Words by Tess Becker
Alcohol is just about ubiquitous in society, present in everything from sports and concerts, to nights out with friends. But as too many of us know, alcohol can have some nasty side effects.
According to Talbott Recovery, an estimated 15 million people struggle with an alcohol use disorders in the United States, but less than 10% of them receive treatment. To help them, Clifford Stephen started Booze Vacation.
Booze Vacation isn’t just for people struggling with alcoholism or heavy social drinking, it's also for those who want to improve their relationship with alcohol and potentially avoid the side effects of even mild alcohol use in the longterm. Clifford himself had his own journey with alcohol and wanted to offer an outlet for people to seek help.
“We associate alcohol with fun, friends and a reward system. As you find more success in your career and with your family, it continues to follow you, which is fine, but then you reach your 30s and 40s, when it starts having more of an impact on your health, wellness and your ability to enjoy the fruits of your labor,” Clifford tells Smiley News.
The initiative started as a conversation with his friends who he thought could gain something from the work he was trying to do for his own health. At first, a lot of his friends weren’t responsive so he wanted to help them engage.
“There's a real concern there and I just saw the massive need everywhere,” Clifford says. “People don't even discuss it in any meaningful way. They're completely uneducated. There are no good examples of guys who have taken extended breaks from alcohol and so there are just guys playing dumb with their alcohol use. Because they want to keep doing it.”
Throughout his work, Clifford aims to help people feel better without coming across as accusatory or condescending.
“It's my passion and I'm working on some great marketing to have that conversation about why it's important, why it's needed,” Clifford says. “And it's not finger-pointing, not preachy, not even about sobriety. It's just about maximizing the opportunity trade-in through a 3 to 12-month break.”
So far, Booze Vacation has reached about 1000 people with its resources, hopefully building up to more.
“It's a time-sensitive need if you don't do it,” Clifford says. “If you wait then all of a sudden, it's like, ‘okay, I have this arrhythmia, and I'm taking this medication and then I need to take that medication too'.”
Primarily, Clifford wants to help people before they get to the point of urgent need.
“It's like, 'okay, now you're past where we can help', but if you engage people in their 30s and 40s then there are a lot of opportunities to make some massive improvement in somebody's health, performance and activity levels to reset them on the right track.”
At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.
Path Home. This organization helps families facing homelessness in Portland, Oregon. Find out more and support them here.
Hope South Florida. They help people affected by homelessness across the tri-county South Florida. Find out more.
National Coalition for the Homeless. They aid homeless people around the country through their many branches. Support them here.