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How to stop drinking

When you know you've had enough

You don’t have to be an alcoholic to stop drinking. You may just notice alcohol is having a negative effect on your life. It may be slowing you down or making you take risks that you would not normally. For example, when drunk, you may not remember or want to use a condom correctly. It may be costing you friends or a job or better marks at school.

When people notice they have a problem with alcohol, they usually don’t stop overnight. It is usually a gradual process that shapes in your mind over time. You start to realise that your drinking has a cost.

Set the rules: Are you going to drink on weekends only? Once a month? Will you only allow yourself one drink a night?
Set a fixed quit date: When do you want to stop drinking or start drinking less? Tomorrow? In a week? Next month? Set a date.
Get rid of temptations: Remove all alcohol from your home and avoid the places or times you used to drink – like at a bar after sport, or at a friend’s place on the weekend.
Avoid your ‘drinking friends’. This may mean staying away from your ‘drinking friends’ for a little while.
Get busy: Take up a new hobby or interest. Find a course, a class, a group, a job or a team you can join. This gives you a great excuse to avoid your drinking friends and places!

Drinking is legal for adults. That’s why some young people think you need to drink to feel grown up. But people of all ages forget that underage drinking is illegal and dangerous. It affects decision-making and control of your body. If you think you have a problem or can’t stop, talk to your local clinic to get help.

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