Alcohol Awareness Week 2024

There are lots of reasons to cut back on the alcohol. On this page, created for Alcohol Awareness Week 2024, we list just a few and some ideas on how to cut back.

Throughout Alcohol Awareness Week we’ll be sharing some advice and tips on cutting down in short videos on our social media.

If you have your own suggestions for how to cut back, why not download our A3 sign, print it off and share your idea with the hashtag #AAW24 and tag in @forwardleeds.

Drinking less alcohol can…

Lift your mood. The enjoyable effect of alcohol is temporary. This is because alcohol changes your brain chemistry. If you drink a lot you are more likely to struggle with depressed feelings. These feelings may encourage you to drink more to cope. This can then become a cycle. By cutting down you can break that pattern.

Help you lose weight. Alcohol contains around seven calories a gram – almost as many as pure fat. The sugars and starch in alcoholic drinks make them ever more calorific. A pint of beer can have as many calories as a slice of pizza. A large glass of wine the same as an ice cream sundae.

Improve your skin. The dehydrating effects of alcohol can make your skin look wrinkled, dull and grey, or bloated and puffy.

Reduce social anxiety: If you’re uncomfortable in social situations, you may be tempted to use alcohol to feel more confident or relaxed. Once the effects of alcohol have worn off though, feelings of anxiety can rebound – often with even greater feelings of anxiety, guilt, or shame.

Save you money. A recent survey found that people who drink two alcoholic drinks a day spend around £60 a week on alcohol. Imagine what you could do with an extra £240 a month!

Help you sleep better. Alcohol can reduce the amount of ‘proper’ sleep you get making you feel drowsy and lacking in concentration the next day. You may need to give your body time to adjust to falling asleep without alcohol. Once you do, you should find yourself more rested and full of energy.

For Alcohol Awareness Week, Forward Leeds, the city’s alcohol and drug support service, is launching a different style of campaign to help people in Leeds who want to take control of their drinking.

Excessive alcohol consumption can have significant impacts on both a person’s physical and mental health. Cutting down and simple lifestyle changes can help you feel better and live longer. Here are some suggestions.

Tips for cutting down on the alcohol…

Plan. Before you start drinking, set a limit on how much you’re going to drink and try to stick to that.

Ask a friend. Let your friends and family know you’re cutting down and that it’s important to you. They should want to support you.

Go steady. Try to cut back on the booze a little each week or each day. That way, every week or every day you drink less is a win.

Delay. Wait a bit longer until having your first drink, perhaps until after your children are in bed. If you are meeting friends, just meet a little later so you don’t drink as much that evening.

Make mine a small one. You can still enjoy a drink. Just choose smaller sizes. Try bottled beer instead of pints, or a small glass of wine instead of a large one.

Go Low. Cut down the alcohol by swapping strong beers or wines for ones with a lower strength. The flavour isn’t in the alcohol.

Alternate. Drink some water before you have alcohol and alternate alcoholic drinks with water or other non-alcoholic drinks. There are some great alcohol-free alternatives these days.

Mix it up. Use mixers to make spritzers or shandies – these will cut down the amount of alcohol you are consuming.

Take a break. Have several drink-free days each week and plan when you are going to have those days.

Remove temptation. Keep drinks out of easy reach and out of the fridge. Don’t make them a regular part of your shop.