Tips for cutting down

English | Cymraeg

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

Drink and think 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 lager or a bottle and a half of wine. Use our handy unit calculator to help you work out exactly what you’re drinking.

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.

Keep a drinking diary

Keeping a drinking diary for a few weeks will help you understand your drinking pattern, so you can work out what you’re happy with and what you’re not. Download the free Try Dry app to help you keep track.

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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

Try drinking low alcohol and alcohol-free drinks

Alcohol-free beers, ciders, wines and more used to be rubbish, but they’ve improved so much in recent years that they’re winning awards in place of their full-strength competitors. Lots of supermarkets now have alcohol-free sections. Check out our no- 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!

Have a few days off every 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. Consider taking an extended break like having a Dry January or other dry month.

It’s safest not to drink more than 14 units per week, spread over three or more days and with a few days off.

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 treatment service.


Stopping drinking suddenly can be very dangerous, and can even kill you, if you are dependent on alcohol.

If, after a period of drinking, you experience any of the following symptoms, you may be dependent on alcohol and you should NOT suddenly stop drinking completely:

  • seizures (fits)
  • hand tremors (‘the shakes’)
  • sweating
  • seeing things that are not actually real (visual hallucinations)
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • difficulty sleeping (insomnia)

But you can still take control of your drinking. Speak to a GP or support service who will be able to get help for you to reduce your drinking safely.

If you are worried that you can’t or don’t really want to give up alcohol but need to make some changes, talking to your GP or an alcohol practitioner can help you decide what option will be best for you.