We know alcohol consumption to be notably higher amongst LGBT communities, with a 2018 Stonewall report finding that 1 in 6 LGBT people drank alcohol almost every day in the 12 months preceding the survey. In comparison, 1 in 10 adults in the general population drink alcohol on five or more days in the week.
A 2012 study found that 62% of trans people were dependent on alcohol or engaging in alcohol abuse.
You don’t have to be drinking every day or see yourself as addicted to want to make changes around your Alcohol use. You don’t have to be in crisis to reach out for support.
There are different support options and different approaches to making changes, from cognitive behaviour therapy tools, to mindfulness, goal setting and connecting with others with lived experience. We also offer harm reduction advice, you don’t have to commit to never drinking again.
For more information on alcohol awareness week and other alcohol campaigns see - https://alcoholchange.org.uk/
A 42 year old Non Binary person spoke with us about how alcohol has impacted their life and relationships.
'Alcoholics like me cannot simply drink alcohol. As an addict my whole life ended up revolving around it.
At the beginning, drinking alcohol was completely normal, everyone was doing it, and it gave me confidence that I didn’t have sober.
I began drinking at an early age. My first drink was a bottle of vodka, eagerly swigging it with a bunch of friends in the park, I felt giddy, confident and I was hooked!
Addiction is a state of being enslaved to a habit or practice. I was addicted. Addicted to numbness, to being crazy, to the initial relaxation those first few sips bring. But this addiction was insidious and it was slowly destroying my body and life.
I began to rely on alcohol, if I had a bad day, or I was triggered the first thing I turned to was drink. When the voices in my head became too loud, or when I’d suffered emotionally, I again reached out for a drink, anything to numb the pain.
I was always the life and soul of the party, yet I was dying inside. I thought this new me was better than the abused person I used to be.
I had become so ingrained in the social side as well. I loved going out and meeting people. I’d often wake up with phone numbers as well as cuts and bruises and I had no idea who they were sober. These friendships weren’t real, the situations I ended up in were.
I hid in the shame of my actions and I’d say it was the last time I was doing that again, yet it wasn’t and I’d do it all again when I drank. Those dangerous situations often affected my relationships, I’d loose my phone, not text or come home while my partner was worried sick all night and I didn’t care. The power of addiction was stronger than that. Many times I’d force my drinking habits onto my partner, not understanding why they didn’t want to have ‘fun’ or want to go out. Looking back I definitely chose drink over love.
Year after year drinking heavily impacted my psychical and mental health. The hangovers lasted days and as soon as I felt better I was back on the wagon. I couldn’t eat food the same, I was sick and suffered terrible digestive problems, and yet I still drank, nothing seemed to stop me from opening the bottle. Not even my declining health.
I often woke up on the floor at home, after a session. My body ached and I felt so unwell I struggled to work. I used to dread the anxiety in the morning, who did I ring? What did I say? I’d spend hours ruminating and overthinking, the shame was palpable.
I managed to keep my addiction flowing, I surrounded my self with enablers and convinced myself they were my friends. I became a shell of a person and I knew that if I didn’t stop it wouldn’t be long before I’d be dead. The road was dark and painful and I didn’t want to give up my comfort blanket, the one thing I’d always turned too, my confidence juice, the drink.
I’d found somewhere I fitted in when I began going out in the gay scene, I’d felt welcomed and accepted, but a big part of it was alcohol and drugs. I knew that I had to stop the cycle I was moving in, but how could I do that? After 20 years my brain was hard wired.
I woke up one afternoon after a binge and I felt so incredibly sick. I went into my kitchen and I poured away 2 cans of beer I had left in my fridge. It was strange, my mind couldn’t be believe what my hand was doing but it was the beginning of a new sober chapter on my life. After years of excuses I’d finally done it I wanted to be sober.
It’s not easy dealing with my emotions, it’s still tough to look in the mirror but now I can hold my head up high. I can remember every conversation I have and I’m present and in the moment. I truly listen when people talk and I’m learning to accept my flaws, sit with the uncomfortableness and work through the pain. I’ll always be an alcoholic, it’s a work in progress and my default is to destroy myself, but I’m learning new coping mechanisms now, I’m trying to get into exercise, I’m trying to re wire my brain to do good things for my body and make healthy choices, it’s a daily effort and I don’t take my sobriety for granted. The world really is much brighter, people want to help and there are places you are welcome.
The LGBT foundation is one such avenue.
I attend weekly zoom sessions which is great as you are in the comfort of your own home if you can’t travel for example. The meet ups and events are also fantastic and you get to meet like minded individuals who are supportive and empathic.
Reaching out and admitting you have a problem is a massive step forward. You’re not alone and help is available. I’m on this journey and I’m learning so much. We are so much stronger together. You got this.'