Reducing Wine Drinking – Alcohol Habits Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket
Have you been struggling with reducing your wine drinking? What may have started as the odd drink to relax in the evening may have become a habit that has taken over. Rather than just the glass or two on the weekend or on the occasional evening after work, it becomes something that you feel you need and that you struggle to do without.
Instead of something pleasurable, relaxing and enjoyable, you may find yourself reaching for the wine almost as soon as you walk through the door. You can find yourself thinking about the wine during the day, looking forward to that first glass and, despite your best intentions, stopping off at the shop to get a bottle in. The thought of going without a drink may make you feel a bit anxious and you can find yourself easily getting through a bottle a night (or perhaps even more than that).
Your habit may have started during a stressful period where it was a way of seeking to unwind and relax, or it may have just crept up to the point where your wine drinking has taken over. Your evenings can start to be all about the wine. You want to cut down or stop but even the thought of it seems overwhelming.
Your sleep can be impacted, you may feel foggy headed in the morning, you have less energy that you’d like and you know that your wine drinking is not good for your health. You get little from it except a way of letting time pass by yet, despite any positive intentions as you start your day, there you are again struggling with reducing wine drinking by the evening.
As creatures of habit, pattern and repetition it can be tough to try and change any habit simply with willpower. There’s a certain psychological expectation that means the harder you try to reduce wine drinking, the more you crave it and think about it. At some point you give up the struggle and reach for the bottle again.
Successfully reducing wine drinking and taking back control (or stopping completely) involves addressing the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that have been repeating and going on for too long. And hypnotherapy is the perfect way that you can take back control and start feeling healthier and happier again.
In Control Over Your Wine Habit
You know it isn’t good for you to drink a bottle or so every night. You can feel it in your energy, sense of well-being and in your thinking. You get little from the wine except maybe a small amount of relaxing and switching off (or even blotting out aspects of life). You don’t sleep as well as you could, you may feel tired and washed out and you are frustrated by your own inability to consistently cut back.
The wine is controlling you rather that you being in control over it. You drink more often and more volume that you want to. You feel stuck.
Yet it is very possible to change those patterns so that you either stop altogether or so that you can have one or two and stop. You are then the one who gets to decide whether you drink, how much you drink and when you drink the wine. Your life becomes more fulfilling because you actually get on with things rather than spending your evenings drinking in front of a screen. Whether others have expressed some concern about your drinking, or you just know the health and other negative impacts, it’s time to make some positive, successful changes.
Now, if you are drinking to deal with uncomfortable emotions, to try and relax or to try and boost confidence, then these can all also be addressed during your hypnotherapy sessions. You can feel calm, confident, happy and in control so that the wine isn’t even part of you feeling good in yourself and about yourself. In effect, you can take it or leave it and still feel good.
Naturally, I suggest hypnotherapy if you are seeking to reduce your drinking and take control over wine. Alongside that, here are some first steps that I suggest if you want to start changing your own habits and reducing wine drinking.
1. Keep A Record
If you want to change your wine drinking then you need to know what you are doing, when you are doing it and how often you are doing it. Keep a record and write it all down.
Whenever we do something over and over, it’s easy to start to generalise and make assumptions about what we think we are doing, rather than what we are actually doing in practice. You drink wine then forget about it and move on to the next day and the next glass. You may not even pay much attention to the wine itself as you drink it, you just do it mindlessly.
Even if you think you know already exactly what you are doing, keeping a record forces you to start to become honest and accountable with yourself. Maybe you start to make changes simply from paying attention and noticing what you are doing, or maybe you just now know what exactly you are up against.
2. Notice The Details
Alongside keeping a record, start to really pay attention to your thoughts, feelings and behaviours around wine. When do you start thinking about it? What sort of thoughts, feelings and associations do you have when you think about drinking and whilst drinking it? Where do you get it from? How quickly do you drink it? On your own or with others? What do you physically do from walking through the door to getting the glass and bottle, pouring and taking the first sip? What do you think you might be getting from it (if anything)?
Ask yourself all of these things and more. Really pay attention to all your specific thoughts, feelings and behaviours around wine so you can work out where you can get the best return on your actions.
3. Manage Your Stress
If you are drinking to switch off from the day, block things out or to manage stress then you need to learn new ways to manage your emotions. Instead of reaching for the glass almost before you take your shoes off, head back out for a brisk walk, get a shower, go and do something else first or listen to an audio (such as my Rapid Relaxation Hypnosis Download). Start to create a buffer and separation between the busyness of your day and the rest of your evening. Give yourself an opportunity to process the day, clear your head and ease into a calmer evening.
