How to cut down on drinking, according to 11 Telegraph readers

A woman sits in front of wine glass which is half full while holding the rest of the bottle in her right hand. GettyImages-565954723.jpg - Peter Dazeley/The Image Bank RF
A woman sits in front of wine glass which is half full while holding the rest of the bottle in her right hand. GettyImages-565954723.jpg - Peter Dazeley/The Image Bank RF

As Sober October rolls on, an article by Flic Everett about what happens to the body when you give up alcohol has resulted in hundreds of Telegraph readers reflecting on their teetotal experiences and how it benefited their health.

Some have divulged the difficulties they have faced going sober in a society where drinking to excess has become normalised - while others have shared their best tips and pieces of advice on staying on the wagon, including ways to manage others’ expectations and suggesting alternatives to alcohol that buffer the transition. Here are some of the best:

Personal experiences: ‘I haven’t drunk alcohol in almost four years and I’ve never felt better’

@Roderick Spode:

"The truth is, it's really difficult to kick it. I've tried a few times, but booze has long been a deeply embedded part of my social life and I love the taste.

"When I have given it up for a few weeks, I have really noticed the difference. Better sleep, more energy and an improved mood. It's a choice, and we all know the pros and cons.

"I think it angers people because we already all know it's bad for us, but we keep doing it, and we don't like to be reminded of that fact."

@Jason Smith:

"I haven’t drunk alcohol in almost four years and I’ve never felt better. I still go out, I still have fun but I’m present and genuine. My health fully recovered after six months but many of the changes like resting heart rate, cardio fitness and blood pressure were all a lot quicker - as was my mental health. I love my life now. I could never say that before and I’d recommend it to anyone."

@David Anderson:

"I drank myself into a state of unconsciousness every night for many years. I had no self-esteem, friends or money.

"Then I joined Alcoholics Anonymous. They were useless. I didn’t make new friends, my life didn’t suddenly become problem-free, and I didn’t even find Jesus.

"The only result was that I’ve found the strength to be without alcohol for the last 30 years and hence sober for that length of time.

"The fact that I was able to look myself in the mirror, sleep properly and change careers thus making a ton of money was only coincidental…"

@Martin Booth:

"I love a pint of proper flat, warm and tasty beer. I really enjoy a glass of red wine. I go wild for that kick in the back of the throat when having a very large four fingers tumbler of single malt. But, I can't. A beer becomes four, a glass of wine becomes a bottle and a tumbler is another and another.

"I stopped for over three years. I'm now a month in again and it feels like a lifetime. Orange juice and lemon squash - God help me. But, if it gives me a five per cent chance of having an extra day with my kids, I'll take it.

"I'll drink again. I had a sip of Dubonnet and gin for the Queen on her funeral.

"I wouldn't extol the virtues - each to their own - but my downfall is when I start I can't stop.... and I'm oh so funny when I've had ‘a few’."

@Adam Davison:

"I gave up alcohol a while ago for the simple reason that I simply didn't enjoy the effect drinking had on me. The hardest part was getting past an ingrained feeling that I ought to drink at social events whether I liked it or not. However, once I gave up, I discovered that this barrier didn't really exist at all. Hardly anyone ever comments or cares and any that do really aren't worth knowing.

"I've been dry for nearly 18 months and I'm glad I finally found the courage to give up and feel no urge at all to go back. However, do I feel like giving up has transformed my life as the evangelists claim? No, not really. I'm somewhat happier and I've saved a bit of money."

@David Chick:

"At long last, you can now get a fairly decent zero alcohol Heineken. Drinking it I found that I still joined in with the laughter and actually felt as if I was getting drunk although, of course, I wasn't - so I could drive home.

"I feel a lot better and just completed five great hikes near Grindelwald in Switzerland including the Niesen and Faulhorn mountains. At 64 I've never felt better."

@Stan Blog:

"I gave up on a temporary basis after the first week of the first lockdown because I felt the boozing could go a bit mad as I was furloughed. I haven't had a drink since because, after 10 weeks, I didn't see the point of starting again. I feel and look much better. I used to have a very ruddy red complexion especially around my nose and cheeks and it has all gone now. Plus, I lost 2.5 stone in the first four months and, due to no longer drinking, most of it has stayed off."

Advice: ‘Low and no alcohol beers have really improved and beat a night on orange juice or fizzy drinks’

@Peter Spencer:

"The main thing is not to tell anyone you are giving up alcohol: just quietly and severely cut down your consumption. This allows you to have a very occasional drink on a special occasion without wives/colleagues policing you with: ‘I thought you were giving up alcohol,’ if you choose to have a one-off drink at, for example, a lunchtime gathering."

@River Cartwright:

"Low and no alcohol beers have really improved and beat a night on orange juice or fizzy drinks. Very little beats a pint of proper beer but if you're going to try to cut down it eases the path a bit."

@Ross Mann:

"Practice the mental stop button. That’s the difference between someone who can keep dry and someone who can’t. I think reading Kick the Drink Easily by Jason Vale is a book that might help. You have to keep drinking while you read it. He only lets you think about ‘not drinking’ after you finish the book. It changes lives. What he says is not about your body and what it does. He looks at why you think you need that drink."

@Stephen Walker:

"I have just left hospital following a liver transplant. A working life meant I was often away from home alone and I drank because it relieved the boredom between finishing work and bedtime.

"After being diagnosed with cirrhosis in 2015, I immediately ceased drinking and developed liver cancer last year. The problem with alcohol is that the damage is insidious, and in my case showed no symptoms until irreversible damage was caused.

"I very strongly suggest taking a few days off a week and limiting your drinking to a glass or two socially or with dinner. Whilst I applaud stopping drinking for a whole month, to really benefit you need to have a mindset that seeks to reduce your consumption as a continuous lifestyle commitment."

Have you ever partaken in Dry January or Sober October? Share your experience in the comments section below