The Star-Herald

ACAP asks community to adopt sober October

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Aroostook County Action Program is asking the community to participate in “Sober October” by pledging to abstain from drinking alcohol this month. 

Whether looking for a personal challenge, or to have a part in raising public attention to the substance, each individual involved can be assured that they are taking part with a group of millions who are looking to do the same. 

ACAP will offer a Halloween mocktails party from 4-7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30,at the Caribou Recreation Department.

The community is invited to take the Sober October Pledge. People who sign the pledge online or return a pledge card will receive a recipe book with alcohol-free drink options. They will also be entered to win a prize basket with substance-free ways to de-stress or celebrate: gift certificates to restaurants, massage, book stores, movies and more. Drawings will be regional with prizes centered in northern, central and southern Aroostook. 

Now a global movement, Sober October began in 2014 as a cancer awareness campaign to both fundraise for cancer support and treatment, and to serve as a call for those who consume alcohol to consider their relationship and usage with the drink. Putting this campaign into personal practice, Sober October is a request to put off drinking alcoholic beverages for the month. 

More than 76 million people are considered dependent on or abuse alcohol. The pandemic has worsened the outlook with this condition. It is now estimated that one in five Americans are drinking heavily. As many face personal and/or economic distress as a result of COVID-19 hardship, the increase in alcoholic consumption can have many negative effects that further develop adverse symptoms in an individual or family’s life. 

Aside from the benefits this movement has for Aroostook County, withholding from alcohol for only 31 days has been proven to lower the risk of cancer, increase concentration, and provide better sleep, resulting in more energy, less irritability, and improve emotions. While avoiding drinking does present challenges for many, considering your surroundings and involving your circle of friends or family helps lessen the effects of withdrawal. Social gatherings where alcohol is expected might be best attended if you bring your own beverages, and including family or friends in your journey can offer you motivation to finish what was started. 

“Sixty percent of Mainers who drink alcohol reported increasing the amount they consume since the pandemic. There  has also been a 28 percent increase in just one year in alcohol related deaths. It’s time to get things under control.  Taking a break for a month can improve our health, show our young people it’s possible to have good time  without substances, and show people in recovery they are more important to us than that bottle of wine,” said Meg Hegemann, ACAP’s prevention services program coordinator. 

Pledge cards are available electronically at https://forms.office.com/r/vL2526fex3.  

For more information about Sober October or other ACAP programs or services, contact Robin Thurston, project coordinator community educator for Drug Free Aroostook.

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