Alcohol Awareness Month
April is Alcohol Awareness Month, giving us a push to reflect on our drinking patterns and the role of alcohol in our lives. As we move into spring and summer, away from Covid restrictions, there are more opportunities for social gatherings and drinking. While alcohol can be a festive part of events, celebrations and milestones, it’s important to evaluate our drinking patterns and set ourselves up for a healthy relationship with alcohol.
Most of us know that heavy, chronic drinking can have severe health consequences. There is less awareness of what actually constitutes heavy versus moderate drinking. According to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink or drink in moderation. For men, the moderate drinking recommendation is 2 drinks or less per day. For women, the recommendation is 1 drink or less per day. This is the determined amount to reduce alcohol-related health and mental health risks. If you are drinking above this recommendation, it may be helpful to reflect on the questions below and/or speak to a health or mental health professional about your alcohol use.
Below, I’ve included a few questions to begin reflection on your drinking habits:
Who are you drinking with? Do you always end up binge drinking with a certain friend group or around family members?
What are you doing when you are drinking? Is your drinking associated with certain activities?
When do you drink? Is it in response to a specific emotion or to numb a feeling?
Where do you drink? Is your drinking specific to the environment you’re in?
Why are you drinking? If you noticed any patterns from the above questions, consider why those patterns have formed.
If you decide that you want to make a change in your drinking habits, there are numerous ways to seek support. You can speak to your therapist, your primary care provider or friends and family. Additionally, there are peer support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Boston Bulldogs Running group that may be helpful for finding community support.
SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service. They provide support (in English and Spanish) for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups and community-based organizations.
Olivia Shay, Therapy Intern is a clinical intern and will receive her master’s degree in social work with a concentration in clinical mental health from Boston College in spring 2022. She completed her BA in Psychology and Global Health Studies at Northwestern University.
Prior to joining Looking Glass, Olivia interned at an employee assistance program where she supported clients in crisis and provided individual and group counseling for substance use and mental health concerns.
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