Wednesday, February 1, 2023

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Sober October Highlights Health Benefits and Raising Money for Charity

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Wednesday, September 28, 2022   

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

With alcohol consumption increasing during the pandemic, a month of sobriety may offer people a needed chance to reevaluate their relationship with drinking.

Gallup's most recent polling found that 53% of Americans report having 1-7 drinks per week.

Sharing his experience, Zach Snitzer with the Maryland Addiction Recovery Center said after a month off of alcohol, people typically report some noticeable differences.

"The major things, I think, are how much they feel better physically as well as emotionally," Snitzer observed. "So, 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."

Alcohol is known to impact sleep. According to the National Institutes of Health, drinking can cause insomnia and shorten the duration of sleep. Snitzer pointed out that while alcohol may make you feel drowsy, the overall impact on the amount of real rest you get is negative.

"Alcohol is a depressant, so while it may make people sleepy, it definitely interrupts healthy or normal sleeping routines," he explained, "Which is one of the issues that you see in terms of substances in general."

Sober October organizers point to the health benefits, but also the insights folks can get about their relationship with alcohol.

The ability to stop drinking for a month may not be the same for all people, and according to Snitzer, that's a clue: "They might want to reexamine what that relationship looks like; they might be somebody that's suffering from a substance use disorder no matter how minute it is," he added.

Organizers recommend that heavy drinkers or people dependent on alcohol consult their doctor before signing up. Proceeds from Sober October benefit SMART Recovery, a nonprofit addiction treatment organization.


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