Alcohol Awareness Week (11-17 November 2019) 

 

Alcohol and Me is the theme for Alcohol Awareness Week this year. 

We spoke to Dave Hewitt from Derby, who is a semi-retired teacher in his mid-60s; Dave is a proud member of the Drinkaware-sponsored Derby County Walking Football team. Dave told us that as a result of his playing walking football, he’s taking more drink-free days than ever. 

“I am a typical middle-aged, middle-class man. So, it used to be commonplace to have a bottle of wine on the dinner table most evenings. This changed when I took up walking football and since then I have cut down my drinking. I do still drink but it is less often now and almost never the night before a game. 

“My wife and I are getting older and naturally drinking less but it’s the walking football that is making a difference for me without a doubt. I want to be bright and ready for the games and training, so I feel naturally inclined to not drink. This is also the case for my wife, Christine, who has been playing walking netball for nearly a year. Walking sports are really starting to take off in our area for our age group. It’s a really great way to stay active and socialise. 

“Christine and I predominantly drink together so when we have games or training the next day it’s easy to say that we won’t drink. It’s not strict though, I will have a drink on occasion when watching the football, whereas Christine essentially doesn’t drink in the week. We try to maintain a balance, for example we have a nice meal at the weekend, we indulge with gin and tonic before our meal and wine with dinner but then effectively that is our big drinking night for the week. 

“The most noticeable changes I am aware of are to do with my general wellbeing and fitness. It comes back to the walking football, being more ready for the games means I will play to my best. With greater fitness, I’ve lost weight and increased my energy levels. I know that this is also the case for my teammates as well. Whenever we’re asked about the Drinkaware logo on our shirts we let people know about the benefits of reducing their drinking! 

“My view is that you always need a reason to cut down, when you have that the chances of success are increased. Generally wanting to cut down for a vague reason, in my view, won’t give you the impact that you want. It’s all about incentive. I know a lot of the lads I play football with are now not drinking in the week at all. The incentive to play to a good standard is giving them the push they need." 

Drinkaware encourages people to use its DrinkCompare online tool to help them compare their drinking to the rest of UK and receive tailored information about the benefits of taking drink-free days. We also advise, when drinking, keep track and stay within the Chief Medical Officers’ low risk drinking guidelines, which recommend drinking not more than 14 units of alcohol per week, spread over three or more days.