Meenal Patel, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

While we were being sheltered-at-home and summer starting, I have noticed a slight uptake in the increase in alcohol intake. Have you ever realized how much you might be drinking on a night out with friends or while watching a movie at home? Sometimes we do not realize what we are doing or how things are affecting us. Have you tried to stop or curb your drinking? Continue reading to identify a few ways to help regulate your drinking habits.

  1. Write it down. Write down the reasons for why you wanted to stop or curb your drinking. Is your sleep being affected? Are you getting angry? Are you forgetting basic tasks due to being hungover or having too much to drink? Once you identify why you feel like you’re drinking too much it can help you to lower your intake.
  2. Set a drinking goal. Identify for yourself what is too much and where is your limit. Research and identify how much you should drink to be healthy and what your limit is for your body and gender. 
  3. Keep track of your drinking. Keep a log of what you are drinking and when you are drinking.  You will be able to identify if you are drinking three-to-four nights a week and having three-to-four drinks each night. If you identify that you are drinking too frequently and too much every night, then set goals for yourself to lower your drinking intake. If you are struggling to maintain that goal, then contact a professional to help you and work towards your goals.
  4. Remove all alcohol from your home. If you feel like you are struggling a bit, make sure there is no alcohol at home. When you go out to eat, making sure that you get one glass of wine instead of a bottle so you do not feel pressured to drink more.
  5. Choose alcohol-free days. Challenge yourself to not drink during the week and only drink one day on the weekends. It is doable and trying to not drink on a daily basis will help your own health.
  6. Tell your friends. Communicate openly to your friends, co-workers, family, etc of what your goals and expectations are. Telling them that you are not drinking or only having one-to-two drinks at dinner will help you not feel pressured into drinking more.  Telling your friends will also allow you to gain support from them.  They will work with you on identifying what your triggers are and what you are needing to do for yourself.
  7. Keep busy and move your body. By keeping busy and engaging your body, you will not be forced to drink. Often times when I ask people why they drink; they often say it is out of boredom. If you are exercising and engaging in other ways, you will be motivated and healthy and not want to turn to alcohol for support.
  8. Don’t quit. Do not allow yourself to give up. Be more persistent with yourself and encourage yourself to continue doing what you know will be helpful for yourself. If you quit then are you actually doing what you need to do for yourself. Being more forward in what you need and sticking to your goals.

If you feel like your drinking has increased during the shelter-at-home or due to summer, contact Meenal Patel, LCPC, for a complimentary 20-minute consultation or for an intake. One of her focuses is addiction counseling, and with her extended history of supporting clients through addictions, she can help you too. Explore our counseling services in Chicago to get support today.