Daytime Drinker? Get a Fresh Start With These 6 Habits of Responsible Drinkers

Some days, nothing sounds more appealing than an ice-cold hard seltzer (or seven during a night out with friends). On account of the stressors of modern life, it can be easy to wonder if the bottom of a bottle of wine might hold relief from all of life’s challenges. Still, the line between healthy recreational drinking and dangerous alcohol addiction is, unfortunately, a thin one. 

The first step to responsibly drinking is identifying whether or not you have a toxic relationship with alcohol. If you find yourself obsessing over the moment that you can clock out of work and crack open a White Claw, your relationship with alcohol may be worth examining. Signs of an unhealthy relationship with drinking include using alcoholic beverages to cope with negative emotions, skirting professional or personal responsibilities because of drinking, and consistently acting dangerously or irresponsibly while under the influence. Those who struggle with harmful connections to alcohol are at greater risk of alcohol-induced medical ailments and unfortunate consequences like DUI charges.

If you find yourself faced with a DUI, you might feel ashamed, guilty, or confused. While your feelings are valid, it’s worthwhile to remind yourself that a DUI doesn’t define you. Following a drunk driving conviction, it’s best to hire an expert DUI attorney, seek professional and social support, and move forward with a healthier relationship with alcohol. 

If you’ve decided that your drinking habits aren’t as healthy as you’d like them to be, you don’t necessarily have to kick alcohol to the curb altogether. Raise a glass to sensible drinking practices and consider these habits of responsible drinkers. 

Setting realistic goals 

Whether you’re out on the town with friends or enjoying a romantic evening in, one drink can turn into ten surprisingly quickly. One bottomless-mimosa-brunch invitation and a few office happy hours later, and you’ve officially drunk to excess more nights than you intended to. Avoid losing track of your alcohol intake by remaining vigilant regarding your drinking habits and staying committed to a quantifiable and realistic goal. 

For example, if you’re set on reducing instances of drinking alone, start by challenging yourself to only indulge on the weekends with pals or limit yourself to two drinks per outing. Pay attention to your mind and body by journaling your experiences with alcohol so that you can catalog your physical and mental limits. 

Refusing to jeopardize your safety or the safety of those around you 

Responsible drinkers don’t drink and drive – no exceptions. Carefully plan transportation to any destinations you’ll be traveling to while under the influence, and take advantage of designated sober drivers or ride services. While drunk drivers kill thousands of people per year, the roads aren’t the only place that intoxicated individuals can cause harm. Alcohol-fueled verbal and physical altercations incited by impaired judgment and reduced inhibitions can cause permanent damage to relationships, property, and people. Be mindful of your behavior and lay off the drinks well before you begin to lose control of your words or actions. 

Prioritizing balance 

Although there’s arguably nothing wrong with a night of bottle-popping fun every once in a while, your physical and mental health may be in jeopardy if drinking sessions become too frequent or intense. Prioritize balance by implementing nutritious eating and plentiful water-drinking on days you plan to consume alcohol. You might even consider enjoying a few alcohol-free beverages in between drinks. Your body will thank you, and so will the hangover-free you from the future. 

Being firm with boundaries

While it can be hard to resist the friend who always seems to be handing you a drink, your relationship with alcohol will benefit from firm convictions and boundaries. Practice saying “no” if you’ve already hit your drinking limit for the week, have somewhere to drive that night or are experiencing a health concern that’s exacerbated by alcohol. Friends worth keeping around will understand and respect your decision to stick with a virgin cocktail for the evening. 

Remaining aware of your environment

Not all drinking environments are created equal. You may find yourself winding up in different circumstances during a wine and cheese tasting at a fancy restaurant than you would at a booze-soaked rave. Be mindful of how your environment contributes to your behavior, and avoid situations and social groups that encourage harmful or dangerous drinking practices. 

Unfortunately, not everyone who serves you a drink has good intentions. Never accept a beverage from someone you don’t know or trust, and avoid leaving your beverages unattended. 

Knowing when to seek professional help 

While some folks find that goal-setting and proper social support are enough to help them foster a new and healthy relationship with alcohol, others require professional addiction treatment. Carefully watch for signs of alcohol addiction such as irritability, alcohol obsessions, changes in personality or mood, social isolation, and physical illness in the absence of alcohol consumption. If you realize that you experience several symptoms of alcohol dependency, know that effective treatment options are available. Remember that alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous, so seek the help of an addiction specialist or medical doctor before drastically changing your drinking habits. 

Before you go 

Once you begin setting boundaries and prioritizing your wellbeing, you’ll be on your way to sidestepping binge-drinking and embracing a balanced lifestyle. Cheers to a healthy relationship with alcohol.