Is your nightly drinking starting to interfere with you living your best life? You’re not alone! This Naked Mind has helped over 400,000 people change their relationships with alcohol. Join us as we first take a look at why drinking alcohol nightly might be problematic. We will also give you some signs to look out for. Then you’ll be provided with valuable tools to show you how to stop drinking alcohol every night!
Is Drinking Alcohol Every Night Really That Bad?
Drinking alcohol every night can certainly be an issue for some. First, let us take a look at what the drinking recommendations are. What is interesting is the guidelines change based on where you reside. Let’s take a look at guidelines from three countries around the world.
The US Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that drinking in moderation means 1 drink a night for women, and 2 drinks a night for men on the nights you choose to drink. They also advise that not drinking at all is safest.
For Ireland, the recommended weekly low-risk alcohol guidelines are less than:
- 11 standard drinks for women
- 17 standard drinks for men
Drinks should be spread out over the week.
They also recommend having 2 to 3 alcohol-free days per week. Guidelines suggest one not drink more than 6 standard drinks on any 1 occasion.
Finally, they state that the less you drink the lower your risk of developing alcohol-related health issues.
In Australia, the guidelines state – to reduce the risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury, healthy men and women should drink no more than 10 standard drinks a week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day.
The less you choose to drink, the lower your risk of harm from alcohol. For some people, not drinking at all is the safest option.
Things get even more interesting when you start to compare what a standard drink is from one country to the next.
It’s no wonder that it’s hard to decide how bad drinking alcohol every night is when there is so much conflicting information out there! There is no global standard when it comes to not only how much we should drink but even on what constitutes a drink in the first place! It’s no wonder we commonly get questions like “Are you an alcoholic if you drink a bottle of wine a day?” in our in-boxes. Here is how we respond to those questions:
Consider These Questions Instead
Based on all of the research available out there, we know that drinking alcohol is bad for you. Bad for you regardless of how much you drink or how often. In fact, the World Health Organization has come out and said that there is NO safe level of alcohol consumption. Yet for most of us, that information simply isn’t enough. We all have things we still do even though we know they are bad for us. From eating hot dogs and bacon to driving too fast, or exercising too little – we all take risks because we feel the benefits outweigh the risks for us.
So if you want to know if it might be time to stop drinking alcohol every night, consider these questions.
“How do you feel about your drinking?”
As humans, we really don’t do anything we don’t want to. So even if we offer you all of the advice in the world on how to stop drinking alcohol every night, it won’t make an impact on you if you don’t have the desire to change your drinking. So instead of asking yourself if drinking every night is a problem in general – you need to decide if it is a problem for you. Your alcohol use might not trigger any red flags on the Alcohol Use Disorder spectrum but it could trigger your own personal red flags. If your drinking habits are causing you any cognitive dissonance or unease, that is reason enough to change.
“How does your drinking make you feel?”
Drinking every night can also be problematic because of the physical effects it has on you and your body. Drinking every night – even “gray area drinking” – can still have some pretty serious physical ramifications. Alcohol takes a toll on our bodies. It disrupts sleep, causes brain fog, slows down our reaction time, weakens our immune system, impedes digestion, and the list goes on and on. In fact, research has revealed that just one nightly drink increases the risk of heart disease, shortens your life span, and increases your risk of developing over 7 types of cancer.
One more thing to consider…
A final point to keep in mind when considering if your nightly drinking habit might need to change is the fact that the habit itself is prone to change. Nightly drinking creates tolerance. In order to get the same effect from the alcohol you desire, you’ll need to increase how much alcohol you consume. Alcohol creates a thirst for itself.
If you’ve noticed any of these issues starting to pop up – a cognitive dissonance around your drinking habits, ill physical effects, or a need for more alcohol than you used to drink – we have hope for you!
How To Stop Drinking Alcohol Every Night
1) Stop Trying To Stop Drinking
It sounds absolutely absurd but the best thing you can do when you want to stop drinking alcohol every night is to stop trying to stop drinking. When we set rules, break them, and keep experiencing failure, we lose confidence. We set ourselves up for a negative mindset and the false belief that we aren’t capable of making this change.
We advise that you let yourself off the hook and stop the cycle of blame, shame, and guilt. It’s not an effective way to bring about change. The tips we have coming up next work so much better!
2) The Magnifying Glass
You didn’t always drink alcohol every night. There was a time when alcohol wasn’t part of your nightly routine. You need to figure out what changed. Why did you start drinking like this? Why do you continue to drink so often? What benefits do you believe alcohol is bringing you? Figuring out the reasons behind your drinking habits opens the door to creating new beliefs and changing those habits!
