How Stopping Smoking Can Also Help Stop Alcohol Dependency

How Stopping Smoking Can Also Help Stop Alcohol Dependency

Every October since 2012 has been the home to a 28-day smoke-free campaign where smokers challenge themselves to not smoke a cigarette for four full weeks.

The Stoptober campaign was developed on the principle that people who can stop smoking for 28 days are five times more likely to fully commit to quitting and never smoke again.

It takes advantage of community spirit, as people who are working together towards a goal will support and uplift each other, encouraging and providing advice and helping people get through those first difficult days of going cold turkey.

The success of the campaign even as early as 2014 led to the creation of a similar campaign, Dry January, although the concept and term had been used for decades before the official campaign launched by the charity Alcohol Change.

Both have a similar goal in mind, with Stoptober hoping to get people to quit smoking full stop with a combination of willpower, community support and aids such as patches, gum and more recently e-cigarettes.

Dry January on the other hand hopes to transition people away from drinking, and given the prevalence of social drinking arguably has greater benefits as a campaign.

Whilst explicit and implicit peer pressure can make wholly quitting drinking difficult for some people, a specific campaign can turn these pressures into supporters, and there are aids available in the forms of a support circle, advice, non-alcoholic beer and mocktails to allow for an alcohol-free social experience.

One of the biggest difficulties, and why the challenge is four weeks long is the prevalence of behavioural triggers that can potentially cause a relapse.

Having a whole month dedicated to not drinking makes people more mindful of their own behaviours and relationship to alcohol, even if they are not directly participating.

This, in turn, can indirectly help to encourage people to, if not stop drinking entirely, at least consider how much they are drinking in a given week in terms of units.


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