October is in full swing but it’s not too late to start the Sober October challenge. You might have seen the #soberoctober hashtag popping up in your social feeds and maybe it’s sparking your curiosity about what it might be like to abstain from alcohol for 30 days.
Let’s take a closer look at the Sober October phenomenon, why more Canadians are starting to participate, and how a Sober October could potentially lead to long-term benefits in your own life.
What is Sober October?
The phrase “Sober October” has its origins in the UK and Australia, where it was linked to several fundraisers that saw participants abstaining from alcohol for a month in order to raise money for charitable organizations. In recent years, however, the term has dove-tailed with the growing sober curious movement and the increasing popularity of Dry January (another month-long sobriety pledge). Sober October is now becoming a 30-day commitment made by people around the world who have decided to reduce the amount of alcohol in their lives.
Should you try Sober October?
There’s perhaps never been a more challenging time to cut out alcohol for a month, as more Canadians reach for an extra glass of wine or an evening cocktail to help alleviate the stress of the pandemic.
A recent study commissioned by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction showed that 25 per cent of Canadians between the ages of 35 and 54 have increased the amount of alcohol they drink while at home during the pandemic.
Sober October presents an opportunity to reevaluate your relationship with alcohol, and reconsider how you may turn to it in times of stress. Even if you decide to drink again after the 30-day challenge is complete, you could emerge with alternative coping mechanisms to alcohol as well as a better understanding of when and why you choose to drink.
This new knowledge could lead you to drink less in the future. Research from the University of Sussex, for example, found that participants who gave up alcohol for a month reduced the number of days they drank later in the year.
Even in just a month, you might also notice some physical health benefits to cutting out alcohol. For example, countless studies show that alcohol has a negative impact on sleep quality. You’ll likely find yourself getting better rest and waking up more energized throughout your alcohol-free month.
How to enjoy Sober October
You’ll sometimes see Sober October also referred to as “Mocktober” for good reason – it’s the perfect time to experiment with mocktails or non-alcoholic cocktails. Just because you’re cutting out alcohol, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on treating yourself to an evening cocktail.
Try mixing Sobrii non-alcoholic gin into your favourite gin cocktail recipes to enjoy the same flavour experience without the booze. You might be surprised by how little you miss alcohol when you have delicious, alcohol-free cocktails to take its place.
Throughout Sober October, many people also find it helpful to journal or take notes about their daily experience. Evaluating how you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally each day without alcohol can help you make the most of Sober October by guiding you in rethinking your relationship with alcohol. It could be the first step towards making sober months like Sober October or Dry January a regular habit, or deciding to permanently reduce your alcohol consumption.