All around us in the Fort Bragg community, numerous people are in recovery from alcoholism. They may not be seen or known, but are contributing to our mission, connecting with their Families and giving back to the community.

Alcoholism does not discriminate — it affects people of all ages, ethnicities, genders, geographic regions, and socioeconomic levels. Too many people are still unaware that alcoholism is a disease that can be treated, just like other health disorders such as diabetes and hypertension.

An estimated 500 people sought alcohol-related treatment last year at Fort Bragg. Civilians and military personnel who have faced alcoholism and addiction have benefited from recovery. Individuals who embrace recovery achieve improved mental and physical health, as well as stronger relationships and a sense of self-worth.

Alcohol is a drug — a powerful, mood-altering drug — and alcoholism is a chronic disease, from which people can and do recover. Alcoholism and alcohol-related problems touch all Americans, directly or indirectly, as the nation’s number one public health problem.

Currently, nearly 15.1 million Americans have alcohol use disorder (AUD) or are alcoholic. People ages 12 to 20 years drink 13 percent of all alcohol consumed in the U.S. and more than 90 percent is in the form of binge drinking.

Everyone has an investment in reducing the devastating impact that alcohol has on individuals, Family members and members of the communities.

Education is needed to include parents, teachers, service members, employers, counselors, friends and neighbors about the devastating power of alcohol misuse and the healing power of treatment and recovery.

The good news is that progress is being made, and it is now estimated that more than 20 million Americans are living lives in recovery. These individuals have achieved healthy lifestyles, both physically and emotionally, and contribute in positive ways to their communities.

To this end, every April, people across America observe Alcohol Awareness Month, an initiative sponsored by Facing Addiction with North Carolina Against Drunk Driving (NCADD). The theme of this year’s celebration is “Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow.”

Alcohol Awareness Month recognizes the damaging effects of alcohol and alcoholism support is renewed for individuals battling to overcome addiction.

“Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow” urges all Americans to promote treatment and recovery options and support those whose lives have been affected.

Fort Bragg Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) is observing Alcohol Awareness Month by holding a variety of informational and educational events throughout the installation to raise public awareness and to reduce the stigma often associated with alcoholism, a stigma that prevents millions of individuals and Families from seeking help.

A large turn-out and participation by leadership and units at these events and discussions regarding alcohol use will send a signal that Fort Bragg embraces recovery and wants to provide much-needed support.

Leadership personnel, units, community organizations, schools, Families and other community members are urged to get involved in these activities.

These are small and easy steps to take, and can make a difference in the lives of many in the community.

Efforts must continue to reach out to those who are suffering and to help the community avoid the many problems associated with alcohol use disorder.

To contact ASAP, call (910) 396-4100.