Support to reduce your drinking
Alcohol holds a complex place in all our lives. There are those who do not drink but for many of us having a drink is a pleasurable part of our lives. Most of us use alcohol in a safe and sensible manner which has no negative effect on us or those around us.
However, drinking alcohol is not free of risk. Most people who develop alcohol-related health problems are simply people who are regularly drinking more than the recommended levels for some years.
If you are concerned about how drinking alcohol impacts upon your life, or if you want to talk to someone about your drinking habits, we are here to help.
Benefits of reducing your drinking
There are many benefits for cutting down or stopping drinking alcohol, including:
- better sleep
- brighter mood
- more energy
- better concentration
- better skin
- slimmer waistline
- a happier stomach
- more time and money
- better long-term health
Find out more about these benefits on Drink aware – Reasons for cutting down on alcohol and Alcohol change – Alcohol facts .
Working out how much you drink
To reduce health risks, it is recommended that women and men drink no more than 14 units per week, spread over 3 or more days and with a few days off.
To assess whether you are drinking at levels above the guidelines, it may be useful to keep a diary of your drinking. To do this, a ‘Drink and units’ table and a ‘Drink Diary’ for downloading and printing can be found on the Turning Point – Alcohol usage guide .
You can also use the following online tools to calculate how much you are drinking and assess your health risk.
- Drink aware – Unit and calorie calculator
- Drink aware – Self aassessment
- Alcohol change – Check your drinking
- NHS – Calculating alcohol units
Download the Drink aware app to track your units and calories.
Once you have worked out how much you drink, decide whether you need help to cut down or to stop drinking by using the information in the ‘When you should seek help’ section.
How to reduce your alcohol intake
If you are dependent on alcohol, it can be dangerous to stop drinking suddenly. Instead, you should try to reduce the amount you drink slowly, over a few weeks.
This takes a bit of preparation, but it’s much safer than stopping suddenly. And after cutting down slowly, you’ll find it much easier to stop drinking when you are ready.
For information to help you to safely detox from alcohol at home go to With You – How to safely detox from alcohol at home .
When you should seek help
Lots of people struggle with alcohol at some point in their lives and need support with this. There is nothing to be ashamed of. With the right support, you can make a full recovery.
If you have stopped drinking and are experiencing serious complications, you should call 999 immediately or get help from A&E.
Serious complications include things like:
- having a seizure (fit)
- becoming confused (for example about where you are, the time, or who you are with)
- developing double vision
- experiencing hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there)
- experience poor coordination or unsteadiness on your feet
You should get medical/ professional help to stop drinking if you:
- drink over 15 units of alcohol a day (equal to half a bottle of spirits, 1.5 bottles of wine, 3 cans of super lager or 2 litres of strong cider)
- drink alcohol soon after waking up to relieve shakes or sweats
- have symptoms of alcohol dependence (getting physically sick and/or having the shakes when you are not drinking)(4)
- experienced withdrawal symptoms in the past when you reduced or stopped drinking alcohol (such as sweating, shaking, anxiety and nausea)
- have epilepsy
- have had seizures (fits)
- have seen and heard things that were not there when you have previously reduced or stopped drinking
You can get medical or professional help to stop drinking by visiting your GP or by contacting We are with you.
Local alcohol services available to help you cut down
If you are concerned about how much alcohol you are drinking, it’s a good idea to see your GP. You can also contact one of the following local services directly.
With You North East Lincolnshire (formerly Addaction) is a free and confidential service providing friendly, person centred support and expert advice to people affected by drugs and alcohol. To contact the service or make an appointment call 01472 806890 or drop into their office at 76B Cleethorpe Road, Grimsby, DN31 3EF.
Wellbeing Service is a team of wellbeing workers and practitioners who offer one to one support to see if you are drinking in a risky or harmful way and, if you want, to help you cut down on how much you are drinking. They do this by considering what you feel are your needs and setting wellbeing goals with you. To arrange a meeting or speak to someone about your options, please call 01472 325500 or text ‘Wellbeing’ to 60060 and they will call you back.
Further support available for you and those supporting you
Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. Call 01472 362068 for support and to be directed to a local meeting group.
The Comeback is an abstinence-based recovery community at 8 Abbey Walk, Grimsby, DN31 1NB, providing peer support and primarily art-based activities. If you are abstinent or serious about recovery, please call 07511876707 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an induction.
Carers Centre offers warm and confidential support, both emotional and practical, for all carers. If you are caring for a loved one with alcohol misuse please contact Jacqui on 01472 242277 or at 1 Town Hall Square, Grimsby, DN31 1HY between 8am and 7pm Monday to Friday.
National alcohol support services are also available and are listed on Drink aware – alcohol support services .
Looking after your mental health
It is very important to look after your mental health as in times of stress we often drink more often or more heavily. For help and information go to Healthy minds.