Has lockdown affected your drinking habits? Alcohol counselling could help.
If you feel you’ve been drinking more alcohol than usual over the past year, you’re not alone.
According to a survey by Alcohol Change UK, more than a quarter of people think they’ve drunk more during lockdown. One in five people have drunk as a response to anxiety or stress.
As the restrictions ease, it can be a good opportunity to take stock of our lives, and reflect on how we’ve coped, physically and mentally, over the last year with feelings of anxiety, stress, boredom and grief.
Often clients say to me that they’ve noticed that their alcohol use has increased over the last year but they don’t know why. My job is to work with people to explore their relationship with alcohol and support them to become aware of the reasons and feelings behind its use.
As an addiction counsellor, I work with clients who use alcohol and substances to cope with various problems and situations in their lives. What starts out as something that seems to help tolerate negative feelings can end up causing more problems, and the vicious circle begins.
If you’re thinking about your alcohol use, and whether it’s a problem for you, here are some tips to get started:
Be curious – begin by noticing any changes in your life
• Do you notice increased tension in relationships?
• Do you spend more on alcohol?
• Do you notice changes in your behaviour, for example drinking alone or being secretive about your drinking?
• How are you feeling physically and mentally?
Be mindful of your drinking
Ask yourself why you’re having a drink. For example, is it to “reward” yourself after a long day at work? Is there something you don’t want to face? Are you feeling bored or lonely?
Be honest with yourself
Keeping a drink diary can help you become aware of drinking patterns and increased use. Each week, keep a note of:
• The days and times that you’re drinking;
• What you’re drinking and the quantity;
• Who you’re drinking with and where;
• What you’re doing, thinking and feeling;
• How much you’re spending on alcohol.
If you’re worried about your drinking and want to learn more about how I can work with you, please visit my website here. I offer a free 10-minute phone call to answer any of your initial questions.
Drug and alcohol counselling can support you to explore your alcohol use and make the changes that you want see in your life. My practice is available online in Edinburgh and I’m BACP and FDAP registered.