Reducing the Risks of Alcohol Misuse
The idea of abstinence can be scary for someone struggling with alcohol use, or even someone who has a healthy relationship with alcohol! The good news is that even taking small steps to create healthier habits can help you or a loved one avoid the harmful risks of alcohol misuse. In general, it’s important to be aware of what’s healthy and what might be putting you at risk, and to check in with yourself regularly if you think your habits are leaning towards being more harmful than healthy.
Here are some simple recommendations to consider.
Know the consequences of excessive alcohol consumption.
Don’t keep alcohol in your home.
Know low-risk drinking limits.
Surround yourself with non-drinkers.
- Being around others who drink more than 3-4 drinks, and do so on a regular basis, puts you at a much higher risk of developing an alcohol use disorder. It may surprise you, but there are many people who either don’t drink or drink at low-risk levels! NIAAA found that 35% of adults do not drink at all, and 37% always drink at low-risk levels.
- If you’re in a friend group that always gets together with alcohol, plan a regular get together that is sober or for the sober-curious! Have a contest for the best-tasting mocktail, or challenge others to join you in taking a break from drinking.
Tell someone if you have concerns.
Talk to a professional.
What does “Harms Reduction” mean?
The National Harm Reduction Coalition defines harm reduction as a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with substance use. Harm reduction is also a movement for social justice built on a belief in, and respect for, the rights of people who use drugs. While the initial harm reduction movement has been centered around people who use drugs, there are many principles of harm reduction that also apply to people who use alcohol. To learn more about the National Harm Reduction Coalition and the principles of harm reduction, visit www.harmreduction.org.
At Recover Alaska, we know that not all people currently using alcohol in a harmful way can or want to quit using altogether. The one-pager below highlights some strategies for reducing the harms from binge and heavy drinking.