Celebrating Sobriety Awareness Month across Alaska | Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

Celebrating Sobriety Awareness Month across Alaska

March 25, 2019

Following the lead of our people than two decades ago, as the Alaska Native Sobriety Movement at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention, more Alaskans are celebrating sober living and trying to break down stigmas that might surround sobriety – both for those who are in addiction recovery and those who don’t choose to use drugs or alcohol at all.

In Alaska, March has been designated as Sobriety Awareness Month, an opportunity to celebrate living sober, healthy lifestyles and encourage others to recognize those making a sober choice.

The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium is encouraging all Alaskans who lead, believe in, or support a life of sobriety to wear a white ribbon so that they may be readily recognized and appreciated during Sobriety Awareness Month. Stop by the ANTHC Healthy Communities Building, 3900 Ambassador Drive, during the week of March 25 to pick up your own white ribbon.

ANTHC, Recover Alaska and Tribal health organizations throughout the state have worked together to encourage all Alaskans to participate in Sobriety Awareness Month. Together, we highlight all of the alternative ways of celebrating occasions and enjoying each day without the use of drugs or alcohol.

ANTHC will recognize Sobriety in March with resources and white ribbons available in the lobby of the Healthy Communities Building during the week of March 25. Additional events are coordinated through Recover Alaska, with more information available on their Facebook page.

Many people have been touched by sobriety, whether they have a friend, loved one or community member choosing to live without drugs and alcohol or they are living a sober lifestyle themselves. The decision to seek a sober life is not easy. For many, it will be one of the most difficult journeys of their life. Resources are available to help make the process easier. In Alaska, call 2-1-1 or visit their website here to find treatment options, prescription-assistance services and local resources that offer free and confidential help with drug and alcohol addiction, support and rehabilitation.

What can you do to help curb substance abuse?

  • Learn the warning signs of potential drug abuse
    • Problems at school or work — Frequently missing school or work, a sudden disinterest in school activities or work, or a drop in grades or work performance
    • Physical health issues — Lack of energy and motivation
    • Neglected appearance — Lack of interest in clothing, grooming or looks
    • Changes in behavior — Exaggerated efforts to bar family members from entering his or her room or being secretive about where he or she goes with friends; or drastic changes in behavior and in relationships with family and friends
    • Spending money — Sudden requests for money without a reasonable explanation; or your discovery that money is missing or has been stolen or that items have disappeared from your home, indicating maybe they’re being sold to support drug use
    • For a list of additional signs and symptoms of drug use or intoxication by drug type, click here.
  • Prevent misuse of prescription drugs
    • Many who become addicted or are addicted to prescription medications (especially opioids) may take medications from other’s homes. Be sure to store your opioids and other addictive medications in a safe place or dispose of them properly if no longer needed. Medications can be disposed through drug takeback programs or can be disposed of using a drug deactivation disposal bag. For more information, click here.
  • Learn more about the Healthy Alaskans Initiatives:
    • The rates of alcohol and substance abuse in Alaska are among some of the highest in the nation, costing billions of dollars a year. For more detailed trend data on individual indicators, go to ibis.dhss.alaska.gov. Visit the HA2020 website to learn more about the Healthy Alaskans Initiative, each of the Leading Health Indicators and what strategies are currently in place to help reduce alcohol-induced mortality and binge drinking among Alaskans.
  • iknowmine Initiative
    • iknowmine is an ANTHC program to help support Alaska Native youth and Alaskan youth to live healthy lives. Varieties of topics are covered, including safe medication disposal and deactivation supplies for providers to order. For more information click here.

If you are concerned you or someone you know may be misusing prescription opioids or alcohol, help is available. Contact ANTHC’s Substance Abuse and Prevention at (907) 729-3547 or email behavioralhealth@anthc.org.

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