Get started

Alcohol is part of many people's lives and may have a place in cultural and family traditions. It can sometimes be hard to know when you begin to drink too much.

Canadian health experts recommend that:

  • If you're a man, have no more than 3 standard drinks a day on most days and no more than 15 drinks a week.
  • If you're a woman, have no more than 2 standard drinks a day on most days and no more than 10 drinks a week.

On special occasions every now and then, it's okay to have 1 extra drink.

If you are drinking more than what is recommended each day or week, you may want to reduce your drinking.

Tips about changing your habits

    • Know your reasons. Write down your reasons for wanting to reduce your drinking (for example, to lower blood pressure or to lose weight). You're more likely to be successful if you know exactly why you want to change.
    • Set some specific goals. You're not as likely to be successful if your goal is just to "drink less." Have a long-term goal, like lowering your blood pressure or losing weight. And set some short-term goals that will get you there, like having "no-drink" days.
    • Have a plan for dealing with barriers. Expect slip-ups. When you have one, think about what led to it. You can use this information to avoid a similar result next time.
    • Get support. Changing habits is usually easier when you get support from friends and family. Tell them what you're trying to do, and ask them to help.
    • Reward yourself. Plan to treat yourself every time you reach one of your goals. It could be a night at the movies, a new pair of shoes, or just some quiet time to yourself.

Tips to reduce drinking

  • Try new approaches.
      • Pay attention to why you're having a drink. Is it just habit? For example, don't drink just because it's 6 p.m. or because it's Saturday night.
      • Teach yourself to drink slowly and really savour the taste.
      • Use smaller glasses for your drinks.
  • Find substitutes.
    • Find some favourite non-alcoholic drinks that you can drink regularly. If you like sweet drinks, find a fruit drink you like or try iced tea with honey. If you prefer drinks that aren't sweet, try tomato juice or tonic or soda water with a twist.
    • Become an expert at making tasty, unusual non-alcoholic drinks, like smoothies or "virgin" drinks. (For example, a "Virgin" Mary is a Bloody Mary without the alcohol.)
  • Water is your friend.
    • Have a large glass of ice water along with every drink. Use the water to quench your thirst. Use the alcoholic drink to please your taste buds.
    • Drink a large glass of water between drinks.
  • Do the math.
      • Figure out how much you're spending on alcohol each month. How much is that a year? What might you do with the money you save by reducing your drinking?
      • Figure out how many calories are in each drink. How many calories is that a day or a week? Reducing your drinking will save you lots of calories.

Credits

Adaptation Date: 12/3/2017

Adapted By: HealthLink BC

Adaptation Reviewed By: HealthLink BC

Adaptation Date: 12/3/2017

Adapted By: HealthLink BC

Adaptation Reviewed By: HealthLink BC