Sober October is upon us – and it might just trigger the lifestyle change you’ve been waiting for. If you’re looking to revisit your relationship with alcohol, whether that’s to start drinking more mindfully, relate better to your friends who’ve gone sober, or even to quit entirely, this one-month-long challenge, which involves going ‘dry’ (alcohol-free) for the month of October might well appeal.
So, a hangover-free autumnal month enjoying the best non-alcoholic drinks on offer… it sounds appealing, doesn’t it? We asked Millie Gooch, founder of Sober Girl Society, a global community for sober and sober-curious women, about her take on the popular no-alcohol challenge. She told us: “Whether you want to take a break for the physical benefits or simply have some space to re-evaluate your reliance on booze, Sober October is a great initiative for anyone a little bit sober curious.”
Explaining that Sober October might be the perfect way to navigate the social challenges of laying off the booze, she added: “The month long-sabbatical might be especially appealing if you’ve been planning to take a booze-break for a while but find that peer-pressure is often your downfall! Because although Sober October shouldn’t have to be, it has fast become a pretty socially accepted reason for why you’re not drinking tonight.”
Ultimately, she concluded, Sober October is a worthwhile challenge that’s been embraced by many of her community: “Having witnessed hundreds of our community members take on the challenge over the years, many of them have expressed developing a more mindful relationship with alcohol and lots have even cited that the challenge (and clarity it provided) resulted in them breaking up with booze for good.””
Officially, Sober October is a charity challenge in association with Macmillan Cancer Support. This partnership means that all the funds earned from taking part in the challenge go towards funding essential services to treat those suffering from cancer.
Embracing the challenge as a fundraiser is simple: you simply sign up on the Go Sober website, and ask your family and friends to donate to help get behind your challenge. It’s worth mentioning the challenge is aimed at social drinkers – so if you suspect you might be suffering from alcohol dependency, or you’re worried about heavy drinking habits, then it’s best to speak to your GP first before embarking upon the challenge.
With a growing interest among young people around sobriety and sober-curious lifestyles (according to the latest UK data, 26% of 16 to 25-year-olds are teetotal), the benefits of sobriety are more well-documented than ever – from clearer skin to mental health benefits.
That said, they bear repeating – and that’s why we spoke to someone who could run us through the benefits of sobriety first-hand. We asked Emily Syphas, a Sobriety Empowerment coach who runs sober community Sober & Social which supports, empowers and encourages those exploring or leading a teetotal lifestyle, to share her experience with us.
Here she lists the unexpected benefits she found in going sober to help those interested in a what sobriety means for your lifestyle. Focused on empowering people, Emily sees self-love and confidence as a core part of benefits that come with ditching the booze.*
1. You have more confidence
There is a big misconception that alcohol gives you confidence, but I have never felt more confident than in my sobriety. Knowing I am putting my best foot forward at all times, being more present and showing up as the real me gives me a strong inner confidence I never had when I was drinking.
2. You become kinder
With alcohol fuelling your feelings, you think before you speak, don’t argue or cause drama unnecessarily. You’re able to walk away from situations that might normally escalate if you were drinking.
3. You care more about world issues
With the change in lifestyle came a change in mindset. Before I got sober, I didn’t care about what I was putting into my body, climate change or what Brexit meant. In my sobriety I make an effort to learn more, be conscious what I’m putting into my body and genuinely educate myself on how I can help our planet more.
4. You experience improved relationships
Whether you are single or reviewing your friendship circle, you create better boundaries, only date and become friends with people who are in alignment with you and you become aware of red flags sooner. If you are already in a relationship or surrounded by supportive friends, you feel more connected and argue less over the little things. Becoming a member of a community – like the Sober & Social membership can also connect you with many new, wonderful people on your same journey. There are no longer ‘friends’ who only show up when you’re drinking.
5. You have less regrets
Hangxiety isn’t a thing. Since going sober I rarely regret any of my decisions and never wake up with a feeling of dread knowing I did something embarrassing. My choices are well informed and if there is something that didn’t work out, I’m able to put it into perspective and figure out what I can learn from the situation, instead of beating myself up about it (or turning to drink).
6. You say “no” more
You are able to stand in your power, create healthy boundaries and have that inner confidence to say “no” to the things you really don’t want to do. You can be more aware of who and what drains your energy.
7. You find even more fabulous drinks
The alcohol free (AF) drinks market is booming and not drinking can actually be more exciting than drinking. You have amazing AF spirits such as @calenodrinks, @lyresspiritco, @seedlipdrinks, @threespiritdrinks, epic bubbles and wine like @jukescordialities, @wildlifebotanicals, @noughtyaf and delicious beers such as @bigdropbrewco and @luckysaintbeer. Sober drinks have never looked (and tasted) so good.
8. You achieve more
Think of all the days you waste hungover – and even when you don’t waste a day, how unmotivated you feel for days after. When you’re sober, you can get up early and take on that creative project, heavy gym session, or whip up a healthy breakfast. Plus you’ll also have the motivation and impetus to go out and achieve goals.
9. You realise you can have it all
The best thing about an AF life is that you don’t have to compromise yourself or your time. You don’t need to worry about whether you’ll be able to make your plans the next day or if you’ll be too hungover to go out two nights in a row. You can get out in the early hours and make it for your gym class, meet friends for the brunch you booked in and make the family lunch showing up as your best, shiny sober self!
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