Croydon Council is supporting Alcohol Awareness Week 2021 by raising awareness of how drinking too much can harm relationships and highlighting a free council support service which can help residents cut down.
Alcohol Awareness Week (15-21 November) aims to get people to think about how alcohol can affect individuals, families, communities and society as a whole.
Research shows that alcohol intake across London, including Croydon, remains at a concerning level. Drinking excessively is strongly associated with mental health problems like anxiety and depression, which got worse for many during the Covid-19 pandemic. It can also damage relationships with loved ones by exacerbating family tensions and alcohol is a factor in many cases of child neglect and domestic abuse.
Residents can seek help and advice to cut down on their drinking from the council’s alcohol support service, Change Grow Live (CGL). They offer a range of flexible support to suit your needs to help you on your journey to drinking less.
Samantha Mahoney, a 46-year-old Croydon resident who has benefitted from Change Grow Live’s support, said:
“I was drinking heavily for a few years, it started with a couple of drinks after work and then escalated from there. However, I was abstinent for eight years until the Covid19 lockdown. I lost my job at that time and began to drink again. My drinking did seriously impact on my relationship with my daughter.
“CGL helped me to come to terms with my drinking problems, without judgement. They helped me to focus on repairing the damage that had been done, to take ownership and improve my relationships. This helps you with your journey to better health and to move on from depending on high levels of alcohol.
“I had 12 weeks of counselling and six weeks of Mindfulness sessions. They helped me to change my attitude, build confidence and reduce my anxiety which was caused by the alcohol. I also now do meditation regularly. The workers at CGL continue to check it with you throughout your recovery journey
“There is a stigma around alcohol addiction and people can be afraid to seek help as they are wary of who might need to be involved. However, there is no shame in not coping. People from all walks of life are affected by alcohol. I have benefited from using CGL and seeking help is a springboard to a better future. I am living proof that with the right support you can come out the other side.”
Councillor Janet Campbell, cabinet member for families, health and social care, said
“This Alcohol Awareness Week is an opportunity for people think about their drinking habits and how alcohol can negatively impact their health and relationships. People drink for a variety of reasons including to relax, to socialise, to de-stress or to try and cope with or avoid problems. As we return to a more normal life, there will be new pressures on some people to drink more while socialising, l including ‘sober shaming’, which is being made to feel not drinking is wrong. Cutting down or quitting alcohol can help you to be happier, safer and healthier.”
CGL also has top tips to help residents adopt a healthier drinking pattern, including:
• Starting a drink diary to be aware of what you’re drinking and help you to understand your habits.
• Setting yourself a limit, and try to stick to it.
• Having at least three alcohol-free days each week.
• Not drinking on an empty stomach. Always have something to eat first.
• Have a non-alcoholic drink, like water or a soft drink, between each alcoholic one.
Visit Change Grow Live’s website for more information: https://changegrowlive.org/advice-info/alcohol-drugs/alcohol-advice-stopping-drinking-reducing