There is a movement that is gaining steam throughout the country, it is called Sober September. The idea is that people give up alcohol for the entire month to give their bodies a chance to recover from the rest of the year of drinking. However, how beneficial is a month of sobriety? Does it only take one month to make up for the other eleven months of damage inflicted to the liver and the brain? The truth is that an alcohol-free month is only temporarily beneficial, as it is not a long enough period of time to allow the body to recuperate from heavy drinking.
“I would look at a month of sobriety as equivalent to an intermittent fast, or juicing, or a cleanse. And we have no real evidence that they are physically beneficial per se. But it’s like rebooting a computer – they make you stop, they make you conscious, they make you mindful, and there’s the opportunity to get into a pattern that’s better for you,” explained Dr. David Katz, the founder of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center.
Katz also wonders why people would feel a need to take a break from alcohol. If someone feels that they are due for a month long break, it is likely because they are consuming too much alcohol in the first place. Researchers have determined that women who drink more than a few glasses of wine a week are in danger of drinking too much. Men who drink more than 21 units of alcohol fall into the same category. Oftentimes binge drinking (drinking several drinks in a short amount of time) is a behavior that occurs without the person realizing that they are participating in this type of dangerous behavior.
While maintaining sobriety for a month will make a person feel better, it will not repair the damage that was created in the liver. In order for liver damage to be addressed, a person needs to stop drinking altogether for a significant amount of time. However, one major benefit of taking a month off of drinking is that it will help break the habit of going out every night and feeling like the only way to have fun is to drink.