alcohol

Support for you or someone you care about

Realising you have a problem with alcohol is the first big step to getting help.

I want to reduce my drinking

How can I reduce my drinking?

Cutting back on alcohol has lots of benefits – mental and physical health and wellbeing, socially and financially. There are plenty of practical ways you can start to cut down the amount you drink and how to keep on track.

If you regularly drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week, try these simple tips to help you cut down. (Fourteen units is equivalent to 6 pints of average-strength beer or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine).

  • Before you start drinking, set a limit on how much you’re going to drink.
  • Set a budget and only spend a fixed amount on alcohol
  • Let your friends and family know that you are cutting down and how important it is to you to have their support.
  • Cut back a little each day. That way, every day you do is a success.
  • You can still enjoy a drink, but go for a smaller glass or try bottled beer instead of pints.
  • Swap strong beers or wines for ones with a lower strength (ABV in %). You’ll find this information on the label of the bottle.
  • Have a glass of water before you have alcohol and alternate alcoholic drinks with water or other non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Have several drink-free days each week. Start with one day and then increase to two or more days in a row.

Benefits of reducing the amount of alcohol you drink include:

  • feeling better in the mornings
  • less tired during the day
  • better looking skin
  • feeling more energetic
  • better weight management



  • Having alcohol only with your evening meal can help you drink less and enjoy it more.
  • Wait until you are sat at the table with your meal before you grab a glass of wine or a beer.
  • Drinking with food slows down the rate that alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream.
  • You’re also likely to drink more slowly if you’re eating a meal at the same time.
  • Make sure there are water glasses on the table – and keep topping them up
  • Don’t continually top up wine glasses
  • Use small wine glasses
  • Serve low alcohol or alcohol free wine
  • Make spritzers
  • If you stop when you’ve finished eating it also allows your body more time to process the alcohol before you go to bed (it takes about an hour to process one unit of alcohol).
  • This should help you to get a better night’s sleep.
  • Reward yourself for progress

Of course, it’s not just alcoholic drinks that can complement your dinner. Try experimenting with herbal teas and fresh fruit juices to match different dishes too.



If you’re looking for a way to cut down on alcohol without cutting it out completely, reduced or lower alcohol drinks could be good option for you.

  • Choosing a lower strength alternative (providing you drink the same amount of drinks) you will consume fewer units of alcohol
  • You will be consuming fewer calories.
  • You are more likely to get a better nights sleep.
  • Introducing lower alcohol or non-alcoholic drinks to your routine is simple, and it doesn’t mean you have to stick to them all the time.
  • If you’re staying in, why not try switching to a lower alcohol alternative?
  • If you’re out and about, get into the habit of asking the bar staff which lower strength or non-alcoholic drinks they have.
  • Reward yourself for progress



It’s likely your drinking patterns have probably changed over time. Once, you might have drunk alcohol while out on the town. Now, because of the demands of a career and maybe a family, you could be spending more time at home. But even though you’re going out less – you might be drinking too much. If you change your drinking habits it can help you reverse your tolerance to alcohol.

Building tolerance

  • If you’re drinking on a regular basis, then the amount of alcohol you need to get a buzz gradually goes up
  • So, if your brain has got used to a certain level of stimulation, you won’t get that same ‘buzz’ if you drink less.
  • Your tolerance can creep up without you even noticing.
  • So it’s worth checking the recycling bin or your supermarket receipt for evidence you’re consuming more than you used to.

Alcohol dependence

If you think your tolerance is rising, then think about whether you could be becoming dependent on alcohol. e.g. beginning to use it regularly to unwind after work, or to socialise.

Getting back on track

There are plenty of things you can do to get your mind and body back on track – and getting back in balance is easier than you think.

  • Stick within the weekly alcohol unit guidelines of not regularly drinking more than 14 units a week for both men and women.
  • Think about what triggers your desire to drink too much and try to change your response. E.g. if you go to the fridge when you get home to get an alcoholic drink, replace it with another chilled drink such as a smoothie.
  • Talk to your partner or friend if you feel stressed – alcohol is not a cure for stress
  • Once you’ve reset your tolerance you won’t need as much alcohol to feel the effects. This makes it far easier to drink more sensibly.
  • Overall, you’ll have more energy and look and feel better.
  • Reward yourself for progress

It’s time to tackle your tolerance if

  • You’re taking two bottles of wine to the party in case you run out.
  • The amount of wine in your weekly shop is increasing.
  • You’re starting to finish off an evening of drinking with a night cap.
  • You buy bigger glasses.
  • You’re drinking more than the daily unit guidelines most nights of the week.



