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Raising awareness of the impact that alcohol can have on our health and wellbeing and our relationships

To mark the start of this year’s Alcohol Awareness Week, which runs from 15-21 November, NHS Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will be joining over 4,000 other community groups across the UK to raise awareness of the ways in which alcohol can affect us and our relationships with those around us.

Many of us drink alcohol for a variety of ever-changing reasons, including: to relax, to socialise, to de-stress, to have fun, to relieve boredom, to deal with feelings of loneliness, and to try and cope with or avoid problems. However, drinking too much and too often can cause or exacerbate all sorts of problems with our physical and mental health, including damaging relationships with our loved ones.

For some of us, alcohol can become a central aspect of our relationships with friends, family or partners. When this happens, it can actually stop us taking action to improve our drinking habits, even when those habits aren’t working for us.

Alcohol can also negatively affect our relationships. It can heighten family tensions, get in the way of clear communication, and mean we are less present for each other, including our children. And if a loved one is drinking heavily, it can cause huge worry. There is also a real risk of someone’s drinking causing conflict, with alcohol being a factor in many cases of child neglect and domestic abuse.

Alcohol is strongly associated with mental health problems like anxiety and depression. Over the course of the pandemic these problems have undoubtedly got worse for many of us. As we return to a more normal life, there will be new pressures too – pressures to drink, sober shaming (being made to feel not drinking is wrong), and the pressures we put on ourselves to get back to ‘normal’ socialising.

So, in support of this year’s campaign NHS Wirral CCG is speaking out about the impact that alcohol can have on our relationships, encouraging us all to talk, and be prepared to listen more, about the way your own or someone else’s drinking is affecting you and those around you, and to consider making some changes for a healthier and happier life.

Nesta Hawker, Director of Commissioning and Transformation for NHS Wirral CCG, said:

“Alcohol Awareness Week provides an important opportunity for us all to talk about the issues around alcohol and its effects on our physical and mental health, and our relationships.  It’s a chance for us to listen to each other, properly, so we can understand how our behaviours may be affecting our friends and those we love.  It’s also about encouraging people to seek support if they are struggling to take control of their drinking or want a bit of help to cut down.

“There has never been a better time to get healthier and look after yourself by cutting down on your alcohol.  Every little bit that you reduce your alcohol intake makes a difference, and the Lower my Drinking app will help you reduce your drinking, get healthier and feel better!”

By taking control of our drinking, rather than letting it control us, we can develop better, happier relationships, as well as improved health and wellbeing. A great way to start is by recording what you drink for a few weeks to help you understand your drinking pattern, then setting yourself some small achievable goals to get it back under control. Use the free Lower My Drinking app to help you keep track and set goals to help you cut down.”

Download the Lower My Drinking app on Google Play:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.LYD&hl=en_GB&gl=US

Download the Lower My Drinking app from the App Store:

https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/lower-my-drinking/id1289594577

 

Want to talk to someone? 

Wirral Ways to Recovery is a free and confidential drug and alcohol service for adults (including offenders), young adults, families, carers and affected others in Wirral.

They provide a range of treatment, recovery and support services for those who have concerns about their drug or alcohol use, including advice and information you can access online.

To refer yourself or someone else to the service, call Wirral Ways to Recovery on  0151 556 1335, email Wirral.services@cgl.org.uk or complete an online referral form:

https://www.changegrowlive.org/wirral-ways-to-recovery/referrals#yourself.

Further information, including details of hubs opening times, and online groups can be found on the Wirral Ways to Recovery website:

https://www.changegrowlive.org/wirral-ways-to-recovery