Having a glass of wine or a cold beer can be one of life’s pleasures but we all know that too much of anything can become harmful.

During this COVID outbreak when life is far from normal, we may find ourselves drinking more than usual, but when does that become a problem? When should you be concerned about your own or someone else’s drinking? It helps to ask:

Why am I having this drink?

  • am I feeling isolated being on my own and I’m bored?
  • am I feeling lonely and depressed?

Drinking becomes a problem when:

  • you use having a drink to have ‘me’ time
  • you use it to help you get through the day
  • you drink to get that ‘escape feeling’ so you don’t have to think about your problems
  • you do without other things so you can spend the money on drink
  • you drink when you are having relationship problems you don’t know how to solve
  • you have a drink to self soothe when you feel misunderstood
  • you become unreliable and keep yourself away from others emotionally
  • your drinking upsets your family

Count your units

It's recommended that you don't drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week, spread out over at least three days, to keep the risks from alcohol low. This is the same for both men and women. But what does that look like? (Home measures are bigger so count more.)

  • 6 pints at 4%
  • 7 doubles (50ml) of spirit
  • 6 glasses of wine at 13%

NHS Count14 can give you more details on this. 

Help and advice

Always remember that change is possible for individuals and their families with the right understanding and support. Read some inspiring recovery stories

Here are just some of the places you can get help:

  • Ayrshire Council on Alcohol: free, confidential advice and counselling. Contact 01292 281238 or info@acaayr.org
  • We Are With You (formerly Addaction): free, confidential support with alcohol or drugs via a local service or online. 01563 558777. Webchat is available online or call 0800 915 4624 (weekdays 9am-9pm, weekends 10am-4pm)
  • Drinkline: supports people who are worried about their own or someone else’s drinking. Freephone 0800 731 4314 (weekdays 9am-9pm, weekends 10am-4pm) Webchat function also available.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): free self-help groups across Scotland. Its 12-step programme involves getting sober with the help of support: 0800 9177650.
  • Breaking Free Online: evidence-based programme. Free during COVID-19 crisis.
  • Sure Recovery App: includes an information page on COVID-19 and an option for people to record their experiences of substance use, treatment, and how COVID and this period of social isolation has affected them.
  • Smart Recovery Online meetings: helps individuals recover from any addictive behaviour and to lead meaningful and satisfying lives, using a science-based therapeutic programme of training.
  • NHS Addiction Services
  • East Ayrshire Addiction Service: 01563 574237
  • Vibrant Communities: a multi-agency partnership working together to create a healthier, more vibrant community in East Ayrshire: 01563 576354
  • Barnardo's: charity working to reduce harms and potential harms to children: 01563 530646
  • East Ayrshire Advocacy Services: provide an independent advocate service to those experiencing all types of challenges, such as physical and mental health, learning disabilities, and those currently within the criminal justice system: 01563 574442
  • Scottish Fire and Rescue Service: if fire breaks out when you are under the influence of  alcohol, your response may be impaired. Arrange a free home fire safety visit to make sure your home is as safe as it can be.

Contact Information

East Ayrshire Alcohol and Drugs Partnership
Civic Centre North
John Dickie Street
Kilmarnock
KA1 1HW
Telephone: 01563 555353
Telephone: 01563 576739