Tips and tools for cutting back

Whether you’re aiming to drink less or to quit altogether, here are some tips and tools that can help you cut back on alcohol.

Goal setting and tracking your progress

It can be helpful to set a goal and make a plan when you’re thinking about reducing the amount you drink. Having a plan will help you stay on track and measure the benefits of cutting back.

Your plan might be to have more alcohol-free days or to have less alcohol when you drink. To help with your plan, think about:

  • Your goals — Why do you want to reduce or quit alcohol?
  • Your triggers — Why and when do you drink alcohol?
  • Strategies to overcome these — How will you reduce or quit alcohol?
  • Support networks and services — Who will you turn to for help?

Sharing your goals with close family members and friends can also help you achieve them.


How much is too much?

The less alcohol you drink, the lower your risk of harm.

The Australian Alcohol Guidelines recommend you have:

  • no more than four standard drinks a day, and
  • no more than ten standard drinks a week.

Children and young people under 18 years of age should not drink any alcohol at all. 


What is a standard drink?

Knowing the amount in a standard drink is important if you are thinking about reducing or stopping drinking alcohol. It is also important to know this so that if you are choosing to drink, you can ensure that you are drinking within the recommended Australian Alcohol Guidelines.

In Australia, one standard drink contains 10 grams of alcohol, which looks different depending on the type of drink and the glass or container it is served in.

One standard drink equates to a can of mid-strength beer, a 100 ml glass of red wine, or a 30 ml shot of spirits.

Check out the Australian Department of Health guide on standard drinks.

You can also try the online standard drinks tool from AlcoholThinkAgain to measure your usual pour.


Apps that can help you cut back

There are several apps you can find to support you in reducing your drinking, keeping track of your alcohol intake, or resetting habits.

Two apps we suggest exploring if this might help you cut back:

Daybreak

A free app from Hello Sunday Morning, Daybreak offers self-directed activities to help you change your drinking habits, whether you want to cut back or quit drinking completely. ‘Daybreakers’ receive support from like-minded community members who can help each other achieve their alcohol change goals. One-on-one coaching is also available. Daybreak is free for Australian residents and is confidential, anonymous and secure.

Drinksmeter

A free app containing tools like goal setting and a drinking diary to help you cut down your drinking, including an interactive drink pouring tool helping you make sense of standard drinks. Confidential, personalised feedback is provided about your alcohol use, based on risk factors in your family and medical history. The app can also record and monitor how much you spend on alcohol and how many kilojoules or calories the alcohol you drink contains. It compares your drinking with other users of the app, and with Australia’s national alcohol guidelines.


Reaching out for extra help

We all need help and support from time-to-time. If you need additional support in making a change around alcohol, have a look at our contact list for further advice and assistance.

If you have been drinking heavily for a long time, it could be dangerous to reduce or quit alcohol on your own without medical advice or additional support.

Your doctor can help by advising on withdrawal planning, prescribing medication, or referring you to withdrawal and counselling services.