• Written by Tom Cartwright, Drink Less Feel Fresh

5 keys strategies that might just help you cross the finish line, in style!

One of the most common problems people experience when it comes to their alcohol intake, especially at this time of year, is never finding the right time to drink less or take a break from the booze.

It seems there is always something on. Whether it be professionally or personally.

There is always a tough day to deal with or a social event demanding the need to enjoy a beverage.

So, it invites one of the most common questions we receive at Drink Less Feel Fresh.

“When is the best time to change your relationship with alcohol?”

And the answer has remained the same.

The best time to change your relationship with alcohol, ironically, is when it’s apparently the worst time to drink less alcohol. 

  • Birthdays

  • Weddings

  • Xmas

  • NYE

  • Holidays 

If you can lower your alcohol intake and stick to your commitments when the social pressure or benchmark to drink is most high, you’ll be a big step ahead of the curb.

Many people don’t realise, they have less of a problem with alcohol than they think.

The problem is less about the habitual behaviour of reaching for a glass of wine & more about the inability to stand out from the crowd.

Especially if you find yourself drinking in social situations even when you wish you weren’t drinking, and here’s why.

When we are born, we are born into a group of people.

Then we merge into more groups of people.

This could be our caregivers, childcare, pre-school, high school, romantic relationships, career & professional work environments.. the list goes on.

All we need to know is this – We all form a unique identity however, this identity is so heavily influenced by the groups of people we have spent time with.

Which begs the question – “How unique am I?”

“Am I unique but will continue adhering to the social groups needs whether it’s what I want or not?”


“Am I unique to the extent I will challenge the social group and stand out when needed?”

There is a fundamental human core need at play here – Connection.

We have a deep desire & need to be connected to those around us. It’s what supports us to feel safe enough to share who we are. It’s what supports us to feel connected and safe enough to share our identity with the world.

There is also a very fine line to walk between, remaining connected to what we have experienced and how we have behaved in the past and… challenging the status quo, standing out from the crowd, and daring to be more than we were yesterday.

So, it only makes sense, that during certain times of the year, it may feel more difficult to drink less.

Whenever there is a social expectation to drink or an assumption alcohol should be consumed, you will feel most challenged to say no.

Not because you don’t know how to say ‘no’ to alcohol.

But because you don’t know how to say ‘no’ to certain people or events where you, in the past, would always say ‘yes’.

Which really means, there is a completely new way to look at this.

Rather than worrying about saying ‘no’ to alcohol, begin focusing on your ability to say ‘yes’ to the new version of you.

You want to change your mind, your behaviour, your choices, and your actions.

Which is completely ok.

In fact, it is necessary.

So, coming back to the question which intrigued your curious mind – “When is the best time to change your relationship with alcohol?”, the answer is and always will be, the best time to change your relationship with alcohol is when you feel it will be the hardest.

The character traits you will build whilst drinking less during these times will catapult your growth as an individual.

Here are a few character traits we see DLFF Members experience when they choose to drink less during the festive season;

  • Eagerness

  • Determination

  • Grit

  • The ability to feel uncomfortable but still stick to their commitments

  • The ability to step into their uniqueness no matter what environment they find themselves in

  • The realisation that their results in life will no longer be determined by their tribes insecurities

In other words, if you back yourself to drink less alcohol when you feel it will be most difficult, you won’t only change your relationship with alcohol, chances are, you’ll come out the other side feeling more freedom than you ever thought possible.

The freedom to act & behave regardless of the external expectations or assumptions people might have on you.

Still reading?

Great, there’s only one question left we have for you and that question is,

What event do you have coming up, that you can choose not to drink at, that will ultimately accelerate your ability to live uniquely & freely?

Is it a wedding, a birthday, a staff Xmas party?

Is it Xmas Eve, Xmas Day, New Year’s Eve, or New Year’s Day?

The above days are socially acceptable days to drink a lot, but they can be the exact reason why you don’t drink at all.

Up for the challenge?

Here are my top 5 keys strategies that might just help you cross the finish line, in style!

  • Make your decision in advance. Do not wait until the event to ‘see how you feel’. Chances are on the day, you’ll ‘feel’ like a drink. You don’t want your life to be decided by how you feel in the moment. The only way to learn how to stick to your commitments, presupposes you have made a commitment to stick to in the first place. Make that commitment now!

  • Have an exit strategy. The No. 1 reason we drink, is to deal with how we feel. The No. 1 factor that influences how we feel, is our environment. Never get stuck in a space you no longer want to be in just because you clicked ‘attending’. Give yourself permission, in advance, to leave as early as you like.

  • Say “No thanks, not this year”. If it comes down to attending an event and breaking your commitment to yourself, or not attending and sticking to your commitment, don’t attend. We must get better at prioritising our mental & emotional health more than our need to please other peoples wishes.

  • Don’t only be designated driver, organise who wants lifts to the event. Feeling significant & knowing you have purpose within the social group, creates huge connection & confidence. It’s also a sneaky way of having your peers support & even get excited for you being sober - They are getting something out of it.

  • Plan a fun activity for yourself. Specifically, after the event or the next day. If not drinking at the event will be difficult for you, chances are, you’ll be slightly uncomfortable during the event. So, plan yourself a fun activity you can do after the event or the next morning. For example – Go to a late-night movie or grab ice-cream on the way home. Get up early for a sunrise run with a friend the next day. This will bring excitement and eagerness to stick to your commitments as you’ve shifted what matters most to you. It’s also a good talking point & power play when someone asks, “Why aren’t you drinking?” and you can respond with “Oh I’m actually getting up early for a run and brekkie event tomorrow”. 

By: Tom Cartwright, Drink Less Feel Fresh


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