5 Simple Steps to Stop Drinking Too Much

When I was 25, I used to drink a lot on the weekends. Every Saturday afternoon, my roommate and I would head to a local pub. We’d start with a few beers, have dinner, and then head home to get ready for the second half of the night.

By midnight we’d be in a massive nightclub, often drinking until 3 a.m. Finally, after 12 hours of overindulging, I’d pass out in my bed until noon the next day. 

I’m embarrassed to say this behavior went on for a few more years. I was, by some definitions, an alcoholic. And eventually my binge drinking had a terrible side effect: anxiety attacks.

I share this story as a cautionary tale, but I’m not here to say that you should never drink alcohol. I still drink occasionally (although no more than two drinks per night, and rarely more than once per week).

If you’ve recognized that you drink too much, then it’s time to implement the system that worked for me when I was cutting back.

This system uses five simple steps that anyone can follow, and over time, builds habits that dramatically reduce your dependency on alcohol.

Step 1: Spend Time with the Right People

This lesson comes straight from entrepreneur, author, and speaker Jim Rohn. Here’s the gist: You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. If you spend your time with people who are getting drunk all the time, then guess what you’re going to do?

Think about it—do you really think you’re going to have superhuman willpower and be able to stop at one drink when all of your friends are grabbing a second, third, and fourth?

On the other hand, if you spend your time with people that drink less—or better yet, not at all—then you’ll soon have control over your drinking.

Pick your friends wisely.

Step 2: Slow Down

It’s easy to say you’re going to stick to just one drink when meeting a friend after work. But when the bar is buzzing and you’re starting to loosen, slowing down just isn’t going to happen. The next thing you know, you’ve downed that first beer in record time and you’re ready for a second.

Here’s you how get over the “drink quick” urge: Order a drink that doesn’t go down so easily.

Once upon a time, I used to love drinking Black Russians—a mix of vodka and Kahlúa. The trouble was, it was sweet and I have a strong sweet-tooth. It’s no surprise that those drinks went down fast and easy.

These days, I order a glass of vodka on the rocks or maybe tequila on the rocks. The flavor is powerful—and remarkably un-sweet—so I sip it instead of down it. As a result, I don’t drink more than I should.

Success requires removing obstacles, leading yourself out of temptation, and getting accountability to stick to your goals. With these in place, you’ll soon kick the booze to the curb and start enjoying more Perfect Days—moving you closer to your big goals and dreams.

Step 3: One Drink of Alcohol + One Glass of Water

This one seems obvious, but so many people forget to drink water while they’re enjoying alcohol. It’s critical to keep yourself hydrated—not only to prevent hangovers the next morning, but also for slowing down your intake. Every time you finish a cocktail, beer, or glass of wine, make sure to take a pause from the booze and down a glass of water.

Step 4: Find an Accountability Buddy

Many of you know that I’m big on accountability. Why? Because it works.

Accountability works wonders for slowing your drinking, too. Pick someone for a night or a week—or have them be a standing accountability buddy—and tell them your drinking limits.

Now, set up consequences for breaking those limits. Tell your buddy that for every drink you consume above and beyond your limit, you’ll pay them $10. (Make that amount higher if you want to raise the stakes.)

If you don’t need the serious consequences, ask them to tap you on the shoulder when you hit your limit—just to remind you that someone is watching.

Step 5: Schedule Something for the Next Morning

Let’s say you’re planning on heading to the bars on Friday night. Set up an appointment or meeting for Saturday morning at 8 a.m. Knowing that you have that appointment—and that you have to be ready for it—will keep you from going overboard at the bars. (I often recommend setting up a physical activity. Your body will hate you if you try to do it while nursing a hangover, so you’ll quickly learn not to overindulge.)

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These five steps can help you cut back on alcohol and regain control so that you can focus on the more important things in life.

For example, cutting back on my drinking allowed me to tackle my anxiety and spend more energy on writing my book, “The Perfect Day Formula,” that is my life’s work.

Success requires removing obstacles, leading yourself out of temptation, and getting accountability to stick to your goals. With these in place, you’ll soon kick the booze to the curb and start enjoying more Perfect Days—moving you closer to your big goals and dreams.


When you’re ready to move from distractions like alcohol to the tools and routines that build your Perfect Days and Perfect Life, that I urge you to get a FREE copy of my book, “The Perfect Day Formula.”

Thousands have used the insights from this book—all gathered over decades of experience. Take your life to the next level by getting your FREE copy now.

Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men’s Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he’ll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com

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