Sober October is here and already we can see the transition from summer to fall and the preparation for Christmas. Our days are getting shorter, temperatures are dropping, and people are already planning their Halloween outfits.
According to some, it’s also the perfect time to take a break from drinking alcohol.
Go Sober For October is a campaign originating in the UK that aims to curb people’s alcohol intake during a month that usually acts as a break between holidays. October falls in between the summer BBQs of August and September and occurs right before months that host holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas – days that surely raise our usual intake of alcohol. Go Sober For October raises money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
The Fear of Cold Turkey
We all love to relax with a beer or wine at the end of a busy day, and who can resist a cocktail over the weekend? It turns out, not many of us. 86% of adults over the age of 18 consume alcohol. It’s normal to have a few units of alcohol a day, and this can include a beer or wine. Everything in moderation is ok, but it can still be difficult to curb a habit, especially if our social circles depend heavily on it. You can always cut down in the way the suits you: whether it’s cold turkey or simply reducing your usual intake – there is no ‘right’ way.
We often don’t realize what an impact going teetotal can have on us until we embark on a challenge like #SoberOctober. For heavier drinkers, symptoms like headaches, handshakes, and mood swings can occur only hours after giving up on alcohol. Even for more casual drinkers who reserve the habit for weekends, the dependency on alcohol as a social lubricant is hard to replace. Since alcohol initially numbs our emotions (before turning into a depressant), it is normal to experience more intense feelings upon initial alcohol withdrawal. These feelings pass over time as your sleep begins to regulate.
You might be able to see the benefits of remaining teetotal in just a few days. You may start to have more energy since you will be entering deeper states of sleep each night, making you more well-rested. Your diet might also improve, and you’ll start to feel less bloated from the beer you no longer consume each day. As your mood and emotions normalize, you’ll begin to feel overall more positive and your skin will clear up. Basically, it’s good all round!
The Only Person To Think About Is You
We all deserve to be selfish sometimes. We need to cater to our own needs and desires and act appropriately. Some people will be able to stay sober for the entirety of October, whereas others will need to slowly reduce their intake over time. That’s ok. Don’t ever feel pressured to drink because a friend or colleague is forcing you. This may take a toll on your social life at first, but be sure to remain true to yourself and your goals. No one else matters.
While some of us might count the days to November 1 so we can crack open a beer, others might consider adopting a dry lifestyle into November and beyond. As we overcome the initial withdrawal and begin to witness the positive changes, who knows how long people might want to stay sober? These are incredibly personal decisions so there’s no need to feel like you must justify your actions.