Derek, 67, from Oldham is a recovering alcoholic. The death of his wife hit him harder than he realised and his subsequent problem with alcoholism crept up on him. A call to Port of Call was enough to persuade Derek to undergo addiction counselling and turn over a healthier leaf without alcohol.
Drinking has always been my way of relaxing but it’s never been a problem for me. Alright, I like to get drunk every now and then – not as much as I used to in my younger days – but I’ve always considered myself to be in control. None of that hooligan behaviour that you see on the streets nowadays.
It used to be fine to do that. Then the Government brought in all these guidelines that I just can’t get my head around at all. I suppose since retiring from work, and the loss of my wife, the visits to the pub slowly got earlier and earlier. Of late, I’d been waiting for the pub to open and often stopped off for a bottle of spirits on the way home.
My life had basically become very small and very depressing.
Alcohol support from Port of Call
My doctor asked me how many units I drink in a week. ‘I’ve got no idea’ I said. What’s a unit anyway? I’m still not sure but he told me that I was drinking too much. He said that my couple of beers a night was harming my health – especially for an older bloke like me.
My body can’t deal with it like it used to, apparently, and it’s dangerous with my medications. I said to the doctor: ‘How do you expect me to change now? I’ve always had a drop to drink each night.’ I’m not someone who needs help; I’m not an addict. But he said that I really should think about getting some help for my drinking and the reasons for it. He then gave me a leaflet about Port of Call.
I was a bit dubious at first. Why should I get help? But I thought of my late wife, Maureen, who always said I was too proud to get help with anything and had always got upset when I’d had one too many. Truth be told, I’d been in denial for a long time about my drinking and had surrounded myself with people who drank like me.
I decided to get help for her, as much as for me.
Alcoholism help through addiction counselling
I dialled the number and the adviser at Port of Call listened to my story and suggested addiction counselling. That’s something that I’d never have considered before but I decided to give it a go.
I went to see my counsellor, on and off, for about 12 weeks. I didn’t expect it to take that long. But I found myself talking about things that I hadn’t said out loud before. It was a similar experience at my AA meetings; strange at first but I found myself sharing things that I’d kept to myself for years. The seven years since Maureen had passed especially. So to be able to talk it through like that, with a professional – and other people who understood – was a big weight off my shoulders.
I really look forward to my AA meetings these days and I’ve made some lifelong friends. I’ve found that not drinking is a better way of life. I still couldn’t tell you what a unit is, or how many people should have, but now I settle down to a cup of tea instead most nights. I’m happier and healthier than I have been for a long while and it’s all down to Port of Call, and my doctor, for helping me to change my habits.
What are the recommended alcohol limits?
Men should drink no more than 21 units of alcohol per week, no more than four units in any one day, and have at least two alcohol-free days a week. Women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week, no more than three units in any one day, and have at least two alcohol-free days a week.
One unit of alcohol is about equal to half a pint of ordinary strength beer, lager or cider (3-4% ABV); a small pub measure (25 ml) of spirits (40% ABV); or a standard pub measure (50 ml) of fortified wine, like sherry or port (20% alcohol by volume). There are one and a half units of alcohol in a small glass (125 ml) of ordinary strength wine (12% ABV); or a standard pub measure (35 ml) of spirits (40% ABV).
Make us your first Port of Call. If you, or a loved one, are dealing with addiction we can help you to access the right alcohol rehab at the right time. Take the first step today by speaking to one of our advisers for free on 08000029010. We can offer advice or answer any questions you may have about rehab, the treatment or the costs.
Disclaimer: Names and certain details have been changed to protect the identity of case study participants.