Why ditching alcohol should *not* be on your New Year's resolutions list.

When festive season wraps and one year ticks over to the next, words like "dry" and "sober" start to enter our vocab, as we look for ways to counteract the overindulgence (or perhaps the... guilt?) of the previous party-heavy weeks.

And if you want to give up alcohol altogether, that's absolutely something you can do!

But maybe you don't want to give it up... completely.

Maybe you're not so interested in being sober as looking for a way to be more... sober adjacent? Sober flexible?

And that, alcohol reduction expert Georgia Foster tells Mamamia, is not only fine – it's also very achievable.

Watch: when your work wife says she's giving up drinking. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

"The dilemma for so many women is finding the balance of drinking a little, rather than completely abstaining or, on the other end of the spectrum, drinking a lot," she shares, explaining that you don't have to do away with having a cheeky drink here and there if you don't want to.

"The good news is, I can assure anyone concerned with this drinking style that there is absolutely nothing wrong with them," she shares. 

The 'perfectionist' drinker.

For a lot of us, having 'just one or two' drinks can be... tricky. Two turns quickly into four, and then someone suggests shots and... well, you know how it goes. And there's no question that this type of drinking – aka binge drinking – is not healthy.


But it happens every damn time, no matter your best intentions.

"It often feels like Groundhog Day for a drinker because they just don't understand why they keep drinking in a feast or famine manner," explains Foster, adding that people who feel like this are often what she refers to as 'perfectionist drinkers'.

This all-or-nothing drinker, says Foster, is usually a high achiever; someone who gets a lot done and is good at having alcohol-free days. The struggle for the perfectionist drinker, though, is having just 'a couple of drinks'. 

The perfectionist drinker often goes completely without alcohol, for fear of over-drinking and possibly making a fool of themselves – they can't find that internal stop sign that tells them when to say no to 'just one more drink'.

"They don't trust themselves with alcohol and have anxieties about how fast and furiously they consume alcohol – perfectionist drinkers worry about not being perfect," says Foster. But this backfires when they do decide to crack a bottle.

"They work hard and get things done, but the energy and drive to be this super-organised person can be exhausting. They'll often tire of being so focused and want to retreat – their mind uses alcohol as the go-to pill to relax and be in the moment."

The all-or-nothing drinker has often lost faith in their ability to be a middle-of-the-road drinker, who can leisurely drink in a well-paced way.

"When a perfectionist has had enough of doing and wants to stop and just 'be', if alcohol has been the solution in the past, the mind will assume the same response to be true," says Foster. "It doesn't mean it's the right response; the mind just follows what is familiar."


If all-or-nothing drinking has become a habit you’d like to crack, the good news is that habits – like smoking, excessive online shopping – are not set in stone.

The healthy intuitive.

The opposite of the perfectionist drinker is what Foster calls the 'healthy intuitive' – someone who is present, is open to error, much more flexible to changes, and knows life is very rarely perfect.

It's important that this part of ourselves becomes more present in order to balance and reduce the high expectations of perfection, says Foster. 

“We all have this intuitive part but through life experiences, we often curse its presence because being healthy, calmer and more in tune has become foreign to us emotionally,” she says. “This wise personality trait knows alcohol is a symptom of being too driven and is a way to escape the demands of life.”

Foster used hypnosis techniques to help her clients bring this state forward. 

"During hypnosis, the mind and body can become familiar with drinking from a calm space," she explains. "While in this state, the mind can develop healthier sober coping strategies without reaching for the bottle as the answer. Like all habits, it takes practice, but living life with more wisdom is a habit you can learn."

Of course, there are other techniques you can use to help you drink more mindfully. If you want to curb (not quit) your drinking, Foster suggests these tips:

  • Write down what your inner perfectionist is saying to you. Keep a diary for a week to understand the power of its demands and, in particular, what it says before you drink.

  • Find ways to be present and relax without alcohol, such as a yoga class or spending time with a funny friend who doesn't drink. Remember, you don't have to quit – this is about what you can add to your life to boost your ability to be present, not about taking something away. 

  • When you know you're going to be consuming alcohol, before you have your first drink, find ways to be present so your mind becomes familiar with other ways to be in this state.

  • After each glass of alcohol, hydrate with a glass of water. This will train your mind and body to balance and slow the drinking down.

  • Avoid drinking with friends who like to drink in an out-of-control way – who like it when you drink in the same way – until you gain the confidence to drink in healthier ways.

  • Make a date with yourself to check in with your weekly coping strategies to see if they are aligned with wisdom or if they drive you deeper into high expectations of being perfect.

Georgia Foster is known as the Alcohol Reduction Expert. Her program, 7 Days to Drink Less, is available here.

Feature Image: Getty.

Do you buy groceries for your household? Take our survey now to go in the running to win a $50 gift voucher!