Caritas Anchor House

Working at the heart of homelessness

Alcohol Awareness Week

Our News in Brief

Alcohol Awareness Week

17th November 2014
Alcohol Awareness Week, running from Monday 17th to Sunday 23rd November, aims to improve people’s lives through reducing the harm caused by alcohol and to change the drinking culture in the UK.

Organised by Alcohol Concern, the theme of this year’s campaign is ‘Facing our alcohol problem: Taking back our health and high streets’.

For many people, an alcoholic drink can be a nice way to unwind after a long day, but it doesn’t take much for a few drinks to turn into a more serious problem. Current health guidelines recommend that women should not drink more than 2-3 units of alcohol a day and that men should not exceed 3-4 units. If you regularly drink more, it can harm your health and increase the risk of liver damage, cancer and heart disease.

Every year, alcohol misuse and the associated problems cost the UK approximately £21 billion in healthcare, crime and lost productivity costs. In Newham, where Caritas Anchor House is based, almost 30,000 people drink more than the recommended amount of alcohol, risking damage to their health and costing healthcare services approximately £9.8 million per year.

At Caritas Anchor House, 24% of our homeless residents are being helped to address their substance misuse issues by a Lifestyle Architect within our dedicated complex needs team. We also work in partnership with alcohol and drug misuse agencies to provide specialist services in addition to the AA and CA meetings we host on site.

Charles, who accessed alcohol misuse services at Caritas Anchor House, spoke about his experiences.

“I was medically retired from work at 60 due to stress. Suddenly I had all this free time and I didn’t know what to do with myself and I turned to alcohol. The drinking ruined my life – I became depressed – and in the end, my daughter said to me ‘Dad, you’ve got to change your ways’ and I knew she was right. I was losing my family – I’ve got a 7 year old granddaughter, and there’s no way I would want to miss out on her.

“I started off attending the abstinence day programme and I’ve been to mutual aid meetings, and it’s fantastic – I can express myself, and it feels like a family. Being able to talk with a group of people who were also in recovery was crucial for me and the support that I received at Caritas Anchor House – from the staff and the service users – has been amazing and I cannot thank them enough.

“I haven’t had a drink now for nearly two years and, for the first time in a long time, I can see a positive and sober future for myself.”

For help and advice on alcohol addiction, please visit Alcohol Concern or search for local alcohol services near you here.

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