Our research has found that the number of relapses in alcohol addiction spikes up to 47% when England play at the Euros.

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Euros tournament will be watched on many of our screens this summer. Amongst all the excitement, it is important to remember that not everyone may feel comfortable being surrounded by people drinking or the temptation of betting.

There are around 1,000 adults across Solihull getting support for their addiction. Substance use can lead to feelings of loneliness, shame, and guilt. It doesn’t discriminate and can impact anyone, of any age, in any circumstance. Solihull Integrated Addiction Services (SIAS) has reported that almost half of their clients (47%) lapse from their abstinence when England play at the Euros.

Alcohol and betting are often present in British football, whether that be via sponsorships or through the advertising we see – for someone in substance use recovery, it can seem unavoidable. But there are ways you can support yourself and others to avoid relapse.

  • Listen to your body – negative emotions like fear, anger or anxiety can trigger some people. If you are feeling overwhelmed, reach out for help.
  • Note environmental triggers – this includes the people, places and events that were once associated with your addiction. Limit your exposure to pubs, clubs, or betting shops in the build up to the day.
  • Enjoy the game in your own way – find what works for you and stick to it! Set your boundaries on what you are comfortable with and enjoy the match.
  • Note changes in behaviour – if someone you love is looking uncomfortable or irritable, it could be a sign they are getting triggered.
  • Challenge unhelpful thoughts – if you find yourself thinking “I’ll just have one” or “It’s only a small bet” think of what happened in the past in similar situations and evaluate if your thoughts are on course with what took place.
  • Seek help – you don’t have to go it alone. There is always someone to listen to you. If you’re struggling, please reach out to an understanding friend, loved one or mental health professional.

Nicholas Aston, Hub Manager at SIAS said:

“For the individual, we understand how cultural events increase a real or perceived pressure to use substances, this includes the European football tournament which may contribute towards an increase or relapse to alcohol use. Therefore, it is important to know where help is at hand, should you need it. Please feel encouraged to reach out and connect, whether that be a close friend, family member, or a professional who specialises in substance use and recovery. For those who like football, we wish everyone to enjoy this summer of football, without substances getting in the way.”

Support lines:

  • For urgent mental health support, please dial NHS 111, then press option 2.
  • Solihull Integrated Addiction Services (SIAS) – Call 0121 301 4141 for advice or support for drug, alcohol, and gambling addiction.
  • Change, Grow, Live – Find local support based on your postcode or town on their website www.changegrowlive.org/local-support/find-a-service
  • Narcotics Anonymous – Support for anyone with an addiction to drugs. Helpline opens 10am – midnight every day 0300 999 1212
  • Alcoholics Anonymous – Support for anyone with an addiction to alcohol. Helpline opens 10am – 10pm every day 0800 917 7650
  • Recovery Near You – Wolverhampton Substance Misuse Service – 0300 200 2400
  • The National Gambling Helpline (run by GamCare) – call 0808 8020 133 for free 24 hours a day, seven days a week for free information, support, and counselling.

As well as substance use support SIAS offers a range of free, confidential, and non-judgemental services for families, regardless of if the concerned person is in treatment or not.

If you would like to access our Family Support service, or just find out a bit more about it, please call 0121 301 4141 or email enquiries@sias-solihull.org.uk.