As you probably guessed from the name, Sober October is an effort aimed at getting people to take a month off drinking. It started in 2014 as a fundraiser for Macmillan Cancer Support in the UKand has become a global trend, perhaps fueled by the increase in alcohol consumption the accompanied COVID.
There are other popular campaigns for “dry” months – Dry July, Dry January – but I think October is the best time of year for a 30-day wagon ride. It’s just before Thanksgiving and Christmas when you’re likely to be drinking some more, and there’s something about the approach of winter that encourages celebration, sobriety, and self-esteem. Also, “Sober October” rhymes.
The benefits of an October sobriety
More than an opportunity to test your willpower, there are real benefits to abstaining from alcohol (or less) for a month. You’ll have more money in your pocket, you’ll feel good about setting and achieving a goal, and the health benefits of even a short period of abstinence are significant.
A Study 2015 Led by Professor Kevin Moore of the Royal Free Hospital in London, it was found that moderate to heavy drinkers who abstained from alcohol for 30 days had improved insulin resistance, lost an average of 3kg in weight, lowered their cholesterol levels and had improved energy, sleep and more have reported mood. Plus, it’s good for the liver. Giving up alcohol reduces the fat changes that can lead to cirrhosis and other liver diseases.
Another benefit of sober October: Nothing will highlight a problem with alcohol more than having trouble stopping for a while.
Tips for a successful sober October
Alcohol has a strange place in our culture. It is a powerful, addictive, and potentially deadly drug, but it is available everywhere and so socially accepted it’s practically social expected. All of this can make it difficult to say “no,” even if you don’t depend on alcohol. Here are a few tips that will hopefully make your sober October a little easier.
- Make your own rules. There’s no right way to sober up October, so make up your own mind whether that means cutting out one drink a night or all drinks for the month. Any progress is better than none.
- Don’t think of it as abstinence. Consider it an opportunity to get out of your rut for a few weeks to gain a clearer perspective on your relationship with alcohol.
- Let supportive friends and family know about your plans. It’s difficult to turn down a drink or a visit to a saloon, so make sure people you know don’t ask for it.
- Practice refusing a drink. Prepare mentally, because what you say can alleviate some of the social pressure that often accompanies alcohol.
- Plan alcohol-free activities. Maybe you could chug a trip to a bar with club soda, but why would you test it? Instead, use October as an opportunity to do all the fun, non-alcoholic things you’ve always wanted to do. Visit the observatory. Take a dance class. Learn to play cucumber ball. volunteers. Go through a corn maze. There is metric tons of options.
- train more A fun little workout with a drink can provide that mood boost you might be looking for.
- Take it one day at a time. This is the famous AA advice. Don’t think about quitting for a month; Just remember not to drink today. Dividing time into manageable chunks makes it seem less daunting.
- Pamper yourself in a different way. If you’re an after-dinner drinker who drinks a glass of wine as a treat, substitute something else. It’s fun to make elaborate mocktails. So is eat a piece of chocolate.
- Don’t sweat if you slip. If you have a beer one night, it doesn’t mean the whole thing is ruined. Just start again. Nobody counts.
Take it seriously when you find you can’t
Participating in sober October encourages a more thoughtful approach to alcohol, and part of that appreciation is being honest with yourself. It is possible to be dependent on alcohol without realizing it, to abuse alcohol without being dependent on it, and a number of other possibilities down the road Alcohol-use spectrum.
If you really can’t go 30 days without alcohol even though you want to, consider the possibility that you have a drinking problem. take one self-assessment and talk to your doctor or therapist about your concerns.