For many Britons, the lockdown meant drinking more alcohol to manage the stress and fears of the Covid-19 pandemic.
And for others, it has provided an opportunity to cut back on alcohol and lead a healthier lifestyle.
According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists The number of people drinking at high risk has almost doubled since just before the lockdown began.
It is estimated that 8.4 million people drank high-risk amounts of alcohol in June, up from 4.8 million people just four months earlier.
The latest episode of the Alone Together Podcast takes a look at our drinking habits – and ways we can reduce our alcohol consumption.
Jennifer Walters, communications director at Drinkaware, an alcohol education charity, has concerns about the increase in people drinking more alcohol during the lockdown.
Research by Drinkaware shows that between a fifth and a quarter of adults in the UK have consumed more alcohol since the lockdown began.
She tells the podcast that people on vacation, people with at least one child, and young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 are more likely to drink more.
She said, “At Drinkaware we are really concerned that such patterns could become – and in some cases, potentially – leading to increased tolerance to alcohol and, in some cases, potential addiction.
“These numbers really need to be taken seriously.”
Jennifer adds, “The most important thing to remember is that it is absolutely not too late to cut down or find support to help you when you or someone you care about is in the moment drinks more than usual. “
She suggests having at least three non-drinking days per week, experimenting with non-alcoholic beverages, or serving minor measures at home.
Richard Beech also talks about his drinking experience – and how he overcame alcohol problems this year.
Richard, the executive director of the Ginger Agency, says he retrained his brain to treat alcohol as a poison instead of viewing it as a key to fun or stress relief.
The former journalist said: “When me and alcohol are in a relationship, alcohol has power – and I am completely unable to control it.”
“There’s an unhelpful perception that an alcoholic is someone who sits on the street and really risks their luck.
“And technically, an alcoholic is anyone who is not completely in control of their relationship with alcohol, which suggests that there is some level of addiction there.”
He adds, “We would be surprised, especially in the UK, where we have a culture of drinking, how many people might be on the verge of it.”
You can hear the full interview with Drinkaware Richard Beech and Jennifer Walters on the latest installment of the Alone Together podcast Here .
Alone together is a Commendable production from the newsrooms of the Manchester Evening News, Edinburgh Evening News and Birmingham Live.