- In the UK, in 2015 there were 8,758 alcohol-related deaths (around 14 per 100,000 people). The mortality rates are highest among people aged 55-64.
- In England, there are an estimated 595,131 dependent drinkers, of whom only 108,696 are currently accessing treatment.
- Alcohol misuse is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability among 15-49 year-olds in the UK, and the fifth biggest risk factor across all ages.
- Alcohol harms are estimated to cost the NHS around £3.5 billion annually.
Hi, my name is Vickey, and I’m an alcoholic. I’ve been sober for 13 years now and 2018 will be year 14 of no booze. I may have been sober for over a decade now, but I’m still an alcoholic and I always will be, and December is still the toughest time of year for me.
We live in a society where booze is a normal, every day part of life. It’s readily available pretty much anywhere and can be found on any street corner and high street. In December, it’s worse. It’s everywhere. It’s on every other TV advert, it’s in the food, on every kitchen counter in every home, in supermarkets front and centre, in magazines, newspapers, everywhere. And it’s all people seem to be able to talk about in December as it’s party season. No other time of year is alcohol as prevalent as it is now. Christmas parties, family get togethers, meeting up with old friends: December is the month that revolves around booze. There is not escaping it, no running from it, it’s there and it looms over my life bigger and badder than ever.
I hate Christmas and New Years Eve in equal measures because the only way to escape the season’s alcohol surplus is to stay at home and not venture out. But even then, there is booze as i live in a shared house and I don’t impose a No Booze Zone as I’m the one with the problem, not my housemates. So, i grit my teeth and bear it in the knowledge that the worst two weeks of my year will be over soon and all the drinkers of the world will be well into their January hangovers.
Alcohol is so entrenched in our lives that when I mention that I’m sober, I am looked upon as some sort of freak, especially in December. People I’ve known nearly y whole life still offer me a drink. “Oh go on, it’s Christmas!”
Every year I get older, and every year that I’m sober, my patience for people drinking shrinks even more. I have absolutely no desire for parties, or going to the pub or even being around people at Christmas and NYE. I absolutely do not want to be around people drinking to the point of blacking out, just because it’s Christmas. If you have ever had any kind of drink or drug problem, you’ll know EXACTLY what i’m talking about. It’s frustrating, maddening, tempting and enraging. I would LOVE to take you up on the offer of that ‘cheeky Christmas drink’ but you know what? Fuck you for offering when you know full well that I’m an alcoholic, how dare you. Just because you’re happy to drink yourselves into oblivion because apparently, that’s what Christmas is all about, doesn’t mean that I want to. Have you got any idea what it’s like for an alcoholic this time of year? Do you know how damaging it is to be around so much excess?
And don’t even get me started on Dry January….. Oh, good for you, you’re giving up booze for a whole month and now I get to hear about how difficult that is for you, blah, blah….. No, I’m not sponsoring you to stop drinking for a month. Why? Because as soon as the 1st of February comes around you’ll be back on the booze again which completely defeats the object of being sponsored for a cancer charity. I’ll just give my 20 quid straight to the charity thanks. And you won’t get any praise from me for being sober for a month either. I find it insulting that I have to listen to people complaining and moaning about not having a drink for a whole 1 days, and it can sometimes be even worse than being surrounded by alcohol. I don’t care that you’re doing Dry January Sharon, go and complain to someone who isn’t a recovering alcoholic.
I’m not asking for people to stop drinking around me, I just want people to be more aware this time of year and to be a little bit more considerate. It’s not party season for everyone.