By Vanessa Royle

Don't Get Spooked By Sober October

It’s officially Sober October! Started in 2014 in the UK as a fundraising campaign for cancer research, Sober October has become a bona fide movement and is here to stay. 

I first participated in Sober October five years ago. I was the only one of my friends doing it, and, and while I was proud of myself, I felt very alone. Thankfully, the movement has picked up steam, but if you’re like I was and need some pointers, read on! 

  1. Find a friend. Having an accountability partner can make all the difference. Ask a friend, family member, or colleague to do Sober October with you as a challenge. If you can’t find anyone IRL, there are a ton of sober curious groups on Instagram, TikTok, and Reddit that can serve as support during this time. 
  2. Don’t be afraid to share. Partaking in a time-bounded movement like Sober October gives you an easy conversation starter and answer to the inevitable question, “why aren’t you drinking?”. Also, if you’re considering giving up alcohol for longer than the month, this is a nice way to ease into it without too much pressure. 
  3. Journal. It can be easy to focus on all the things you’re not doing, but paying attention to the benefits of stepping away from alcohol can be hugely helpful. I found that journaling allowed me to pinpoint all the great moments, better moods, and good feelings that happened during my first Sober October. 
  4. Make all the mocktails. Fall is an especially easy time to lean into fun flavors like pumpkin, maple, and nutmeg. Making your own spiced cider, pumpkin latte, or non-alcoholic mulled wine (this is my favorite non-alcoholic red), is an awesome way to make the month feel special in its own way—and invite others to partake!
  5. Reset before the holidays. Dry January is understandably super popular because it comes right after the indulgent holiday season. But why not start the holidays with a healthier mindset? When I did Sober October a few years ago, I felt much more clear-headed, well-rested, and healthy going into the most wonderful (and busy, and overwhelming, and tiring) time of the year. 
  6. Don’t be afraid of bars. A lot of people avoid bars altogether during Sober October or Dry January. I get it. Bars in general can be pretty boring if you’re not drinking. Thankfully, I’ve found that October is one of the best times to be a sober person in a bar (please note that every person is different and I am not suggesting that if you’re recovering, you should go to a bar). College football, the NFL, World Series baseball, trivia nights, and costume contests are all happening this time of year, which can make a night (or day) much more entertaining without alcohol. 
  7. Don’t binge on November 1. If you are aching for that glass of wine come November 1, don’t let us hold you back. But pace yourself. Your tolerance will have decreased during your month without alcohol, and you don’t want to overdo it coming out of the gate. 

If you’re partaking in Sober October, congratulations! Giving up alcohol for any period of time can be incredibly challenging, so we commend you on your effort. We’re right there with you! 

Whether you decided that a month away is one month too long, or you find yourself enjoying life without alcohol, use what you’ve learned to help guide your relationship with alcohol going forward. Plus, Dry January is just around the corner!