Cheers! It’s time to crack open the non-alcoholic beers and swap your cocktails for coffee as Sober October is nearly here. Will you be taking part?
IT’S that time of year again, when we ditch the booze for Sober October and challenge ourselves to abstain from alcohol for a month.
Although a celebration of health and camaraderie, this challenge has been known to expose those who may have a problem.
This new yearly tradition is thought to have begun in 2017 originating from the podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience.
The JRE podcast is one of the most popular in the world and when Rogan announced that in October 2017, along with two of his buddies, he was going to rally around a friend and quit drink and drugs for a month; the world listened and joined in.
The event is slowly becoming recognised worldwide thanks to the popularity of the podcast, with many charities and organisations jumping on the trend to promote their good causes.
Alcohol is a societally accepted “tool” which is used for everything and many who have previously participated in this month-long challenge have found it tough.
One person I spoke to said, “I honestly didn’t realise how much I drunk until I had to stop!”
It is hard to avoid alcohol, it is nearly everywhere; from TV adverts to Sunday BBQ’s and everything in between.
The normalisation of alcohol by advertisers, marketers and the media has contributed to it becoming one of the most lethal legal drugs in existence.
You will find it hard to go anywhere without being reminded of the hold alcohol has over our society.
- Mourning a loss? Have a drink.
- It’s the weekend? Have a drink.
- Long day at work? Have a drink.
- Celebrating a birthday? Have a drink.
How many of these can you relate to?
The point is, it’s hard to shake the temptation to drink on any given occasion because alcohol is so readily available and socially acceptable.
Since the end of the national lockdown, pubs in Spain haven’t been able to operate as they once had, however, that hasn’t stopped many from going back to their boozy ways.
Prices for alcoholic drinks in Spain are so cheap that you sometimes pay more for a soft drink; thankfully, you can always have a good coffee.
Out with the cocktails and in with the coffee!
Those on the fence about taking up the challenge may want to consider the time spent without a hangover and how much more money they’ll have at the end of the month!
Dry January has been around since 2013 and the addition of Sober October has given drinkers the chance to enjoy a alcohol-free challenge twice a year, if they choose.
For those that choose to use Sober October as a detox tool, next month will come as a nice change, but for those that may have a problem with alcohol, the event might be a little overwhelming, even if they complete it.
Those that have a difficult relationship with alcohol and manage to complete the challenge can get blinded by their success; sometimes masking a deeper problem and raising some damaging questions and self-denial.
I’m sure you’ve all heard someone say, “I don’t have a problem. I can give up for a month, maybe more.”
Unfortunately, this was the experience for one couple I spoke to who took part in the event together last year.
“I breezed through the challenge. I’ve never had a problem but I wanted to support my partner,” one of them said.
“I did well, I completed the month and I thought I could do more. I was convinced that people had exaggerated how bad my drinking was but it quickly became apparent that I had a problem when I started drinking daily again.”
For those who find themselves in a similar situation or see the Sober October challenge as a step too far, remember there is help out there; try doing the challenge with a friend or seek support from a local support organisation.
It is important, if you do struggle to control your alcohol intake, that you don’t slip back into your old ways: keep moving forward.
This is what makes Sober October and Dry January good starting points for anyone struggling with an alcohol addiction, or who may think they have a problem, because it gives them something to work towards.
Win each day, accumulate those wins and make it to end of October; sober and more in control.
Here are five quick tips to enjoy your month off of booze:
- Use the month to build some positive habits for yourself; try meditation, start journalling or create a productive morning routine.
- Keep yourself busy; get a new hobby or find a new passion.
- Look after yourself; eat healthy, get proper sleep and exercise regularly.
- Stay connected with friends; believe it or not, alcohol isn’t needed in order to socialise, despite what many may think, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that you can still enjoy the company of your friends without getting “buzzed”.
- Enjoy the experience; relax and take it easy, do the best you can and support others.
Remember, this isn’t an excuse to get smashed on November 1!
Doesn’t getting drunk to celebrate this achievement defeat the object of participating in the first place?!
When Joe Rogan, Ari Shaffir and Tom Segura supported their friend Bert Kreischer on this challenge, they couldn’t have known how it would have affected the world.
Overall, the challenge is a great idea and has highlighted many people’s drinking habits, either forcing them to admit they may have a problem or giving their body a welcomed detox.
So, whether you are going to take the Sober October challenge for fun, fitness or friends, or to change your bad habits; I raise my coffee cup to you and wish you the best of luck.
You’ve got this!
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