If you are not yet comfortable with cutting alcohol out of your life altogether, Sober October is the perfect time to reset your relationship with drinking.
It might not seem like one month off alcohol will make much of a difference, but it really can be very helpful, especially for people who consume moderate (or larger) amounts of alcohol on a regular basis.
Short-term abstinence from alcohol is associated with the following:
- weight loss
- improved insulin resistance (the central driver of type 2 diabetes)
- improved blood pressure
- improved liver function
- reduced cancer risk
- enhanced brain health
- improved sleep quality
- increased productivity
- increased life satisfaction
To get through Sober October or any short-term alcohol reset, here are a few tips and tricks to help you along.
Healthy Stress Reduction
Alcohol and stress are often found together. After a long day at work, pouring yourself a glass of wine or having a few beers to unwind can be tempting.
But this isn’t a very healthy coping mechanism. First of all, alcohol is a depressant, so it’s not actually going to help you feel better in the long run—it might even make your stressful situation worse.
Additionally, relying on alcohol to deal with stress can lead to unhealthy habits and dependence.
So, if you’re trying to reset your relationship with drinking this month, you will need other, healthier ways to deal with the emotions and moods that spring up.
Better ways to manage your stress include:
- Creative art
- Mindfulness meditation
- Exercise or physical activity
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Breathing exercises
- Spending time in nature
- Listening to music
- Staying connected with friends and family
- Eating a healthy diet
- Getting enough sleep
- Identifying and avoiding your triggers
Resetting your relationship with alcohol also means resetting your relationship with your surroundings.
You may need to avoid people, places, and situations you associate with drinking.
If drinking has been a part of your daily routine, you will need to find new routines to take its place. You will probably need different activities and different environments to occupy your time and attention.
Plan ahead for social situations that you know will be difficult, such as parties or dinners out with friends.
Tell your friends and drinking buddies about your goals for the month. If they aren’t supportive, you may need to give yourself some space away from them during Sober October.
Remove temptations from your home, and don’t go to places where alcohol may be too difficult to avoid.
You Are Not Losing Something, You Are Gaining Something
When you give up alcohol for a period of time, you might at first see it as a deprivation or a punishment. This isn’t a healthy perspective.
Sobriety is not a constraint—it is a liberation.
You are not losing anything by giving up alcohol—you are gaining an opportunity to live a better life.
You are gaining better health, more clarity of thought, more energy, money, and time. This experiment will allow you to learn more about yourself and how you want to live your life.
Sober October is an opportunity for growth and improvement. It’s a chance to show yourself that you can do hard things, that you can make positive changes in your life, and that you have the power to take control of your health and well-being.
Even if you don’t make it through the whole month without consuming alcohol, taking a short break from drinking will still be better for your health than continuing to drink regularly.
There are many resources available if you need assistance or support.