What is Sober October?
Every year, Macmillan runs a Sober October campaign to encourage people to go alcohol-free in October to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Started in 2014, Macmillan Cancer Support’s Go Sober for October movement has raised over £33 million for people with cancer. Much like Dry January, Sober October is a month dedicated to reducing (if not completely cutting out) your intake of alcohol. For a period of 31 days, you’re asked to cut out alcohol, often raising money for charity in the process.
Taking a break from drinking is a great way to give your body a break from alcohol, and it has lots of benefits. With many people who didn’t intend to aim for long term sobriety choosing to do so after experiencing so many benefits.
You don’t need to raise money to take part in Sober October, but pledging to raise money is a great way to keep you motivated and accountable.
Benefits of Sober October include:
- Improved sleep – within 1-2 weeks you may notice the quality of your sleep improve. Typically, when you drink you fall straight into a deep sleep, missing the important rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. While you are supposed to have between six and seven cycles of REM sleep a night, you typically only have one or two when you’ve been drinking.
- More hydrated – When you drink alcohol, you lose around four times as much liquid as what you actually drank. Dehydration can cause headaches, as your organs take water from the brain due to their own water loss. Salt and potassium levels also reduce, which can impact nerve and proper muscle function while also causing headaches, fatigue and nausea.
- Your skin health will improve. Alcohol can cause red and blotchy or puffy skin. Alcohol-free skin is better hydrated, removing these problems and reducing dry patches that can inflame conditions like eczema
- Your stomach will feel better. Symptoms such as indigestion and acid reflux can be caused by alcohol irritating your digestive system. You’ll also be better able to absorb nutrients and store vitamins and minerals
- Healthier vital signs and organ function – Research has shown that a month not drinking alcohol can reduce insulin resistance, blood pressure, and growth factors that contribute to cancer formation.
- Stronger disease resistance – Since regular drinking impairs immune function, you might enjoy a welcome boost in disease resistance during Sober October.
- Clearer thinking – A month of sobriety can eliminate the “foggy” effect that routine drinking has on your thought process. For some, it can feel as if a cloud has miraculously lifted.
- Better control over weight and fitness – Alcohol is not only a poison, it’s also loaded with empty calories! By steering clear of it throughout October, you may find you lose a few pounds.
Ready to go sober this october? Here are 7 Sober October Tips to help you thrive this sober October – and beyond!
1 Get 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.
2 Map out your motivations for going Sober for October
Write a list of reasons why you want to go Sober for October. It could be as simple as a desire to raise money for charity or you may have multiple reasons such as reduced anxiety, better health and improved finances. By writing down your reason(s) gives you motivation for when you’re feeling tempted to have a drink.
3 Celebrate Your Small Wins
“If you’re used to drinking regularly, 31 days of sobriety can seem like a mammoth task,” says Hemmings. “Breaking this down, be it into weeks or social events that you might be tempted to drink at, and concentrating on one at a time will help things seem more manageable. Sharing your successes with loved ones or with others on social media will also give you a boost and help you to persevere.”
4 Find sober heros
Finding other people taking part in Sober October and connecting with them will do wonders for your motivation. Having others to hold you accountable, share tips with and motivate each other will help you stay on track even through the tough days.
5 Find other ways to reward yourself
Many of us use alcohol to reward ourselves, from landing a promotion at work to surviving the working week. Look at new, more healthier ways to reward yourself such as booking in for a massage, treating yourself to a new item of clothing or indulging in a takeaway.
6 Remember this was your decision
Remember it was your decision to go Sober for October – Embrace it! Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you are missing out – you’re not! CHOOSING to remain alcohol free for a month is both freeing AND empowering.
7 Get support
If your looking for more structured support to go Sober this October, why not try our 30 day programme where you will not only have daily, guided support but also access a wealth of benefits such as weekly zoom calls, a community of like minded women and much, much more!
Ready to dive in?.