Health guidelines urge both men and women not to drink more than 14 units a week – that’s six pints of beer or six glasses of wine.
Now more and more people are taking up “mindful” drinking – cutting down and changing their relationship with alcohol.
Around 4.5 million gave up alcohol for Dry January this year and even celebrities are calling last orders.
Richard Madeley and his wife Judy Finnigan stopped drinking five months ago, Strictly star Kevin Clifton has also given up, while Good Morning Britain presenter Susanna Reid has drunk only eight times in the past eight months.
With a 19 per cent growth in low and no-alcohol beer sales last year, drinks industry giants are responding to the seismic health shift.
Tesco announced last year that it was adding 11 new alcohol-free beers to its shelves after selling more than 24 million bottles in a year – a 30 per cent increase from the year before.
Laura Willoughby, founder of Club Soda, the Mindful Drinking Movement which supports people wanting to cut down or go alcohol-free, explains how to become a mindful drinker…
Get an app
Talking to others in the same boat is one of the best ways to change a habit. Sobriety tracking apps, such as Nomo – No More Hangovers, favoured by Susanna Reid, and Drink Less are popular. You can set goals, get feedback on your progress and keep track of your drinking.
Decide on your rules
If you are cutting down, then having clear rules is vital. Try some drink-free days or save alcohol for the people and places you enjoy the most.
When out, make your first two drinks alcohol-free so you can assess whether you want to stay and drink, or leave early.
Winging it and mindfulness don’t go well together, so get organised. Look for venues with a great selection of low and no-alcohol drinks. And plan your exit strategy – we often drink when we’re bored or tired. Give yourself permission to go home.
Find a new fave tipple
Most supermarkets these days have a decent alcohol-free section, so you can add something different to your shop that feels like a treat.
Try beers such as Heineken 0.0 and Big Drop, alcohol-free wines from Lindeman’s or an alcohol-free gin, such as Ceder’s.
That way you won’t feel you’re missing out.
Stick to your guns
Make your decision, put it into words and practise saying it out loud.
If your friends try to bully you into drinking, shift the spotlight on to them.
You don’t need anyone’s permission to make a decision that is right for you.
For more information, go to joinclubsoda.co.uk .
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