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It is 5:30 pm and it’s already pitch dark outside. I say to my husband, “we are getting short on wine, better put in another order”, as I pull out a crisp bottle of pinot from the fridge. I am not alone. My friends tell me they are all drinking more than they used to.

Don’t get me wrong, I have always enjoyed a lovely glass of wine on a Friday evening and perhaps once again midweek, but it is different now. We are both working from home, we are facing new challenges and find ourselves pouring a glass of wine at 5:30pm rather than the 7pm that we were used to.

Then there are the zoom calls; we get invited to share a drink with friends via zoom and this can be any evening of the week – even on a school night! And you can keep topping up your glass with no one really monitoring. And then all the memes about drinking everywhere. And what else is there really to do?

I suppose the reason why I am sharing this is to let you know if you are drinking more than usual, then you are not alone. Apparently, one in five adults in the UK are drinking more during lockdown. This time has been, and still is, a period of stress, uncertainty, anxiety, boredom and loneliness – all of which can be triggers for reaching for a drink.

For many years, I’ve seen friends, colleagues and family members take part in the dry January campaign, yet I have never considered it for myself. I do like a challenge, so why not? This year, even though I don’t think I am drinking more than the recommended weekly units, I know I am drinking more than I used to, so I have made many plans to make this happen.

Journal Image

My list of jobs on the first of January are to download the Dry January app, make a list of things to do in the evenings, book-mark some online exercise classes, buy myself new running leggings online, you can run in the dark right? One of my close friends is a well-being coach and she bought me a brand-new journal before the first lockdown, I think it’s time to unwrap it and start journalling! Oh, and I’ve signed my husband up too.

So, it’s not too late. Why don’t you join me? You can start planning today and do it however it suits you. The new Covid-19 vaccine has given us hope and we need to get toned up and loose that Corona weight for a long summer on Brighton beach!

You can find more information about coronavirus and alcohol in the coronavirus information and advice hub.

There is no shame in asking for help. If you’re struggling to control your drinking, or you would like to talk to someone about getting some support, here is a list of organisations offering remote services.

  • The Alcoholics Anonymous helpline is open 24/7 on 0800 9177 650. If you would prefer, you can also email them at help@aamail.org or live chat via their website at www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk.
  • Drinkline, a free, confidential helpline for people who are concerned about their drinking, or someone else’s. Call 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am–8pm, weekends 11am–4pm).
  • Drink Wise, Age Well helps older adults make healthier choices about their drinking as they age. Their webchat tool offers free support and is available Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm and 6pm to 9pm.
  • You can join a SMART Recovery meeting online here.
  • We Are With You offers a free confidential online chat service. Available: weekdays – between 10am-4pm and 6pm-9pm; and on weekends: 11am-4pm.
  • You can contact the Samaritans for free in the UK on 116 123 or by emailing jo@samaritans.org or if you are a registered BHWC patient you can get care from one of our members of the BHWC team by emailing bhccg.bhwc@nhs.net.