If you have become physically dependent and need to stop drinking completely, stopping overnight could be harmful.

You should get advice about this and about any medicine you may need to do this safely.

The sorts of withdrawal symptoms that suggest you may need medicine include:

  • anxiety after waking
  • sweating and tremors
  • nausea or retching in the morning
  • vomiting
  • hallucinations
  • seizures or fits

Giving up completely may not be easy – especially if you’ve been a heavy drinker in the past. The following tips and techniques can make it that little bit easier.

  • Tell your family and friends that you’re trying to stop drinking alcohol and explain why.
  • Frequently remind yourself and the people close to you why you want to stop drinking can help keep you on track, and may even encourage someone else to give up or cut down with you.
  • Avoid temptation – avoid situations where you may be tempted to have a drink.
  • Identify the times when you would usually drink and fill the gap with something else.
  • Identifying your ‘triggers’ is important, particularly if you’ve tried and struggled to stop drinking in the past.
  • Set yourself some goals.
  • Don’t be hard on yourself if you slip up once in a while.
  • Reward yourself for progress



I want to stay safe when I drink

How can I stay safe when I drink?

It’s important that you and those close to you know the dangers that can occur at home or out and about when alcohol’s in the equation.

  • Know your limits
  • Eat before you drink alcohol and drink plenty of water alongside
  • Watch your drinks while you are out – drinks spiked with alcohol or drugs can make you vulnerable.
  • You’re safer on a night out if you stick with your friends.
  • Alcohol slows you down
  • The more you drink, the more likely you are to have an accident
  • Alcohol increases the risk of fires in the home
  • The effects of alcohol can last longer than you think – your performance and judgement could still be affected the day after a heavy drinking session
  • Unwanted sexual attention on a night out ranges from verbal harassment, grabbing & groping, to more serious sexual assault, remember, if you wouldn’t do something when sober, then you shouldn’t do it when you are drunk.
  • Be aware of shots: Drinking shots means consuming alcohol very quickly. Slow down the pace by opting out, and choose a long soft drink.
  • Look at the alternatives: From high-end alcohol-free “spirits” to retro-cool ginger beer, there’s more choice than ever before if you want an alternative to drinking alcohol. So why not try something new?
  • Don’t assume ABV: Some craft brands offer spirits with an ABV higher than the “standard” 40%. Remember to always check the side of the bottle, or ask at the bar, to see how strong your drink is.
  • Stay energy-drink savvy: Mixing energy drinks and spirits means taking on caffeine as well as alcohol. Caffeine can keep you awake for longer, masking the effects of alcohol. This may lead people to drink more than they would normally, causing them to become “wide awake drunk”



  • Alcohol can make you think that you’re warm.
  • When you drink, it dilates the peripheral blood vessels near your skin, which means more blood – and heat – flows to these vessels – this takes blood and heat away from the core of your body and your vital organs.
  • If you go out in the cold after drinking you can very quickly lose the heat that is near your skins surface and that can be dangerous.
  • Knowing how you’re getting home, sticking with friends and wearing warm clothes will also help to ensure you have a safe night out.



It can be bought cheaply, but it can cause anything from nausea to blindness and even death if consumed.

Look out for:

  • Poor quality labelling, including things like spelling mistakes.
  • UK duty stamp—spirits in bottles 35cl or larger and 30% ABV or higher have to have a duty stamp, which indicates that tax has either been paid or is due to be paid on the contents of the bottle. They’re usually incorporated into the label or stuck on the glass. If it’s not there, it’s illegal
  • Properly sealed caps. If the seal is broken, don’t drink it. Even if it’s not illegal, it could have been tampered with.
  • Fake bar codes. If you have an app on your mobile that scans bar codes, scan it and see if it’s listed as the correct product.



Don’t get involved in drinking games – Don’t be fooled into thinking they are harmless fun, drinking games can lead to risky behaviour and alcohol poisoning, which can be fatal, and can have consequences for your long-term health too.



