Sober October: How to Stay on Track

The start of October often brings many emotions. Welcoming a new season allows us time to pause and reflect on what we want to change. Especially with only three months left of the year, it's no surprise that during this month, we evaluate our habits, relationships, and priorities. We can take a moment to look at what is or is not working for us so we can close out the year with good intentions. 

If you've ever considered experimenting with being sober curious, and are interested in refraining from drinking for a more extended period, October is a great time to try. But before we get into how to stay on track and accountable for an entire month, let's dive into where the term Sober October came from. 

The Origin of Sober October 

"Sober October" became popular after a charity event called "Go Sober for October" was launched in the United Kingdom in 2010 by Macmillan Cancer Support. 

The idea was simple yet powerful: participants would commit to giving up alcohol for the entire month of October, and in doing so, they would raise funds for cancer support services. It was a win-win situation – people could challenge themselves to be booze-free while contributing to a good cause.

Sober October quickly gained notoriety worldwide for several reasons. Many people find October a good time to take a break from alcohol before the festive season picks up. November and December often include nights out with coworkers and clients, drinking while watching sports events, and celebrating holidays with friends and family. 

The rise of social media also played a significant role in popularizing Sober October. Participants began sharing their experiences, challenges, and successes on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The hashtag #SoberOctober became a way for those participating to create a sense of community and accountability.

If you're participating in Sober October this year, we're here to help you stay on track.

How to Stay On Track

Set Clear Goals
Start by defining your goals. What do you hope to achieve? Whether you aim to improve your health, gain mental clarity, save money, or support a charitable cause, having clear objectives will keep you motivated and focused.

Share Your Intentions
Tell your friends and family about your sober-curious commitment. Not only does vocalizing your commitment provide you with a support system, but it also creates accountability. Your loved ones can help keep you on track and encourage your journey. They might even join in as well!

Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness techniques like meditation and deep breathing can help you manage cravings and reduce stress. When the urge to drink strikes, take a few moments to center yourself and remind yourself of your goals.

Avoid Triggers
Identify situations or places that trigger your desire to drink and steer clear of them, at least for the month. If certain friends or events are associated with heavy drinking, consider suggesting alternative plans that align with your goals. If you are fine participating in activities that are centered around drinking, we recommend exploring the wide variety of non-alcoholic beverages available. 

Stock up on spritzers or alcohol-free beer and wine. It's also an excellent time to learn how to make fun mocktails and explore new drink recipes. Good alternatives (we're not talking about a glass of sparkling water with lemon!) make it easier to resist the urge to drink. You can even host a night-in instead and use fun kits to create mocktails. Our newest favorite is The Cucumber Lychee Sour, a twist on a classic sour with only four ingredients. Add a friendly competition of who created the best presentation to make the night even more fun! 

Plan Activities
In addition to hosting mocktail nights, stay busy by filling your calendar with alcohol-free activities on the weekend. Explore new hobbies, take up an exercise routine, or start that creative hobby you've always wanted to try. The more occupied you are, the less you'll think about alcohol.

Reward Yourself
Set up a rewards system for yourself. When you reach certain milestones, treat yourself to something special – a spa day, a new book, or a cozy night in. Positive reinforcement can boost your motivation.

Take Time to Reflect
Journaling about your progress is often beneficial when committing to a new habit. Writing, either in the morning, evening or at the end of each week, can help you stay aligned with your intentions and serves as a way to check in with your feelings.

Learn from Slip-Ups
If you have a momentary lapse and consume alcohol, don't be too hard on yourself. Slip-ups happen, but they don't have to derail your entire month. Learn from the experience and use it as motivation to stay on track.

Celebrate Achievements
Celebrate your achievements along the way. Whether it's the one-week mark, halfway through the month, or the final day on the 31st, acknowledge your successes and how far you've come. 

Once you've reached the end, reflect on your experience. Did you notice that your wellbeing improved? Did you sleep better? Do you feel more in tune with your body and mind? It's also helpful to check if you saved money during this time. By removing alcohol from your life for a bit, you might have gained more clarity about how you would like to prioritize your time, money, and energy moving forward. 

Written by: Elena Rogers

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