Sober for October: Continuing Your Journey November and Beyond


A joint message from Richard Jock, FNHA Chief Executive Officer (CEO); and Dr. Shannon McDonald, FNHA Chief Medical Officer (CMO)

A huge congratulations to everyone who participated in this year's Sober for October Wellness Challenge! We hope that you feel lighter, brighter, and healthier after 31 days of a reduced or alcohol-free lifestyle, and that you're so pleased with your results that you'll want to continue the journey beyond October.

We know it isn't easy to prioritize health and wellness, with so many other things to juggle, but you did it! Whether you chose to focus on learning more about how alcohol impacts your health and wellness and reducing your consumption, or on eliminating it completely, kudos to you for taking on the challenge.

We believe that each person who participated in the Sober for October Wellness Challenge inspired their friends, family, and community to think about prioritizing their own wholistic wellness – and hope that some of them joined you!

We also hope that your participation increased your awareness of alcohol consumption and its effects, as well as your comfort level when talking about alcohol with others.

​At the FNHA, we have wellness champions who are abstainers, and others who drink socially and in moderation.

“Twenty-five years ago, I made a decision to abstain from alcohol, and to continue to abstain from other substances. Doing so has impacted my emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical health and well-being in many positive ways. I highly recommen​​d this kind of lifestyle." ~ Richard Jock, CEO (you can read more about his journey here)

“I do enjoy an occasional glass of wine when dining with friends, but I am happy to keep my alcohol consumption very limited. As a doctor, I am well aware of the negative effects of alcohol, and there is no question that a no-alcohol or at least low-alcohol lifestyle results in better health and wellness." ~ Dr. Shannon McDonald, CMO

As the Sober for October Wellness Challenge draws to a close, now is a great time to pause and reflect on how you feel after removing or limiting alcohol consumption.

Did you notice any changes in your well-being, such as better sleep, mood, and energy? Are you feeling more clear-headed, and is your skin looking healthier? If so, why stop now? Remember, that only 31 days of removing alcohol helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases, cancer, weakened immune systems, and mental health challenges including depression and anxiety. (Alcohol is a well-known depressant). Imagine what eliminating it entirely could do for your wholistic wellness!

We now have new information from the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction that indicates having more than six drinks per week leads to an increased risk of health issues. And the harms are even higher for women than men.

Even though the official Sober for October Wellness Challenge is over on the 31st, we strongly encourage you to continue striving toward the wellness goals and healthy habits you set out for yourself this month.

Please remember that if you abstained all month and will be resuming drinking alcohol, your tolerance level to alcohol consumption may be lower than before. Be sure to drink slowly and consider drinking non-alcoholic drinks, such as sparkling water, in between alcoholic drinks. Learn more tips here about ways you can rethink your drink!

The FNHA​ would like to thank Buzz Manuel for sharing his story of recovery through sports, culture, and traditional healing. You can read his story here.

See the following resources to continue to support you on your journey:

To learn more about alcohol harm-reduction services and information, visit our Overdose Prevention and Harm Reduction page.

For information on getting treatment or recovery at a centre or outpatient clinic, including receiving couples counselling and services for pregnant people, visit our Treatment Centres page.

Check out the Thunderbird Partnership Foundation website for information on programs and services for substance use and addiction. Also, more information and support networks can be found at the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction website.

You can also access culturally safe care through the FNHA's Virtual Substance Use and Psychiatry ​Service, which provides BC First Nations people and their family members (even if they are not First Nations) with access to specialists in addictions medicine and psychiatry.

If you have suggestions to enhance this challenge, or suggestions for future challenges, please email the Wellness Initiatives Team at

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