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13 November 2017

Alcohol Awareness Week 2017

We have high-quality support services in place for anyone who thinks they might have a drink problem and I'd urge anyone to get in touch and make that first step towards a healthier and happier life

Wiltshire Council cabinet member for public health, Jerry Wickham

We are asking people to find out more about their own alcohol consumption as we support this year's Alcohol Awareness Week campaign.

This year's campaign, run by Alcohol Concern and supported by Adfam (they provide information and support to families of drugs and alcohol users), runs from 13 19 November. The theme is alcohol and the impact this can have on families.

In support, we are asking people to fill in a short anonymous online survey which will give them an idea of their own alcohol consumption, and whether any lifestyle changes should be considered. The survey can be found online.

Current guidelines advise not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis. It is also best to spread your drinking over three or more days, rather than storing your units up for one boozy night.

There are specialist services available for anyone who is experiencing problems with their use of alcohol and or drugs and those who are affected by it. Bill Nevill from Salisbury, who after a difficult time in his life accessed help from the Wiltshire Substance Misuse Service, is now a peer mentor to help support people. Bill has shared his emotional story with us (please see notes to editors).

The service, commissioned by Wiltshire Council has supported 1,740 people for alcohol misuse in the last year (November 2016 to October 2017).

These services are based in the community and are free and confidential. They are designed to help people get back on their feet by addressing their issues and helping them to make lasting, positive life changes. There is no time limit on the support and treatment on offer and the aims are to be a stepping stone to a healthier life with more opportunities.

On Thursday (16 November) at County Hall in The Atrium there will also be information and signposting available all day on a stand. Health professionals will there between 12pm and 2pm so please pop along to chat with them and get some advice. Information and support will also be available  the Old George Mail Salisbury  today (13 November) and at the Shires Trowbridge on Friday (17 November) from 10am to 2pm.

Wiltshire Council cabinet member for public health, Jerry Wickham said: "This year's campaign theme is families, and the devastating impact that harmful drinking can have on them.

"We have high-quality support services in place for anyone who thinks they might have a drink problem and I'd urge anyone to get in touch and make that first step towards a healthier and happier life."

To find out more about the services available and how you, or someone you know, can be helped, please visit Turning Point's website or call 0345 603 6993.

More information about Adfam can be found on their website.


Bill Nevill's story:

"I will start by saying that the perception around people with a drink problem of someone sitting begging on the street is not the case. For the majority with a problem are the ones near to you in daily life, at work, in the shop all places you go, you just don't see it. This is a journey into the life of a person that has worked all his life;

"After leaving the army back in 1982 I undertook training as a plant fitter and got a job, on low pay it was hard to get by and all the money went on to rent, electric, food and heating.  Me and my wife worked between us four jobs just to stay above water, when our family got a council house and my wife was looking after the two children I pushed myself into work to look after all of us, we stayed close as a family at every chance would just try to get away for a day, with our son and daughter, where they were given every possible chance in life,  we were able to give them.

"In 2010 my wife was made redundant and due to ill health I had to finish work too, our son and daughter had left home by then so we were on our own. I was finding things very hard as to me my life was over, I had raised the kids had stopped work and as far as I was concerned my job was done. I would now be a drain on society, drinking became my release from reality starting from going to the pub and moving on up from there.  Over time a tolerance is gained so it takes more for the same effect, the ball had started to roll.

"In 2014 my wife passed away very suddenly and I was on my own I just managed to make it through to after the funeral and every one had gone and I was sat in a house I had been in for 30 years and fell apart as I was on a one way mission and I had no feelings for anyone or anything only me and my mission. I pushed all family and friends that tried to help away, as they were getting between me and my goal. When asked about how my family would feel to find me dead one day my reply was they will get over it. Then family and friends started to back away so I became totally on my own this was from the March to November 2014.

"To sum up the family and friends of the addict are the victims that don't get to be helped as much, but I think they suffer more as the addict is self-medicating. The sense of helplessness they feel is massive and they want it to stop. All they see is their loved one suffering, to stop their own pain they stay away so they don't see it.

"Eventually a person working with Wiltshire Substance Misuse Service came to my house to find me not far from the pearly gates and set in motion a plan to help me. Wiltshire Substance Misuse Service managed to get all things together very fast and I found myself going off to a residential treatment centre and after 6 weeks I was then sent to another centre for 12 weeks. When I returned to Salisbury I did not go home. I went into a veterans house and managed to get onto a forces based peer mentor course with wsms at help 4 heroes Tedworth House, Tidworth. 

"In November 2015, I started as a peer mentor to try to help people that have found themselves suffering with addiction, this was the start of my way back and over time I started to get the trust back from my kids that I had hurt so badly. I also started to get the respect that I had lost, now after 3 years I have got my family back.

"I have been to the House of Lords to speak in the committee rooms on the subject of substance misuse, given talks to new doctors and the Armed Forces about the things to look out for within substance misuse, taken service users to rehab, and facilitated treatment groups for service users and much more.

"I do think that family's need some form of support groups as information and education for the family is key, my personal opinion is that we are on the edge of a large rise in substance misuse due to the techno world we live in and the inevitable loss of the fabric to life and our brains have not had time to evolve, people may seek substances to cope."                   


Last updated: 13 November 2017 | Last reviewed: 13 November 2017

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