Social media community bucks the booze trend

Online help

Drinkers looking to cut their alcohol consumption during lockdown are turning to social media for support. 

Facebook users joined the online The Alcohol-Free Community when the first Covid 19 lockdown was announced in the UK in March last year.

Since then the online support group has seen hardened drinkers ditch the booze and many more learn to moderate their alcohol consumption long term for the health benefits.

Now The Alcohol-Free Community is sharing tips for surviving the latest Coronavirus lockdown without drowning yourself in liquor .

Many members have now been sober for months while others have enjoyed their first sober Christmas and revived ruined relationships with relatives and friends.

The Alcohol-Free Community was launched in response to reports that home working, home schooling, financial worries and the stress of confinement in the Covid 19 crisis was driving people to drink.

Social media provided a stream of comic memes and jokes about ‘quarantinis’ and online happy hours while alcohol suppoit services struggled as NHS resouces focused on Covid 19. 

With pubs and restaurants across the country shut down for weeks as part of the lockdown measures, the Government declared off-licences were essential services enabling drinkers to drown their sorrows at home during the restrictions.

While much of Britain was on a bender, The Alcohol-Free Community has been thriving with hundreds of people signing up and numbers reaping the benefits of going alcohol free growing every day. 

John Risby, one of the group’s moderators, believes the Covid lockdown offers the perfect opportunity to rethink their drinking behaviour and take back control.

“People are under stress, and it’s common for people to use alcohol to cope but we’ve found a lot of people using this time instead to connect with others and try to cut down or quit drinking. ” he said.

“The community provides a lot of peer support from people who may be on exactly the same page in their story or from others who have been on that same journey and now enjoy lives free from alcohol or have learnt to moderate.”

The Alcohol-Free Community was created as an off shoot of The Alcohol-Free Shop but is maintained as a separate entity with the sole aim to support people who want to cut or quit.

John said: “One of the things we’ve found from the community is that working from home helps people avoid some of the triggers that would normally kick of the cue to drink.

“There’s no piling into the pub after work, or popping into the off- license on the commute home. Online shopping avoided the temptation of browsing the booze aisles.

“People in The Alcohol-Free Community have said that chatting to others who have given up or moderated their drinking has helped them decide to adopt a healthier attitude to alcohol.

“We’ve had people join the community who have now been sober for many months, who’ve celebrated their first sober Christmas and who have made themselves and their families proud.”We feel more people would like to try the alcohol-free lifestyle during lockdown while they can more easily choose their working patterns to fit around new activities such as running, cycling or walking or just keeping fit at home.”

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Christine Humphreys

Christine Humphreys

Chris Humphreys is the co-founder of The Alcohol-Free Shop and AlcoholFree.com. She was a journalist for more years than she cares to remember. Ex-wife of an alcoholic, enthusiastic amateur musician and a passionate dog lover.

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