Alcohol Awareness Week: Rethink your drink  | Our blog

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Alcohol Awareness Week: Rethink your drink 

Welcome to Alcohol Awareness Week! This week, we're focusing on understanding the impact of alcohol on our lives and how we can make informed choices. Whether you're a social drinker, a regular consumer, or someone concerned about a loved one’s drinking habits, we aim to provide valuable insights and resources from our Addictions Service. 

Alcohol affects everyone differently. By understanding your drinking habits, you can make more informed decisions. 

How Can Alcohol Affect You? 

Physical and Mental Health: Alcohol can impact various aspects of our health, from short-term effects like impaired judgment and increased accident risk, to long-term risks such as liver disease and mental health issues like anxiety and depression. 

Social and Financial Impact: Consider how alcohol can effect your relationships with family and friends, your work productivity, and your financial situation. It’s crucial to evaluate whether alcohol enhances or detracts from these areas of your life. 

Top Tips for Reducing Your Alcohol Intake 

  1. Set Limits: Decide on a weekly limit of alcohol units and stick to it. Aim for no more than 14 units per week spread over several days. 

  2. Plan Drink-Free Days: Incorporate alcohol-free days into your week to give your body time to recover and reduce dependency. 

  3. Alternate with Water: When drinking alcohol, alternate between alcoholic beverages and water or a non-alcoholic drink to pace yourself and stay hydrated. 

  4. Monitor Your Intake: Use a drinking diary to track how much you consume each day. It helps to identify patterns and triggers for drinking. 

  5. Seek Support: If you find it challenging to reduce your alcohol intake alone, seek support from friends, family, or healthcare professionals. There are also local support groups and helplines available. 

Taking Action 

If you're concerned about your own or someone else’s drinking habits, taking action is important.

Start by discussing your alcohol consumption honestly and accurately with your GP. They can provide assessments and suggest support options available through local community alcohol services and free support groups tailored to your needs.

If you've developed a dependency on alcohol, gaining control may require support to cut down or stop drinking completely, followed by plans to maintain progress. Abruptly stopping drinking, especially if physically dependent, can be harmful, so it's crucial to seek medical advice on safe cessation methods and any necessary medications.

Maintaining control over your alcohol consumption typically involves ongoing support. Relying solely on family and friends may not be sufficient. Ask your GP or local alcohol service about longer-term support options available in your area.

Self-help and mutual aid groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or SMART Recovery offer structured programmes and peer support to assist in recovery.

For confidential assistance and further information:

  • Contact Drinkline, the national alcohol helpline, at 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am to 8pm, weekends 11am to 4pm).
  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) for free support groups and their "12-step" programme.
  • Al-Anon Family Groups provide support to families and friends affected by alcohol misuse.
  • We Are With You offers UK-wide support for managing drug and alcohol misuse.
  • Adfam supports families affected by drugs and alcohol, providing online forums and local groups.
  • The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (Nacoa) offers a helpline for children of alcohol-dependent parents at 0800 358 3456.
  • SMART Recovery groups help individuals assess their situation, build motivation for change, and offer tools for recovery.

Join the Conversation 

Alcohol Awareness Week is about raising awareness and encouraging open discussions about alcohol use and its impact. Together, let's rethink our relationship with alcohol and make healthier choices for ourselves and our communities.