Sober (or Soberer) for October message from Richard Jock, FNHA Chief Operating Officer



I hope that everybody who's taking the Sober (or Soberer) Challenge is feeling some good effects this eleventh day in. Sober October is a great opportunity to focus on or try out a different life choice for at least a defined period.

In my own life, it has been at least 21 years for abstention from alcohol, and this includes other substances that have not been part of my life. My partner has also been a non-user for at least that long, so this has been an important family lifestyle choice. We believe that our decision to be sober has yielded immeasurable benefits to us, our family, and our professional experiences.

Before I decided to abstain from alcohol, I worked for nine years as the executive director for the National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program (NNADAP), and was well aware of both the struggles and successes of First Nations people from coast to coast to coast. During my time with NNADAP, I met and worked with leaders such as Maggie Hodgson from Nechi Institute; Chief Wayne Christian, who was then director of Round Lake Treatment Centre; and Charlene Belleau, Andy Chelsea, and Freddie Johnson, leaders and social innovators from Alkali Lake (now Esketemc First Nation and the subject of the acclaimed documentary, "The Honour of All, " which is about the community's transition from an extremely high rate of alcohol abuse to almost 90% of the community in sobriety). I also met a young Evan Adams -- then a medical student and actor as well as a member of the high-profile NNADAP Role Model Program. Evan remains a highly visible role model for a positive and healthy lifestyle as our Chief Medical Officer.

I encourage everyone who is participating to see it through! Whether you've chosen to reduce your alcohol consumption or abstain from alcohol entirely, keep at it and reap the benefits. You might be so pleased with your results that this month-long challenge could lead to the continuation of a reduced or no-alcohol lifestyle. I wish you and your family health and wellness this fall season.

Find out more about the Sober for October challenge here.