Taking a month away from drinking is the ideal way for the sober curious to take a closer look at their drinking habits. It’s also the perfect time to get your mind and body right before the winter holidays.
What’s the point of Sober October?
The point of sober October is to abstain from drinking alcohol during October. We’re talking all 31 days, including Halloween.
There are a few different entities that take credit for the idea. Life Education Australia has been running Ocsober initiatives since 2010 to promote positive changes to Aussie drinking habits.
Macmillan Cancer Support, a British charity that supports people living with cancer, is credited with turning it into a fundraiser. They’ve promoted Go Sober for October campaigns since 2014 to raise money for cancer support.
Since then, everyone from Joe Rogan to regular Joes have embraced an alcohol-free October for various reasons.
Does Sober October happen every year? Sober October does happen every year, whether you’re talking about formal initiatives or informal attempts to reduce alcohol consumption.
For many, it’s about embracing a lifestyle change that has several benefits for your mental and physical health.
5 Health Benefits of One Sober Month
What are some benefits of Sober October? Some of the most notable benefits of Sober October include better sleep, weight loss, and an overall health and wellness boost. If you know you’ve been drinking too much, that month off gives your body a chance to recover.
1. You’ll sleep better.
Drinking too much messes with your sleep. While it may seem like you fall asleep faster after a night of drinking, alcohol use can delay REM sleep. That’s the sleep stage responsible for memory retention and learning.
2. You might lose some weight.
Better sleep means more energy, so you’re more likely to stick to workouts after a good night’s rest. Alcohol is also full of empty calories with little nutritional value. Binge drinking, particularly, is linked to obesity and weight gain over time, thanks to those excess calories.
Drink less, and you could find it easier to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. It’ll be easier to stick to healthy eating plans, too. Fries are really hard to resist after one too many cocktails.
3. Your body will thank you.
One month without alcohol can improve liver function, lower blood pressure, and boost heart health. Drinking less (or not) is also suitable for your immune system and gut.
Cutting out booze can dramatically improve digestive symptoms if you already suffer from gut health problems like acid reflux or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
4. You’ll feel better.
Drinking less is good for your mental well-being, too. Short-term sobriety isn’t a miracle cure for anxiety or depressive symptoms, but an energy boost and better rest could improve your mood overall.
After your month is up, drinking less could be essential for improved mental health, especially if you’ve been struggling in that area. There’s a link between alcohol and its effects on the brain, and we’re not talking about the tipsy feelings you get after that first drink.
5. You’ll look better.
Potential weight loss aside, abstaining from alcohol can give your skin the glow up it craves. Drinking too much can trigger skin conditions like psoriasis and an uneven skin tone, and it takes about a month for those issues to clear up.
Who Participates in Sober October?
Anyone who wants to say no to alcohol in the short- or long-term can participate in Sober October. However, young people are leading in changing their relationship with alcoholic beverages.
One study showed that the number of Americans in college who choose sobriety over any level of drinking has increased from 20% to 28% between 2002 and 2018. A Gallup poll showed that Americans in the 35-54 range are about 10% more likely to drink than those in the 18-34 range.
The reasons for the shift in alcohol intake vary. Some young people report less peer pressure and more options for sober activities. For millennials, the mental health boost and cost-savings of cutting back on alcoholic drinks are all driving forces.
4 Ways to Stay on Track During a Dry Month
Whether you’re using Sober October as a month-long sobriety challenge or kicking off more long-term change, it can be hard to stay on track if you’re not sure what you’re getting into.
What are some things you could do to participate in Sober October? To join in Sober October, you can embrace sober activities and alcohol alternatives. You can also find a buddy to participate with, especially if you love the charity angle.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to successfully stay sober during spooky season this year.
1. Let your people know.
In the best circumstances, peer pressure is tough to deal with, but it can be extra challenging when you’re trying on a month of sobriety. Make it easier on yourself by letting your friends and loved ones know your intentions to celebrate Spooktober sober.
If they’re really your people, they’ll understand. Some may even want to join in on the fun, especially once you start posting about all those fall mocktails on your social media.
2. Avoid your triggers.
You know what sets you off when it comes to your drinking. If you’re a social drinker, come up with alternatives that aren’t happy hour. If you tend to drink when you’re stressed, find healthier ways to relieve stress that don’t revolve around red wine.
3. Have a backup plan.
Be intentional about your goals and how you will stick with them. If you need to fill time with new hobbies to stop yourself from grabbing a drink after work, sign up for that salsa class.
Have a plan if you slip up, too. It doesn’t make you a failure and you can pick up where you left off tomorrow in the sober October challenge that works for you.
