Prepare to succeed
Taking some time to make some preparations can give you the best chance of success.
Tell people about your plans
Let your friends, family and colleagues know that you’re trying to stop drinking, so that they can encourage you, and support you by not drinking around you.
Learn to say ‘no’
Think in advance about times when you will be offered alcohol and how you will say no. You don’t have to give a reason, but if you think people will pressurise you into changing your mind, it’s worth being prepared for this.
Learn from the past
If you tried and failed to change your drinking before, think about what worked and what you could do differently this time to help you make the change.
Feel good about what you’re doing
We often talk about ‘giving up’, which can make us feel that we are losing something. It’s normal to feel anxious and have negative feelings before making this kind of change, but try to look on your decision to change in a positive way:
- “Thank goodness I’ve finally got to the point where I’m ready to try and change.”
- “It’s great that I’ve got a chance to get free from all the alcohol-related chaos and problems.”
- “I can see a better future for myself now.”
Plan for danger times and triggers
Everyone has their own times when they are used to drinking or when they most feel the need for a drink.
Times when you may be used to drinking
- After work
- On nights out with friends
- When you sit down in the evening
- At special events
Times when you may feel you need a drink
If you have an argument with a loved one
- If you are stressed by work or pressures at home
- If you’re feeling down
- If you’re finding it hard to sleep
- If you need a break from everything
It’s good to know your ‘triggers’ – times that give you a strong urge to drink – and try to think about how you will get through these moments before they happen. This may mean changing your routine or finding new activities. It can also mean learning about different ways to deal with problems and cope with stress. See our section alcohol, your mood and mental health for advice on coping without alcohol.
Read more: Healthy ways to cope with your feelings