It’s important to know your limits before you reach them, but sometimes it may be hard to realise when you’ve had too much. Often you only realise when it’s too late. Here is some advice to help you drink in moderation.

A good time to stop drinking is when:

  • You’re talkative and you feel relaxed
  • Your self-confidence increases
  • You’ve had 2 – 4 drinks and are close to exceeding the recommended guidelines.

You may have left it too late if:

  • You feel less inhibited and your attention span is shorter
  • You start dehydrating (one of the causes of a hangover)
  • Your reaction time is slower
  • You’re easily confused
  • You become emotional
  • Your libido (sex drive) decreases
  • You become aggressive

Some tips on how to monitor your drinking:

Make A Plan
Before you start drinking, set yourself a limit on how much you’re going to drink. Try to avoid buying rounds as this may encourage you to go beyond your limit.

Set yourself a budget
Only take a fixed amount of money to spend on alcohol and leave your cards at home so that you’re not tempted to take out more money once you have spent your budget.

Count Your Drinks
Making the effort to record how many drinks you have may help you reduce or slow down your drinking. You can use a handwritten note that you keep in your wallet or record your drinks on your Smartphone or PDA. Make sure you avoid ‘top ups’ as this will make it difficult to count.

Measure Your Drinks
If you are going to count how many drinks you have, make sure you are accurate. Learn what counts as a standard drink. so that you can accurately measure how many you have had. Not all glasses add up to one standard drink and some glasses can hold several standard drinks. Stick to your goal even when you are away from home, dining out, or in a bar.

Have a lower-strength drink
Cut down the alcohol by swapping strong beers or wines for ones with a lower strength. You’ll find this information on the bottle.

Stay hydrated
Drinking causes dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic. This means it encourages the body to lose more water than it takes on by halting the production of the body’s anti-diuretic hormone. This means you feel the need to urinate excessively, thus speeding up the loss of fluid from the body that leads to dehydration. Dehydration caused by drinking can affect the balance by draining potassium from the body, resulting in thirst, muscle cramps, dizziness and faintness.
Drink a glass or two of water before you start drinking, and avoid using alcohol to quench your thirst. Have a soft drink instead and make sure to drink plenty of water in between drinks.

Don’t Forget to Eat
Avoid drinking on an empty stomach. Food slows down the absorption of alcohol and may reduce your desire for a drink. You will also be more likely to get sick and less likely to be able to control yourself when you drink on an empty stomach.

Pace Yourself
Sip your drinks slowly, don’t gulp them or make sure you only one drink per hour. Consuming drinks too fast means that you are not giving your body time to process the alcohol and it also means you are likely end up consuming more than you intended by the end of the night.

Keep moving
Stay busy. Don’t just sit and drink as this will encourage you to drink more. Dancing, playing music or games can take the focus away from drinking.