If you’ve ever wondered how to get binge drinking under control, you’re not alone. According to 2019 numbers, 25.8 percent of adults reported binge drinking in the past month.1 And since COVID-19, that number has been on the rise.2
Giving up binge drinking can feel a lot different from overcoming other forms of drinking. For example, you might not feel like you have an alcohol use disorder, but perhaps you’ve noticed a pattern of excessive drinking on nights out, or an inability to stop once you get started.
Below, we’ll offer seven tips for how to stop binge drinking, along with some helpful strategies to manage home and weekend alcohol use.
1. Set Yourself a Drinking Limit
Before heading to any club, bar, or party, decide on the maximum number of drinks you’ll have during the night. To help yourself stick to your limit, you can:
- Choose alcohol that you don’t enjoy the taste of
- Commit to drinking a glass of water between drinks
- Only bring a limited amount of money to spend
2. Find an Accountability Partner
Connect with a trusted friend who can hold you accountable and who you can check in with regularly.
You might find it helpful to choose an accountability partner who has also struggled with binge drinking. This can be one of your in-person friends, or even someone you met through an online support group. This can add an extra layer of understanding and honesty that you might not get with a partner who hasn’t ever wanted to change their drinking habits.
3. Fill Your Time with Something New
It can help to view binge drinking as a habit loop made of a cue, routine, and reward. When you surround yourself with the same cues that trigger your urge to binge drink—like certain people or settings—it becomes harder to break the loop.
With that in mind, try planning alternative activities in place of drinking. For example, rather than going out to a bar or party, ask some of your closest friends if they’d like to have a movie night or game night instead.
Speak with a Ria Health team member about how medication-assisted treatment can help you.
4. Build New Social Circles
Learning how to get binge drinking under control often means surrounding yourself with new people, and one way to do this is to try new hobbies. By doing so, you’re bound to meet people with similar interests, and even make new friends. You could try:
- Exercise classes
- Farmer’s markets
- Painting classes
- Sports like golf, tennis, or basketball
- Jogging or hiking at parks
- Online video games
5. Communicate Your Boundaries
Communicating boundaries to your friends can help you avoid any peer pressure that may contribute to your binge drinking. There are many ways to say no to alcohol, but a simple “I don’t want to drink a lot tonight” is often all you need to say to get your point across.
6. Use a Drink-Tracking App
Drink-tracking apps offer another layer of accountability and motivation that can help you curb binge drinking. Many even come with sober clocks, encouraging messages, and health trackers to help you stay on course.
More comprehensive apps like Ria Health take things a step further, allowing you to track your drinking while teaming up with medical professionals, coaches, and support groups along the way.
7. Try the Sinclair Method or Naltrexone
So, how does it work?
Naltrexone is a prescription medication that essentially prevents alcohol from feeling as good as it normally would. In more scientific terms, it blocks the endorphin receptors that alcohol would otherwise bind to.3 Over time, this makes binge drinking a less pleasurable experience, reducing your desire to do it.
Learn more about the Sinclair Method.
How to Stop Weekend Binge Drinking
One of the best ways to beat weekend binge drinking is to find new ways to spend your time, such as hitting the gym, going to the beach, jogging at the park, or visiting new places.
If you do find yourself at a bar on the weekend, focus on playing games like pool or darts. This can help you keep your mind off booze and motivate you to keep your alcohol use to a minimum.
All in all, look for ways to cultivate new weekend habits that don’t involve drinking, and make plans for how you’ll navigate situations where alcohol is present.
How to Stop Binge Drinking at Home
Home binge drinking can be tricky to address because, in many cases, it’s become a part of your routine. To tackle it, the best first step is to keep alcohol out of your house.
Beyond that, take time to examine the feelings or routines that drive you to drink in the first place. Mindfulness is a good place to start for this, but you can try any activity that helps you reflect and relax. And don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and get some fresh air if being stuck at home feels triggering at times.
More Resources for Binge Drinking
Quitting binge drinking is challenging, especially because there are so many patterns and root causes that you’ll need to address—and it’s not always easy to do this on your own. If you or someone you love could use more comprehensive support, programs like Ria Health can help.
Ria Health is a 100 percent online alcohol treatment program that connects you with medical professionals, anti-craving prescriptions, peer support groups, and more. Best of all, you don’t need to identify as an alcoholic to get started. This program is meant for anyone who wants to change their relationship with alcohol, whether that means cutting back or quitting altogether.