4. Embrace alcohol alternatives.
Your Sober October doesn’t have to feel like you’re missing out on anything, even if you’re filling your calendar with Halloween parties. From dealcoholized wines and spirits to all of the fun mocktails out there, you have so many options when it comes to alcohol alternatives.
What Can I Drink Instead? Our 5 Favorite Spooky Season Mocktails
Sober October is the perfect time to explore alcohol-free drinks that speak to the season. We’re talking all the fall flavors and Halloween-themed mocktails that will ensure this isn’t the last year to try an October sober.
Image Credit - The Mindful Mocktail
Apple Ginger Fizz
This fizzy mocktail from The Mindful Mocktail combines sweet and spice for a refreshing beverage that looks and tastes like fall. Use an apple cider without bubbles in this one. The fizz comes from the soda. This recipe serves one.
- 3 oz apple cider
- 1 oz lime juice
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 3 oz ginger ale
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Mint leaves
- Ice cubes
- Shake up cider, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, and ice cubes in a shaker or mason jar.
- Add mint and shake again.
- Pour into a glass with ice, top with ginger ale, and give it a stir.
Image Credit - Maine Spirits
Spiced Pear Mocktail
This simple mocktail from Maine Spirits plays up fall flavors of pear with just the right amount of bubbles. We love the idea of adding our non-alcoholic Brut into the mix, but play around with the right combo for you. This recipe serves one.
- 10 oz club soda
- 1 sliced pear
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ oz lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon brown sugar
- Cinnamon sticks
- Muddle about a quarter of the sliced pear with lemon juice, cinnamon, and brown sugar.
- Top with club soda.
- Garnish with remaining pear, cinnamon stick, and a sprig of rosemary.
Image Credit - Frugal Living Mom
Pumpkin Spice Mocktail
Pumpkin spice basically defines the season, so we had to throw in a mocktail that embraces those vibes. This recipe from Frugal Living Mom uses mini-cans of soda, but feel free to get full-sized ginger ale if you’re hosting. It serves 2 as written.
- 1 mini-can ginger ale
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- Stir pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla in a small bowl.
- Split mini-can of ginger ale into 2 glasses.
- Top soda with pumpkin mix and add ice.
Image Credit - Entirely Elizabeth
Apple Cider Sangria
We love apple cider everything when fall’s in full swing. This recipe from Entirely Elizabeth gets pretty darn close to a conventional fall sangria thanks to the dealcoholized wine. Add a dash of caramel syrup if you want your mocktail to resemble a caramel apple. This one serves 6.
- 1 bottle non-alcoholic white wine
- 16 oz apple cider
- 12 oz ginger beer
- 3 oz simple syrup
- 1 sliced apple
- 1 sliced pear
- Cinnamon sticks
- Add cinnamon sticks and sliced fruit to a pitcher or punch bowl.
- Pour in the wine, ginger beer, apple cider, and simple syrup.
- Stir and refrigerate for at least two hours.
- Stir again before serving.
Image Credit - This Vivacious Life
Smoking Pumpkin Punch
Dry ice kicks this Halloween-themed punch from This Vivacious Life up a notch. Use just a tiny piece so you don’t overwhelm your guests with smoke unless that’s what you want. Add props like plastic spiders to your punch bowl if you're going family-friendly. This recipe serves 4.
- 2 cups apple cider
- 2 cups orange juice
- ½ teaspoon orange zest
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons simple syrup
- 2 tablespoons mulling spices in cheesecloth
- Dry ice
- Heat the apple cider, orange juice, zest, and pumpkin on medium to low heat in a saucepan.
- Add simple syrup and spices and heat through.
- Remove spices and whisk well.
- Pour into a punch bowl or glasses for individual servings.
- Add dry ice before serving for a spooky effect.
What about November?
The decision you make for November is a personal one. Maybe you prefer a moderation management approach. Maybe that month without alcohol felt so good that you want to keep the party going with long-term abstinence.
At Surely, we’re all about giving you options no matter the reason. If you’re all about experimenting with alcohol alternatives during your Sober October, our non-alcoholic wines are a delicious way to ease that transition.
- Alcohol Consumption and Obesity: An Update
- Relationship between patterns of alcohol consumption and gastrointestinal symptoms among patients with irritable bowel syndrome
- Co-Occurring Alcohol Use Disorder and Anxiety
- The effects of alcohol and drug abuse on the skin
- More young adults are abstaining from alcohol
- U.S. Alcohol Consumption on Low End of Recent Readings
- Why are young people drinking less than earlier? Identifying and specifying social mechanisms with a pragmatist approach
- ‘More options…less time’ in the ‘hustle culture’ of ‘generation sensible’: Individualization and drinking decline among twenty‐first century young adults