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It’s hard work saying ‘no’ to alcohol when everyone around you is drinking. Here are some simple tips to help you enjoy a drink or two without getting pressured (by yourself or anyone else) to get completely wasted.

This can help if:

  • you’re sick of getting really drunk all the time
  • you feel pressure to drink all the time
  • you want to know how to drink without harming yourself.
Boy and girl sitting on a fence drinking

Some tips for drinking without getting too drunk

Set limit

  • Decide on the number of drinks you’ll have and stick to it. Switch to water or a soft drink once you’ve reached the limit you set yourself. A bunch of clever scientists have recommended that we have no more than four alcoholic drinks in one go. Everyone’s tolerance is different, so choose a number that works for you, rather than for your mate Bruce, who’s a beer-guzzling machine.
  • Before you head out for the night, check how much money you’ve got and make a sober and sensible decision about how much you can afford to spend.
  • Avoid drinking too quickly. Knocking back drinks quickly makes it harder to know how the alcohol is affecting you.
  • Say ‘no, thanks’ when someone offers to buy you a drink. If they insist, you don’t actually have to drink it. Just leave it somewhere or pour it out. Keeping track of how much you’re drinking is more important than keeping up with other people.
  • Avoid drinking rounds. There’s nothing wrong with buying your mates drinks, but if you’re with a group of seven, it quickly turns into a heavy drinking session.
  • Avoid shots. Tell your mates you don’t want one. If they insist, pour it on the floor, or ask the bartender to fill your shot glass with water. (It looks a lot like vodka, after all!)

set limits

Do things other than drinking alcohol

  • Water is your best friend. For every alcoholic drink, have a glass of water.
  • Have a glass of soft drink. (You don’t have to tell anyone it’s not alcoholic.)
  • Pretend you’re drinking alcohol. If people give you crap for drinking water, fill up your beer bottle with water or order a soda water with lime. Probably, no one will even notice.
  • Make sure you have a meal while you’re drinking. It helps you to digest alcohol more slowly and gives you something to do instead of drinking.
  • Join in an activity while you’re drinking, such as playing pool or cricket.
  • If you’re in a bad mood already, drinking alcohol won’t help. Try something else that’s relaxing, or talk to someone about what’s on your mind.

Drink water

Have a plan B

  • Get a mate to help watch your drinking and remind you to slow down and not do stupid stuff (like late night karaoke with a random you just met in the taxi line).
  • Make sure you’ve always got a mate with you who can look after you if you drink too much.
  • Before you start drinking, make a plan for where you’re going to sleep that night.
  • Put money aside for a taxi or uber in case you end up needing to get home quickly.

Plan B

I need help

If you’ve been trying to cut down on partying and it isn’t working, there’s help available for managing or dealing with drinking.

Having someone you can talk to if you’re concerned about your drinking can help. Good options are a mate, family member, doctor, nurse or counsellor. Try using ReachOut NextStep to find the right help for you.

What can I do now?