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    Help to reduce alcohol intake to improve relationships, mental and physical health

    Alcohol Awareness WeekDRINKERS in Tameside are being encouraged to think about and reduce their alcohol intake using the support available to improve their relationships and mental and physical health.
     
    Tameside Council is backing this year’s Alcohol Awareness Week campaign from 15-21 November, themed ‘alcohol and relationships’, coordinated by Alcohol Change UK.  They want people to take part in the events happening during the week, encourage use of the free Dry Try app and local support to enable people to take action by looking at their alcohol intake and the effect it is having on their relationships, health and wellbeing and to seek help if concerned.
     
    Change, Grow, Live (CGL) - My Recovery Tameside are holding coffee mornings at 10am on Thursday 18 November at Thornley house, 15 Thornley Street (first floor), Hyde SK14 1JY and on Friday 19 November at 111-113 Old street, Ashton-Under-Lyne OL6 7RL.  There will also be a stall with representatives from Alcoholics Anonymous, Carmel Christian Centre and Smart Recovery.  Refreshments and promotional materials will be provided and people will have the opportunity to interact and have discussions.  They’ll also be giveaways raising awareness of the impact of alcohol on relationships, body and on mental health. 
     
    People are welcome to pop in and have a chat.  Due to COVID restrictions in a clinical setting, face coverings and social distancing will be required, however people can check CGL website at: www.changegrowlive.org/my-recovery-tameside and social media @cglmyrecoverytameside for more information.
     
    On Friday 19 November in the afternoon, Change, Grow, Live – My Recovery Tameside will be holding a stall at Ashton Market with representatives from Alcoholics Anonymous, Carmel Christian Centre and Smart Recovery.  Refreshments and promotional materials will be provided and people will have the opportunity to interact and have discussions.  They'll also be giveaways raising awareness of the impact of alcohol on relationships, body and on mental health.  People are invited to pop along and have chat.
     
    People can also start by taking control of what they drink to see better, happier relationships, as well as an improved health and wellbeing.  A great way to start is by recording what they drink for a few weeks to help them understand their drinking pattern, then set themselves small achievable goals to get it back under control.   Use the free app – search ‘Try Dry’ – to help keep on track and set goals to cut down. 
     
    Alcohol and relationships are closely linked and many people associate alcohol and socialising, and alcohol can become a big part of connections and interactions with others. But when someone’s, or a loved one’s, drinking starts to negatively affect their relationships, or stands in the way of them taking action on their own drinking, it can have a huge impact on their lives.
     
    Many people drink 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.
     
    The UK Government daily guidelines now state that both men and women should drink no more than 14 units over the course of 3 days or more. Double these units and people are classed as a binge drinker.  There is also no level of alcohol found safe to drink in pregnancy so it is better to not drink at all.  The rules also advise that it's best not to ‘save up units’ and drink them all in one go and to make sure people have alcohol-free days.
    Drinking too much and too often can cause or worsen all sorts of problems with a person’s physical and mental health, including damaging relationships with loved ones.  It can heighten family tensions, get in the way of clear communication, and mean people are less present for each other, including their children.
     
    For some people, alcohol can become a central aspect of their relationships with friends, family or partners.  This can stop them from taking action to improve their drinking habits, even when those habits aren’t working for them.  If a loved one is drinking heavily, it can cause huge worry.  There is also a real risk of someone’s drinking causing serious conflict, with alcohol being a factor in many cases of child neglect and domestic abuse.
     
    Alcohol is also strongly associated with mental health problems like anxiety and depression.  Over the course of the pandemic these problems have undoubtedly got worse for many people.  As people return to a more normal life, there will be new pressures too – pressures to drink, sober shaming where being made to feel not drinking is wrong, and the pressures people put on themselves to get back to ‘normal’ socialising.
     
    Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Population Health, Councillor Eleanor Wills, said:  “Lots of people like to unwind with a glass of something in the evening but if you are not careful it's easy for the occasional glass to quickly become 2 or 3 glasses most days.  Stopping drinking suddenly can be life threatening but drinkers may be able to cut down gradually wherever possible, with the advice and support available from Tameside’s local drug and alcohol treatment and recovery services, or your GP practice.”
     
    My Recovery Tameside is an integrated all age service, provided by CGL (Change, Grow, Live) working with residents to reduce and respond to drug and alcohol related harm in Tameside.  The service provides a single point of contact for all residents and professionals.  Phone: 0161 672 9420.  For more information visit: https://www.tameside.gov.uk/substanceproblems
     
    Be Well Tameside provides holistic health and wellbeing support, advice and help on a range of subjects including drinking less. Phone: 0161 716 2000 or email: bewelltameside@nhs.net
     
    To take part in the campaign, share your alcohol and relationship stories on social media using the hashtag #AlcoholAwarenessWeek