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Hug an Addict or Alcoholic Day – February 7, 2023

Hug an Addict or Alcoholic Day is observed every year on February 7 in the United States. The day is dedicated to destigmatizing addiction and rehabilitation. Strangers and addicts get together to observe the day understanding how addiction can be cured. Many addicts suffer from stigma and alienation and this is worrisome since companionship and acceptance are important on their road to recovery. With correct resources and empathy, addicts can be free of alcohol and drug addiction, and find their footing after recovering. Find out how you can contribute to this important cause by participating in Hug an Addict or Alcoholic Day.

History of Hug an Addict or Alcoholic Day

There is a reason why we celebrate Hug an Addict or Alcoholic Day. Hugs are known to stimulate the brain’s oxytocin system, this might be of help to those suffering from a substance use disorder. Close physical contact such as hugging can help addicts re-engage with the social world and battle their addiction.

Alcoholism was recognized as a disease by the American Medical Association back in 1956. It is the misuse or overuse of alcoholic beverages. Although officially deemed as a health problem in the mentioned year, there is already a history of people having problems due to alcohol. Some are even known names such as Alexander the Great, Vincent Van Gogh, Ernest Hemingway, and more. Not only that, healing or recovery from such cases is believed to have existed since around 1750. Native American communities are found to have sobriety circles. Meanwhile, the foundation of the current rehabilitation process is based on the foundation set by Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935. This organization continues to help people suffering from alcoholism on their way to recovery.

Many ways are being tried to help in the rehabilitation of alcoholics. But one chemical, namely Oxytocin, is found to inhibit alcohol and other drugs from activating the dopamine reward system. This means when pleasure is minimal, the addict is less likely to rely on the substance. Negative behaviors associated with withdrawal and long-term consequences of substance abuse, such as anxiety, depression, and social withdrawal, can be controlled by the increased supply of oxytocin. In fact, oxytocin is so effective that it can even control relapses. The closest way to supply oxytocin to addicts is by giving them hugs and sharing words of encouragement. Any kind of close physical contact is immensely useful in making addicts feel loved and belonged. Hug an Addict or Alcoholic Day reminds us that with simple actions we can make someone’s struggle easier.

Hug an Addict or Alcoholic Day timeline

1864
New York State Inebriate Asylum

It is the first hospital to treat alcoholism as a mental disorder.

Mid-20th Century
Eradication of Illicit Drug Use

Heroin, cocaine, and others are made illegal.

1960s
Influx of Exotic Drugs

This includes hallucinogens, marijuana, and amphetamines.

2004
American Addiction Centers

Dedicated to treating substance use disorders, the center opens.

Hug an Addict or Alcoholic Day FAQs

What is the true meaning of addiction?

Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking, continued use despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain. It is considered both a complex brain disorder and a mental illness.

What is the reason for addiction?

Exposure to addictive substances, social pressure, lack of social support, and poor coping skills can also contribute to the development of addictions.

What are the five phases of addiction?

The five phases of addiction are experimentation, regular use, risky use, dependence, and addiction.

How to Observe Hug an Addict or Alcoholic Day

  1. Share hugs

    Observe Hug an Addict or Alcoholic Day by sharing hugs with a drug addict or an alcoholic. The rush of oxytocin is helpful on their road to recovery and you can help make their journey a little bit easier.

  2. Share your story

    Have you successfully recovered from drug addiction or alcoholism? Share your story and inspire people with your journey on Hug an Addict or Alcoholic Day. Let them know that this is a battle that can be won.

  3. Donate to participating organizations

    On Hug an Addict or Alcoholic Day, consider donating to organizations that are dedicated to the recovery of addicts. You can also donate to rehabilitation centers and other volunteering groups.

5 Interesting Facts About Addiction

  1. Relapsing is quite common

    About 60% of addicts will relapse in the first year of sobriety.

  2. Addiction can be fatal

    About 15% of all deaths worldwide are due to substance addiction.

  3. Alcohol correlates to domestic violence

    The numbers are as high as 73% in Australia.

  4. It is an expensive affair

    The annual expense of addictive substances worldwide is nearly $740 billion.

  5. Genetics has a role to play

    Roughly 50% of addicts have family members who were also addicts at one point in time.

Why Hug an Addict or Alcoholic Day is Important

  1. To show we care

    Celebrations such as Hug an Addict or Alcoholic Day are a way to show that we care. Some small things such as giving a hug can have a significant impact on someone’s life. You could be changing another person’s life for the better!

  2. To provide alternative treatment

    Even though research agrees that oxytocin can significantly help those struggling with addiction, there is no real way for patients to receive oxytocin apart from close physical contact. The simple act of hugging can make treatment of addiction quicker, how cool is that!

  3. To bring us closer to them

    When we spend time in the company of those recovering from addiction, we realize how real their struggles are. Hug an Addict or Alcoholic Day removes the stigma about addicts and encourages us to be empathetic and get people to seek help.

Hug an Addict or Alcoholic Day dates

YearDateDay
2023February 7Tuesday
2024February 7Wednesday
2025February 7Friday
2026February 7Saturday
2027February 7Sunday

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