Seeking help for alcohol abuse is easier than people think, say charity
A charity service which helps people with alcohol problems have said accessing services is easier than people think.
CRI Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent Adult Alcohol Service has said people who are drinking alcohol to excess can feel worried, embarrassed and afraid of being labelled if they seek help.
Help can range from one or two support sessions with a trained worker through to further treatment if people need and want it.
Ellie Barraclough, team leader for the service, said: “For many people the biggest fear is being labelled as having an ‘alcohol problem’ or having to have treatment that could disrupt family life or put a job at risk- we need people to know this is not the case.
“There are many ways we can help people address their alcohol use and we actively encourage them to be in control at every stage- it must be their decision to change things for the better.
“We recognise that everyone is different and will be affected by alcohol in different ways and sometimes all it will take is a few sessions addressing the situation and making changes to get things back under control
“You don’t need to try and cope alone- we are here to help.”
Debbie, 52, started drinking after a traumatic year during which her mother died and her youngest daughter left home. With more time on her hands Debbie said she found herself getting through long evenings with the help of a drink- an occasional treat that soon became a daily habit.
She said: “I have always considered myself the kind of person who could take or leave a drink, but enjoying a glass of wine now and again become a bottle a night over a few months.
“Looking back now I still can’t believe how easily it happened.
“I have never had a real taste for alcohol but I found myself in a position where I felt a bit low and bored so I filled those few hours by having a drink.
“At first I thought it would help me sleep better but in the end it made sleeping really difficult, I was getting up through the night, I couldn’t settle and I felt so tired during the day that I found the only time I felt any better was when I could get home, take my shoes off and have another drink.”
The situation came to a head after Debbie started experiencing what she thought were panic attacks at work, sweating, shaking and stomach pains, feelings she now realises were related to her body craving alcohol.
Her alcohol use came up when she talked to her GP about the problems she was having.
Her GP gave her a short private assessment to fill out which indicated Debbie was drinking a risky amount of alcohol. There and then she decided she wanted to change so her GP made a quick telephone call referral to CRI and Debbie had an appointment just a few days later.
“I knew I was drinking too much but seeing that I was drinking such a dangerous amount in the test really shocked me, even though I was still worried about how people would think of me at the alcohol service,” said Debbie of Caerphilly.
“I didn’t know what to expect but in the end I needn’t have worried at all.
“My sessions were informal and private and involved me making decisions for myself on cutting back and making changes.
“Working with my alcohol recovery worker I was able to take practical steps to change my drinking behaviour, in ways that were realistic and didn’t affect other parts of my life.
“Now I feel in control again, I’m not drinking at home and I haven’t for a long while. I know I can always go back to the alcohol service if I ever need to and I honestly would, it was so easy to slip into drinking, I’m just glad I got support early enough to change things for myself.”
If you are worried about someone you know or if you are concerned that you could be drinking more than is healthy or safe to drink contact CRI Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent Adult Alcohol Service to talk in confidence. Contact 0845 241 2538
For under 18s contact, CRI Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent Young Person’s Substance Misuse Service on freephone 0808 168 7176.
If you are a family living with drug or alcohol issues contact DAFS (Drug and Alcohol Family Support) on 01495 240824.
Alternatively contact DAN 24/7 The All Wales Drug and Alcohol helpline on 0800 6 33 55 88.
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