0800 840 1628 • Monday - Friday 9am - 6:30pm

Contact Us

How to stop drinking alcohol in the evening

If you want to stop drinking alcohol in the evening, or at least reduce your intake, you may wonder how to break the cycle of using alcohol as a ‘reward’ or a coping mechanism. In this article, we will provide some top tips, as well as some suggestions for alternative beverages that can still mark the end of the day without harming your health.

Why am I craving alcohol in the evening? 

If you crave alcohol in the evening, you’re certainly not alone. Some of the most common reasons you might find yourself reaching for the bottle are: 

To unwind 

You associate booze with relaxation and pleasure. Drinking alcohol can trigger the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel good. Over time, your brain may learn to associate alcohol with positive emotions and experiences, resulting in craving it when you want to reward yourself or feel better. 

Using alcohol as a coping mechanism 

You use alcohol as a way of coping with stress, anxiety or depression. Alcohol can temporarily numb or reduce negative feelings and thoughts, making you feel more relaxed and calm. However, this effect tends to be short-lived and often followed by a rebound effect, where you feel worse than before. Alcohol can also have a detrimental effect on your mental health in the long run by disrupting your brain chemistry and sleep quality. 

Alcohol dependency 

You find you have become increasingly reliant on alcohol. If you drink frequently or heavily, your body adapts to its presence and require more of it to achieve the same effect. If you stop drinking or reduce your intake, you may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability, anxiety, insomnia, nausea or tremors, which is a result of alcohol dependency. The more you drink, the more dependent you are likely to become, making it harder to quit or cut down. 

Social pressure 

You are influenced by social or environmental cues. You may crave alcohol more in the evening if you are surrounded by people who drink, places where alcohol is available or advertised, or situations where drinking is expected or encouraged. These cues can trigger memories and associations that make you want to drink. 

How to stop drinking alcohol in the evening 

If you want to stop drinking alcohol in the evening, here are some strategies that may help: 

  1. Set a clear and realistic goal. Decide on a limit per week and stick to it.  You may find it easier to gradually reduce your intake until you reach your desired level or quit altogether.  

  2. Identify and avoid your triggers. Think about what makes you want to drink in the evening, and try to avoid or minimise those triggers. For example, if you drink when you are stressed or bored, find other ways to cope or distract yourself. If you drink when you are with certain people or in certain places, limit your exposure or change your plans. 

  3. Find alternative activities. Instead of drinking in the evening, fill your time with other enjoyable and rewarding activities that do not involve alcohol. For example, you could exercise, spend time with family and friends away from alcohol, watch a movie, play a game, meditate or listen to music. 

  4. Seek support from others. Speak to family and friends about your goal and ask for their support and encouragement. You may also want to join a local support group or an online community where you can share your experiences and challenges with others who are going through the same process.  

What to drink in the evening instead of alcohol 

If you are looking for alternative drinks that can still mark the end of the day without harming your health, here are some options: 

  • Non-alcoholic beer or wine. These types of drinks have grown in popularity over the years, mimicking the flavour of traditional beers and wines but without alcohol, making them suitable for beer and wine enthusiasts. 

  • Mocktails. These are cocktails made without alcohol, but with similar ingredients and presentation as regular cocktails. You can make your own mocktails at home or turn it into a social event with friends. For some great mocktail recipes, take a look at our article Make mine a mocktail. 

  • Kombucha. This fermented tea drink has a slight fizz and tanginess similar to beer or cider. It comes in various fruity flavours and has probiotic benefits for your gut health. 

  • Sparkling water with flavourings. This is a simple and refreshing drink that can quench your thirst and satisfy your craving for bubbles. You can add a slice of lemon, lime, orange, or cucumber to your sparkling water or use flavoured syrups or drops to create different combinations. 

  • Homemade smoothies. Homemade smoothies are not only healthy and nutritious, they can also be delicious! Experiment with your favourite fruits and vegetables to create healthy, tasty concoctions. You can even pop some in the fridge for a tasty breakfast the next day. 

Trying to quit drinking in the evening? 

If you’re finding it challenging to quit drinking in the evening, LiveWell Dorset is here to help.  We offer a free advice and coaching service to help you change your drinking habits, crafting a personalised activity plan tailored to you and your goals.   

You can also find lots of useful tools and calculators on our website, including the Habit Hacker quiz designed by our health and psychology experts for people who need a bit of inspiration to improve their lifestyle habits. Register with us today to find out more! 

 Read more: 


It's time for me to get my health in order

View full story

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.

Your Favourites?

or register, to favourite activities that you want to try.


Is this the first time that you've used our services, or have you already registered with us? To allow us to best serve you, please confirm whether you're new to LiveWell Dorset, or if you've spoken to us before and may have an existing account.

Welcome back, it's good to hear from you again!

To speak to one of our dedicated team and get the help you require please request a call back. All call backs from this service are free of charge to both landlines and mobile.

Request a Call Back

Do you provide your consent to share your information with the LiveWell Dorset team – part of Public Health Dorset ?

When you register with LiveWell Dorset, we ask you some questions about you and your health (how much you smoke, how active you are, how much you drink and how much you weigh). We store that information and use it to shape our service offer to you – such as the advice we give or the extra services we connect you to. The only people who will see this information will be those involved in the delivery of the service and management of the data. If you would like to use extra services (such as slimming clubs and pharmacies) we have to share this information with them. For us to be able to put you in touch with these services, we must have your consent to share that information with the service (we’ll ask for that later, when if you sign up for extra services).

Before we can sign you up any further, we need to know:

  • You're happy for your personal information to be shared with LiveWell Dorset.
  • You understand what information may be shared and why, and that at times, our contact to you may be supported by technology partners, who have the same data protection standards and safeguards as we do
  • You acknowledge that you can withdraw your consent at any time by informing LiveWell Dorset.
  • You understand that if you do not give consent or withdraw consent then it could be difficult for us to connect you some of the services we offer.

If you require any more information to help you make your choice then please contact the LiveWell Dorset team on 0800 840 1628. All telephone conversations at LiveWell Dorset are recorded for quality and training purposes, and stored whilst you are registered as active within the service.

Yes I consent

Sorry we can't continue at the moment

Unfortunately we need your permission to store your personal information to help us to assess the best support we could provide or signpost you to. If at any stage you change your mind and are happy to provide your personal information please come back and visit us again.