- April is Alcohol Awareness Month in the United States.
- The benefits of going a month without alcohol may not be obvious at first but have tremendous value afterward.
- If you or someone you care about is struggling with alcohol-related issues, this month is the time to do something about it.
Since 1987, April has been promoted as Alcohol Awareness Month in the United States, sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). NCADD was founded in 1944 by Marty Mann, who was also the first woman to achieve long-term sobriety with Alcoholics Anonymous. Since then, NCADD has worked to fight stigmas and misconceptions surrounding alcoholism and drug addiction.
The goal of Alcohol Awareness Month is to spread public awareness and understanding of alcoholism and alcohol-related issues by addressing misconceptions and encouraging community support.
If you’re looking for ways to promote awareness and support in your community, you can start by:
- Reading up on frequently asked questions related to alcoholism
- Reaching out to someone you know who might be struggling with drinking and talking with them (connection is the best remedy for addiction)
- Challenging yourself or your loved ones to an alcohol-free April
- Sharing your own struggles with alcohol or addiction to help others in their journey
If you or someone you care about might be struggling with alcohol-related issues, April is an excellent time to challenge yourself or someone you care about to go a month without alcohol. If you can make it a month without alcohol, you probably have a healthy relationship with your alcohol consumption.
While not being able to make it a month without drinking alcohol does not always correspond to addiction, it can be a sign of deeper issues.
Not only can challenging yourself to an alcohol-free April help you better understand your relationship with alcohol—it can also improve health and well-being. Here’s a timeline of what you can expect if you go a month without drinking alcohol:
Depending on the frequency of drinking, the first day without alcohol will vary for the individual. Individuals who drink infrequently may experience mild or moderate hangover symptoms like nausea, headache, or fatigue that generally resolve within 24 hours. On the other hand, chronic drinkers frequently experience more intense withdrawal symptoms, including hand tremors, excessive sweating, anxiety, and alcohol cravings during this time.
While symptoms in infrequent drinkers generally go away by day two, they often intensify for dependent drinkers. For individuals struggling with alcohol use, this time presents the highest risk of relapse. Severe withdrawal symptoms may begin to set in, leading to serious health complications, such as rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, or even seizures and may require hospitalization.
After four days, the worst withdrawal symptoms go away for most people. However, in severe cases, they can worsen during this time, and when that happens, medical supervision is critical.
After one week without alcohol, sleep patterns should begin to improve. This is also the period when most clinical detox programs conclude, and formal treatment can begin.
During the third week without alcohol, health benefits may begin to emerge. Individuals may start to lose weight due to reduced calorie intake, their blood pressure may drop to healthier levels, and the appearance of their skin can improve.
For chronic drinkers, extending alcohol abstinence past the month mark further improves health outcomes. After three months, most people report that they have more energy and feel healthier. After a year, almost all individuals will have moved past alcohol-related health issues and begin to fully enjoy sobriety. However, it’s important to note that even for individuals who reach this state, there is still a risk of relapse. That risk never fully goes away.
Some of the most obvious signs that someone might have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol include:
- Binge drinking
- Frequently drinking alone
- Using alcohol to self-medicate
- Drinking to the point of blacking out
- Drinking excessively during social occasions
Read more about the signs of alcohol addiction.
If you or someone you care about may be struggling with alcohol addiction but has put getting help on hold because of privacy, lifestyle, or schedule concerns, ALYST Health is here to help. With our fully at-home approach to addiction treatment, we build a program around your day-to-day life, making recovery accessible to anyone, anywhere. Learn more about our approach and when you’re ready, find out if you’re a good fit for ALYST.