Are you drink aware this festive season?
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The year 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone. In times of stress, along with coping with new ways of living due to the pandemic, you might find yourself drinking more often or more heavily than usual.
A poll released earlier this year, from Alcohol Change UK, showed that:
- More than a quarter (28%) of people, who have ever drunk alcohol, think they have been drinking more during lockdown.
- As lockdown eased over the summer, two in three (66%) expected to continue drinking as they had been during lockdown (49%), or even drink more (17%).
- What’s more, one in five (19%) of those surveyed said they had drunk alcohol as a way to handle stress or anxiety during lockdown.
If you’re worried about your drinking getting out of hand, there are resources available to help you keep track, so you can make the decision to cut down if you notice your intake increasing.
Know your alcohol units
The UK Chief Medical Officers' (CMO) low risk drinking guidelines recommend it’s safest for both men and women to not regularly drink more than 14 units each week. That’s equivalent to six pints of lager (4% ABV) or six medium glasses of wine (175ml, 12% ABV).
Drink Aware has a useful Unit and Calorie Calculator to make calculating alcohol units a lot easier. and their website has some great self-assessment tools.
Thinking about cutting down?
If drinking spirits over the festive season, try using an alcohol measuring cup to keep track of how much you’re drinking.
Have at least a few drink free days a week. When you allocate certain days of the week to go drink-free, you’re more likely to stick to it.
Go alcohol-free. There are also lots of alcohol-free and lower strength alcohol alternative drinks on supermarket shelves these days. You can find alternative wines, alcohol-free spirit mixers to make cocktails and both alcohol-free and low ABV beers.
Driving over the winter months
Despite pubs and restaurants being closed during the first national lockdown, alcohol consumption increased across the country, with an extra £160m being spent during this period.
With lockdown restrictions being lifted, yet heightened restrictions still being in place across the county, it is feared that this could result in a higher number of drink and drug driving offences being committed over the winter season.
National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Roads Operations, Commander Kyle Gordon said: “I understand that this year has been incredibly difficult for everyone, and we all want to enjoy the festive season with loved ones; possibly even more this year than in others. It is certainly not our intention to stop anyone from celebrating during the Christmas period, but it remains a reality that drink or drug driving can, and does, kill.
“Tragically, the Christmas period is the time of the year when motorists seem to accept the risk of drinking and driving on our roads. Disappointingly, it is also the time of year when family and friends seem to tolerate their loved ones taking this risk, when they wouldn’t dream of condoning this type of behaviour at other times of the year.
“Drivers must be aware of the risks of getting behind the wheel, not just on an evening when they have been drinking, but also the morning after. Sleeping it off or having a large cup of coffee won’t clear the body of alcohol or dull its effects. The only thing that can sober you up is time, and it’s safest not to drink at all if you are driving early the next day.
“My advice is the same as always; do not drink or drug drive, and do not let anyone you know do so either. The chances of being caught, put in a police cell and losing your driving licence and your job, is high. More importantly, the risk of destroying a life and causing death or serious injury is also incredibly high.”
Officers across the UK will be on patrol morning and night to catch people who flout the law.
Ask for help if you need it
- Talk to your GP.
- Visit the Alcohol Change UK website for support and guidance on how to cut down.
- Worried about your mental health? Visit Mind’s website for help, support and guidance.
- Drinkaware helpline: 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am–2pm, weekends 11am–4pm)
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Great Britain - Helpline: 0800 917 7650, Email helpline: [email protected].
- If you are looking for urgent support please contact the Samaritans, who are available 24/7 on 116 123 or [email protected].