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Drink Less. Live More.
A standard drink is one that contains approximately 14 grams of pure alcohol (about 0.6 fluid ounces or 1.2 tablespoons). Standard drink equivalents include:
- 12-ounces of beer (5% alcohol content).
- 8-ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content).
- 5-ounces of wine (12% alcohol content).
- 5-ounces of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor (e.g. gin, rum, vodka, whiskey).
As defined by the Centers for Disease Control, excessive drinking includes binge drinking, heavy drinking, and any drinking by pregnant women or people younger than age 21. Binge Drinking is the most common form of excessive drinking.
- For women, 4 or more drinks during a single occasion.
- For men, 5 or more drinks during a single occasion.
- For women, 8 or more drinks per week.
- For men, 15 or more drinks per week.
Excessive drinking does not mean you are an alcoholic or have an alcohol dependency.
Drinking at home or at bars can be costly. By drinking less, you can save money and still have fun. Check out alternative activities to live more (link to Live More page).
Drinking more than recommended guidelines for men and women can have both short and long term effects on the body. Short term effects include skin conditions, stomach distress, disturbed sleep, injuries, alcohol positioning, and risky sexual behaviors. Long term effects include high blood pressure, increased cancer risk, learning and memory problems, mental health problems, and alcohol dependence.
Alcohol triggers activity in the brain that affects the ability to get deep sleep – the kind of sleep that helps with learning and memory restoration. Your body may feel more tired from alcohol, however the quality of sleep is poor.
Alcohol can inhibit your ability to connect with others. It can also distract you from your family and friends. By drinking less, you will be able to focus more on those around you with both physical and mental presence. You may also find new friends that are interested in other activities outside of a bar.
Assess your Drinking.
Take the quiz to determine your drinking habits.
Journal your drinking habits for a few weeks. It's helpful to track how much you had, what it was, and where. Can you spot patterns to your drinking of when you may have had more or less?
Avoid Temptations and Triggers.
If you can determine there are certain situations where you tend to drink more or around certain people, try to avoid the situation or, if you cannot, go with a plan in place to limit your drinking.
Try picking one or two days a week to not drink. Put them in your calendar and get your friends and family involved.
Try Alternative Happy Hours.
Create a new social activity with friends or family by taking an exercise class or learning a new skill together.
Eat while you Drink.
Food can help slow your absorption of alcohol and help you drink less, because you feel full.
"I used to drink heavily, almost daily, to escape a job I hated. I was working too much and drinking was how I relaxed. When I changed jobs, I realized how important it is to have other ways to destress that did not involve drinking. I am feeling and sleeping better by drinking less. I have other ways to deal with life’s pressures that aren’t so hard on my body."- Trey, 35
“I’m drinking less to take better care of myself, and hopefully to improve my health."- Richard, 47
“I realized that when I go out drinking with my friends, I spend a lot of money and only end up feeling awful the next day. Just cutting back on drinks saves me money, and I have more energy at work the next day."- Jon, 27
Having a hard time drinking less?
Sources: CDC and Esser MB, Hedden SL, Kanny D, Brewer RD, Gfroerer JC, Naimi TS. Prevalence of Alcohol Dependence Among US Adult Drinkers, 2009-2011. Prev Chronic Dis 2014;11:140329.
Funding provided by Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.