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Mindful Drinking

alcoholic drinks - mindful drinking.

Mindful drinking is not about quitting alcohol or going dry, instead it’s being aware of why and how much alcohol you drink. Mindfulness is about paying attention, thinking while drinking. How does it make you feel? What happens in and around you when you drink? How can you maximize enjoyment and minimize negative side effects like hangovers, regrets, and anxiety?

Mindful drinking is an increasingly popular option with those who feel they ought to cut down on alcohol.

The goal is to have a healthier relationship with alcohol by taking a close look at why you want that drink, how it makes you feel, and what impact drinking is having on relationships, work and your health. For a lot of people, alcohol has become a habit. Maybe it’s grabbing a beer after work, or opening a bottle of wine after dinner. But how do those choices affect the rest of your life?

The mindful drinking movement is different from sober curious. Where mindful drinking is about reflection and awareness, sober curious is about restriction and stopping drinking altogether.

How To Be A Mindful Drinker

Being a mindful drinker is about deciding what is right for you today and staying in control. These ideas can help navigate situations as you start to drink more mindfully:

1. Question yourself: is this really what I want right now?

It can be easy to fall into a default behavior or habit. Ask yourself why you want this drink - am I Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired? Or Thirsty? If you answered yes, do something about that first.

If you still want that drink, consider why - maybe it’s to relax, to feel better about a difficult situation, or because you don’t want to be the only person in your group not drinking. Then you can consider if alternatives can give you the same outcome, or if you really need the drink at all.

2. Have a plan and stick to it.

Make decisions about how much you want to drink ahead of time. Look for bars with great low and no alcohol drinks, so that you can choose to drink or not to drink. If you are meeting friends for drinks, stick to the limit you set for yourself. If you have decided to skip happy hour altogether, find another activity you can do instead to avoid temptation.

In addition to deciding how much you want to drink, have a backup plan. A night out with friends and a few beers can quickly turn into a few rounds of shots. The people you are with might have different drinking plans. Instead of giving in to peer pressure, allow yourself to call it a night and leave early.

3. Order first.

Ordering first and choosing a non-alcoholic drink can help avoid the peer pressure of “I’ll have what they’re having”.

4. Practice what you’ll say.

What will you say when someone offers you an alcoholic drink? How will you decline? It’s often easier to accept than to explain or defend your own decisions, but by knowing what you’ll say, you can take control. Politely decline by sincerely thanking the person, saying no and redirecting the conversation.

Remember, you don’t need anyone’s permission to make a decision that is right for you.

5. Pace yourself: order drinks with half the shots, alternate with water, and order food.

Out with friends and don’t want to end it early? Plan ahead and ask the bartender to make your drink with half the amount of alcohol. Half shots are an easy way to reduce your alcohol intake.

Pacing is another way to stick to your goals. Alternating drinks with a big glass of water helps with hydration, and eating an appetizer - or even dessert - can help break up drinking and keep you from drinking on an empty stomach.

6. Savor your drink.

Sip slowly and savor. Your drink will last longer. Experts say you should love what you drink. If you don’t love it, don’t drink it.

Benefits Of Mindful Drinking

Mindful drinkers associate their mindfulness with a better life. Mindful drinking isn’t about what you’re losing; it’s about all that you stand to gain. Here are several benefits of consuming less alcohol:

  • Better liver function

  • Better heart health

  • A clearer head

  • No more hangovers

  • Better hair and skin health

  • Better sleep

  • Save money

  • Being able to enjoy the moment

If you’re considering taking a step closer to sobriety, slowly cutting down your alcohol intake by mindful drinking is a great way to start.

Getting Help For Addiction

If you or somebody in your life seems to have an issue with alcohol or drugs, or is suffering from addiction, professional help may be the best option for recovery.

At Care Addiction Center, we offer treatment plans that address every facet of your addiction, serving individuals in Geneva, Batavia, Sycamore, St. Charles, and Kane County, with online addiction treatment available anywhere in Illinois. 

To get started on the road to recovery, or if you have questions about helping yourself or a loved one, call us today or schedule a confidential assessment online and begin treatment.


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