April is Alcohol Awareness Month in the United States. We speak often and openly about our national epidemic of opioid addiction, yet talking of alcohol as an equally dangerous drug is considered an overreaction. Suggesting that Wine o’clock is problematic can get you kicked out of the cool club. I wish that society could show as much support for the person that wants to give up drinking as the person that gave up cigarettes!! Sober shaming is a huge problem in our culture. In the 21st century, as we ease further and further into a culture that encourages routine drinking, premature deaths due to alcohol use have doubled. According to the CDC :
Over 81,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States in the 12 months ending in May 2020, the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period. Excessive alcohol use is responsible for more than 95,000 deaths in the United States each year, or 261 deaths per day. These deaths shorten the lives of those who die by an average of almost 29 years, for a total of 2.8 million years of potential life lost.
During Alcohol Awareness Month we should be aware that these numbers are not just about alcoholics and alcoholism. These numbers reveal alcohol as an addictive drug that is every bit as lethal as opioids and as carcinogenic as nicotine. Rather than objectifying the statistics and thinking – it won’t happen to me – take a minute to think about your drinking. We have been encouraged for decades to think of alcohol as benign and alcoholics as the problem. Many governments focus on the units we drink when guiding us toward “safe drinking practices” but thinking in units, which are measured differently than servings, and not represented by the larger and larger glasses we drink from, is complicated and doesn’t really address the issue of “am I a problem drinker” or “is this too much”.
I joined an online community over a year ago because I was concerned about my drinking. I am definitely more aware now of the adverse effects of alcohol than I was then. But l had to actively search and research all this information myself. The world looks at alcohol with rose-tinted glasses. My drinking problem was like my own personal secret, my secret that l couldn’t share with society for fear of being labeled an alcoholic! I would say there are lots of people in this situation worldwide. Too afraid to seek help early, for fear of this label. Then getting the offer of help only when things get really bad.
There should be a “Grey Area Drinker” alcohol awareness support for people that are questioning their drinking habits. Awareness is education and alcohol awareness is an eye-opener.
If you are questioning your drinking, here are some questions to consider:
1. Has your drinking crossed the line of drinking for fun, into drinking to cope?
2. Are you drinking to cope with stress?
3. Are you drinking to cope with a past trauma? And has this past trauma got an accumulation of new traumas that feel overwhelming?
4. Are you drinking because your environment has changed, have you become a caregiver in the home, and do you feel isolated?
5. Are you drinking to cope with shyness in social situations or just to fit in?
6. Has drinking become your reward at the end of a stressful day?
7. Are you drinking more now, than you have been in the past?
8. Has drinking become a nightly routine?
9. Have you tried to give up drink by yourself and found you can’t?
10. Are you drinking to cope with grief or sadness?
If you answer yes to some or even any of these questions, and you are worried about your drinking, become Alcohol Aware. The Medical Profession seems only to address those who have reached Rock Bottom. If anyone is questioning their drinking, regardless of quantity, there should be truckloads of advice at the ready. We all know deep down, too much alcohol is bad. What we don’t have is much information about is how to stop drinking when we are drinking too much. Everyone is entitled and should be encouraged to become sober.
There is lots of advice out there. There are many avenues to finding your own Sober Path. For me, a great resource of information, articles, advice, and encouragement has been from the Boom Rethink the Drink community that I found a year ago while searching online. Advice on how to get started, what to expect along the way, community to cheer your conquests, and encouragement if you are struggling, all at the touch of a finger on a keypad. So if you are Sober Curious, you have nothing to lose by stopping and everything to gain.
Take a break this April! Go Alcohol-Free for Alcohol Awareness Month with the Boom Rethink the Drink Community
If you’re “sober curious” … If you are drinking too much too often and want to stop or take a break…or if you have stopped drinking and are trying to stick to sober! Talk to Us.
We are an independent, anonymous and private community who share resources, support and talk it through every day. It helps to have a community behind you in a world where alcohol is the only addictive drug that people will question you for NOT using
community support 24-7 or sign up and sign in here
Don’t let the shame of the stigma keep you from saying
“I think I have a problem with drinking”