April is Alcohol Awareness Month and ARC is Sharing Helpful Resources as Kentuckians Prepare to Celebrate Derby Season

LOUISA, KY — April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and Addiction Recovery Care (ARC) is sharing important resources to help Kentuckians identify the warning signs of alcohol abuse and point loved ones to effective treatment options.

A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found that alcohol-related fatalities nationwide increased nearly 30 percent from 2016-17 to 2020-21 — accounting for an average of more than 178,000 excess deaths annually.

“Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a serious disease, but statistics show that less than 10 percent of individuals struggling with AUD receive treatment, unfortunately.” said Vanessa Keeton, ARC Vice President of Marketing. “However, the good news is that help is readily available, and our experienced treatment professionals stand ready to provide the personalized care and support needed to begin the road to recovery.”

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), having two or more of the following symptoms in the past year could signal an AUD:

  • Drinking more alcohol or over a longer period than originally intended
  • Unsuccessfully trying to cut down or control alcohol use
  • Craving or a strong desire or urge to use alcohol (wanting a drink so much it’s difficult to think of anything else)
  • Drinking that interferes with responsibilities at home, at work, or at school
  • Continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems with family and friends
  • Giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of alcohol use
  • Repeatedly using alcohol in physically hazardous situations
  • Developing a tolerance to alcohol (needing more alcohol to get the same effect)
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as shakiness, restlessness, nausea, or sweating after stopping or reducing drinking

With the historic 150th running of the Kentucky Derby just around the corner on May 4, the ARC team knows that the fun and festivities surrounding this marquee event can also present challenges to those in recovery.

Below are some tips for a safe and sober Derby season — to help individuals ensure they enjoy celebrating the Run for the Roses while avoiding uncomfortable situations that may put their recovery at risk:

  • 1. Plan ahead. Unscheduled downtime, especially in the early stages of recovery, can lead to bad thoughts and worse outcomes. Plan out your days/week by creating a schedule for yourself that includes spending time with friends and loved ones.
  • 2. Avoid being alone. For many individuals, finding community is a key to success in recovery. This Derby season, avoid isolating yourself and spending time alone. If a big group sounds overwhelming, find a friend or two who you can spend time with.
  • 3. Spend quality time with a group of sober friends. There are many ways to spend quality time with friends that don’t require drugs or alcohol. Make lunch or dinner reservations with friends or plan an activity somewhere where big crowds won’t be such a hassle.
  • 4. Host your own Derby party. Rather than going to a party where people might be using or drinking, host your own alcohol-free gathering. Invite those who you know will not mind spending Derby Day sober. It’s even better if they are friends who are also in recovery.
  • 5. Get crafty and enjoy a Derby mocktail. There are lots of delicious, alcohol-free alternatives. You can follow this recipe to create a Mint Julep mocktail. This can help set you up for a successful evening and minimize those uncomfortable questions about why you’re not drinking.
  • 6. Make short appearances and drive yourself. It is always okay to say no to Derby season functions, parties and get-togethers if you know they won’t serve you well. If you do decide to go to a gathering, you don’t have to stay the whole time — especially if it will put your recovery at risk.
  • 7. Keep it simple and don’t stress too much about what everyone else is doing. Whether you are new in recovery or have a decade under your belt, try to keep it simple. Establish reasonable goals and don’t get too caught up thinking about what everyone else is doing. Do what’s best for you and your recovery, and don’t worry too much about missing out anywhere else.

“If you or someone you care about is struggling with alcohol use, please reach out to the experienced treatment professionals at ARC,” added Keeton. “We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help provide a path to hope and healing.”

To connect with the Addiction Recovery Care team of treatment specialists at any time, please call 888-817-8903 or visit

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Addiction Recovery Care (ARC), headquartered in Louisa, Kentucky, operates a network of over 30 licensed addiction treatment centers in 22 Central and Eastern Kentucky counties. Our mission is to create opportunities for people to discover hope and live their God-given destiny. For full details about ARC’s full array of services, please visit


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