You’ve heard of Dry January, but what about Sober September? After a big summer that’s full of opportunities to drink on patios, vacation, and at barbeques, many people feel like they need a reset from all the partying.
You’ll be surprised at the benefits of a single month without alcohol. You may even find you want to extend your sobriety! From improved health to tasty alternatives, there are many reasons to give Sober September a try.
There’s a growing movement of trend-setters rethinking their booze choices. To help out, we’ve compiled some compelling benefits and the best tips to get started.
What is Sober September?
Sober September is when you abstain from alcohol for the month of September in order to decrease your drinking, improve your health, and reevaluate your relationship with alcohol.
More and more people are sober curious, interested in what an alcohol-free lifestyle could mean. The term was first coined by Ruby Warrington in her book of the same name. These individuals are not in recovery, but are interested in the benefits of sobriety just the same.
The history of Sober September has a bit more mystery behind it than Dry January — experts aren’t sure when it started. Worn out by festivities, people have been skipping alcohol around the new year for centuries, but Sober September is a relatively new phenomenon.
Some believe that it may have traveled across the pond. Cancer Research UK, a charity, is often credited with starting the trend that’s caught fire with Dry January participants.
What’s not debatable is that Sober September is a social media phenomenon, gaining popularity across the internet, with young professionals tired after a summer of parties, and among students looking to start their semester off on the right foot.
This period of abstaining gives students considering sobriety a chance to experience a month without alcohol use.
7 Benefits To Not Drinking Alcohol
For Sober September participants, reevaluating their drinking habits can yield surprising benefits that include a shrinking waistline and delicious new non-alcoholic drinks.
Here are the top 7 benefits to not drinking alcohol during your month-long hiatus.
There’s no avoiding the fact that alcohol is a toxin. When you give your body a month to detox, you might be surprised at just how good you feel without the effects of alcohol.
This is partially true since alcohol has seriously negative effects on your sleep. When you skip it for a month, you’ll likely feel more rested.
Some Sober September participants also report feeling less need for caffeine, as well as better performance during workouts.
Resetting What “Normal” Means
Let’s face it: At some point, going out to happy hour after work or having a glass of wine with your friends becomes a habit, not a conscious decision. A month without alcohol can give you the reset you need to reevaluate how, and if, you want to return to drinking.
During 2020, people reported high levels of binge drinking while under pandemic-related stress. That makes now a great time to reset.
Finding New Favorites
Most people have a go-to order at the bar. But when’s the last time you branched out into the world of refreshing non-alcoholic drinks? There are plentiful options, including alcohol-free sparkling wines, innovative mocktails, and delicious non-alcoholic beers.
You may just find your new favorite beverage while you’re participating in Sober September!
There are many reasons why cutting out alcohol helps you lose weight, including reduced caloric intake, less sugar consumption, and more energy for workouts.
Let’s be clear: All bodies are beautiful. However, if you’re looking for ways to manage your weight for personal reasons or for health reasons, Sober September can help.
Overall Health Benefits
In addition to weight loss, you’ll see other positive impacts on your health and well-being. Some of the best aspects of cutting out booze include:
- Better sleep
- Lower cholesterol levels
- Regulated blood sugar
- Improved mental health
- No hangovers the next day or scary blackouts from alcohol abuse
- Lowered levels of inflammation throughout the body
What’s more, 72% of participants did not drink over recommended amounts for at least 6 months following their month of not drinking. Those are some amazing long-term effects.
A Sense Of Accomplishment
There’s nothing like the feeling you get when you take on a challenge and succeed. In the same University of Sussex study, a whopping 82% of participants reported feeling accomplished at the end of their month-long journey.
Who doesn’t love (slash need) a self-confidence boost?
It’s no secret that drinking isn’t a cheap habit.
Participating in Sober September can give back the money you put towards drinking. One survey estimates that millennials spend $300 a month on alcohol purchases.
Even if you switch to tasty non-alcoholic alternatives, odds are that you’ll still save some cash during the month.
