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Alcohol Awareness Week 2023: What Is the Cost of Our Drinking Habits?

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This week is “Alcohol Awareness Week”, a time to reflect on how and why we consume drinks.

This year “Alcohol Change” is focusing on the cost our alcohol habits can have on our lives, from financial uncertainty to the impact on our relationships.

With this in mind, the research team at private rehab clinic Delamere, has revealed how damaging our drinking habits can be to our financial stability and every part of our lives, as well as some tips on reducing alcohol consumption.

According to the research, a casual drinker can spend as much as £10,842 on wine over the duration of five years. When it comes to beer, typically seen as a cheaper and more casual drink, the amount spent still totals an astronomical £4,285 over a five-year period.

However, if this seems steep, the data revealed that a binge drinker in the UK spends a whopping £16,263 on wine and £10,712 on beer. Regarding cocktails, it was highlighted that binge drinkers splashed out £13,140 over five years. 

Worryingly, the numbers climb dramatically when it comes to individuals who abuse alcohol, as the cost of wine across five years can cost as much as £75,894. Beer was only marginally better at £37,492, while cocktails cost nearly double at £65,702.

Martin Preston, founder and chief executive at Delamere, explains that the cost of alcohol addiction can also go far beyond financial uncertainty: “The list of negative consequences that alcohol can have on your mental health is, sadly, extremely long.

“While many people reach for a drink to relax after work or cope with difficult feelings, it is too easy to slip into dependency, where the risk of long-term symptoms becomes more likely. 

“Seeking help sooner rather than later is the most effective way for an individual suffering from alcohol to wean off the harmful substance. As this report highlights, the outcome of alcohol dependency goes a lot further than losing money. It can drive away the most precious people in your life, and that damage can be irreparable. 

“Whether you or a friend or family member is suffering from addiction, it is crucial to remember that you are not alone.”

How can you cut back on alcohol consumption?

Count your drinks

A great way to monitor your drinking and reduce your alcohol consumption is by recording how many drinks you are having. This can be easily done on your smartphone notes and will help make you aware of your consumption.

Pace yourself

Another way you can reduce the amount of drinks you have is by pacing yourself. This can be done by simply sipping your drink to make it last longer and ensure you only have one drink per hour.

Measure your drinks

If you are socialising at somebody’s house for a BBQ or a party, it is important to make sure you measure your drinks accurately. If you drink alcohol that requires you to pour it yourself, like wine or spirits, it is always good to have a wine measure or a jigger for measuring single or double measurements.

Be comfortable with saying ‘No’

There is likely to be a situation in which someone asks you to have another drink with them, like you may have done in the past. But when cutting down your alcohol consumption, it is important to be able to say a firm ‘no thanks’ and mean it so that you do not change your mind.

Be mindful of alcohol content

It is important to remember that the alcohol content in drinks can vary significantly, even if you are sticking to one drink like beer. Many beers can range in their alcohol percentage from lower beers, like 4.2%, to higher percentage beers at 11%. Choosing a drink with a lower alcohol content is a good way to enjoy a drink still while reducing your alcohol consumption.

Avoid keeping alcohol at home

By not having alcohol readily available, you will be less likely to reach for an alcoholic drink at the end of the day to help you unwind. This will break the cycle of regularly home drinking and limit your alcohol intake to just being when you are out.

Have alcohol-free days each week 

Allocating set days to being alcohol-free each week is another great way to help you reduce your alcohol consumption. Selecting days where you do not drink at all will also show you other ways to relax after a long day without depending on alcohol. 

Mocktails and alcohol-free drinks

With mindful drinking becoming increasingly important, the alcohol-free market is growing daily, offering a wide range of options for people looking to stay sober. Suppose you like the taste of alcohol but want to reduce your alcohol intake.

In that case, you can choose alternatives like no secco, alcohol-free wine and beer, no alcohol spirits and a range of mocktails that all taste similar to the alcoholic beverage.

These tips should only be used by those who are looking to cut back on how much alcohol they consume and not those who struggle with alcohol dependency.

Trying to detox on your own can be extremely dangerous to those that suffer problems surrounding alcohol consumption. Instead, they would need professional intervention to abstain from alcohol safely.

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