Understanding, observing Alcohol Awareness Month

By CourtesyApril 11, 2024

Alcohol Awareness Month
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Alcohol Awareness Month Infographic
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1st Brigade Support Battalion, 337th Infantry Regiment

April is National Alcohol Awareness Month, an annual campaign aimed at bringing awareness to the dangers of alcohol misuse.

Alcohol Awareness Month was established in 1987 by the National Council for Alcoholism and Drug Dependence with the aim of raising awareness for communities and to help understand the causes and treatment available for one of the nation’s biggest health issues.

Alcohol misuse contributes to more than 200 disease and injury-related conditions, meaning alcohol misuse contributes substantially to health care costs and lost productivity and affects people’s health in ways that they may not realize.

Alcohol Awareness Month offers the military a chance to gain more understanding of how individuals struggle with alcohol abuse, offers advice, and help for those affected, and highlights the serious health issues caused by alcohol.

Alcohol abuse poses a significant challenge in the armed forces.

“Having been in a command position, I have dealt with Soldiers that wouldn’t open up. By getting them in front of the right resources, I was able to get that those Soldiers the help they needed,” said Capt. Mathew Garrett with the 1st Brigade Support Battalion, 337th Infantry Regiment, 181st Multi-Functional Training Brigade.

Recognizing the importance of addressing this issue, the military emphasizes the need for education, prevention, and support for service members, Department of the Army civilians, and family members struggling with addiction.

Alcohol abuse is a complex issue with far-reaching consequences. It not only affects individual service members but also undermines unit cohesion, jeopardizes mission readiness, and poses a risk to national security.

Service members may be more likely to abuse alcohol than civilians, particularly in levels of binge drinking. Individuals may see drinking as part of their culture.

Drinking alcohol may serve to connect or de-stress with fellow service members and modeled as a way of handling stress within a military unit. Combat deployments, permanent changes of station, and prolonged work hours are a unique set of military-specific stressors that may contribute to substance misuse as compared to the stressors that service members experience within the civilian sector.

To combat alcohol abuse within the ranks, the military employs a multifaceted approach that includes education, prevention programs, and treatment options.

Service members and Army civilians undergo regular training on the dangers of alcohol abuse, emphasizing the impact on personal health, relationships, and mission effectiveness.

Additionally, commanders and peers play a crucial role in creating a supportive environment that encourages seeking help and intervention when needed.

April serves as a focal point for raising awareness about alcohol abuse in the military and promoting resources available for service members, Army civilians, and their families.

It provides an opportunity to destigmatize addiction, foster open discussions, and highlight the importance of early intervention and treatment.

By shining a spotlight on this issue, the military aims to reduce the prevalence of alcohol abuse, enhance resilience among its personnel, and ultimately strengthen the readiness and effectiveness of the force.

As we observe Alcohol Abuse Awareness Month in April, let us reaffirm our commitment to supporting those who serve and protect our nation. By addressing alcohol misuse proactively, we can ensure the well-being of our service members, uphold the values of the military, and safeguard the security of our country.

Alcohol abuse is a challenge that requires a collective effort to address effectively. Through awareness, education, and support, the military can empower its personnel to overcome addiction, promote a culture of resilience, and uphold the highest standards of service and honor.