April is National Alcohol Awareness Month. This education effort is sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD), an organization that began almost seventy years ago as a resource for people struggling with addiction. NCADD was founded by Marty Mann after she regained her sobriety with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Since then, the organization has worked at national and community levels, offering itself as an online resource and serving people through one hundred affiliate programs around the country. April was selected as the perfect month to spread awareness about the dangers of alcoholism because it is the start of prom and graduation season. NCADD works especially hard to address alcohol awareness among our youth.
This year’s theme for National Alcohol Awareness Month is “Help for Today. Hope for Tomorrow.” To kick off the month-long awareness campaign, NCADD promotes Alcohol-Free Weekend during the first weekend of April. This year, that weekend falls on April 5-7, 2013. A large goal of Alcohol-Free Weekend is to help people realize that they may have a problem with alcohol. If individuals find it difficult to get through the seventy-two hours without an alcoholic beverage, they or their family members are encouraged to contact a local NCADD affiliate, AA, or al-Anon for education and support. NCADD provides advocacy resources for National Alcohol Awareness Month on their website.
As its name implies, National Alcohol Awareness Month aims to increase awareness around alcohol and the problems it can create in society, in families, and on a personal level. Underage drinking is of particular interest to the organization, as individuals who begin drinking alcohol by the age of fifteen are four times more likely to become alcohol dependent as adults than individuals who begin drinking at age twenty. NCADD says that depressed and anxious young people may choose to self-medicate with alcohol. There are also peer pressure and family histories to contend with, since youth dealing with family stressors are at an increased risk of turning to alcohol.
This is the twenty-seventh year for National Alcohol Awareness Month and it is likely to be just as successful as the previous years. Since the early 1900s, people have been successfully recovering from alcohol dependence and organizations like NCADD work to make sure the resources and advocacy are available to everyone in need. More than eighteen million Americans are suffering from alcohol-use disorders and April is the perfect time to offer them hope and make sure the numbers don’t increase.