You’ve heard of Dry January, Dry July, and abstaining from alcohol entirely. What makes Sober October different from all the other times you’ve wanted to cut back?
Sober October is a strategically placed event, sandwiched right after the carefree days of summer and the upcoming holiday season. As such, some view Sober October as even harder to commit to than Dry January! If you’ve been considering cutting back on alcohol, this event will transform you into a disciplined machine.
We’ll take a look at Sober October, its origins, and why it keeps making a comeback on so many people’s goal lists. We’ll also give you some tips so you can have a higher chance of completing Sober October successfully!
What is the Origin of Sober October?
While Dry January originated in the UK , Sober October is all Australian. The original day goes by the name October, a fundraising initiative to help and encourage people to abstain.
Not only is October a month to cut back and get creative, but it’s also an awareness campaign. For example, Life Education Australia is a nationwide television program aimed at children and a regular participant in “Ocsober?.
That said, Sober October caught on years ago in multiple countries and is now a frequently discussed event.
What are the Rules of Sober October?
The rules of Sober October is to abstain from alcohol throughout the entire month of October. These rules are the same no matter the country, though there are a few caveats.
If you have an alcohol dependency or suspect you do, Sober October could do more harm than good. We’ll expand on this in the section below.
What are the Benefits and Drawbacks?
Sober October may seem like nothing but benefits, but we’re here to stress nuance. This event needs to be addressed through the unique lens of your health journey.
Give Your Body a Much-Needed Break Before the Holidays
The holidays are one of the most alcohol-heavy periods of the year. Not only is mulled wine a go-to drink for Christmas, but champagne is also practically synonymous with the New Year.
Sober October gives your body a much-needed break before diving into the whirlwind parade of the holidays. Since it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for your liver to recover from alcohol, Sober October is a solid length of time.
Start Practicing Abstaining From Alcohol During a High-Pressure Period
Do you want to start doing yoga three times per week in the new year? How about committing to your goal of drawing more? Sober October gives you the confidence needed to start a new habit.
Even if you only get through Sober October halfway, that’s still two weeks you were able to commit!
Build a Community of Like-Minded People
Getting involved in a community of like-minded people is good for your health. In fact, studies show being socially connected has the same positive impact as exercise!
Sober October links you up with people eager to improve their sleep patterns, heal their liver, or boost their mood. The positivity alone will do wonders for your motivation and you may even make a few friends along the way.
Be Careful Not to Go Into Withdrawal
We don’t recommend jumping into a month of no alcohol if you have an alcohol dependency or suspect you have one. Withdrawal is a serious medical condition that can, at best, make you sick. At worst, you could be sent to the hospital.
People recovering from alcoholism may instead seek to lighten their consumption with low-alcohol varieties. If you’re not sure what’s best for you, meet with a physician for professional consultation.
You Can Feel Left Out During Big Events
Sober October can be tough to commit to when everyone else is boozing away the night. That said, we have some tips to help you still have fun!
How to Get Involved?
Getting involved with Sober October can be a personal affair or a group effort. In fact, most participants prefer sharing their journey to get encouragement or accountability.
Consider joining the Sober October groups below:
- Sober October!, a public Facebook group that’s active during the month of October and beyond
- Sober October USA!, another public Facebook group with a growing amount of followers
- r/soberoctober, a public subreddit for people to share their successes, tips, and stories
Tips to Stay Sober
Staying sober is certainly easier during slower periods. Between holiday habits and peer pressure, we have some tips to help you through it.
Come Up With Holiday-Centric Recipes to Get Into the Spirit
Just because you’re going sober for a month doesn’t mean you have to miss out! Coming up with holiday-centric recipes will get you into the spirit in fine form.
(We have some mocktail recipes in the FAQ section at the bottom you can try on for size).
Use Sober October Apps
Sober October apps give you a boost when you’re feeling your resolve wavering. These apps check in on your progress, share other people’s progress, and offer daily tips.
The apps we recommend most are:
- Dry Days, a free app that checks in on you every day and also tracks your calorie count
- I Am Sober, a free app that keeps you motivated and keeps you in touch with a like-minded community
- Sunnyside App, a $9/mo app that gives you drink plans, tracking tools, and the ability to chat with a health coach
Join Up With a Group or Use an App
We can’t emphasize this aspect enough. A study by Very Well Fit shows joining a group increases an individual’s chance of staying motivated and building confidence.
