At the start of the year many people from Ballyhaunis and around the country consider making changes to their lifestyle habits, including reducing their level of alcohol intake.
One of the key issues in dealing with alcohol consumption is that many of the people who make this effort can find it difficult to stay committed and slip back into bad habits.
This is also an issue that the HSE has recently been highlighting.
As Marion Rackard, Project Manager for the HSE Alcohol Programme outlines, it would be helpful if people kept in mind what motivates them to change their drinking practices, “You might want to consider certain questions like:
- How do I see myself as a drinker?
- How do others see me?
- Have I asked them?”
Research by the HSE Alcohol Programme shows that a substantial percentage of people consider low moods as a symptom of drinking alcohol. Many state that they regret something they said or did as a result of uncontrolled drinking. Further, research shows that 50% of people in Ireland who indulge in drinking do so in a way that could easily harm them.
If you are think you may need to cut down and reduce your alcohol intake, using the Ask About Alcohol Self Assessment Tool to see what it says about your drinking habits, is a good place to start.
It is also very important to have a support system with family and friends who encourage you to cut down on alcohol.
Steps to reducing your alcohol intake
Altering your relationship with alcohol may be something someone wants to do but isn’t sure how to. Hazelhill Family Practice recommends following these steps as set out by the HSE.
- Make a plan: By writing down your top 5 reasons for changing your drinking habits and keeping the list with you, you’ll be able to keep yourself motivated when you have a moment of weakness.
- Set a goal: Be clear about whether you’d like to drink less, or stop completely for family, health or financial reasons.
- Be open to support: In case of an emergency, call the HSE’s Alcohol and Drugs Helpline on 1800 459 459 anytime between Monday to Friday 9.30 am and 5.30 pm.
- Learn from the past: It is not unusual for people to have unsuccessfully tried to change their drinking patterns in the past. If that is the case, be sure to think about it carefully and see what can be done differently this time around.
- Feel good about what you do: Be sure to reward yourself for sticking to the plan by doing things you enjoy. This could be along the lines of meeting a friend or pursuing a hobby.
- Prepare for triggers: There may be moments when you feel worked up or stressed that may trigger an urge to drink. It is best to think ahead in such cases by planning a set routine in case it becomes overpowering.
One in 12 unable to fulfil their duties
With 8% of drinkers failing to do what is normally expected of them within the previous year (according to the Department of Health 2018 Survey of Ireland), it is vital that these people take steps to reduce their alcohol intake and learn when to say ‘NO’ to alcohol. Remember, you don’t have to give a reason why you’re not drinking or cutting back either.
Further alcohol related supports and services are available, call the Alcohol and Drugs Helpline on 1800 459 459 or click on askaboutalcohol.ie.
Hazelhill Family Practice is also happy to provide advice on how to reduce your alcohol intake.