This Sober October we encourage you to take the challenge to be alcohol-free and pursue sobriety to improve your health and wellbeing while doing it Naturally. Whether it’s because you feel that alcohol is already a serious problem or you want to avoid it becoming problematic, Natural Medicine can help to support you to change habits around drinking. As we come towards the tail end of 2020, this month is a great opportunity to take a step towards sobriety to improve your health and wellbeing.
With the effects of a global pandemic, this year coinciding with an increase in sales of beer, wine, and spirits, its not uncommon to feel like drinking alcohol has become a more regular habit. A lack of social life on the one hand but more recreational time (or at least, time at home) on the other hand means we may have been more likely to be drinking and in some cases drinking alone, with stress playing a major role in why we might choose to reach for a drink.
While the obvious inebriating effects of alcohol may seem short-lived, the longer-term consequences can become clear over time. Poor sleep and mood change as a result of alcohol intake may lead to further dependence as alcohol is then perceived as the solution to the problems it can create.
It’s good to look at the motivating factors to inspire taking the Sober October challenge, with better overall health practically guaranteed. Some of the noticeable benefits to our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing can include:
- Achieving Weight loss
- Boosting Fertility
- Better Sleep quality
- Increasing Energy
- Improving Mood
While the damaging effects of alcohol can hinder different aspects of our health, sobriety offers a chance to heal. Natural recovery is ideal, avoiding the need for life long support in the form of professional help or attending support groups and identifying as a reformed alcoholic. Bettering the chances of a natural recovery comes from seeking the right kind of interim support to ensure you have the right coping skills and mindset to stay on track. Short term support equals long term effectiveness, firstly getting through the Sober October challenge and then making further decisions about whether you need an extra helping hand for the months to follow. There is growing empirical evidence that natural recovery may be more prominent than is currently recognised(1). As Natural Medicine practitioners, we are big advocates of this outcome for our patients.
Working with a Naturopath helps to keep you accountable.
A Naturopath can work with you to establish your health needs as you transition to sobriety and assess the impact alcohol consumption may have had. The good news is that a lot of improvements occur within the first month of alcohol cessation, which is why something like Sober October is so worthwhile. Some CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) therapies can be used as strategies to cope with alcohol craving and dependencies,(2) while supporting a natural recovery.
How Naturopathy can help
Supporting the organ systems most affected by alcohol can help the mind and body to recuperate and achieve lasting sobriety. Some examples of how we may outline a treatment program include:
- Nervous system support to ensure a healthy stress response and quality sleep
- Liver support to repair potential damage caused by the toxic effects of alcohol
- Gut Microbiome replenishment to restore a healthy environment in the gut
Your GP or health care provider may offer a conventional treatment (for example, anti-depressants) and you might want to explore alternative options. We aim to provide a safe space for your sobriety and to ensure that you receive the best care while under our guidance. That means that relevant referrals are always an option if you don’t already have a support network in place. If you are choosing to go it alone, we make sure that you get a proper health assessment, the chance to discuss any concerns and challenges and know your options should you choose to seek further assistance.
Sober in October, No thanks November, Don’t Feel like it December
No matter what stage of sobriety you are at, exploring natural medicine options can be empowering and an effective way of recovering from alcohol abuse and staying sober for the long term. There are varying levels of Alcohol Dependence that may result from frequent consumption and wanting to achieve sobriety doesn’t necessarily mean that you identify with being an alcoholic. By the end of October, the decision to continue being alcohol-free may be crystal clear and seeing through the rest of the year and beyond is really possible.
Good luck to those of you who take up the challenge – let’s make this month momentous!