Sober(er) for October: A New Season Is a Great Time to Set/Reset Health Goals!


A message from Dr. Shannon McDonald, Acting Chief Medical Officer


A new season is here, and with it, a chance to start afresh with our health and wellness goals. (No need to wait until the New Year to make resolutions for getting healthier! Why not start looking and feeling better NOW?)

Traditionally, First Nations people travelled to different parts of our territories and villages, changing our lifestyles and diets based on the season. The seasonal cycle was always a new beginning, in a way -- a time to reflect, reset and adapt.

This month, the FNHA is providing you with a fun group opportunity to set or reset your health and wellness journey: the Sober(er) for October Challenge. We encourage you to invite friends, family members or loved ones to join you and support each other – and to share your progress (via photos, posts) with us and other First Nations people in BC on our social media. You and they can be health and wellness influencers!

At the beginning of this month-long challenge, you might want to take some time to reflect and plan exactly how you are going to do it. That is, to think about ways you can reduce or quit drinking alcohol for the 31 days of this month. For example, what healthier alternative activities, tools or resources would you prefer to be using to help you cope with your emotions and circumstances? Perhaps you can plan to go for regular walks and talks with friends, play board games you enjoy, create art with video guidance (see, or join online workout sessions (see There are so many possibilities!

If you are someone who feels that their drinking is a problem and that you need professional support, help is available through the First Nations Virtual Substanc​e Use and Psychiatry Service​.

You can expect to see and/or feel the following benefits when reducing or eliminating your alcohol consumption for 31 days:

  • Your heart health will improve. Reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption benefits your heart health in many ways.
  • Your liver can begin to heal and repair itself. The liver is a vital organ responsible for breaking down and filtering harmful substances in the blood. Reducing or eliminating alcohol will allow it to detox and get heathier.
  • You will sleep better. Reducing or eliminating alcohol will improve your sleep cycles and sleep patterns. Getting proper rest is so important to feeling and functioning at our best. 
  • Your concentration will improve.  Allowing your brain to heal and restore to its natural function will help your memory, mood and nerves. This will help support your motivation for achieving your wellness goals.
  • Your skin will be healthier. Drinking lots of water instead of alcohol will clear your skin from toxins plus hydrate it.
  • You will have more energy. You will feel better physically and be able to be more active.
  • If you smoke cigarettes, you may find you smoke a lot less. Some people smoke more when they're drinking alcohol.

These are all good reasons to join us on our Sober(er) for​ October Challenge! Let's work towards our health and wellness goals for ourselves, our family, friends and loved ones. Together, we can start reducing the risks of chronic diseases, cancer, weakened immune systems, and mental health challenges including depression and anxiety. This is especially important now during the COVID-19 pandemic!

Who knows, doing this challenge for the month may lead to a new long-term habit. You will likely feel so good that you will want to continue reducing or eliminating alcohol as a permanent lifestyle.

I encourage you to join the Sober(er) for October Challenge and become a health and wellness influencer! You can do it!​

Download this message in PDF format here​.

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