Aside from the welcome of the autumn season, October for many is Sober October, a campaign and activity encouraging people to abstain from alcohol for the 31 days the month brings. The campaign is aimed at those who drink socially to help create healthier lifestyle changes and reap the benefits of going alcohol-free for the month. Heavy drinkers and individuals with alcohol dependency should see their GP before undertaking any abstinence program or activity.
For many, it may be curbing those glasses of wine in the evening for a healthier alternative and for others it might be navigating socialising without alcohol. Consider the below to help you with this challenge:
1. Journal and reflect on the month ahead
Take a moment to sit and think about how you would like to feel going into this month; are there any triggers that you need to consider? What tools and support do you need going into this? How would you like to feel? Are there any goals you would like to achieve? Giving space to reflect can help with your focus for the month ahead.
Mindfulness is about being in the present moment and allowing your feelings and thoughts to flow over you. Consider taking up some mindful activities during October to help manage any cravings for drinking i.e. a mindful walk in nature, meditation, playing a game, or a warm mindful shower. Find what works for you and make a note.
3. Focus on the benefits of not drinking
There are many benefits to not drinking including better sleep, more time for yourself that wouldn’t be spent in the pub, more money from not drinking, no hangovers, better mental health, more energy, healthier skin, and the list continues. Whilst all the benefits are good, find those that really resonate with you.
4. Curate a network of like-minded individuals
There are many forums and social media accounts out there to help support you on your sober tober journey. Find a few like-minded friends for you to share your experience with, or curate your social media feeds to view sobriety and alcohol-free accounts alone, to keep you focused.
5. Find and explore alcohol-free options
Sobriety doesn’t necessarily mean that lime & soda or fizzy drinks are your only options when socialising. There is a plethora of alcohol-free drinks that are available in all leading supermarkets and also in pubs & restaurants. Explore these during the month – you may find a new favourite.
Everyone’s journeys with sobriety and alcohol-free living are unique and different, so find the tools and ways to make the month work for you. Be kind to yourself and enjoy the challenge. Good luck!
If you need help and advice staying sober, then talking to your GP can help. Therapy is another option to give you strategies to cope. Get in touch with us to start your journey.
Author: David - trainee counsellor, working online, and in both Kingston & Epsom