One too many? Change is possible

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Too often drinking is an expectation, not a choice. Across the UK, people are suffering as a result of their own or others’ drinking. This alcohol awareness week (19 – 25 November), the theme is ‘change’. Change is possible.

NHS Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is supporting Alcohol Concern’s theme ‘Change’ this year in a bid to support local people and make them aware of steps we can take to make change for good, to reduce the number of alcoholic drinks we have and improve our health and lifestyle.

Change is possible.

Let’s start by making changes in our own lives; are you drinking too much? Make a change today. For those who need help to reduce their drinking, change is possible too. Visit the alcohol audit on Alcohol Concern, take the test and see if your consumption of alcohol is putting your health at risk and could lead to serious medical complications.

Ever wondered what your drinking adds up to in terms of £s or calories, find out here. Many people don’t realise how many calories are in alcohol. Check this helpful tool that tells you how many calories are in your average drink and how much you are spending.

Change is happening.

Millions of people choose to drink more healthily or stop drinking each year, and their lives and the lives of those around them change as a result.

However, with only a month until Christmas, we are already getting into the festive spirt and this can mean more social gatherings and events, which sees an increase in the amount of alcohol we consume.

Some simple steps will help curb the urge to over indulge and make those changes:

  • Beware of rounds - Drinking in rounds can be expensive and dangerous if it means keeping pace with the fastest drinker in your group and a nightmare if you’re trying to cut down on alcohol. Stay in control (and save cash) by opting for smaller rounds with only a couple of friends within your group or giving rounds a miss.
  • Eat up – Having a healthy meal before you go out, and snacks between drinks can help to slow down the absorption of alcohol and so helps you stay in control. With less alcohol inside you that greasy pizza or kebab will look a lot less appetising at chucking out time too.  
  • Track your drinking on the go - If you’re out and about use the free Drinkaware: Track and Calculate Units app on your smartphone to track the alcohol you’re drinking. It will help you stay within the low risk alcohol unit guidelines and stay on top of your night out.
  • Small is better - By having bottles of beer or halves instead of pints and choosing a smaller glass for your wine or spritzers/shandies will help keep that unit count down.
  • Make Space - Sipping a soft drink between alcoholic drinks slows down the rate of your drinking and means you’ll drink less over the course of the evening. If you’re out clubbing, take a bottle of water out with you on the dancefloor. Down the pub (or even at home)? Then go for a non-alcoholic mocktail, a premium soft drink, or a glass of water.

This November, let’s come together to make changes in our own lives, share the tools and support needed to make that happen.

If you are struggling with alcohol yourself, having access to the right help and advice can make the world of difference. You can find support at Alcohol Concern or to find local support available visit: https://www.alcoholconcern.org.uk/local-services.