First of all, you have to ask yourself, should I do Sober October? Only you can answer that and it depends on a few things...
Check yourself before you wreck yourself
Ice Cube speaks the truth. Before you go cold turkey and undertake an extended period of not drinking alcohol, check-in with yourself and see if it’s something you really want to do. Write out responses to these...
Purpose: Are you doing it for friends, hype, charity or for you?
Intention: What do you hope to get out of it?
Motivation: Do you feel you have the willpower to do it right now?
Convenience: Is it happening at a good time for you, in terms of your current mindset and upcoming events?
It's all fun* and games till somebody gets hurt
If you don’t think you’re ready to do an alcohol free challenge right now, don’t do it! We’re in the business of selling non alcoholic drinks, so we don’t say this lightly. But we know this...
Shame Spiral: People who start alcohol free challenges and don’t complete them, can be tough on themselves. This can lead to a negative thoughts that prompt them to drink more. This obviously defeats the purpose!
Bad Fit: Alcohol free drink challenges are not always the best or only way to change your relationship with alcohol and bring about sustainable lifestyle changes, if that’s your goal.
The Benefits of Doing Sober October
No booze= free facial!
Sort of. Because alcohol is a toxin, your liver has to work overtime when you drink in order to detox your bloodstream. While it's doing its job, you skin can get red, blotchy and puffy. And because alcohol is a diuretic it leaches water from your skin cells, leaving you looking dehydrated.
The good news is these symptoms will start improving as soon as you stop drinking. After a week, hydration is being restored and the lipid barrier of your skin is recovering from inflammation, so you should look healthier.
The outlook for your face after a month off alcohol is rather glowing. You should start to see a more even and brighter complexion. So, just imagine how you’re gonna look after applying your serum – practically iridescent!
Not sure why, but adult humans seem to have greater discipline around resisting a piece of cake due to the calorie count, than they do in refusing an alcoholic beverage, which is a calorific nightmare. Like, if cake is a reef shark, alcohol is a Great White.
That’s why non alcoholic drinks are better for your silhouette than alcohol, because they're: low in sugar low in calories So depending on what your average alcohol intake was before taking on Sober October, you could expect to see less of yourself in the mirror by the time you get to November!
FYI: Alcohol causes weight gain in 4 ways: it stops your body from burning fat, it's high in kilojoules, it makes you feel hungry, and it can lead to poor food choices.
Even if you’re not prone to worrying or catastrophising, you’ll still reap the benefits of feeling calmer and happier when you don’t have alcohol in your system. That’s because you don’t have to be predisposed to anxiety to suffer the downsides of alcohol.
Fact is, alcohol is a drug (albeit a strangely socially acceptable one), and a depressant, so it can drag down even the most rational and buoyant of mindsets. While it gives you an initial buzz, when the dopamine spike is over, you often feel flatter than you did before you started drinking. Which sends you into a spiral of wanting more alcohol just to feel better again.
Reducing your alcohol intake will help to balance the cycle. But be prepared for the fact that when you first detox from alcohol you will feel worse before you feel better.
Oh yes, the holy grail from which all good health flows. This too shall be yours. If you’ve never heard of Professor Matthew Walker, the Sleep Diplomat, you need to discover him now. If you don’t want to read his book or listen to one of the many podcasts he features on, just watch this super quick Ted Talk on how alcohol affects sleep.
- The TL;DR: sleeping after drinking = sedation, not sleep. Bye bye vital non REM sleep.
- Alcohol activates your fight or flight response while you’re passed out, resulting in a fragmented sleep. Hello feeling foggy in the morning.
- Alcohol blocks REM or dream sleep, the stuff that delivers on mental health, creativity and a heap more. Over time the effects compound.
To borrow from Crowded House: don’t dream? It’s over.
Some might argue that any money you might save on not drinking alcohol just disappears anyway if it gets spent on non alcoholic drinks. But the truth is, if you’re not drinking alcohol you tend to drink less. Or rather, once you start drinking alcohol, you want to consume even more alcohol.
The shame of it is, alcohol dulls your palette so even though the drug effects of booze propel you to keep drinking, you’re no longer able to fully appreciate the flavour and composition of your expensive drink once you’ve had a few!
It can definitely be challenging to socialize when you’re not drinking alcohol. Seeing everyone else getting on it can make you feel like you’re missing out. But your resolve to resist will strengthen – you just have to give it time. And when you do, you will eventually get to a place where going out and not getting hammered is better!
You’ll find that the quality of your conversations is better, and whatever you choose to do in the moment is more meaningful, because you are more present and cognisant! In fact, you’ll probably start to think back over all those times you thought you were having a great time and realise that everyone was actually just operating in their own little drunken worlds side by side.
Photo courtesy of Dominik Vanyi