It’s good to talk to someone about your problems - whether that’s your GP, a close friend or a sympathetic relative. But if you don’t feel ready to do that yet, there’s plenty you can do to help yourself. 

Here’s some advice on controlling your drinking, links to organisations which can offer group support, and websites and Apps to help you take control.

If you have become dependent on alcohol, you will have found it difficult to fully control your drinking in some way. So you'll probably need some help either to cut down and control your drinking or stop completely, and also some plans to maintain the improvement after that.

If you have become physically dependent and need to stop drinking completely, stopping overnight could be harmful. You should get advice about this and about any medicine you may need to do this safely.

The sorts of withdrawal symptoms that suggest you may need medicine include:

  • anxiety after waking
  • sweating and tremors
  • nausea or retching in the morning
  • vomiting
  • hallucinations
  • seizures or fits.

Make a note of when, what and how much you drink. You can also include where you were, who you were with, and what you’d been doing just before so that you can see if you can spot any patterns in your diary. You might always drink around certain people, for example.

If you can work out the people, places and things that trigger your drinking, you can start to make a plan. You might want to cut some triggers out entirely, or avoid combinations that give you cravings.

Gradual reduction is often the best way to quit.

Don’t feel guilty about any setbacks either. It's a process and every challenge is an opportunity to learn more about yourself.

Mindfulness or meditation apps and videos are good distractions - take a look at some apps below.

0300 123 1110 - A free, confidential helpline for people who are concerned about their drinking, or someone else's. Weekdays 9am - 8pm, weekends 11am - 4pm.

Five steps to mental wellbeing

They could help you to feel calmer and more relaxed when you find yourself reaching for a drink.

Most importantly, always remember that you’re not alone. There’s lots of support out there and other people who are in a similar position to you. 

James' story

To help people with alcohol problems to achieve and maintain positive changes there are a range of independent organisations in Derby which provide group support. By attending group meetings people are able to share experiences and build friendships with people who may have been through similar situations which can help people overcome their own challenges.

For more information about what these groups do and where in Derby they meet you can visit their websites or give them a call.

Alcoholics Anonymous

0800 9177 650 - For people seeking support and recovery from alcohol misuse.


0800 0086 811 - Support for anyone affected by someone else's drinking - family or friends.

Alcohol Change

This UK charity is working for a society that is free from the harm caused by alcohol.


Adfam is a national charity tackling the effects of alcohol, drug use or gambling on family members and friends. It includes forums, resources, and an extensive list of other online support.

Recovery Focus

020 7697 3300 - Recovery Focus is a national group of charities, who are all highly experienced in providing specialist support services to individuals and families living with the effects of mental ill health, drug and alcohol use, gambling and domestic violence across the country.

Smart Recovery

Smart Recovery UK runs a network of self help/mutual aid meetings where, through open and confidential discussion participants help each other and themselves with recovery from any kind of addictive behaviour.

Search for Apps on the Apple Store or Google Play. Many apps have a free trial period but then charge, sometimes annually, so try them out first if you’re not sure. Here a few that are ether free or only require a relatively low cost single payment.

Try Dry

Download the free Dry January app to help you meet your goals, whether you want to take on Dry January (or another dry challenge), cut down on your drinking, or go totally alcohol-free.

Smiling Mind

Practice daily meditation and mindfulness exercises from any device. Smiling Mind is a completely free not-for-profit tool developed by psychologists and educators. It’s an Australian app (so you’ll need to be ok with the accent!) and has lots of options for all ages

Anxiety Solution: Calmer You

This is an app for iPhones only. It features over 70 mindfulness, meditation, breathing tools, sleep stories and fitness routines based on proven science for stress relief, helping anxiety, depression, improving mood and getting your mind calm. Free trial then £5.99


Whether you're looking to reduce stress and anxiety, or get a better night's sleep buddhify has easy-to-follow guided meditations to help you live happier and healthier. £4.99


This is one of the most popular and award winning meditation and sleep apps, with lots of content including guided sessions, music and sleep stories. There is a free trial, but it is then £28.99 so give it a try first.