April is Alcohol Awareness Month — a time to take stock in accomplishments with sobriety and acknowledge those still struggling with substance use disorder. Started in the late 1980s by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, this month pays respect to everyone struggling with the effects of alcohol and its aftermath. Drinking alcohol is so commonplace in our society, we seldom take the time necessary to address its dangers.
This month is the perfect time to 1) celebrate your accomplishments, 2) serve as a mentor if you choose, 3) seek help if needed, 4) spread awareness, and 5) minimize stigma and reduce shame. Alcohol Awareness Month reminds us of the harmful effects of the substance while also celebrating the sobriety of those who’ve gotten separation from that harm.
Celebrate Your Accomplishments
No matter how long you have been sober, your commitment to not drinking is a remarkable feat. Now that you’ve identified other ways to cope with life stressors, you are decidedly committed to a healthier and happier lifestyle without the depressant effects of alcohol as a crutch.
Celebrating this magnificent accomplishment can take the form of self-care, a much-needed mental health day, or simply a relaxing weekend sometime in April. Life is full of obstacles, and as you continue to face the challenges in your life, it is crucial to take stock of the small victories. Since you have experience with alcoholism, it may be helpful to others to share how you made your journey and transition to a sober lifestyle. In this aspect, you might want to consider working as a mentor for others.
Serve as a Mentor if You Choose
Speaking out about a struggle with a substance use disorder can not only be tough but also put you in a very vulnerable position. On the other hand, the reward of seeing others through their path to recovery can be gratifying. You can work as a sponsor for Alcoholics Anonymous or find a way to role model for others going through the same experience you have personally worked through to improve yourself.
This also serves as an extra layer of accountability for deciding how to best live your life in sobriety. One way to empower yourself and overcome adversity is through surrounding yourself with others who understand “the thing.” By that, we mean being mindful of friendships and close relationships to choose others who support you.
Seek Help if Needed
If you have not yet committed to sobriety or feel a relapse coming on, it may be time to seek professional help. You will have to go through the detoxification process if necessary and enlist additional support to overcome your addiction to alcohol. Alcohol overuse is such a common problem that, with some applied effort, you should be able to identify others who have committed to recovery.
That being said, some of your relationships from the past that enable your drinking may no longer be functional. Self-efficacy will be your guiding light as you commit to a different style of coping with life stressors other than alcohol.
Using your platforms to raise consciousness around #alcoholawarenessmonth can also help spread the word about how alcohol addiction is another public health crisis. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2019, 11.0 million adults aged 26 or older struggled with alcohol addiction in the past year. This is an incredibly prevalent health concern with both genetic and environmental factors leading to the problem.
Since drinking is so commonplace, it is essential to raise awareness of the potential harms associated with the practice.
Minimize Stigma and Reduce Shame
Unfortunately, there is a lot of stigma and shame when it comes to alcohol addiction. This should not be the case, as it is primarily out of the individual’s control if they become addicted to alcohol. To lessen the burden of this stigma and shame, you can raise awareness and work through the complex emotional states you may feel at times. You can read more about this process in our prior blog posts What Are the Makers of Shame? and Shame and Guilt in Addiction.
To recognize the importance of Alcohol Awareness Month, you can 1) celebrate your accomplishments, 2) serve as a mentor if you choose, 3) seek help if needed, 4) spread awareness, and 5) minimize stigma and reduce shame. Addressing this issue has fundamental underpinnings in what society has normalized. Reframing the narrative requires a group effort.
This month at Valiant Living, we are celebrating Alcohol Awareness Month by acknowledging the hard work of so many in the past, so many in the present, and so many in the future to commit to recovery. Celebrate your successes and how far you have come in your journey! Through supporting others on this journey, we have seen the power of self-improvement in more ways than one. At our men’s-only treatment facility in Denver, Colorado, we assist those trying to overcome alcohol addiction. Our team of professionals is trained in best practices for each step of the path to sobriety. We treat both addiction and co-occurring mental illnesses. At Valiant Living, we recognize the willpower of our clients and their ambivalence at times. We are here to stand by you through whatever stage you are at in the process. To learn more, you can reach out to us today at (303) 952-5035.