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Alcohol-free weekend raises awareness

Those who decide to give up alcohol this Easter weekend won’t necessarily be doing so because of holiday tradition.

For those involved in the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, it will represent an effort to raise awareness of alcohol disease.

The three-day challenge, always the first weekend of April, kicks off the 23rd annual NCADD Alcohol Awareness Month.

Despite the proliferation of other problems, some local people think it’s still important to talk about alcohol.

“I think it gets overlooked,” said Shavonne Andrews of Tahlequah. “They think if they just have a couple of beers when they get off work, then it’s not a big deal.”

Andrews relates a personal experience that taught her to stay away from it.

“My dad would come home and always have his beer,” she said. “He never got violent, but he was moody a lot.”

He eventually died from liver disease.

“His body just couldn’t take it,” she said.

According to the NCADD website, the awareness month began as a way of reaching the public with information about the disease. The idea was to let peope know it’s treatable, not a moral failing – and that it is possible for alcoholics to recover.

April Goetcher knows there’s a stigma attached to someone who goes to Alcoholics Anonymous.

“My brother has problems, and he started going to AA and the other ones,” she said. “I never thought about it being a big deal until he asked me to go with him.”

Goetcher felt immediate guilt when she told him “no.”

“I was worried about someone seeing me there, I guess,” she said. “It’s stupid now. He still struggles with it, and I go with him to some of his meetings. And no matter who you are surprised to see there, it’s all supposed to be confidential.”

Dr. Nicholas Pace, founder Pace Health Services in New York, said there are some danger signs associated with relapse of recovering alcoholics, according to www.ncadd.com.

“It when an alcoholic or addict says he or she doesn’t need to go to any more self-help meetings, you know there is going to be trouble ahead,” he said.

Pace suggests friends and family take time to understand that addiction is a disease.

“You should try your hardest not to be moralistic when dealing with them,” he said.

Instead of making threats or getting angry, Pace suggests expressing concern.

“Urge them to talk to you,” he said.

The organization said those taking the challenge who experience difficulty or discomfort in the 72 hours should contact local affiliates, or Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon to learn more about alcoholism and its early symptoms, according to www.ncadd.com.

The NCADD is the nation’s oldest advocacy health program dealing exclusively with alcoholism and drug dependence. The group was founded in 1944 by Marty Mann, the first woman to achieve long-term sobriety in AA, according to the website.

source: http://tahlequahdailypress.com

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