Tips to take control of your drinking

It can often feel as if there’s a drink at the centre of every LGBTQ event. Especially during celebratory events like Sydney WorldPride. If you’re someone who is trying to not drink, or cut back a little bit, it can be hard to celebrate Pride when most events come with a glass of champagne.

Here are some basic tips for anyone trying to reduce their alcohol consumption during this Sydney WorldPride season.

Get proactive

So you’ve made the decision to reduce your drinking for Sydney WorldPride, great! Now let’s get proactive about how we can make that happen. Visualise yourself ahead of time during the event. Where are you going? Who are you meeting? What will you be doing? We may notice that the urge to drink is stronger or weaker depending on who we are with and what we are doing. It might even be worthwhile to plan some actions ahead of time with some simple ‘If... then...’ scenarios. For example, “if someone offers to buy me a drink, then I will ask for a soda”.  This can make sticking to your plan in the heat of the moment a little more straightforward. You can even write it out or text it to yourself so you can remember it once you’re out.

Set some goals

The key here is to keep your goals simple and achievable; focus on reducing your drinking for the day, not forever. Another trick is to tell yourself what you can do, instead of what you are not allowed to do. For example, instead of saying “no drinking after 10pm” try to say “after 10pm I will switch to non-alcoholic beverages”. Your brain is more likely to listen in the moment if it knows what to do instead of what it is not allowed to do. Keep them simple, keep them achievable and give yourself a pat on the back when you succeed because this stuff can be hard.

Some basic goal examples:

  • For every alcoholic drink I have, I will then drink one glass of water.
  • Before I go out for the night, I will make sure I eat a meal.
  • On certain nights or days of the week, I will drink but on others, I won’t.

Talk about your goals with a trusted friend

Sometimes it can be easier to reduce our drinking when we have people on our team who support this goal. Talk with trusted friends about your plans, and maybe ask if they want to try some new events or venues not centred around alcohol. You can suggest something from our drink-free events list. It can be as simple as saying “hey, I’m actually trying to drink less this month. Do you want to come to a sober event with me instead?”.

Pre-buy non-alcohol or low-alcoholic alternatives

It can be easier to drink less when we plan ahead of time what we will drink instead. For people not wanting to drink at all, you can buy your favourite fizzy drink or non-alcoholic beverage and still use a champagne glass or highball cup to drink it. A lot of people can’t tell the difference between straight-up soda water and lime from a vodka & soda, or a gin & tonic. This can be especially useful if you want to avoid awkward questions or the inevitable “have another drink!” Or if you want a low-alcohol alternative try something like a spritzer. You can also check out the limited edition and 100% non-alcoholic drinks from Yes You Can. Titled ‘Yas You Can’, a percentage of all sales of the non-alcoholic Peach Bellini cans is donated to ACON!

Make sure you are well-fed and hydrated.

Eating before you head out for the night and making sure you keep up your water consumption can help reduce the amount of alcohol you have throughout the night.

Connect to other people who don’t drink  

You are not alone! Connecting to other sober people may give you an opportunity to share your experiences with other like-minded people or learn more tips and tricks from people who are trying to reduce their own drinking. There is an existing network of people who remain sober for short periods of time or during specific periods of the year. Try connecting to forums or peer-support groups. If you use social media like Facebook there are often digital groups or if you prefer face-to-face try finding a local peer group.  You may also benefit from attending a group program for people who want to stop drinking.

If your drinking is causing problems and you would be interested in cutting back or quitting but want some help to do so, check out our services directory for a list of LGBTQ+ inclusive drug and alcohol service providers.

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