Perfect time to re-evaluate drinking habits
According to Aware.org, a body that aims to reduce alcohol-related harm by creating awareness and performing ongoing research, this lockdown period presents alcohol consumers with the opportunity to take responsibility for their drinking choices and to rethink their relationship with alcohol.
“Choosing responsibly demands that we all educate and equip ourselves with the right information and tools and that each of us looks at the impact our choices have not only on our health but also on others, that is, family, community, social circles, etc. In this way, we can be aware of tomorrow and ultimately be responsible for better”, said the organisation in a statement.
Adrie Vermeulen, of the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, said the lockdown is a great opportunity for people to stop drinking alcohol. He shared some guidelines for social drinkers to redirect their focus from drinking and cultivate new habits.
Vermeulen emphasised that those suffering from mild to severe alcohol use disorders will require medical and therapeutic interventions to enable them to quit.
1.Complete an online questionnaire to determine if you have a problem with alcohol or not. An example is Audit (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test).
2.Keep a daily journal where you track your thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
3.Write down why, when, with whom, how much, how often, what do you drink.
4.Explore how alcohol impacts on your life both positive and negative on all levels of your functioning (work/social/financial/family/friends/religiously/physically/mentally/etc.
5.Be honest about your reason for quitting and write one sentence or motto down on pieces of paper or sticky notes that you stick everywhere on your mirror of your bathroom, on the fridge, on your laptop screen, a reminder on your phone, etc.
6.Find five practical activities that will take your mind off the craving. Cravings are “mental relapses” but only last 20 to 30 minutes. If you can distract yourself by doing something else, you learn to overcome the cravings.
7.Some practical ideas will be to take up a hobby, do an online course, talk to your loved ones about your cravings and thoughts, join an online support group, download a motivational app, do exercises, do relaxation exercises, work in the garden, play with your child or pet, etc. This will be unique for each person and is fun.
8.Stay positive and keep asking for help from others.