Sober October, Dry January, Dry July: For one quarter of the year, these campaigns provide an incentive for people to come together and challenge sobriety.
It’s no surprise to Annie Grace that these periods of reduced alcohol consumption are becoming more common. says that more and more people are evaluating
How much is too much?of The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Classifies Moderate Drinking No more than two drinks per day for men and no more than one drink per day for women. However, according to the CDC, two-thirds of her adult drinkers report that she drinks over that level at least once a month.
And the pandemic didn’t help.a December 2020 Survey Sixty percent of respondents said their drinking has increased over the past year, and more than one-third said they are engaged in drinking. bingeIt is defined as having 5 or more drinks per serving for men and 4 or more drinks per serving for women.
Studies show that alcohol is bad for a healthy life. No amount is safe for heart health, according to the World Heart Federation.And even moderate drinking reserved for the weekend can have SOCIAL, EMOTIONAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACTaccording to a 2022 study.
An October of sobriety may be a step to abstinence from alcohol altogether, but it doesn’t have to be, says biological psychologist Aaron Aaron, senior scientific adviser to the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. White said.
No matter what your level of drinking, the one-month sobriety challenge can help you pay more attention to your drinking, White added.
You might think that you don’t need to stop drinking because you don’t have any symptoms of a substance abuse disorder. Drinking alcohol can cause serious disability, health problems, disability, or responsibilities problems.
But problem drinking is a spectrum, not a binary choice between addiction and fines, Grace said. . You may drink a lot, but you feel it’s working well in your life.
Even people who don’t drink often can lose control over when and how much they drink, Grace said.
she was one of them. Grace didn’t feel the need for a treatment program, but cutting back on drinking was a challenge and indicated something needed to change.
Taking the sobriety challenge doesn’t mean you have to quit forever, but it’s what you do on a regular basis that will help you make more thoughtful decisions about drinking rather than drinking. said White.
“It gives someone the opportunity to explore alternatives,” he added.
There’s evidence that cutting back on alcohol consumption, even for just a month, is good for your health.
“Most people who drink too much have fatty liver,” White said. “Just one month of rest can lower liver enzymes and make your liver look healthier.”
White says that cutting down on alcohol or not drinking at all can help some people sleep better and make better food choices.
And for emotional health, short-term challenges can point out emotions and routines that can be improved, Grace added.
Many of the people she works with describe that even moderate drinkers cannot fully control their relationship with alcohol.
She encourages people using the Sobriety Challenge to keep track of when they feel the urge to drink and what purpose it serves. Do you feel that way? Is a glass of wine a sure comfort after a long day?
Maybe a drink is an easy way to meet those needs, but it’s not the best. There is, added White.
According to Grace, there are some stumbling blocks to plan for during the month of abstinence.
One is overcoming the desire to drink, and experts have taken different approaches to solving that problem.
Drinking less can have similar effects to dieting, says Natalie Mokari, R.D.N., dietician in Charlotte, North Carolina.
She recommends starting with one less drink each time, or breaking your daily routine by limiting your drinking on certain days. She can also sip sparkling water between drinks and make weaker than usual cocktails to reduce her alcohol consumption.
White said it’s important not to feel ashamed if you end up drinking during a sobriety challenge. Added.
Grace encouraged us to lead with curiosity and information. Learning about the psychology and biology of alcohol helped her reduce her cravings for drinking, and by dealing with her urges with curiosity rather than judgment, she was able to learn more about alcohol’s role in her life, she said. Told.
There is also social pressure to drink. Why aren’t you drinking when everyone else is drinking? Especially if your friends get upset when they can’t see you drinking your usual beer?
First and foremost, people need to remember that it can make them feel bad because they feel uncomfortable in their relationship with drinking, Grace said.
White says it’s often helpful to have a non-alcoholic drink on hand at social events, so they don’t even offer drinks.
Mokari said it’s important not to see crossing the finish line as a time to indulge too much if you want to cut back on your habits or improve your health.
Dramatically reducing consumption in the meantime can lead to reduced tolerance, and what was good enough for today’s fuss can turn into much higher levels of addiction than expected 30 days later. be.
It’s also possible that you’re undoing the changes in habits you’ve built up over the course of the month.
“In our society, even saying ‘I want to rest’ is very brave,” she said. “If you keep trying for a month without changing your mind, you’ll get forbidden fruit syndrome.”