In January 2024 the Cha in the City Open Group for Punjabi men met virtually to discuss the topic of Alcohol Dependency. Here are some reflections from the brilliant team who facilitate and contribute towards those conversations.
This month the online forum topic for discussion was ‘AlcoholDependency ‘this was a topic for discussion including the experience of forum members. This month we welcomed new forum members as well as returning participants which created a rich conversation around the topic.
As usual there were some questions to guide the discussion on the topic, although the questions are posed to support the discussions, the conversations often are led by the participants. The questions this month that were offered included - What are the triggers of alcohol misuse? - How is alcohol abuse perceived in the community?- What support is available?
As a group we used the questions to think about the discussion and to get it started but didn’t stick just to the prompts that were offered.
The discussion was contributed by all who attended which was based on a mix of personal experiences with alcohol, as well as observations from others within community experiences.
The discussion acknowledged the challenges around the use of alcohol as part of both our community as well as broader society. There was an acknowledgement of the impact of alcohol on an individual level as well as the rippling effects it has. Whilst there are many that are people who are able to safely consume alcohol, we recognised that for some it can be problematic from both episodic isolated events to dependency. We also talked about the intrinsic link with mental wellbeing and the impact on the mental health of those using alcohol but also wider to those around them.
The discussion around the Punjabi community relation to alcohol and how it has been changing over recent years was also discussed. As a group of men, we talked about the imagery and societal expectations around alcohol use. What was also recognised was the lack of open and transparent conversation around alcohol and almost ignoring/denial of the problems related to alcohol dependency in the community.
As well as talking about the problems relating to alcohol, there was also a sharing of personal solutions and pathways in recovery. The hope that was offered around recovery journeys and that there is help there was positive. There was also sharing of some of the organisations and resources that are available. There was also an acknowledgment that we all have a part in the raising the awareness within our communities of the problems associated with alcohol and the opportunities for help.
The forums are a great safe place to explore issues that have an impact either directly or indirectly to our wellbeing. Participating in the facilitated spaces are a great opportunity to share and hear about a range of subjects, and we are always keen to hear from participants and those considering participating, about subjects for future forums. The online format makes it convenient place to engage and all participants new and returning are welcome. Keep an eye on the social media channels for future forums.