Dry November is where folk go sober for the month or a little bit more in order to rejuvenate their liver and overall well being before all the feasting and indulgences that come with Christmas and seasonal celebrations. Not only is it Dry November but its ‘Action on Alcohol’ week this week (18th – 22nd Dec), an EU initiative to bring awareness of the harmful effects of alcohol. The main EU group that contribute to its promotion are Awareness Week on Alcohol Related Harm or AWARH as they go by.
Alcohol and Ireland have a peculiar relationship that spans from the craic (fun and games) to abuse and destruction. It is embedded in our culture in our literature, our plays, our films, our arts and our sports that encourage and enforce the drinking stereotype we have been tagged with. This is both positive and negative. For some, a drink is a sociable past time that accompanies chats with friends and friends you don’t know. For others, alcohol is more addictive and harmful than heroin or cocaine.
Regardless of anyone’s relationship with alcohol, I think its essential for everyone to be aware of the effects of alcohol on themselves and on others around them in order to be able to recognise the positive or negative effects it may bring with. It is also always good to look at the option of reducing the amount of alcohol consumption you are taking in for physical and mental health benefits. Even going sober for one month a year is a great idea for your well being.
We do have to remember that alcohol is a depressant and in Europe one in two suicides are alcohol related. Also winter, although festive, is quite depressing for some. The winter blues are setting in and seasonal affective disorder can effect many. Financial bills are a concern for folk, heating bills are increased and consumer pressures rise to look after friends and family. Emotional social pressures escalate in people as people naturally feel they need to be happy in front of people in order to keep positive festive moods going. So if you see your friends or family struggling, don’t avoid the issue, please talk to them and if you’re struggling yourself, as difficult as it is, try ask for help from friends and family.
Here are some great resources to look at if you’re thinking about reducing your alcohol intake, or feel that anyone from your social circle or yourself are suffering from a bit of depression:
- Hello Sunday Morning
- Awareness Week on Alcohol
- Ask About Alcohol
- Pieta House
- Al Anon
- Little Things
- Mind Monster
- Bealtaine Festival
- Mental Health Ireland
- Spun Out
If you have any links or opinions to contribute please drop them in the comments below.