Nightly booze: how to wean yourself off the habit

Most of us have been there: standing in front of the fridge on a Wednesday evening, pouring a glass of white and thinking, vaguely, 'Maybe this isn't the best idea'. Ready to take action? Here's how Mumsnetters have cut down

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1. Find a different habit

"We bought a nice teapot with loose leaf tea and have that now."

"A cup of fruit tea and doing some crochet - keeping your hands busy helps."

2. Distract yourself

"I do my nails, and my daughter's, with nail varnish, and also pumice my feet and generally pamper myself, while watching TV."

3. Work out what you really want

"I realised I craved a drink when I was just hungry and thirsty. Rehydration and something to eat was surprisingly effective. Delaying dinner is fatal."

4. Try cutting down gradually

"Have a dry month and put the money you save aside. Use it to spend on something for you, or put it towards something like a holiday. That way you won't feel so deprived, as you're rewarding yourself with something meaningful."

"A dry month really helps. Also, don't give up giving up. It might take a couple of tries. I think for us it finally happened after about 18 months of cutting back."

5. Break some other habits

"If I'm in the kitchen or in front of the TV after the kids go to bed I sort of autopilot to the fridge. I found if I ate with the kids, then after they were in bed, I had a shower, a book and an early night. It changed the pattern and I didn't want a drink."

6. Exercise 

"I found that exercise gave me a great high - possibly greater than a glass of wine. That is sometimes difficult to achieve every night (as I was drinking every night) but worth a try."

7. Remove temptation ...

"This might sound obvious, but try just not having alcohol in the house. No alcohol = no temptation."

8. ... or at least put some obstacles in the way of it

"If wine is your thing, upgrade to more expensive bottles, with a cork, NOT a screw top. This makes it feel like much more of an occasion; if the bottle isn't going to be finished, you won't want to have it hanging around/being wasted."

"Don't keep wine or Pimm's (or even ice) in the fridge as a matter of routine. Lukewarm Sauvignon holds very little appeal."

9. Harness the power of technology

"I'm finding the NHS Drinkaware app really helpful. I get a kick out of clicking "no drink day" and am mildly obsessed with making each week/month better than the last. I've been using it for a few months and still have periods when I'm 'high' risk (you're always in one of three zones) but I'm definitely drinking less than before."

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Last updated: about 2 years ago