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Mindful Drinking - what the heck is that?

We all know that during lockdown, a lot of people went a bit booze heavy. The mix of the

end-of-the-world vibe, a lot more free time, and the amazing weather of 2020 sent many

people into an “oh, why not?” mentality. After this weird time in everyone’s lives, some of us

have tried to cut down on our alcohol intake.

For others, cutting down was not enough and they cut out all alcohol. But it doesn’t have to

be so black and white. Enter ‘mindful drinking’, whereby moderating your alcohol

consumption feels both doable and enjoyable. This is a similar idea to ‘half-drinking’, which

As we head into Sober October, we felt now might be a good idea to build on the conversation Molly started about mindful drinking, and share our top tips on how to manage it.

So, what is half-drinking, or mindful drinking?

  • It’s being aware of how much alcohol you drink and why you drink it.

  • It means savouring each glass of wine or cocktail or pint of beer - not necking it

  • It typically leads to a healthier relationship with alcohol.

  • It also often leads to less consumption.

Half-drinking, or simply mindful drinking, is a long-term approach that is based on

mindfulness, not on eliminating all alcohol. Maybe you want to toast that engagement, or

you want to enjoy that special glass of wine on a Friday night after a long week. Telling

yourself that you’re completely teetotal will either restrict you from these things, or make

you feel like you’ve regressed if you do have an occasional drink. You might feel like you’ve

taken a step back, rather than looking at it in a different way and realising that you’ve

actually taken a positive step forward.

Mindful drinking is not for people who struggle with alcohol abuse problems, nor is it for

those who are addicted to alcohol.It’s the concept of being in control of your decisions

around alcohol, rather than doing what you think is expected of you. It’s an intentional act.

Cultural norms, even cultural expectations, make it easier to mindlessly drink. If people

paused to ask themselves if they wanted a drink, or another drink, the answer might be ‘no’.

Bringing more awareness to your decision to have a drink, which likely means consuming

less booze, has many benefits. You could find yourself sleeping better, having more energy,

clearer skin and even spending less. The additional benefit of mindful drinking is the feeling

of confidence from being in control of your decisions.

Five steps to drink mindfully

1. Ask yourself: Do I really fancy this drink?

We tend to say ‘yes’ to that next drink without even thinking about it. Pause before each

drink and ask yourself if this is really what you want right now. You might think ‘actually yes,

I do want this drink right now’ and that’s fine. The whole point is your actions are


2. Have a game plan

Going out? Making some kind of plan ahead of a gathering or night out can help. You might

want to think ahead and set a limit to the number of glasses of alcohol you will consume and

decide when you’re going to stop. Planning out options for alcohol-free drinks that you’ll

really enjoy will make the switch a lot easier. Molly Gunn said that “the secret to

half-drinking, I’ve found, is to get excited about non-alcoholic drinks and stock my fridge

with them” in her article about half-drinking. We have a feeling she’d love a Mavrik!

3. Be the first to order

At a bar, it can feel like ordering a pint of this or a glass of that is second nature.If you set

your intention to order an alcohol-free drink and someone else orders an alcoholic drink, it

can be easy to say, “I’ll have what they’re having” or “make that two”. Ensuring that you’re

the first person to order a drink reduces the risk of temptation. You might even find people

following your lead!

4. Be prepared to tell people; empower yourself

You’re at the bar and you’ve ordered a lime and soda. You’re feeling pretty confident in your

decision. Then someone offers you an alcoholic drink, and rather than facing what you think

will be an awkward moment, you accept. You don’t owe anyone an explanation but

rehearsing how you’ll decline an offer for a drink will make it easier to say ‘no thanks’. Plus,

declining that drink will feel amazing!

5. Enjoy it

Mindful drinking, or half-drinking, is about the experience. Whether you’re drinking an

alcohol-free drink, or an alcoholic drink, it should be enjoyed. Pause to notice the flavours of

your drink, savour the taste and really appreciate the ambience of the restaurant or bar.

Even with mindful drinking, sometimes you need an extra hand with cutting down. If you’re

looking for steps to make it a bit easier, we’ve put together 6 tips that can really help.

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