Increasing awareness about alcohol use disorders is an integral part of promoting safe drinking habits, recovery, and sobriety. While alcoholism affects millions of people throughout the United States, there are also millions who are thriving in long-term recovery. Improving education, sharing your story, and supporting addiction treatment are just a few ways that you can be proactive in raising awareness. In 1989, the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (NCADD) designated the month of April as Alcohol Awareness Month.
There are multiple ways that you can participate in this annual initiative to raise awareness, increase understanding, and reduce stigmas. It is important that people young and old recognize the dangers of drinking and how it affects the body and mind. It is also critical to promote addiction treatment for those who may have an alcohol use disorder and support them in their recovery efforts. Alcoholism is not a dead-end street; recovery is possible and people can go on to live exciting, fulfilling lives in sobriety.
How You Can Help Raise Awareness
Everyone can play a part in increasing awareness and reducing stigmas surrounding alcoholism. Whether you are in recovery yourself, have a loved one in treatment or recovery, or are simply passionate about the cause, your voice is important. Here are a few ways that you can make a positive difference:
- Start with yourself. Be conscientious about your own thoughts, beliefs, and attitude regarding drinking and addiction. Read up on the negative impact drinking can have on your body, mind, health, finances, relationships, and more. Make it a point to be aware of how much and how often you drink, why you drink, and how it affects your life. Also consider the ways in which you talk about alcohol and alcoholism; what impression are you giving?
- Talk to your family. Breaking down stigmas and raising awareness starts in your own home. It’s never too early to begin educating your children about making healthy choices, dealing with stress in constructive ways, and learning how to say no. Use books, movies, news stories, and community outings to initiate conversation. Teach them about the dangerous effects drinking can have as well.
- Share your story. There are so many ways to do this: write a blog, write a guest post for the newspaper, speak up when you hear someone sharing misinformation, or be a source of support for someone struggling with addiction or making strides in recovery. Whether you’re speaking to one person or a thousand people, your story matters. You never know whose life you’ll touch.
- Attend community events. Show your support by participating in alcohol awareness or addiction recovery events in your community. Join forces with others who are also fighting for the same cause and learn even more as you go along. Networking can go a long way, as can being visible in showing support for a cause.
- Host an event. If you’re feeling motivated or inspired, host your own awareness event. Perhaps you could offer to speak at a school, community organization, or other outreach effort. Talk to others and share your ideas to create a more robust activity.
- Seek treatment. Set a positive example and show that treatment does work and recovery is possible by seeking help if you’re struggling with an alcohol use disorder. Or, encourage a loved one to enter treatment and make their well-being a priority.
Crossroads supports clients and their families in creating a sustainable lifestyle in recovery, rebuilding relationships, improving communication, and establishing healthier routines. Through a variety of treatment programs and support groups, family can begin the healing process, overcome addiction, and reduce risk of relapse.