A recent Drink Aware survey showed that approximately 50% of UK adults reported drinking alcohol at least once a week, whilst a recent NHS survey found that 20% of adults in England drink above the recommended weekly limit of 14 units.
By way of contrast, whether for health and lifestyle choices or other personal reasons, many people choose to abstain completely from alcohol. Latest figures show that up to 35% of men and 42% of women aged between 16 and 24 don’t drink alcohol at all, or haven’t done so for a period of 12 months.
Drink Aware also found that more people are drinking alcohol-free or low alcohol drinks as a way to moderate their drinking, and up to 9 million UK adults planned to take part in alcohol-free initiatives such as Dry January and Sober for October.
There are also many high-profile figures who have chosen a life away from alcohol. Here are just a few of them:
Samuel L Jackson, one of the most widely recognised actors of his time, previously struggled with alcohol and drug addiction, but says that sobriety helped him to become a better actor.
Similarly, Tom Hardy, known for his roles in Legend, Peaky Blinders and Venom, was fearful that he would destroy his career with alcohol and drugs and chose to turn his back on both.
Bradley Cooper, known for his award-winning performances in A Star Is Born and The Hangover, also suffered from addiction. At the age of 29, he got sober and has stayed so for nearly 20 years.
Brad Pitt has also been very open about his struggles with alcohol addiction and reportedly hasn’t touched alcohol for six years.
Scottish DJ Calvin Harris told the BBC that alcohol affected his brain negatively, which was the reason that he stopped drinking.
Tennis star Andy Murray explained that he chooses to be alcohol-free as he doesn’t want anything to jeopardise his career.
Made in Chelsea’s Millie Mackintosh, actress and producer Drew Barrymore, and actress Eva Mendes are also all alcohol-free and frequently share their sober life choices with their followers on social media.
What are the benefits of an alcohol-free life?
As an alcohol testing laboratory, with over 15 years’ experience providing alcohol testing services for members of the public, the legal sector, and the workplace sector, we are very familiar with the impact that alcohol can have on the body.Find more about our alcohol testing services
Short-term effects of alcohol include slurred speed, drowsiness, slower reaction times and impaired memory. However, people who drink for several hours may experience other effects including paranoia, increased aggression, and mood swings. Alcohol can also lower your inhibitions, leading to increased risk-taking.
Long-term chronic and excessive alcohol consumption over many years has been linked to several serious health complications including alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD), strokes, and certain types of cancer.
Studies have shown that there are many health benefits associated with taking a break from alcohol and drinking alcohol-free drinks. Macmillan Cancer Support outlines these as having a clearer head, more energy, better sleep, healthy weight loss, and a sense of achievement. You may even begin to see positive changes in as little as one week as the brain heals itself and chemical levels regulate.
Research published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found that just one alcohol-free month can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce the risk of diabetes and reduce levels of cancer-related proteins in the blood.
However, it is important to note that the benefits of reducing your alcohol intake can vary significantly, depending on an individual’s level of alcohol dependency.
Tips for reducing your alcohol intake
The NHS recommends that men and women consume no more than 14 units of alcohol per week. This is considered ‘low risk’ drinking.
Other helpful ways to reduce your alcohol intake, according to resources provided by Alcohol Change UK, include:
- Teaming up with a friend to take a break from drinking
- Finding alcohol-free ways to enjoy yourself such as taking up a new hobby
- Keeping track of your drinking, making a note of how much you drink throughout the week, and setting goals for yourself
- Recognising situations where you tend to drink more and making alternative arrangements when you want to cut down your alcohol consumption
Please be aware that if you are struggling with alcohol addiction, reducing your alcohol intake without medical advice might not be right for you. For this reason, it is recommended that you speak to your GP, who will be able provide advice on safely reducing your alcohol intake.
Where can I get an alcohol test?
As an accredited alcohol testing laboratory, we are well placed to support you with your alcohol testing needs, whether you have concerns about a loved one misusing alcohol, and want a test for peace of mind, or you are a member of the public who requires a legal alcohol test for official matters.
Our UKAS-accredited laboratory is fully equipped to test a variety of samples for the presence of alcohol including blood, hair, and nails. We also offer point-of-care breath tests, as well as alcohol monitoring using SCRAM CAM®.
For more information, contact our friendly and discreet Customer Services team on 0333 600 1300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.