How to drink less...

...without making your life a misery

It’s Alcohol Awareness Week and with Festive Season just around the corner, we asked Jim Bett, Service Manager at Kirkcaldy-based Fife Alcohol Support Service (FASS) how it’s possible to drink less alcohol, without making life a misery.

Jim's reply was full of brilliant information, but he also pointed out the many pitfalls which can beset any of us during parties, office nights out etc. “First of all” said Jim, “a little planning before your night out, can make a big difference. Set a target of how much you will drink during the evening, and pace yourself. Bear in mind that your body can only process about 1 unit of alcohol each hour. That’s about a half pint of low strength beer or 25ml of spirits. If you drink more than your body can deal with then the alcohol builds up and you become intoxicated.”

Jim went on “You need to be careful, but if you get drunk then it’s often too late. Judgement will be impaired so things might be said and done that you regret later, or because your co-ordination is impaired, accidents and a trip to A & E are always possible. Of course, you could avoid drinking alcohol altogether. Why not volunteer to be the designated driver and stick to non-alcoholic drinks for the night.”

Jim added “Always plan your journey home at the end of the night so you get home safely. Look after each other and take care not to become separated from friends. Remember your judgement of the situation may not be the best.”

Jim then concluded by saying “We all want to enjoy ourselves at this time of the year but it’s always best to stay in control. Please remember the risks of drinking too much. The dangers are tangible. There are 670 hospital admissions and 24 deaths every week in Scotland, and none of us wish to become a statistic like that.”

Jim added “If you or someone close to you has a problem with alcohol, then they can call FASS for a free and confidential counselling service throughout Fife and this can assist the individual to either reduce or eliminate the harmful effects of alcohol. Just dial 01592-206200 – it's a phone call well worth making.”