Blog - Beach House Rehab Center
A women sitting on the counter with an almost empty glass of red wine while looking longingly at the empty bottle beside her.
February 27, 2019

How to Control Drinking

Are you wondering
how to control drinking and looking for a guide to help you make sure you are managing your drinking appropriately? Many individuals struggle with how to know when their drinking has exceeded moderate limits and need strategies to help make sure they have limits that help them to control their drinking. With several simple steps and tips from Beach House Recovery’s detox center, you can help to reduce your drinking and ensure that your drinking falls within the parameters of moderate, social drinking.

What is moderate alcohol use? Guidelines for moderate drinking developed by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the World Health Organization (WHO) help to define moderate drinking. In the United States, drinking guidelines are established as no more than 2 drinks per day for men and no more than 1 drink per day for women. One drink is defined as 5 oz of wine, 1.5 oz of spirits, or 12 oz of beer. The WHO guidelines recommend no more than 2 drinks per day or 5 drinking days per week with at least 2 non-drinking days. With these guidelines in mind, below is our complete guide on how to control drinking.

How to Control Drinking: A Complete Guide

Controlling your drinking can seem like a daunting task, but by implementing new methods and guidelines into your life, you can help to make sure you are staying within moderate drinking limits and avoiding drinking excessively. Below is our guide on how to manage your drinking.

Pace Yourself and Space Out Your Drinks

To avoid drinking too much or falling into the trap of alcohol dependence, it’s helpful to pace yourself by sipping your drink slowly and making it last longer. Once you have finished your drink, try spacing it out with a non-alcoholic beverage such as soda, ice tea, water, or juice. Have no more than one standard drink per hour to make sure that you stay within moderate limits and do not become overly intoxicated due to drinking too much alcohol over a short period of time.

Make Sure You’ve Eaten

Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach allows alcohol to absorb more quickly into your system, which is something you want to avoid. If you are going to be consuming alcohol, it’s important to make sure you have eaten food that will help allow the alcohol to absorb into your system more slowly and will keep you feeling full so that you don’t fill up on alcoholic beverages.

Keep Track of Your Drinks

If you’re trying to control yourself from excessive drinking, it can be extremely useful to keep track of your consumption of drinks. By doing this, you have an honest way of documenting how much you are drinking and if you are falling within moderate drinking guidelines. You can track your drinking in a variety of different ways—through a journal, in the notes section of your mobile phone, or through a drinking tracker card you carry in your wallet. Find a way that is simple, easy to use, and works for you to make sure you can accurately track how many drinks you have had and can slow down and quit drinking for the night when you need to.

Set Concrete Goals

To control your drinking and avoid alcohol abuse, set concrete and realistic goals about your drinking behaviors and habits, such as how many days during the week you want to drink and how many drinks you plan to have on each of those days. Be sure to schedule in days when you will not drink any alcohol and cross-check your list of goals with the moderate drinking guidelines to make sure they fall within the drinking thresholds. By staying within low-risk, social drinking limits each week, you can help achieve your goal of controlling your drinking.

Always Measure Your Drinks

To make sure you are accurately tracking your drinks and your progress against your goals, it’s vital to know the standard drink sizes in order to measure your own drinks. If you are making drinks at home, be sure to measure out your drinks so that each drink is a standard size. This can become more difficult when you are drinking away from home, but there are tactics you can employ to help offset this difficulty. For example, err on the side of caution when counting how many drinks each beverage is when you are drinking away from home. If it seems like it is more than one standard drink, count it as 1.5 or 2 oz so that you do not drink too many drinks. If you are drinking wine at a restaurant, advise your server not to top off your glass so you can gauge how much you have had to drink.

These are just a few simple, easy to implement techniques and steps to help control yourself when you drink alcohol and make sure you fall within moderate, social drinking guidelines. For more extreme drinking behaviors, such as hiding alcohol consumption and alcohol addiction and dependence, consider addiction treatment programs such as inpatient rehab and get the help you need today!

For more about alcohol addiction, contact us.


Addictions and Recovery. “Recommended Alcohol Guidelines – Moderate (Social) Drinking Plan.” Retrieved from

Rethinking Drinking, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Tips to Try.” Retrieved from