3) Break Out The Truth Bombs
Now that you have a list of the reasons you drink every night and the beliefs that keep you drinking it’s time to see if they are true. You’re going to deconstruct each of those beliefs and see how true they are. If they aren’t true, you’ll turn those beliefs around and replace them with new knowledge, new emotions, and new beliefs that support the idea that you don’t need alcohol every night.
Use The ACT Technique to Discover New Truths About Alcohol
It can be hard to figure out the answer to questions like “Why do I drink alcohol every night?” on your own. Luckily, you don’t have to! Join in the always-free Alcohol Experiment for all the support you need to uncover new truths. The intention of The Alcohol Experiment is to lower all barriers to asking the simple question – “would my life be happier if I was drinking less?”.
When you join you’ll learn –
Why we drink more than we want, and how to acknowledge the fears that we usually have when we think about taking a break from alcohol…
How to change your expectations and change your experience, while becoming more mindful of drinking — and a small exercise to do before you start the challenge.
How you can shift your mindset so you give yourself the power to have just 1, or avoid drinking at all — the choice is entirely yours, not alcohol’s!
Establish New Routines
You might be thinking – “I’ve been doing this for so long! How do I break my drinking habits every night?” Establishing new routines can make a big difference in how much and how often you drink. Can you add activities to your evenings to reduce the amount of time you have available to drink? Are there certain activities that trigger you to drink? If you usually have a glass of wine while preparing dinner change the way you make dinner. Place a meal in the slow cooker in the morning instead. If there is a place you usually stop for a drink or to buy alcohol on the way home, take a different route home! Changing how you do things can change everything for you.
Develop New Tools
Nightly drinking often develops as a result of not having developed better tools or coping mechanisms. You’re most likely saying to yourself, “Well, how do I get myself to stop drinking without those tools?”
You build them. Alcohol eventually stops working as a form of self-medication, stress relief, as a social elixir, or for whatever reason you’ve been using it. (Actually, it never really worked for those things but that is a whole different blog post!)
There are so many amazing ways to build new tools. You can DIY it and try meditation or yoga. Join a program or online community and take advantage of the support there. Or work one on one with a coach to see where you might need to focus your attention the most.
You Might Need Space
If you’ve ever been in a relationship that isn’t working out, you know that sometimes you just need space. That can also be true when it comes to you and alcohol. Being around alcohol can be so tempting and triggering when you’re still working through your beliefs. Without desire, there is no temptation but getting to that point doesn’t happen overnight.
Until you remove your desire for alcohol, you might need to limit your exposure to it. What that means will be different for all of us. Maybe you need to get rid of that wine selection in your home. Or empty out the beer fridge or kegerator. Perhaps you turn down a few social invites until you feel stronger or more confident. It’s even ok if you need to change the channel, put down the book, or switch off the radio if the content there is triggering you. You’re in control of this journey!
Give Yourself Grace
The greatest and probably most controversial advice we give at This Naked Mind is this – Sobriety is Not The Goal!
That’s right. The idea is not to never drink again. It is to remove the desire for alcohol. The idea is to make alcohol small and insignificant in your life. You want to get to a point where it holds no power or value for you. Obviously getting there is not a straight line so give yourself grace. If you have a data point, take it for what it is. An opportunity to learn more about yourself and the beliefs you might still hold about alcohol.
We don’t believe in relapses because once again sobriety is not the goal. Reducing the amount you drink – so going from how do I stop drinking alcohol every night to I only drank alcohol two nights this week – is worthy of celebrating.
You are in control here and you get to decide what you’d like your relationship with alcohol to look and feel like for you!
Knowledge is Power
As a final note, we truly believe that knowledge holds incredible power. This is an ever-evolving journey and you’re going to continue learning new things as you grow. Your goals and your relationship with alcohol will shift and adjust as you gain new knowledge and evolve as a person. Allowing yourself the freedom to adapt is one of the most important gifts you can give yourself on this journey. Who you are today is not who you will be a month from now. From new experiences comes new knowledge. It’s enlightening and empowering to watch our beliefs in alcohol change as we gain new information about not only the substance but also about ourselves.
A Final Resource
You are certainly not alone in your desire to know how to stop drinking alcohol every night. You also do not have to try to figure out how to change your relationship with alcohol alone. If you think this journey would be easier with support that provides you with knowledge, coaching, community, and even more resources, please check out The PATH: Freedom Accelerated. In just 90 days you’ll not only have found your freedom from alcohol but you’ll be at the start of a journey to be free from any limiting belief that might be holding you back.
Desiree is a research journalist working performing her duties as chief editor at this news station. She is a talented writer and comes up with facts everybody wants to know.