HomeUncategorizedIt's possible that "dry" month campaigns contribute to harmful generalizations about substance...

It’s possible that “dry” month campaigns contribute to harmful generalizations about substance abuse.

Around the past decade, campaigns have sprung up all over the world challenging participants to abstain from alcohol for a month, usually in favor of a charitable cause. In 2013, the British non-profit Alcohol Change began promoting Dry January or sober January as part of a public health initiative.

Dry July, Sober September, Sober October, and “Dry February” are just a few of the “month of abstinence” programs that have taken place in countries as diverse as Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, and beyond. People are increasingly taking a month-long break from alcohol as a result of dry campaigns.

Preliminary studies indicate an uptick in alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially among those already struggling with mental health issues. Perhaps the increased focus on dry month initiatives is in part due to the pandemic. According to consumer studies, 20% of adults will take part in Dry January in 2022.

At first glance, “dry” months seem like a wonderful idea: people pledge to abstain from alcohol use for a specific period of time, receive social support in their efforts, and donate the proceeds to a good cause. Many people claim to have improved health as a result, and it may be viewed as a positive and helpful factor.

Addiction Is a Complicated Issue

As someone who studies and treats substance abuse, I have no reason to doubt that going dry for a month could help you achieve your health goals. In addition, I value the community that forms around people who are taking part in these kinds of challenges and helping one another out.

Then why was I irritated as I listened to a radio broadcast in which a woman extolled the virtues of four weeks of sobriety? Why do I take offense when folks say they are happy that Dry February is gone and they can get back to their “wine time?”

My concerns stem from the fact that, despite the widespread good that comes from initiatives to discourage drinking, I have personally witnessed no improvement in the lives of the people with whom I have worked. These kinds of messages and ads do little to advance a nuanced debate of drugs and alcohol. They promote the concept that giving up alcohol for a month is a free and rewarding decision.

Individuals experiencing the systemic inequities like poverty, disease, and racism that lead to substance use difficulties are not the target audience for Dry February and related programs. You may have also noticed that these commercials focus solely on alcohol, a drug often regarded as being acceptable in society.

In what ways might these campaigns be received differently if they targeted different substances? The goal of “dry” campaigns is harm reduction, therefore participants are encouraged to abstain from alcohol for a month for health reasons but are not pressured to remain sober. In spite of this, they continue to classify alcohol as a separate category from illegal narcotics. People that abuse drugs are negatively affected by this.

These views mainstream alcohol consumption while downplaying the use of other drugs, which is a major factor in the persistence of the War on Drugs and the proliferation of dangerous drugs. In addition, by rewarding people for abstaining from alcohol, these ads contribute to the dangerous belief that alcohol consumption (and drug use generally) is undesirable or subversive and should be regulated.

Inequality and discrimination go hand in hand.

It may be argued that these efforts are aimed mostly at the white, middle-class population since they have the resources to take a break from drinking and the social capital to do so without fear of repercussions.

Participants in Dry January were found to be younger, more likely to be women, to have higher incomes and levels of education, and to report “much better self-rated physical health” than the general population in one study conducted in 2020.

It’s risky to publicly applaud a group of mostly middle- and upper-class women with college degrees for making a personal decision to abstain from alcohol for a month. It promotes a rigid, inflexible morality when it comes to drug use. It contributes to the false belief that giving up drugs is entirely up to the individual.

My clients who are in treatment for substance abuse are not the target audience for “dry” campaigns such as the one held in March. They don’t think they’re welcome in these movements. Their substance abuse or lack thereof is not cool or hashtaggable. In most cases, it’s not as simple as deciding to “simply quit” and moving on. Alcohol can be a necessary means of self-medication, an insurmountable barrier, or a pleasant companion for these people.

Privilege and Policy

Many of the benefits of “dry” months, including as the money they raise for good causes and the attention they bring to the topic of substance abuse, remain important to me. While this is happening, these months warrant deeper analysis.

There is a lot of nuance to substance abuse. Social inequities, traumatic experiences, a hazardous supply, and poverty all play a role in why certain people have trouble using them. Rewarding someone for abstaining from alcohol for four weeks feeds negative stereotypes about alcoholics and drug addicts. We have created harmful rules around alcohol and other substances, but they are not necessarily terrible.

As we enter the final week of Dry February, I hope that the focus on self-reflection and moderation in alcohol consumption will open up a broader conversation about the role of privilege and policy in shaping people’s experiences with alcohol and other drugs.

Ghiselle Rousso
Ghiselle Roussohttps://www.runnergear.online
Oliver James is a UK-based professional blogger, content writer, and content marketer who writes about travel and tourism, finance, real estate, and other topics on his blog. Passionate about writing, traveling, and getting the best deal on everything he buys, Oliver also writes for customers and helps them publicize their products, and services in the US and UK markets. He is a traveler who has visited over 35 countries and loves his job because it gives him the opportunity to find stories, experiences, and places which he can share with his readers. Oliver James is a professional blogger, content marketer, traveler, and electronics enthusiast. He started blogging in 2016 and has become a contributing writer for several blogs, including Android Authority and Elecpros. Oliver has also published his own informational books with Kindle Direct Publishing on subjects like Flappy Bird and Google Cardboard. Also Read: > all inclusive holidays > Lumber Takeoff Services Base APK
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