Stay safe and know your limits

No one can say that drinking alcohol is absolutely safe, but being well informed and following some simple steps, you can keep your drinking under control and reduce the risk of harm.

Know the safer drinking limits

Knowing your units will help you stay in control of your drinking.

To stay healthy, you should also have at least two days a week alcohol-free. Try to have several drink-free days each week.

Binge drinking can be extremely harmful too. This means drinking more than 6 units for women, or 8 units for men in one day. Drinking a lot of alcohol in a short period puts you at risk of alcohol poisoning, accidents and falls, aggression, anti-social behaviour and can mean taking risks you wouldn’t normally take, like having unprotected sex. So ‘saving’ all your units for the weekend isn’t a great plan either!

If you’re not sure how much you’re drinking, our Drinking Diary is a good place to start to give you a better picture.

If you are drinking above these guidelines, you may be drinking at a harmful or hazardous level, or even have become dependent on alcohol. If you’re unsure or you’re worried about your drinking, it’s worth completing this quick self assessment.

Counting Units

When you are having a drink, keep track of how many you’ve had. Understanding how many units are in your drink will put you a step ahead. Downloading an app for your phone is even better, it will add it up for you and save you having to remember!

What is a unit?

Unit Calculator

If you’re not sure how many units are in your drink, try the Alcohol Change unit calculator.

Use our top tips to drink more safely…

  • Put your drink down between sips – you drink twice as fast if you keep holding it
  • Avoid rounds! You’ll end up drinking at the speed of the fastest drinker!
  • Alternate your drinks, 1 x alcoholic then 1 x non-alcoholic
  • Turn down the volume: changing to a pint of 3.8% ABV lager from a 5.2% ABV pint saves nearly a unit per pint
  • Do something when you’re drinking, like having a meal or playing cards/pool etc. to slow you down
  • Thirsty? Quench your thirst with soft drinks before starting on the alcohol
  • Try other ways to relax (sport, bath, music…)
  • ‘I won’t drink before…’ set a time and stick to it!
  • When pouring spirits at home use a shot measure (25ml = pub measure = 1 unit)
  • Budget for your alcohol when you’re out, and make sure you have enough to get home!

Need help?

Find your local support service by visiting FRANK .

Talk to a drinkaware trained professional (weekdays 9am–8pm, weekends 11am–4pm) for help.

click here
The help I received changed my outlook: I am happy, healthy & more confident.
Quick exit — hide this page now!