Sober October – it’s that time again! How are we nearly 3/4s of the way through the year? I have no idea! If you started the year with a Dry January, and/or an intention to cut down your drinking; Sober October is a perfect time to pick that intention back up.
Whilst it pays to be mindful of your drinking all year round (read my posts on anxiety and drinking and how to stop drinking here), a sober month whilst everyone else is doing it can be a great kick start to an alcohol free period, a reminder of how great not drinking feels or the boost you need to maintain mindful drinking.
Dry January and Sober October bring with them their own detractors, memes and snarky critics – but you can’t criticise away the intention of not drinking for a whole month, that’s awesome!
As a full time alcohol free person, the benefits of giving up booze have far outweighed the fun I used to have whilst drinking. I still go out with my friends, but I choose alcohol free options now too.
I have more money, better skin, am way more productive and I lost a bit of weight – these are all benefits you’ll get from taking a month of booze for Sober October too.
So if you’re thinking about trying Sober October, or are sober already and just need a little boost, keep reading for my 5 tips to enjoy a booze free period:
Have one (or more) strong motivation(s) for your Sober October
Why are you doing Sober October? Perhaps as I mentioned above you wanted to cut down on drinking in 2017? Are you raising money for Macmillan? Or wanting to save money maybe you’ve already started your sober journey and want to support other people during this month …
Remember this motivation when you’re feeling tempted to have a drink.
Get really clear on what makes you want to drink
Our relationship with alcohol can be emotional. Awareness is everything. Often we booze when we’re celebrating or commiserating, to get the party started and to chill out; so it’s natural to feel deprived when you remove it from your life (even when it’s for a short period of time).
To enjoy your Sober October month, and to ensure you stick to the whole 4 and a bit weeks, start to notice when it is you feel like you’re really missing out. Is it when you’re stressed out at work and want to relax? Or when you want to celebrate some good news? Once you’ve noticed why you want to drink, it’s easier to switch it out with another activity. Take a bath to relax and celebrate a new job with a lie in or a nice meal out instead.
Reach out for support
October is a great time of year to be on the wagon, people are starting to think about Christmas and plenty of others will be doing Sober October. If your friends and family don’t get it, there are lots of online resources and private Facebook groups for you to turn too. Saying no to drinks can be hard but remember why you decided to embark on Sober October, and check in with friends or online groups regularly to keep you accountable and celebrate milestones! If you don’t know where to start looking, Club Soda have a very active Facebook group where you can check in for support or advice regularly (I’m an active member!)
Plan your drinks in advance
Whilst you can have the best of intentions to stay in lots, there will be occasions when you’re due a meal out or a birthday celebration in the pub with your friends. Don’t feel like you have to avoid it because you’re not drinking (you can have loads of fun not drinking I promise) but plan what you’re going to drink in advance to steer clear of temptation. Lot’s of pub’s and restaurants have a variety of alcohol free drinks these days, you can check out their menu’s beforehand to decide what you’ll drink before you get there and if you’re looking for pub inspiration – check out Club Soda’s Guide to find an alcohol free friendly venue.
Reward yourself – lots!
Celebrate the small wins. Stayed sober at your work do? Said no to a pint at the pub and opted for a Seedlip and Tonic? That’s awesome, go you! Waking up without a hangover is one of the best feelings ever so make plans to do things you enjoy. Been saying you want to try salsa dancing, now’s the time to book it! Always wanted to watch The Wire? Treat yourself to a night (or seven) in and watch the boxset. Not drinking can gain you a lot of time and save you a lot of money, if you average £60 a week on two nights out you’ve saved £240 in a month of not drinking! Reward yourself by spending the money you’ve saved and/or enjoying your hangover free mornings.