April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Published 10:54 am Saturday, April 10, 2021

Most readers of the Sun would think fondly of their favorite brew when they read that April is Alcohol Awareness Month. After all, we are in bourbon country. Winchester hosts both a distillery and a brewery. This past year we’ve seen restrictions on alcohol sales ease. You can order a drink delivered to your house. When many retailers shut-down a year ago, liquor stores were deemed “essential.” Have you asked yourself why?

Keeping liquor stores open was a way to keep people out of the ICU. People with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) who suddenly stop drinking alcohol go through withdrawal. They experience tremors, hallucinations, and seizures. In order to come off the drug that is alcohol, people with severe AUD require intensive care and medication. So, the liquor stores remained open, and you could get a drink delivered to your door in order to prevent over-filling of ICU beds.

The decision to keep liquor stores open was ultimately a win for people in the recovery community. It acknowledged the public health crisis that has been going on for decades.

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2019 statistics indicate 15.1 million Americans have AUD or are alcoholic. Alcohol-related Emergency Department visits increased 47% between 2006 and 2014 in the U.S. The third preventable cause of death in the U.S is alcohol (tobacco is first, followed by poor diet and exercise).  Nearly a third of driving fatalities are attributed to alcohol impairment.

These are past statistics. The data isn’t in for 2020, a year of isolation and hardships. We have all seen the jokes, memes, and casual brushing off of alcohol consumption. There’s even a commercial for a popular brand that sells you the idea of feeling “normal” after drinking (a sign of alcohol dependence). Our culture normalizes alcohol abuse as a way to cope. 

April is a chance for you to become aware of your relationship with alcohol. Take the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test at AUDITscreen.org and see where you fall in the specturm. No matter where you land on the test, know that it is not a reflection of your morality. Drinking is part of our history. But it doesn’t have to be part of your future.

We will talk more about Alcohol Use Disorder in a future issue of The Winchester Sun.

Achieving Recovery Together (ART) is a recovery community organization located at 37 S. Main St., Winchester, Ky. They offer resources and peer support to individuals and families living with substance use disorder. Call the recovery hotline, 859-385-5017 any time for peer support. www.AchievingRecoveryTogether.org