Many people have others in their lives that struggle with alcohol addiction – or struggle with addiction themselves. However, because of the stigma around addiction, help is often not received as those with addiction problems keep their struggles bottled up inside. They fear societal repercussions of admitting their problem and seeking help. They may not even know who they can confide in, or where they should begin looking for help.
Alcohol Awareness Month, established by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), takes place every April with the goal of educating people about the dangers of alcohol abuse and reducing the stigma surrounding addiction and recovery, so that those most in need of help feel comfortable asking for it. If your loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse, or if you yourself have been struggling, Alcohol Awareness Month urges you to seek help, start important conversations, and be a support system for those around you who might be struggling.
If you find yourself asking “How can I participate in Alcohol Awareness Month?”, use these suggestions to get an idea of what the month is all about.
Have difficult conversations with loved ones who might be struggling with addiction.
If you’ve noticed that a loved one is relying on heavy drinking to cope with stress, sit them down and talk it out in a low-pressure, relaxed environment. Let them know you’re there for them without judgement or accusation. Offer to help them find treatment or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings in their area. Be a steady, unwavering support system for your loved one when they need it most. This could be the conversation your loved one needs to serve as a catalyst for seeking help and treatment. Or, they may continue feeling like they’re not ready to get help. Persist in communicating with your loved one in a firm yet loving way, helping guide them to the right decision.
For a comprehensive list of nearby AA meetings by state and city, visit the official site at https://alcoholicsanonymous.com/
You might have certain preconceived notions related to alcohol use and those who suffer from addiction. Actively work to change these stereotypes and redirect your thinking in a more positive, helpful way.
There are countless books, essays, and online articles revolving around the subject of alcohol abuse and addiction. Put in the effort to help your loved one succeed and begin doing your own research – maybe even begin attending Al-Anon support groups, which are similar to AA meetings but held specifically for family members and loved ones close to those suffering from addiction.
For a comprehensive list of nearby Al-Anon meetings by state and city, visit https://findrecovery.com/alanon_meetings/
Work to change attitudes of those around you as well. For example, sit down with younger kids and talk openly about alcohol use in the hopes of changing their own attitudes and continuing to erase stigma. Discuss healthy coping mechanisms with them and emphasize that negative feelings and situations cannot be erased with alcohol use.
Throw a clean party!
Those dealing with alcohol addiction often feel pressured to drink in party settings with their peers, who may or may not also suffer from addiction. They might feel like it is impossible to have fun or be social without alcohol. As a support system to a loved one suffering from addiction, give them an opportunity to see how enjoyable an alcohol-free lifestyle can be. Host a gathering where drinking alcohol is explicitly prohibited. Serve other drinks like mocktails, club sodas, root beers, and any other fun concoctions.
Since beginning in 1987, Alcohol Awareness Month has made a concerted effort to save countless lives nationwide from alcohol-related deaths by making people more aware of alcohol abuse and encouraging them to spread the word and help others. Take the message of Alcohol Awareness Month and apply it throughout the entire year – be a light for others in need and spread hope!
About Fellowship Hall
For 50 years, Fellowship Hall has been saving lives. We are a 99-bed, private, not-for-profit alcohol and drug treatment center located on 120 tranquil acres in Greensboro, N.C. We provide treatment and evidence-based programs built upon the Twelve-Step model of recovery. We have been accredited by The Joint Commission since 1974 as a specialty hospital and are a member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers. We are committed to providing exceptional, compassionate care to every individual we serve.