Tips for cutting down

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Thinking about your drinking but not sure where to start? Here are some tips for cutting back.

How to cut down on alcohol

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Think and drink in units

The UK’s Chief Medical Officers (top doctors) recommend not drinking more than 14 units a week; that means about six pints of normal strength beer or a bottle and a half of wine per week. Use our handy unit calculator to help you work out exactly what you’re drinking.

Have a few alcohol-free days each week

Having a few alcohol-free days each week is a good way to cut down and give your body a rest, boost your immune system and improve your mental health and wellbeing, and save money. Consider taking an extended break like having a Dry January® or other dry month.

Keep track

Recording what you drink for a few weeks will help you understand your drinking pattern, so you can decide if you want to make a change. Download the free Try Dry app to help you keep track.

Choose a smaller glass and a lower ABV

Choosing a smaller glass and lower strength can be a helpful way to cut down.

Set a limit

Decide what you want to drink in advance and stick to your plan.

Practise your drink refusal skills

Plan what you will say if you are offered a drink and say it with confidence.

Try drinking low-alcohol and no-alcohol alternatives

Swap your usual alcoholic drink with alcohol-free alternatives. Alcohol-free beers, ciders, wines, and spirits are now widely available. Check out our no-alcohol and low-alcohol reviews to help you get started.

It's fine to say 'no'

Not everyone drinks alcohol, and it’s fine to say no. It’s surprising how many people think it’s OK to pressure other people to drink – it’s not!

Pace yourself

Enjoy each drink slowly, and remember that you don’t have to join in every time someone else decides to drink! It can help to only drink the drinks you really enjoy and skip the ones you’re drinking for the sake of it. And it's worth bearing in mind that the drinks you pour at home are often larger than those served in pubs.

Eat before and while you drink

Have something to eat before you drink and, if possible, while drinking. It will slow down the alcohol being absorbed into your bloodstream and help you pace yourself.

Ask for help

Ask for help if you feel your drinking is getting out of control. There’s nothing to be ashamed of; lots of people struggle with alcohol at some point in their lives and need support to turn things around. Talk to your GP or contact your local alcohol service.


People who are clinically alcohol dependent can die if they suddenly, completely stop drinking.

If you experience fits, shaking hands, sweating, seeing things that are not real, depression, anxiety, or difficulty sleeping after a period of drinking and while sobering up, then you may be clinically alcohol dependent and should NOT suddenly, completely stop drinking.

But you can still take control of your drinking. Talk to a GP or your local community alcohol service who will be able to get help for you to reduce your drinking safely. Find out more here.

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Try Dry: the app to help you cut down

Download the free app to help you meet your goals, cut down on your drinking, or go totally alcohol-free.
Download the app