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Sober October Highlights Health Benefits, Raising Money for Charity


Thursday, September 29, 2022   

Missourians who want a new health challenge can participate in Sober October. In addition to the sobriety pledge, it offers the chance to raise money for charity.

With reports of alcohol consumption having increased during the pandemic, a month of sobriety may offer people the chance to re-evaluate their relationship with alcohol.

Organizers recommend people create a strategy to be sober for the month, including planning activities not involving drinking as well as explaining to friends and family what you're doing and why.

Rebecca Losing, western representative for the Missouri Addiction Counselors Association, said having supportive people around is an important part of sobriety during October and after.

"If they have the correct supports in place, which could be a sober living, could be AA, NA, could be a supportive parent or significant other, child," Losing outlined. "Something that tells them, 'Yes, you have made a good choice, and yes, you are doing a good job.' "

Proceeds from Sober October benefit SMART Recovery, a nonprofit addiction treatment organization.

Organizers cited the improved energy which comes with being alcohol-free. Alcohol is known to affect sleep, with the National Institutes of Health reporting alcohol disrupts sleep in multiple ways including inducing insomnia and contributing to short sleep duration.

Zach Snitzer, corporate director of marketing for the Maryland Addiction Recovery Center, said after a month off alcohol, people will notice differences in how they feel.

"The major things I think are how much they feel better physically as well as emotionally," Snitzer pointed out. "You hear people talk about they have more energy, they're not hung over, they're more focused or clear from a mental standpoint, those are pretty much the things that we hear."

Gallup's polling on the issue showed 53% of Americans report having one to seven drinks per week.

Sober October advocates say the challenge often helps individuals gain insight into their relationship with alcohol. The ability to stop drinking for a month may not be the same for all people, and Snitzer said if you find it difficult to stop for 31 days, it may point to a problem.

"If I can't not drink for a month, and I made the declaration to do so for Sober October, they might want to re-examine what that relationship looks like," Snitzer advised. "They might be somebody that's suffering from a substance-use disorder, no matter how minute it is."

Organizers recommend heavy drinkers or people dependent on alcohol consult their doctor before signing up.

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