Residents inspire others to rethink their drink

Four local people have bravely shared their stories to inspire others to rethink their drink in a new campaign, Wake Up North Yorkshire, which launches to follow on from Dry January.

Ted and Samantha

Many people give up booze in the New Year, and might wonder what comes next in February. As part of the Wake Up North Yorkshire campaign, Ted and Samantha from Harrogate, Chris from Northallerton and James from Scarborough explain why and how they reduced their alcohol consumption.

This campaign is part of North Yorkshire County Council’s work to reduce alcohol-related harm in the county, including admissions to hospitals.

Samantha and Ted had a drink on most nights at home. After their son died, they realised that alcohol wasn’t helping them to get through their grief, it was actually making them feel worse. They decided to support each other to reduce their alcohol intake and now they feel that their mental health has improved, and they wake up feeling fresh. They still enjoy the occasional drink, but they now know their limits.

Ted says: “I decided to cut down and I feel better. I wake up in the morning now and I feel fine.

“You don’t forget losing a son, but you learn, eventually, to live with it. I still speak to him every day, but I don’t take a drink every day.”

Samantha says: “We decided to reduce our drinking. I still enjoy a glass of Prosecco when I go out with my friends, but hardly ever drink at home. I feel so much healthier. I feel alive and fresh. I don’t feel fuzzy anymore.”

Chris from Northallerton decided to cut down his drinking when he realised the impact it was having on his health.

Chris says: “I drink a lot less than I used to because I want to have a healthy retirement and enjoy walking and moorland hikes.

“Also, the hangovers are worse when you get into your mid-fifties like me, so I have three or four days a week when I don’t drink – it makes it all the nicer when you have a pint on a Friday night.”

The final story comes from 20-year-old James from Scarborough. When James was younger his brother died due to an alcohol-related injury. Because of this, James has always been aware of the risks of drinking and knows the importance of safe drinking and staying within his limits. James also balances his alcohol intake because he wants to save money.

James has a few tips for staying in control of drinking on a night out and avoiding hangovers.

He says: “Take a break from drinking, go for a walk, get something to eat. It saves you from looking like an idiot, saves money and you don’t get that hangover the next day if you stop before you’ve taken it too far.”

The campaign was developed after research with North Yorkshire residents and was co-produced with them.

More than 40 per cent of people who responded to a survey of around 1,000 North Yorkshire residents revealed that they drink more than the chief medical officer’s guidelines suggest is ‘safer’. That is:

  • regularly more than six glasses of wine or pints of beer a week, and/or
  • regularly more than three glasses of wine/pints (for women) or four glasses of wine/pints (for men) on any single occasion.

North Yorkshire County Councillor Caroline Dickinson, Executive Member for Public Health, said: “The good news is that most North Yorkshire residents who drink more than the safer guidelines are already reducing their drinking or thinking about doing so in the future. They should also be motivated to think of their general health so that they look and feel better. If they feel better they will be in a good mood, have more energy and the added benefits are losing weight and saving money – so they will ‘wake up’ to a better version of themselves.”

To watch videos of Ted and Samantha, Chris and James telling their stories or for more information about Wake Up North Yorkshire go to the campaign website.

This story was published 11 February 2020