  • Spirits are sometimes called “shorts”, and for a good reason. In a bar or pub they’re usually served in 25ml measures (35ml in some places), 50ml for a double.
  • That isn’t a lot of liquid – by comparison a pint of beer is 568ml and a small glass of wine 125ml. This means, even when served with a mixer, spirits can be consumed faster than other alcoholic drinks.
  • Shots can be a single spirit, or two or more mixed together. They’re designed to be drunk in one go, and so hit the blood-stream very fast.
  • They’re often consumed alongside other drinks, which means taking on-board a lot of alcohol very quickly.
  • Cocktails can contain a lot of alcohol as well, especially if they’re home-made.
  • Because spirits can be consumed quickly, it may mean you’ll drink more than you want, faster than you’d like. This can make you more vulnerable, and more likely to make bad decisions.



Drinking alcohol can:

  • Affect our judgement and reasoning
  • Slow down our reactions
  • Upset our sense of balance and coordination
  • Impair our vision and hearing
  • Make us lose concentration and feel drowsy.



I am concerned about someones drinking

I’m concerned about someone else and their drinking habits

Knowing what to look for, what to say and what you can do to help.

Signs that someone you care about is drinking too much can be hard to see if you don’t know what to look for. It’s easy to see when someone appears visibly drunk or they drink large amounts of alcohol in a short space of time. As someone close to them, you may be better placed to recognise their change in behaviour.

The best way to approach someone you’re concerned about is with sensitivity and empathy. Think about how you would want to be approached if someone told you that you had a problem with alcohol.

You can expect them to feel:

  • Humiliated
  • Defensive
  • Denial

They might say “everyone else is doing it”

It is important to show how concerned you are, rather than disapproval and tell them that you are worried about them.

Using positive language is key to engagement. Some examples you could use include:

  • “I wonder if you drink less your health/well-being may improve.”
  • “I’ve noticed that you aren’t so positive about life since you’ve been drinking more. This isn’t the kind of person I know you to be. I’m not bringing it up to upset you, but because I’m concerned.”
  • “I’ve noticed you’re not doing as much exercise as you used to.”
  • “I thought it was great when you were going to yoga/football/your night class etc.”

Avoid criticism and making judgements such as “you’re an alcoholic” as this will lead to the conversations going round in circles.

Be prepared to have the conversation you want to have.

  • Make sure you are both in the right mood and are feeling calm and not too emotional.
  • Ensure you have as much information as possible so you can provide the right facts and advice on where they can go for support.
  • Getting someone to seek support will hopefully change their relationship with alcohol.
  • Remember, you can provide as much information and support as you can, but, they need to want to change their behaviour with alcohol.
  • You may have to have a few conversations before they accept that they have a problem.



What to look out for:

  • Speech becoming slurred
  • Unsteady on their feet or falling over
  • Facial flushing (red cheeks)
  • Volume of the voice increases
  • Growing number of glasses or bottles in front of someone

How much alcohol someone’s body can drink depends on lots of things, like how much they’ve eaten that day, their general health, size and gender and how they’re feeling.



Suggestions to help someone:

  • Suggest to them you get some air together or a glass of water.
  • Be supportive and make them realise why you are concerned – so that they don’t think you are trying to spoil their fun.

If you think someone may have alcohol poisoning through drinking too much, too quickly, they are likely to:

  • have lost their coordination, so they won’t be able to stand up, but they may not have passed out
  • be vomiting
  • feel very confused
  • have epileptic-like seizures
  • not be breathing regularly
  • look pale or almost blue
  • feel very cold.

It’s very dangerous when someone has these symptoms and best to seek medical help. Get medical help if your friend can’t stay awake, has vomited a lot and has been injured, especially if they have a head injury

  • If your friend needs medical help, consider calling an ambulance. Other options include minor injuries units, walk-in centres, NHS 111, chemists, or you can make your own way to hospital. (Be aware you won’t be seen any faster if you arrive at a hospital in an ambulance with a friend who has drunk too much)
  • When you call 999, the call taker will talk through what to do for your friend and stay on the phone before an ambulance arrives
  • Advice about what you should do is different depending on how your friend is doing. But your friend should be lying on their side, kept warm, perhaps with a jacket over them. You should also stay with them to monitor them
  • DON’T move your friend from where they are, pour water into their mouth or over them to try and wake them up.
  • Someone who has experienced alcohol poisoning can make a full recovery. In the ambulance or at hospital, they’ll be put on a drip to hydrate them and monitored while their liver processes the alcohol. If they’re left to ‘sleep it off’ without being monitored by you or a medical professional, they could be at risk of choking on their own vomit or of hurting themselves during a seizure.
  • It’s best to talk to your friends about how much you’re going to drink before the night begins.
  • A fun night with friends doesn’t have to be about having a lot to drink.



