Drinking & Friends

In a survey, people in North Yorkshire said that drinking less with friends would help motivate them to change their habits for the better.

If you choose to drink less with your family or friends, it means that you can support and encourage each other. Some ideas of how to drink less with friends include:

  • Hold each other accountable – if you say that you’re ‘just going out for one drink’ make sure that you all stick to the limit you’ve set.
  • Choose an activity where there’s less chance to drink – the cinema for example; a game of pool; an afternoon coffee and cake; a walk, a spa day, a round of golf or any activity or sports. It might work out less expensive!
  • Set up a WhatsApp or other digital group to keep each other going. You could taste test alcohol free wine and beer and post your reviews – good and bad! Or share your frustrations when you fancy an extra glass of wine, but would be better off with a cup of tea instead.

If you feel that your friends are barriers to you cutting down your drinking – perhaps they pressure you to drink, or they don’t understand why you would want to cut down – then there are many online communities that encourage and support people who are in the same position as you. This can motivate you to cut down drinking and help you to make new friends!

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Club Soda

Club Soda has a private Facebook group for people who want to cut down, one for people who want stop drinking completely and other groups.

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Dry January and Beyond

Alcohol Change UK runs a private Facebook group for people who want to moderate or live an alcohol-free life in the long-term

Under Pressure

Sometimes your friends can pressure you to drink more than you intended. Saying no to your friends can be difficult, especially if you’re in an environment where you want to ‘fit in’.  Some good tips for dealing with the pressure from friends are:

Stand Your Ground

At first your friends might try and persuade you to keep drinking but if you explain that you’re not drinking as much, and stand your ground, your friends will learn to respect your choice.

Tell Them Why

Tell your friends why you’re not drinking – you could say that you’re cutting down for your health, your job or because you’re trying to save money.

Buy Alcohol Free Alternatives

Your friends won’t know that you’re drinking an alcohol-free beer, wine or mocktail unless you tell them, because it looks like an alcoholic drink – just without the added hangover. Check out zeroholic for lots of alcohol free / low alcohol content alternatives.

If that isn’t for you, make an excuse! If it helps:
Take your car and tell people you’re driving
Tell people you’re on a diet, and counting calories
Say you can’t get a good night’s sleep when you drink
Explain you have an early start in the morning
Whatever works for you!

It’s Your Round

Rounds can quickly add up and before you know it, you’ve had more to drink than you planned. This can affect your health and your bank balance. You might not want to ask one of your friends to buy you a soft drink, but when it’s your round you could buy an alcohol-free drink or a lower strength alcoholic drink. This will lessen your hangover and make your round less expensive.