Chances are that you, or someone you know, is currently in the throes of a dry October. It’s on the back of the much-publicised ‘Go Sober For October’ campaign that promises to make ‘sober heroes’ of anyone that goes alcohol-free until November.
Attitudes among medical professionals about sober ‘marathons’ tends to be mixed. Whilst it’s positive that people are taking time away from the bottle, those undertaking them tend to be the problematic drinkers most likely to fall back into old ways once they’ve achieved ‘sober hero’ status.
A better approach is to see this October as an opportunity to navigate yourself into good drinking habits, rather than some kind of self-flagellation that you have to endure until you can get legless again in November.
So, for people that are doing Sober October or Sober-ish October, here’s a guide to getting through the month without giving yourself a hard time.
Replace booze with exercise
Without doubt, the single best habit you can get into this month is a regular exercise regime. Get hooked on something: running, swimming, cycling, spinning, walking, parkour, hula-hooping, zumba, fencing, dancing, prancing, whatever works for you. Exercise not only gives you those feel-good endorphins that’ll sharpen you up at work, but you’ll sleep better and you won’t need that drink to wind down in the evening. Oh, and two reports came out only this week seemingly confirming the link between exercise and better mental health.
Download Drinks meter
Drinks Meter is an app that analyses your drinking habits. then gives you advice about the damage you’re potentially doing to body and wallet.
If you drink within the recommended weekly allowance of 14 units a week (that’s 6 pints of medium strength beer or 6 medium glasses of wine) then this won’t be a concern for you. If you don’t, Drinks Meter can be a good wake-up call.
Give yourself a Fifty Gifty
Work out how much money you’d normally spend on alcohol in a month, halve it and say that –come month’s end – you’re going to buy yourself a mega gift at that value. Flash new jacket for winter, please.
Don’t get stuck in to rounds
If you’ve had a busy week and think you deserve a couple of pints on a Friday (which you probably do) don’t get stuck into rounds. The temptation to go ‘sod it’ when someone pipes up with, “Come on, it’s your round” is hard to resist. Stick to your own and if people think you’re being stingy: tell them why you’re doing it. Which leads us to…
Be honest with your friends
Many of us have mates that we claim ‘lead us astray’. You don’t have to avoid them but tell them what’s going on, that you’re trying to lay off the booze. If they’re a real friend they won’t care and will be happy for you. They might even be inspired and join you. If you really don’t think you’ll be able to meet up with them without sinking three bottles of wine and doing ‘the Brexit chat’ (again) then swerve them for a few weeks. It’s fine. They’ll find other pals to go to The Lion and Lobster with.
You're creative. Be creative
If you’re a PLATF9RM member, there's a good chance you are either a) are running your own business or b) work for someone else but have some kind of side hustle, either creative or business-related. Go full throttle into that. Set up some meetings and take on some deadlines that mean you can’t risk rolling into work hungover and stinking of Tuaca on a Friday.
Set Realistic Targets
Don’t kill yourself doing the whole month sober, only to then get blind drunk once it’s over. There is literally no point, other than a smug ‘YAY I’M A SOBER HERO!’ Facebook status posted on the 1st November, as you skip out of the off-license with two bottles of
Get into some of the good habits above, then relish a couple of glasses of whatever your like.
You’re a human. You’re great and you deserve it. 💥