One for the Road – a Plan for Managing Alcohol Use

There are many reasons for drinking. Often, it comes with the job. Maybe it’s part of the culture of your profession. Perhaps your closest circle of friends like a regular glass of wine. Or it’s the ball game or barbeque with the guys that always involves a beer.

Not participating can make you stand out in ways you don’t want to. You may fear, not without reason, that if you don’t drink at all it signals that you have had a problem, even if that is not the case.

People drink for fun. They drink to relax. A glass or two of wine every day is thought by many to be a healthy practice.

But maybe you worry that you might drink too much. Not a lot. And certainly not out of necessity. But you’re the kind of person who needs to be sure that you control it and it does not control you.

If you think you drink too much

This piece isn’t for the person who is out of control and needs professional help. If you do, by all means seek help. Alcoholics Anonymous is a good place to start. There are clinics like Recovery Village ( that offer a whole array of services that can help.

Beating alcohol addiction can be a long and bumpy road, so the best advice is to keep it under control in the first place. Here are a few ways for the individual who lives a self-determined life to do that.

What you should do

Chose your friends well. Stay connected with people who, like you, are going places and seek excellence in their chosen fields. If you’ve attended a high school reunion, you can’t help but be struck by the people who are doing pretty much the same things they did in high school. Their lives have gone nowhere. This isn’t your crowd.

Be honest with yourself. What triggers the urge to drink in you? Look seriously at the times you drank too much and ask yourself what made that happen. If you can identify triggers, you can take measures to avoid them in the future.

When you fail, see it as an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and move on. You would do the same in other areas of your life. Successful people make mistakes. They just don’t make the same ones twice.

Make fitness a priority. If it isn’t already, set yourself up with a reasonable and effective exercise plan, a good diet and make time for restful sleep.

Educate yourself. Read up on what works to control drinking.

Make controlling your drinking a goal. Write out a plan and carry it out like a New Year’s resolution.

Set up your home environment to help you limit your drinking. If you don’t want to drink, don’t have the stuff in the house. Make it so that if you decide to drink, you have to make a special effort to go out and buy it.

It helps to write out the ways alcohol can be detrimental to your life. It costs money. Calculate the amount of money you would save if you never bought another drink. It can hurt relationships. Perhaps your partner worries about your drinking. Even if it doesn’t worry you, take a closer look at what your loved ones think.

Dennis Rodman once famously said that he never intended to be anyone’s role model. But you can’t help setting an example for people who look up to you. You are someone’s role model, good or bad, whether you want to be or not.

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