Croydon residents can make a healthier start to the New Year by taking part in Dry January.
The scheme presents top tips to drink less alcohol from an array of support sources and the council’s advice service if they are highly dependent.
Croydon Council’s free alcohol and drug support service, Change Grow Live, has information about the effects of alcohol on your health and how to cut down.
It offers in-depth support to people who may be drinking at harmful, hazardous and dependent levels with a desire to reduce or become abstinent.
Councillor Janet Campbell, cabinet member for families, health and social care, said: “We are encouraging residents to take part in Dry January and make a fresh start to the year.
“The past two years have been difficult for most of us and some people are drinking more to cope with the challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“You don’t have to be drinking every day for it to be an issue.
“However, January is a great time to start doing more to improve your health and wellbeing throughout the coming months.
“Like changing your drinking habits, which can make a big difference to your long-term health.”
Residents can also speak to their GPs who will be able to get help for them to reduce their drinking safely.
It is estimated that nearly one in six people living in Croydon are drinking at a level which increases the risk of damaging their health.
Dry January is about getting something back, says Croydon Council.
Some of the main benefits to health from Dry January and giving your body a break from alcohol are:
- Sleeping better
- Having more energy and better concentration
- Weight loss – An average pint and a large glass of wine can each be 200 plus calories
- Lowering high blood pressure
- Improvements to skin and liver function
- Reduced risk of developing certain cancers
- Saving money
Croydon resident Chantelle Prescod, 41, experienced benefits of drinking less and taking part in Dry January.
She said: “I was a high dependent alcoholic for many years. My parents didn’t drink much alcohol, but I started drinking socially when I was living alone with my son.
“It escalated from there, especially as it is so easy to buy alcohol.
“My drinking negatively affected my relationships – social services had to be involved to keep my son safe, and friends and family no longer trusted me.
“Alcohol is a depressant, it affected my mood and made me feel very angry at times.
“After a few years of not facing my alcoholism, I eventually got help from a recovery support service in Croydon.
“They helped me get to grips with my drinking and take responsibility. Sadly, someone I knew in recovery died from their drinking.
“Their untimely passing also made me realise how damaging alcohol can be to your health.
“When I began to drink less and then stop the condition of my hair, skin and nails significantly improved.
“I looked 10 years younger! I became a much nicer person and my son could also return to live to me.
“My alcohol recovery support worker encouraged me to attend the gym with him, as I had gained weight after drinking less.
“It was good to have someone by my side throughout my journey. My Mum and best friend were also a huge support.
“January is a good time to slow down your drinking and turn over a new leaf.
“I now work for Change Grow Live, which is a job I do for the outcome not the income.
“I can share my journey with my clients and help them to see the benefits of not drinking and how your life can improve by swapping an unhealthy addiction for healthier activities like exercising more, which will also help your mental wellbeing.”
You can sign up for Dry January here: www.DryJanuary.org.uk.
There is also a Try Dry app to help residents keep on track during the month and set personalised goals all year round.
The NHS’ Better Health website also has useful tips and tools to drink less.