Sober October kicks off tomorrow. Yes it’s a thing. Like similarly themed months ( Dry January, Dry July, Sober September, etc ) Sober October involves cutting out alcohol for 31 days. It has recently gained notoriety, in no small part, due to comedian and podcaster Joe Rogan committing to this month-long sobriety challenge for the past three years.
Sober October comes at a good time, after the summer when things tend to be a little less structured in our lives (especially these days), and before the holiday gluttony (whatever that looks like in 2020). Plus the stress of the past 6 months has led many to increase their drinking as a coping mechanism.
For some, who just want to dial back their drinking, this month-long break can be the change needed to instill new habits. For those of us struggling with active addiction, Sober October can be the baby-step needed to dip our toes into the sober world. It allows us to rethink our relationship with alcohol and be more mindful about the reasons behind our drinking.
Need motivation? For the sober-curious who think that 31 days seems to be a pretty aggressive goal, here are some tips to make it through.
ODAAT: You’ve heard the phrase One Day At A Time for good reason. It works to reframe your experience and focus on just staying sober today. It’s is easier to break it up into bite-sized pieces. (Just like the fun-size Halloween candy that we end up eating 10 of instead of one regular-sized candy bar.)
Reward yourself. Plan out something you can do or reward yourself with at the end of 31 days. Calculate how much you typically spend on alcohol a week (Ifyou typically drink 2 glasses of wine a day – let’s say that’s $12 a day –by the end of the month you’ll have saved almost $400.) The first time we tried Sober September we planned a trip to Mexico at the end of it (who knew a few years later we’d have a sober life instead of a sober month). However, having that trip as the light at the end of the tunnel gave us something to look forward to instead of focusing on the things we couldn’t do.
Change your routine. A lot of us drink habitually. It’s that 5pm glass of wine or happy hour cocktail that we become accustomed to. We drink when we cook. We drink at the end of the day to reward ourselves. We drink when we have a tough day. We drink when we have a good day. We drink. Instead of pouring a glass of wine, find an alternative (we like kombucha, non-alcoholic ginger beer or flavored soda water). Go to bed earlier than usual (we went to bed last night at 7pm – no judgement). Take bath. Read a book. Journal. Use that extra energy in a positive way and exercise. Anything to distract from the little voice that says you deserve it, you need it, just one.
Focus on how you FEEL: It’s no secret that the health benefits to cutting back or quitting drinking are significant. Better sleep, healthier organ function, clearer brain function and calorie intake are all benefits of quitting alcohol. Around the 3 – 4 week mark is when you truly start to see the physical changes that take place when you remove alcohol. Many see clearer skin, whiter eyes, reduced puffiness and weight loss.
Whatever your motivation, it’s important to take a moment to really think about the reasons behind our drinking and the benefits that can result from removing alcohol from the equation. Happy Sober October friends!