‘Dry January’ turned #sobrietymovement: local professionals weigh in

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – It’s no secret New Mexico has the highest alcohol-related death rate in the country. NMDOH reports 1 in 5 deaths among working age adults can be traced back to alcohol, and 1 in 7 adults binge-drink.

So maybe you’re joining millions of others in “Dry January” 31 days without alcohol. There’s plenty of external motivation on TikTok these days, which professionals say can be a good thing.

“In terms of any kind of recovery what most people need is some kind of motivation, and a lot of times we look for that motivation externally,” said Joshua Gamez, clinical manager at the Bernalillo County CARE Campus. “It can create connection, and it can, you can have this communication with friends, family and people you don’t even know who are sharing in these ideas.”

Jennifer Burke, the executive director of Serenity Mesa Youth Recovery Center, says social media movements make sense for teens in particular.

“Social media is just something they’ve grown up with, it’s something that they see as a huge part of their life, and we have to know as adults that’s one way they’re going to use naturally to reach out for help,” said Burke. 

But she’s also seen plenty of TikToks that glorify drinking, that can have the opposite effect.

“I think it has a place for both, but I do think for young people you know they have to be careful because it can glorify something that may look fun in the moment, but that could have really serious consequences,” said Burke.

Both professionals agree social media can be a tool, but it’s not treatment in itself.

“Just like any other tool if you’re not ready for that, if you’re not using it correctly, or if you’re following social media certain things that might be toxic, or certain things that might be adding some pressure it can definitely be difficult,” said Gamez.

The Bernalillo County CARE campus has several resources available to those looking for addiction recovery resources.