Throughout the year, there are challenges held to help encourage people to cut back on their drinking or eliminate it from their lives. Dry January has grown in popularity over the years as people try to start the year by getting healthy as part of their New Year’s Resolutions. Another time of the year when sobriety is promoted that has caught on over the years is Sober October.
Sober October is designed not only to promote sobriety throughout Kansas City, Missouri, but across the United States as well. It also promotes getting healthy and adopting a healthier lifestyle by eliminating alcohol from your lifestyle.
What Is Sober October?
Sober October is a concept that was started in the United Kingdom as a way to help raise awareness and money for cancer. It is put on annually by Macmillan Cancer Support and has raised over 33 million pounds (roughly $36 million in U.S. dollars) since its inception in 2014.
The goal of Sober October is to not drink for the 31 days that are in October. So, whether you are looking to evaluate your relationship with alcohol, or are simply looking for a challenge and to get a little healthier, Sober October is the perfect way to abstain from drinking and focus on your health.
What Are the Rules For Sober October?
There is only one rule when it comes to Sober October, and it is a simple one: don’t have an alcoholic drink for the entire month of October.
If you are participating in the official Go Sober for October challenge put on by Macmillan, you can ask friends, family members, coworkers, etc., to donate towards your sobriety for the month.
What Are the Health Benefits of Getting Sober?
Eliminating alcohol from your diet has both physical and mental benefits. Even if you are someone that does not necessarily have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, many benefits can come from eliminating alcohol from your lifestyle, even if it is just for one month.
Let’s face it, hangovers are no fun. They are the price we pay for what we drank the night before. As we get older and older, they can become more severe and last longer as well.
Not drinking eliminates any chance of a hangover the next day. This will lead to better sleep, more energy, and more productivity. You also won’t have to wonder what exactly you did the night before.
Many people don’t realize that drinking a lot of alcohol can cause skin problems. Alcohol can lead to dried-out skin due to dehydration. It can also lead to swelling of the skin and reduced collagen levels.
When you stop drinking, your skin slowly starts to heal and become healthier and better looking.
Not only do most alcohol and alcoholic drinks come with a ton of empty calories, but our concern about nutrition tends to go out the window after we have had a few drinks.
Some people skip meals entirely when they are drinking, choosing to “drink” their meals or be on a “liquid diet”. Others might find themselves craving junk food when they have been drinking.
Either way, proper nutrition goes out the window, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies and unhealthy weight gain or loss.
Unfortunately, the correlation between drinking alcohol and mental health issues is high. Many people struggle with their mental health and turn to drinking as a way to self-medicate so they can feel better. For others, alcohol triggers a mental health condition in their brain that they might not have previously suffered from.
Eliminating alcohol can not only improve your physical health, but it can improve your mental health as well. When you are sober you can think more clearly and address your mental health issues objectively. Since alcohol is a depressant, cutting it out of your life can also alleviate feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress that might have been brought on by drinking.
While saving money is not a direct health benefit, the concept of saving money can lead to improved health. By not spending money that you normally would on alcohol, it frees up money to either help cover the bills at the end of the month, which can relieve stress, or it can be used on other things you enjoy, such as traveling or getting that new jacket you have been really wanting. This can also improve your overall mental health.
What Should I Drink Instead?
As the popularity of Dry January and Sober October has continued to grow, coupled with the improved stigma when it comes to getting treatment for alcohol-related issues, the concept of the mocktail has grown in popularity as well.
Thanks in large part to companies creating non-alcoholic alternatives to popular alcoholic drinks, you can still enjoy your favorite beverages without the alcohol in them. Non-alcoholic beer, spirits, and even wines are not only available, but there are many to choose from.
These non-alcoholic drink options are not just available for you to have at home either. More and more bars and restaurants are catering to the non-alcoholic drinker and embracing the mocktail. Some even have special mocktail menus to go along with them, although many people have unhealthy traditional cocktail menus.
If you have any social outings or parties planned for October, especially with Halloween being this month, consider having non-alcoholic drink options for your guests.
If you are attending someone else’s social gathering, consider asking if they will have to remove any non-alcoholic drink options available. Or, if you don’t feel comfortable doing that, consider bringing your own, so you know you have something enjoyable, and non-alcoholic to sip on.
How Can I Be Successful With This Challenge?
Eliminating alcohol from your lifestyle is a lot like dieting. The more you tell yourself not to have something, the more you will instinctively want it. Therefore, whether you are If If you want to eliminate alcohol from your life entirely or just for October, it’s important to do it the right way.
For starters, while in a perfect world, everyone would just wake up one morning and say they are never drinking again, that’s not a realistic expectation. Instead, slowly start weaning yourself off alcohol. This can mean having one fewer drink each time you do drink until you have reached zero. Or, you can try and sub in a mocktail or sparkling water to trick your brain. You can also make your cocktails progressively weaker until they no longer contain any alcohol.
It’s also important that, in the case of a slip-up or relapse, you don’t beat yourself up over it. Just learn from it and move on.
Relapse Prevention Techniques
As we mentioned, we are human and relapse can happen. If it does happen, it is important to not get too down on yourself or beat yourself up about it. Instead, use it as a learning experience so it doesn’t happen again.
There are also things that you can do to actively help and try to prevent a relapse from happening. Below are some things that you can do to help prevent a relapse:
- Adopt a healthy diet
- Make sure to get plenty of sleep each night
- Get plenty of exercises
- Turn to healthier ways to deal with stress and triggers such as yoga and meditation
- Take advantage of support groups such as AA
- Surround yourself with positive and supportive people who are looking out for you and your best interest
- Don’t be afraid to talk to someone or ask for help
- Avoid situations that might cause triggers or cravings if possible
How Sana Lake Supports Sober October
Whether you are someone who is looking to eliminate alcohol just for October or you are looking to eliminate it from your life entirely, we want you to know that at Sana Lake Recovery we support your journey 100%.
If you are someone that is looking to eliminate alcohol from your life due to an unhealthy relationship with it, we are here to help you on that journey to recovery every step of the way. From detox to treatment, to even aftercare we will work with you every step of the as you get cleaned up and adopt a healthier lifestyle. We even offer support for family members and loved ones of those who are suffering.
If you or someone you know has an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and could benefit from alcohol treatment, contact us today.