Safer drinking advice

Drink diary

Drinking not only affects your health, it can also have an impact on many aspects of our lives:

  • Our finances
  • Our relationships
  • Our ability to act responsibly – it may affect our judgment or our ability to care for ourselves or others
  • Our behaviour – it may cause us to take risks we would not otherwise take

Drinking more safely may mean that you choose to cut down on your alcohol intake so that you are drinking at or below the levels recommended, you can find out more about this here and tips to cutting down.

It may mean that you have made a decision to stop drinking all together, if this is the case we can support you to do this if you get in touch or you can access a range of tools that might help you including keeping a drink diary, contacting ‘AA’ and ‘Breaking Free On Line’.

Drinking sometimes affects our own or others behaviour or judgement. You may have found yourself in dangerous situations as a result of your drinking or you may have unfortunately been the victim of violence – you are welcome to talk to us about this and additionally these resources may be able to help you –  Southampton Samaritans, domestic violence support in Southampton or Victim Support.

You might have had sex whilst under the influence of alcohol and need some advice and support around a pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases – contact Royal South Hants Hospital’s C&SH and GUM clinics..

Tips for safer drinking

Set targets to reduce your intake

  1. Set a maximum daily limit that is closer to advised sensible drinking levels.
  2. If you are a heavy drinker and that is difficult then set a target of under 6 units for a man and 5 units for a woman — make it realistic don’t put yourself under pressure but stick to it.
  3. Spread this over a long period of time i.e. over at least 3 hours.
  4. Decide how much you are going to drink before you go out.
  5. Make a plan to change and write it down.
  6. Make a list of personal drinking rules for safe and healthy drinking — where, who with, when, feelings, etc.
  7. Make a list of friends who will help you to drink less.
  8. Make a list of friends with whom you are more likely to drink more.


  1. Drink water before you go out so that you are not so thirsty.
  2. Try and drink water between drinks.
  3. Alcohol uses water from your body so you need to replace it.


  1. Have a bite to eat before you drink.
  2. Have a bite to eat while you drink.
  3. Both of these help your body to slow down how quickly alcohol gets into your blood.

Sip your drink

  1. Sip your drink more slowly.
  2. Sip less often and take smaller sips.
  3. Count the number of sips you take to finish a drink, then increase the number the next time.
  4. Drink for the taste not just to get it down.
  5. Put the glass down between sips.
  6. Don’t warm your glass in your hand.

Drink spacers

  1. Fitting drink “spacers” between drinks can help to pace an evening.

Day spacers

  1. Have a day in the week when you do not drink alcohol.
  2. Decide the easiest day on which to do this and stick to your routine.

Personal Safety

  1. Make sure that if you go out you do not leave your drink unattended.
  2. Avoid binge drinking – as well as negatively affecting your health in the long term it often leads to anti-social and aggressive behaviour and accidents.
  3. Make a plan with the people that you are going out with about how you will get home safely – i.e. designated drivers, sticking together, checking in by phone.
  4. Make sure you have the taxi fare at the end of a night out.
  5. Know your own limits – set yourself your own limit and ask friends to support you to stick to it.
  6. Try not to get so drunk that you become unaware of dangers – you are not superman/superwoman – see
  7. Trust your instincts and get yourself out of situations at the first sign of trouble.
  8. If alcohol is leading to violence within your relationship get some help, Contact us and Domestic Violence Support in Southampton.
  9. In any emergency call 999.