Need a reason to give up alcohol and go sober? Try Sober October: a month-long challenge where you skip the booze. A 31-day sobriety challenge might sound overwhelming for some, but the benefits are clear: healthier skin and body, better mental clarity, weight loss, and more.
Whether you’re choosing to cut out alcohol because of health, addiction, or religion, there’s so many reasons to embrace Sober October (and beyond).
What Is Sober October?
Sober October is a 31 days personal challenge where you refrain from alcohol consumption. Some people see this month as an opportunity to get healthier, and others use Sober October as a community-driven challenge to motivate themselves to quit alcohol or try sobriety for a month.
During Sober October, you can also incorporate additional fitness or wellness objectives. Many participants choose to monitor their progress through journals or activity tracking devices.
Who Started Sober October?
The idea of Sober October originated in Australia in 2010 by the Australian youth health organization Life Education, as a way to raise money for their “Ocsober” fundraiser. The term “Sober October” is attributed to Macmillan Cancer Support, a cancer charity headquartered in the United Kingdom.
Since then, it has become more mainstream in the last couple of years, thanks to sober-curious influencers like Joe Rogan, who announced to millions of listeners that he was participating in Sober October on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast.
Sober October vs Dry January
The rules for both Sober October and Dry January are the same: skip alcohol for the month. Dry January is a great month-long challenge to start the year healthier and stick to your new year’s resolution, while Sober October gives you a reason to cut back on drinking outside of the January 1st timeframe.
Benefits Of Sober October
There are many benefits of giving up alcohol for a month during Sober October, but I think the biggest benefit is the physical and mental benefits from being sober.
Regular alcohol drinkers often don’t realize that a regular glass of wine or can of beer can impact day-to-day life and long-term health. Terrible sleep is a silent side effect of alcohol, not to mention waking up feeling exhausted. The excess calories and sugar from alcoholic drinks quickly add up, and you tend to eat more unhealthy when you’re not sober.
Sober October can help you sleep better, have a better diet, lose weight, and improve your overall general health.
Sober October Rules
There is just one rule for Sober October: don’t drink alcohol from October 1st to 31st! For 31 days, you will swap your alcohol for non-alcoholic beverages like tea, coffee, juices, or non-alcoholic beers and wine.
Another common practice during Sober October is to engage in fundraising activities and contribute to charitable causes. This adds an extra layer of purpose to the challenge, as it allows you to channel your commitment into making a positive impact on your community.
What To Drink During Sober October
If you think that the only drink choices you have for a month are water, teas, and coffees, then you’ll be glad to know that there are exciting non-alcoholic drinks that you can drink during this 31-day challenge!
We’ve created a list of the best non-alcoholic drinks for Sober October, and on that list you’ll find our favorite non-alcoholic beers, non-alcoholic wines, canned mocktails, and more. These alcohol-free alternatives to beer, wine, and cocktails help spice up your drink choices and make staying dry for a month even more enjoyable.
What To Expect During Sober October
Everyone’s experience during Sober October will be different! Some find it easy to skip alcohol for a month, while others with an alcohol addiction might struggle with alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Generally, the first seven days of Sober October can be the hardest. Day one of Sober October can feel the scariest, and I found writing your Sober October Plan on day one very helpful.
Tips On How To Survive Sober October
Have a Sober October Plan
It’s easier to stick to a month-long commitment when you have a plan for Sober October. For example, it can help to anticipate social situations where alcohol will be present. What can you do during such situations to navigate any pressure to drink?
Another thing you might want to include in your Sober October Plan are activities and hobbies to help fill any space left by alcohol. Other things that can help amplify your progress are exercise, mindfulness practices, and journaling.
Use a Sober October Tracker
A fun thing to track is Sober October Before and After, where you keep a journal and record your daily feelings, progress in weight loss, fitness achievements, as well as capture before and after photos.
I like doing challenges with friends and family because they keep me accountable. Sober October is a fun way for people to do something healthy and fun together, and group accountability helps people stay committed.
Read Books On Sobriety
Whether you’re into personal narratives, self-help guides, or the science of addiction, these books on sobriety and “Quit Lit” delve into the intricacies of drinking psychology and mental well-being. They also offer practical advice to support you in bidding farewell to alcohol for good.
Have Non-Alcoholic Drink Options Ready
Giving up alcohol for a month is a lot easier when you’ve got tasty alcohol-free alternatives available, which is why I recommend stocking up on some non-alcoholic beers, wines, and mocktails for Sober October. Non-alcoholic craft beers have come a long way since the likes of O’Doul’s, and the taste and mouthfeel won’t make you miss beer at all!
Is Sober October Worth It?
Months like Sober October and Dry January has helped many of my friends question their relationship to alcohol, resulting in decisions to either completely give up alcohol or at least embrace reducing their alcohol intake.
No matter the motive behind reducing your alcohol consumption – whether it’s for enhanced mental clarity, better sleep, or a boost in both energy and finances – engaging in Sober October presents a fantastic opportunity to reset your drinking and health habits.
Other Sober October FAQs
Does Sober October Include Weed?
While Sober October started out as a challenge to give up alcohol, many people also choose to give up weed, nicotine, and other addictive substances during the 31-day challenge. Joe Rogan famously gives up alcohol, weed, and other substances during Sober October, but the choice to include weed is entirely up to you!
Does Sober October Work?
Sober October does work in helping you get healthier if you complete the challenge! You might encounter a few stumbling blocks during a 31-day challenge, but there are ways to overcome challenges, like overcoming the desire to drink. I have found that our need to drink is often a habit, and having a good substitute for beer or wine is very helpful in overcoming the desire for a drink.
Should I Get A Sober October Free Pass?
Personally, I don’t like having a day off or cheat day when I’m doing a challenge because I find it counterproductive. However, if you think having one cheat day on a 31-day challenge will help you stay committed to the whole month, check out Go Sober For October, which has a “golden ticket” that lets you skip a day for a minimum £15 donation.
Are There Sober October Side Effects?
Depending on how dependent you are on alcohol, you can experience withdrawal side effects when you give up alcohol! Cold sweats, nausea, racing pulse, and headaches are all common side effects of alcohol withdrawal. If you experience any side effects from alcohol withdrawal, I recommend speaking to a doctor or substance abuse therapist for professional advice.