03 April 2018
April Marks the Start of Alcohol Awareness Month
Fort Detrick ASAP

ALT Tag
April marks the start of Alcohol Awareness Month, and it is a perfect time to explore the benefits of sobriety. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence established this awareness month in 1987 to encourage communities to learn more about alcoholism and recovery.

To kick off Alcohol Awareness Month, the first weekend of April is aimed at inspiring people to enjoy three days without a drink from March 30 through April 1.
Annually in the United States, an estimated 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes, making alcohol the fourth-leading preventable cause of death in the country. No matter your gender, race or socio-economic background, alcoholism does not discriminate.
For those working to overcome an alcohol use disorder, long-term sobriety can be achieved with treatment and support.
People who find discomfort or challenges in remaining sober throughout the weekend are encouraged to learn more about alcohol abuse and alcoholism. For 72 hours, try enjoying some fun, engaging activities that promote a sober lifestyle.
Here are a few suggestions:
Exercise
Want to improve your mood and boost your energy throughout the weekend? Instead of consuming calories from an alcoholic beverage, burn them off through exercise. Physical activities as simple as walking could reduce your stress and improve your self-esteem.
If at some point you’re feeling irritable and want to put your mind at ease, try yoga. This practice focuses on breathing and body postures and promotes mindfulness and control. It could also reduce the stress and anxiety you may feel while striving to remain sober.
You don’t have to work out alone; invite a friend to join you in a fitness class, or challenge them to see who can hold a plank the longest. Exercising with someone can keep you focused on your workout and prevent feelings of boredom. If you don’t have a routine already in place, consider joining a gym or finding a workout plan that fits your schedule.
Travel
Enjoy the weather and explore new places. Take the money you might have spent on drinks and put it towards a memorable experience. You can visit a new place in town or travel to a new city. Wherever you decide to go, enjoy it sober.
Exploring new areas can benefit your health as well. Rather than drinking to escape life’s stressors, eliminate stress by visiting a new environment. Even if it’s just for a few days, recharging your batteries can prevent burnout and help you feel refreshed after a long week.
Volunteer
If you think you’re going to get bored without alcohol, take the weekend to improve your life and the lives of others. Volunteering for an organization can help you learn something new and connect you with people in the area. All it takes is your time. Make a difference by looking up charities in your community and attending an event this weekend.
Not only will volunteering keep you busy, but it could also make you a better candidate for new opportunities in the future. Adding to your volunteer experience can be an excellent way to upgrade your resume if you’re looking for a new job.
Relax
Welcome to the weekend! Be sure to sit back, relax and enjoy life without alcohol. You can pick up a new book, hang out around the house or do nothing at all. It is entirely up to you.
Keep in mind that people relax in different ways. While some prefer sitting outside and getting some fresh air, others may want to revisit an old hobby that helps them relax.
As you focus on you this alcohol-free weekend, consider unplugging and staying off social media. Seeing photos of people at tailgate parties, clubs or happy hours could make you think you are missing out. It may also be stressful to see others having a drink without you. Throughout your alcohol-free weekend, remember why you wanted to spend three days without drinking.

For the next 72 hours, reflect on all you have accomplished in life, and stay positive. If you feel like remaining alcohol-free this weekend will be challenging, examine the relationship you have with alcohol and learn more about alcohol abuse and alcoholism.
You can contact your local Army Substance Abuse Program at (301) 619-1751 to learn more about alcohol abuse and resources for finding help. For confidential help, civilians may contact the Employee Assistance Program at 1-800-222-0364 and Service Members may contact Behavioral Health Services at (301) 619-0345.
Sources
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. (2017, January) Alcohol Awareness Month. Retrieved from https://www.ncadd.org/about-ncadd/events-awards/alcohol-awareness-month
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2017, February) Alcohol Facts and Statistics. Retrieved from https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/alcoholfacts&stats/AlcoholFacts&Stats.pdf
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