Local alcohol support services in Rotherham

01709 426637 or 01709 426635
Seven days a week, 8am–8pm

The Alcohol Liaison Service supports adults with an alcohol related concern or problem, who have recently attended the Emergency Department or have been admitted to hospital.

A team of specialist alcohol nurses are available seven days a week, between the hours of 8am and 8pm.

01709 917651
divert@cgl.rog.uk

Carnson House, 1 Moorgate Road, Rotherham, S60 2EN

DIVERT is a specialist substance misuse support service for young people aged up to 18 affected by drugs or alcohol living in Rotherham. We have a highly skilled team with many years’ experience supporting young people to live happier, healthier and safer lives. Our workers can also come to see you wherever is most convenient for you.

Free and confidential support
Drop in sessions
Targeted group work and training for professionals

01709 917649

1 Moorgate Road, Rotherham, S60 2EN

Change Grow Live helps people who have issues with drugs and alcohol. Whether you want to learn how to use in a safe way, reduce your usage or stop completely, we are here for you.

  • One to one sessions
  • Group sessions
  • Family and friends support
  • FREE information
  • Late night appointments available
  • Drop in sessions
  • Bookable appointments

01709 718720
parkwood.gethealthyrotherham@nhs.net

Kimberworth Place, Kimberworth Road, Kimberworth, Rotherham, S61 1HE

Get Healthy Rotherham is a FREE healthy lifestyle service purely for the residents of Rotherham. Anyone aged 18 or over can access support and advice.
Your Get Healthy Coach will be able to work with you to understand how much alcohol you drink and under which circumstances so that they can create a personal health plan.

FREE support programmes
Online goal setting tool
Online resources

07492 611855

Rotherham Pentecostal Church, Station Road, Masborough, Rotherham, S60 1JH

The Ark provides food, clothing, support and community for the unemployed, homeless, abused, alcohol and drug-dependant or otherwise marginalised people of Rotherham. There is an informal drop-in at the church every Tuesday between 2:30–4:30pm, to hang out and chat.

National alcohol support organisations

0800 9177650
help@aamail.org

Alcoholics Anonymous offers a range of services including helpline, email, local meetings and online chat.

0800 0086 811 (10am–10pm, 365 days a year)
helpline@al-anonuk.org.uk

Al-Anon Family Groups provide support to anyone whose life is, or has been, affected by someone else’s drinking, regardless of whether that person is still drinking or not.

0300 123 1110

Drinkchat is a free service for anyone who is looking for information or advice about their own, or someone else’s, alcohol use. Our trained advisors are on hand to give you some confidential advice. You don’t even have to make a phonecall.

Free helpline: 0300 123 1110
Weekdays 9am–8pm, weekends 11am–4pm

Drinkline runs a free, confidential helpline for people who are concerned about their drinking, or someone else’s.

The purpose of the Drinkline service is to offer free, confidential, accurate and consistent information and advice to callers who are concerned about their own or someone else’s drinking regardless of the caller’s age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity or spirituality.

Free helpline: 0800 358 3456
helpline@nacoa.org.uk

NACOA provides a free, confidential telephone and email helpline for children of alcohol-dependent parents and others concerned about their welfare.

Support apps

Drinkaware helps you to track your alcohol consumption and spend over time, calculate units and calories and set goals to help you moderate your drinking.

       

Drink Free Days is a simple and easy way to track the days you drink alcohol and the days you don’t. Feel healthier, lose weight and save money – simply nominate days to take off drinking and get practical, daily support to help you stick to it.

       

Drink Less is created by a team of psychologists at University College London to help drinkers reduce their consumption of alcohol. Find out more on the website.

With Rotherham Health app you can assess your symptoms, book and manage your appointments, view your medical record and test results, manage your medication and much more, 24/7.

       

HealthUnlocked is the world’s largest social network for health. Find and connect with people with a similar health condition. The service has over 700 online communities focused on health and wellbeing topics.

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