British culture and many of us will indulge in drinking when out with friends in pubs, clubs and restaurants, as well as from the comfort of our own home. However, we need to be mindful of our alcohol intake as drinking can increase our risk of developing health issues. In this article, we will share tips on how to drink less and still have fun - so you don’t have to worry about missing out! 

Top 10 tips for how to drink less alcohol and still have fun

Keep drinking water and eating

It’s so important to keep yourself hydrated, especially when you’re drinking as alcohol actually dehydrates you and removes important vitamins and minerals from your body. Ordering a glass of water alongside an alcoholic beverage will also help you to pace yourself and allow you to enjoy the taste of your drinks. 

Eating before and whilst you are drinking is also important and will help to absorb alcohol, reducing the rate at which it affects you. 

Remind yourself of what you loved to do as a child

Try to remember what you loved to do before alcohol became a part of your life - this may seem silly but it’s likely that you can still enjoy the activities you loved as a child without so much as a whiff of alcohol.

Avoid mixing drinks 

Try to stick to the same drink in an evening as your body will not react well to consuming a variety of spirits and other alcoholic beverages. Not only can mixing alcohol lead to you losing control of yourself, you’ll also feel the repercussions of mixing drinks the next day and have to deal with the consequences!

Let your friends and family know you’re trying to drink less

Opening up about your decision to drink less alcohol can be difficult but letting those around you know that you are making a conscious effort to limit your alcohol intake will help them to be more supportive and understanding - they may even take your lead and join you! Don’t be afraid of being honest - it is likely that they will respect your decision and may even be tempted to join your efforts!

Set drinking limits and monitor your intake

Knowing how much you are planning to drink and keeping track of your alcohol intake will ensure you achieve the goals you have set. Preventing yourself from drinking too much will allow you to make the most of your evening and remember the time you’re spending with loved ones. 

Pace yourself 

Avoid drinking too quickly and take your time. You could start by setting yourself  a ‘one drink an hour’ rule so that you don’t overdo it and can keep track of your alcohol intake. This way, you’re still participating in drinking but you’re limiting the units you’re consuming. 

Be prepared for questions

You may well be asked the dreaded ‘why aren’t you drinking?’ question, so prepare yourself for this moment ahead of going out. There’s no need to lie, as drinking is a choice and being honest with those around you can make the situation easier - your friends and loved ones may even wish to join you in drinking less. 

Try to relax and be yourself

It can be really hard to allow you to let go and be yourself - especially when you may be used to relying on alcohol for confidence. It may take some time until you can feel comfortable being yourself in social situations but remind yourself that even though it may feel like it at times...the whole room is not looking at you. Take deep breaths and try to engage with others to stop overthinking the situation. 

Try to find other sober people to hang out with

It can be a good idea to surround yourself with other people who don’t drink alcohol, in fact, not drinking when going out is becoming increasingly common. An article by the Guardian in 2019 reported that a rising number of young people are abstaining from alcohol, with 36% of 16-24 year olds in full-time education opting for soft drinks instead. Hanging out with others who avoid alcohol can make your journey to drinking less much easier and will relieve any peer pressure you might usually experience. 

Keep yourself busy and try new things

Why not try and chat to new people, or even challenge someone to a game such as darts, cards or pool if you’re in a pub? Keeping busy will help you take your mind off of drinking and you may enjoy pushing yourself to try new things!

What else can you do aside from drinking? 

We can become dependent on alcohol and it may already be a safety blanket for us in social situations, but there are so many more alcohol-free fun activities out there to try, here are a few ideas to get you inspired: 

  • Revisit an old hobby of yours - whether you gave it up because you no longer had the time or simply lost touch with it, rekindle your previous passions and spend more time doing the things you loved - there’s nothing wrong with some quality me-time!
  • Try something new - perhaps you’ve never attempted to bake a cake or there’s something that’s been sat on your bucket list for years - there is no time like the present to dare yourself to try out a new activity and take life by the reins! 
  • Why not practice your hand at making mocktails - drinking soft drinks does not have to be dull! Create your own mocktails so you can enjoy the delicious flavours and make a new favourite beverage for yourself. 
  • Treat yourself to a spa day or practice meditation - we all need to take some time now and again to clear our minds and relieve the worries life may fire at us. You can also use this time to reflect on your journey of drinking less alcohol - ask yourself what benefits you have noticed so far and how are you feeling? Try these five free meditations to get you started.
  • Volunteer - If you want to take your mind off of alcohol, try volunteering some of your spare time to give back to the community. This can be a really rewarding experience and bring a tremendous sense of achievement. 


There really is so much to life for us to enjoy - making time to do the things you want to do isn’t always easy, especially if you have a family at home but there’s no reason not to involve them too! Keeping active and occupied will help you to focus on your goal of drinking less alcohol and can give you a new perspective on life. 

How to resist peer pressure to drink alcohol

Peer pressure can fuel our use of alcohol as we try to fit into social situations but we need to break out of that ‘well, everyone else is doing it’ mindset as there are negative effects of drinking alcohol on our bodies. 

Peer pressure extends past our teenage years and it is important to remember that anyone can be impacted by peer pressure, even if they don’t realise it. If you’re not sure how to say no to others, here are some ideas you can try out: 

  • Change the topic - if alcohol-related questions are making you feel uncomfortable, try to change the subject and move on. 
  • You could suggest a different activity - if you’re worried about heading to a pub at the weekend, why not suggest a different activity for you and your friends to try out. You could encourage the group to get active outdoors or even take a short trip to explore a new area! Keeping everyone involved with something else can both be exciting and keep alcohol off the table.
  • Be honest about your decision to drink less alcohol - this way, those around you are aware of your wishes and will be less likely to pressure you into drinking.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no - saying ‘no thank you’ is a simple, yet effective way to decline the offer to drink. Don’t be afraid to be the change and lead the way in drinking less!
  • Give the group a reason why you’re not drinking - this can include being the designated driver or letting them know you have commitments such as an early start at work the next day. Of course, you don’t need a reason not to drink but this may help people around you stop pressuring you!
  • Leave the situation - if you are really uncomfortable and you are still being pestered to drink after saying no, you can decide to leave the situation and give yourself some space. You don’t necessarily need to go home but taking a minute away from the crowd will both allow you to have a breather and let your friends know that you’re serious. 


Why you should drink less alcohol

Drinking less alcohol has a ton of benefits - especially for your physical and mental health. Here are some of the top reasons you should limit your alcohol intake: 

  • You’ll feel better within yourself 
  • You may live longer
  • Your chances of developing some cancers and high blood pressure are reduced
  • You’ll have more energy and feel healthier
  • You’ll be able to think much clearer
  • You’ll reduce the risk of developing artery disease and other health issues


Looking to drink less alcohol?

If you live in Dorset and you’re looking for support in consuming less alcohol, we’re here to help! You can register or talk to our friendly team today to help guide you on your journey to drinking less alcohol. You can even take our Rethink your Drink quiz to learn more about your relationship with alcohol.


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How does this work?

The tailored approach LiveWell Dorset uses to come up with solutions to the things that are stopping us achieving our goals, is based upon work done by University College London developing the COM-B model of behaviour change. In this model, all behaviour is influenced by understanding a person’s capability to change, their opportunity to change and their motivation to change. By understanding which of these is the biggest barrier to change, we can tailor support accordingly. This model of behaviour change is at the centre of the support we offer, online and in person.

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