If you’re shy, there’s no shame in lurking for a while until you feel ready to open up. You can use one of the recommended apps in the meantime to stay on track.
What Happens After a Month of No Alcohol?
Taking a break from alcohol for just one month will change the way you look at your health.
Enjoy Glowing, Happy Skin
Did you know regular alcohol consumption is one of the worst habits for your skincare regimen? Since alcohol is a dehydrating element, you’re essentially sapping away moisture and leaving your skin dull.
Your healthy glow isn’t the only thing on the table when you drink a lot. You also run the risk of more wrinkles and inflammation.
Get More Consistent Sleep
It’s no mystery that alcohol isn’t the best ingredient for a healthy night’s sleep. Every time you drink, you put extra stress on your liver to cleanse out contaminants. This higher level of activity gets in the way of your REM cycle, a must-have for a healthy and happy life.
Your REM cycle – short for Rapid Eye Movement – is responsible for healing you throughout the night. Failing to get regular REM sleep comes with drawbacks like fatigue, forgetfulness, and an increased risk of heart disease.
Develop Confidence in Building Habits for the New Year
Getting through Sober October is a great way to boost your self-confidence. After all, if you can hold fast to an entire month of resisting impulses, what else can you do?
Set a positive tone for the fall and winter seasons and you’ll be ready to tackle the new year.
Pick a New Hobby to Distract From a Lack of Alcohol
Sometimes people drink when they’re feeling low or bored. Picking up a new hobby will give you a healthy distraction from your lack of alcohol.
Simple activities you can start with include:
- Going on a brief walk in the park twice a week
- Joining up with an online yoga or low-intensity jazzercise group
- Filling up a small, short sketchbook
- Journaling every morning
- Getting invested in a new videogame
Not sure what else Sober October entails? We have answers to frequently asked questions to get you ready to go.
What Can You Drink in Sober October?
Sober October is ripe with opportunities to get creative about what you pair with your meals.
Whip Up Some Mocktails
Mocktails give you all of the complex flavor and beautiful ornamentation without the guilt. If you’re not sure how well you can recreate some of your bar staples, try these recipes.
Many variations have been made to the Witch’s Brew cocktail, so we’re going to add our own non-alcoholic version. This drink is appealing for its vivid coloration, not unlike sipping a potion!
If you don’t have any dry ice cubes on hand (or can’t find any), try a sugar rim or a holiday-themed drink decoration.
- Non-alcoholic bitters (such as Ritual Zero Proof)
- Seltzer water
- Raspberry syrup
- Lime juice
- Dry ice cube
- Sugar rim (optional)
- Decoration (optional)
Hard cider is a popular choice for Halloween, but who says you need the alcohol? This mocktail recipe gives you all the flavor while letting you fulfill your ambitions for October.
This drink is exactly what it says on the tin – a breeze! Add a cinnamon stick or an orange slice on the rim for an extra pop of personality.
- Apple cider
- Ginger beer
- A sprinkle of nutmeg
- Cinnamon stick (optional)
- Orange slice (optional)
Virgin Piña Colada
Less truly is more with the Virgin Piña Colada. The original drink is usually associated with summer, but the sweetness will be more than welcome in the fall.
Since this drink is basically a smoothie mixed with alcohol, it’s easy to make it Sober-October-friendly.
- Crushed ice
- Heavy whipping cream
- Coconut milk
- Pineapple juice
- Pineapple slice (optional)
Can You Have a Cheat Day in Sober October?
Cheat days defeat the purpose of Sober October…if you’re aiming for a cold turkey approach, anyway. If you have an alcohol dependency, we actually don’t recommend avoiding alcohol entirely.
Analyze your health journey to see if you physically need a cheat day. If not, join up with a Sober October app to maintain your resolve.
What is the Hardest Day in Sober October?
The hardest day in Sober October depends heavily on the person, how much they usually drink, and their personality. That said, the middle of Sober October is pretty difficult across the board.
It’s long enough into the month to feel significant, yet you still have around two weeks to go.
Do People Drink More After Sober October?
Not always! The author of the Dry Challenge – who participated in Sober October several times – stated she felt inspired to skip an extra month afterward.
Is Sober October a British thing?
Nope! While Dry January originated in the UK, Sober October originated in Australia.