Downsides To Sober September
Yes, there are actually a few downsides to this month-long sobriety, though most of them kick in when you go back to drinking after abstaining. We’re all about full disclosure here.
- Sober September only lasts for a month, which may not give you enough time to see some of the long-term benefits of sobriety.
- Any weight loss may come back once you return to your former drinking habits.
- The first week can feel a bit odd if your social life revolves around alcohol (though that may be a good wake-up call).
- Sober September is not for people struggling with alcohol use disorder. Some individuals who live with alcoholism might think one sober month is enough to heal them when they really need to pursue long-term sobriety.
Most of the drawbacks aren’t really due to Sober September, only indirectly. That’s why some people choose to go teetotal after this amazing experience. (Teetotal means completely abstinent from alcohol.)
6 Tips For Sober September Success
Sober September is a chance for new beginnings, but like any other change, mindfulness is key.
Here are some tips to keep you motivated, grateful, and getting the most out of your sobriety if it’s your first time to participate. Welcome!
How do you start sober September? You can start sober September by:
- Finding your reason for a sober month
- Listening to yourself and your needs
- Keeping a list of the positive changes
- Making use of your extra time and money
- Inviting friends to join you in the challenge
- Discovering tasty, healthy alternatives to alcohol
Find Your Reason
Psychologists know that people that have a why behind their behavior are more likely to be successful.
We like to rally behind a cause; what’s yours for Sober September? Better health, more money, less hangovers, or even a more intentional life? Be clear with yourself.
Listen To Yourself
Many times, a break from drinking — whether temporary or permanent — can teach you about yourself.
Practice being mindful about why you want a drink. Are you dehydrated? Avoiding your emotions? Do you need some sleep? This is an opportunity to take great care of yourself.
Keep A List
Once you commit, start writing down all the positive aspects about your month off of drinking.
What beneficial changes are you noticing? Spend your time celebrating what you have in front of you instead of thinking about what you don’t.
Enjoy Your Extra Time
Odds are, you’ve got more time on your hands now — you’re hitting snooze less thanks to great sleep, you’re not spending as many nights out, and you’re not slowed down by hangovers.
What have you been wanting to do that you can use your extra time and cash towards? Be intentional.
Bring A Friend Along
With the compelling results for your health and well-being, who wouldn’t want to be a part of Sober September? Consider inviting some friends to join you in your journey. You’ll gain accountability, motivation, community, and an even stronger bond with your favorite people.
If no one is up for the challenge, perhaps one of your favorite sober stars can motivate you!
Find Delicious Alternatives
You know what they say: a failure to plan is a plan to fail.
Spend the month looking for a delicious tea, mocktail, or non-alcoholic wine that you love to drink. Keep great alternatives around the house for the times when you want a satisfying sip. Need ideas? Keep reading.
Healthier Alternatives To Alcohol
Sobriety doesn’t mean depriving yourself! You can still treat yourself without the alcohol content — your future self will thank you.
- Non-alcoholic wine by Surely. We work with top-tier California winemakers to create a beautiful, flavorful non-alcoholic product that tastes just like the real thing. Plus, with only 25 calories a glass, you can enjoy a sparkling white wine or perfectly balanced rosé while keeping your health benefits intact.
- Mocktails. These days, many restaurants and bars are catering to the sober curious with mocktails on the menu. Staying home? Try your hand at a little mocktail mixology with our roundup of the best recipes.
- Sober bars. You aren’t the only one staying sober! Check out a sober bar in your area, or take a fun fall trip to visit a place full of like-minded people.
Who knows? Maybe you’ll like Sober September so much, you keep it going for Sober October.
- Alcohol and toxicity.
- Alcohol Consumption during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cross-Sectional Survey of US Adults.
- The Effects of Alcohol on Quality of Sleep.
- Influence of alcohol intake on risk for increased low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in middle-aged Japanese men.
- The association between levels of alcohol consumption and mental health problems and academic performance among young university students.
- Alcohol and inflammatory responses: Highlights of the 2015 Alcohol and Immunology Research Interest Group (AIRG) meeting.
- What is Dry January?