FROM the devastation of losing loved ones to improving health, people who had been struggling with rising drinking have shared their stories to inspire others as part of a campaign in North Yorkshire.

Four residents shared their stories in the Wake Up North Yorkshire drive by the county council to reduce alcohol-related harm and admissions to hospitals.

Ted and Samantha from Harrogate, Chris from Northallerton and James from Scarborough explain why and how they cut down.

After their son died, Samantha and Ted had a drink most nights at home and realised alcohol wasn’t helping them get through their grief – and was actually making them feel worse. They decided to support each other to reduce their intake while still enjoying the occasional drink and now feel their mental health has improved.

Ted said: “I decided to cut down and I feel better. I wake up in the morning now and I feel fine. You don’t forget losing a son, but you learn, eventually, to live with it. I still speak to him every day, but I don’t take a drink every day.”

Samantha added: “I still enjoy a glass of Prosecco when I go out with my friends, but hardly ever drink at home. I feel so much healthier. I feel alive and fresh. I don’t feel fuzzy anymore.”

Chris, from Northallerton, decided to cut down when he realised the impact it was having on his health. He said: “I drink a lot less than I used to because I want to have a healthy retirement and enjoy walking and moorland hikes. Also, the hangovers are worse when you get into your mid-50s like me, so I have three or four days a week when I don’t drink, it makes it all the nicer when you have a pint on a Friday night.”

The final story comes from 20-year-old James from Scarborough, whose brother died due to an alcohol-related injury. Because of this, James has always been aware of the risks and realising the importance of safe drinking within his limits. James also balances his alcohol intake because he wants to save money.

He recommends: “Take a break from drinking, go for a walk, get something to eat. It saves you from looking like an idiot, saves money and you don’t get that hangover the next day if you stop before you’ve taken it too far.”

The campaign was developed and co produced with them after research involving North Yorkshire residents. More than 40 per cent of people who responded to a survey of about 1,000 people revealed they drink more than the chief medical officer’s guidelines suggest is "safer".

The survey found people were regularly drinking more than six glasses of wine or pints of beer a week and regularly more than three glasses of wine or pints for women and four for men on any single occasion.

The council says many people who drink more than the guidelines have already said they are reducing or considering reducing in the future. They are hoping the campaign, which includes a video of the four volunteers, will help. See