4. Reasons and Review
If you are reading this then you already have reasons you want to reduce wine drinking. You already have your reasons. It may be health, financial, to boost self-esteem, to save money or other things. Whatever your reasons, write them down and review them daily. Ideally take a look just before the time when you decide whether to have a drink or not. Often your earlier good intentions to not drink fade to the back of your mind as the day goes on and you get caught up in the same old habitual cycle. Remind yourself of your reasons and motivations at the time you are making a decision (e.g. just before you walk through the front door at the end of the day). Force yourself to pause, consider how you want to do things and then make an informed decision about what happens next.
5. Take One Small Step
By this point you would have a record of your wine drinking, know exactly and specifically what happens and when, and have all your motivations and reasons for reducing your wine intake written down and at the forefront of your mind. Then you decide one small positive step you can take.
It could be one of the things I mentioned above under managing stress. Rather than get in and go to the fridge (or wherever you keep it), you have a shower or bath, go for a walk, get some house task completed or listen to an audio of some kind. You do something in that moment that is different to usual and that at least breaks the immediacy around your evening drinking. Or maybe you drive home by a route that means you do’;t go past a shop to buy any, or you leave your cards behind so you can’t get a bottle because you can’t pay for it.
Get that change in place and then decide the next small positive step you will take and so on.
Your mind works on patterns and so any change to that pattern can interrupt the usual flow. We do things the same way in the same situations and so change comes from altering these usual things a bit. It may not solve all of your drinking by itself but at least you are starting to decide, direct and dictate things rather than the wine doing it for you.
As an example of how small changes can alter your drinking we have some recent research about the impact on wine sales from removing the largest serving size by the glass (Hansche et al, 2023). They found that removing the largest serving size of wine by the glass from those available reduced the volume of wine sold.
Of course this is overall rather than individual but demonstrates how changing your environment a little can lead to changes in your behaviour.
“The results of the current study suggest that when the largest serving size of wine by the glass (typically 250 ml) was not available, people shifted towards the smaller options (125 ml and 175 ml) and neither drank the equivalent amount of wine nor more, for example, by opting to buy wine by the carafe or bottle. The increase in sales was slightly larger for 125 ml servings compared to 175 ml serving. Given that in most premises the largest serving was 250 ml, this implies that people did not automatically choose the next available size (175 ml). It is not clear why this was the case. One possibility is that when customers who had planned to drink a large glass of wine (250 ml) were told it was not available, they planned to drink two 125 ml services but stopped after one. People have the tendency to consume a specific number of “units” (e.g., number of glasses or bottles, number of cookies or slices of cake), regardless of portion or package size. This helps explain why smaller serving sizes reduce alcohol consumption: people tend to order a pre-set number of glasses, and with less alcohol in each glass they drink less overall” (Hansche et al, 2023)
The pattern was altered and so the outcomes that followed changed a bit. That’s why some of my clients start buying smaller bottles (or non alcoholic versions) because it limits alcohol availability. You could go back out and get another bottle yet for most that would be too much effort (we tend to make things quite easy for ourselves regardless of whether that is something helpful or not). And even if you did go back out to the shop, at least you have to actively do something and put some hassle and effort into what you are doing.
And finally, if you are struggling with reducing wine drinking then seek support to help you.
You may also find these articles about alcohol and drinking helpful:
I’ve helped a lot of people with reducing wine drinking, whether it’s a persistent habit or they tend to binge a bit. Wine has a way of creeping into your life and then taking over. Instead of being something you have control over, it starts to dictate your actions and reactions. It kids you it is somehow helpful for your relaxation and enjoyment and then before you know it the cravings and almost a sense of need arises. You try and cut back or go without yet you find yourself going back to the same old ways.
If you are fed up with your drinking and want to be free from the cravings, habits, frustrations and lack of control then do start with the actions above and, in addition to that, contact me and come along for a free initial consultation. In a relatively short time, you could find yourself firmly back in control and feeling healthier and happier.
To your health and happiness,
Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket
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Reference: Mantzari Hansche, E., Ventsel, M., Pechey, E., Lee, I., Pilling, M., Hollands, G. and Marteau, T., 2023. Impact on wine sales of removing the largest serving size by the glass: an ABA reversal trial in 21 pubs, bars and restaurants in England.