Croydon Council says that alcohol consumption across London remains at a concerning level as it supports Alcohol Awareness Week.
The council says drinking excessively is strongly associated with mental health problems like anxiety and depression and affects family relationships.
Alcohol is also a factor in many cases of child neglect and domestic abuse.
Residents can seek help from the council’s free alcohol support service Change Grow Lives (CGL).
Samantha Mahoney, a 46-year-old Croydon resident who has benefitted from CGL said: “I was drinking heavily for a few years, it started with a couple of drinks after work and then escalated from there.
“However, I was abstinent for eight years until the Covid-19 lockdown, I lost my job at that time and began to drink again.
“My drinking did seriously impact my relationship with my daughter.”
CGL helped Samantha come to terms with her drinking problems without judgement.
Samantha said: “They helped me to focus on repairing the damage that had been done, to take ownership and improve my relationships.
“This helps you with your journey to better health and to move on from depending on high levels of alcohol.
“There is a stigma around alcohol addiction and people can be afraid to seek help as they are wary of who might need to be involved. However, there is no shame in not coping.
“People from all walks of life are affected by alcohol, I am living proof that with the right support you can come out the other side.”
Councillor Janet Campbell, cabinet member for families, health and social care, said: “This Alcohol Awareness Week is an opportunity for people to think about their drinking habits and how alcohol can negatively impact their health and relationships.
“People drink for a variety of reasons including to relax, to socialise, to de-stress or to try and cope with or avoid problems.
“As we return to a more normal life, there will be new pressures on some people to drink more while socialising, including sober shaming, which is being made to feel not drinking is wrong.
“Cutting down or quitting alcohol can help you to be happier, safer and healthier.”
CGL also has top tips to help residents adopt a healthier drinking pattern, including:
• Starting a drink diary to be aware of what you’re drinking and help you to understand your habits.
• Setting yourself a limit and trying to stick to it.
• Having at least three alcohol-free days each week.
• Not drinking on an empty stomach, always have something to eat first.
• Having a non-alcoholic drink, like water or a soft drink, between each alcoholic one.
Visit CGL’s website for more information: https://changegrowlive.org/advice-info/alcohol-drugs/alcohol-advice-stopping-drinking-reducing