How to Do Sober October: Helpful Tips to Make It Easier

Group of Young people at home celebrating Halloween in costumes

Sober October is a challenge that has been around for nearly a decade. Each year, thousands of people make the decision to give up drinking alcohol for the duration of the month. This challenge is meant to help people experience health and wellness benefits, like getting better sleep. In addition, it can help people better understand their relationship with alcohol, and even help them raise money for a good cause. Learn more about Sober October rules and benefits to decide if an alcohol-free month is right for you.

What Is Sober October?

Sober October is the official name of a challenge that involves people refraining from drinking alcohol throughout the month of October. That is, you practice total sobriety for 31 days The break in alcohol consumption is meant to help you experience mental and physical wellness benefits. It can also give you a healthy goal to strive for throughout the month.

But what may seem like a simple challenge doesn’t always prove to be easy. A sober month requires willpower and dedication. For many people, drinking and drinking-related activities are a tough habit to break. But it is sometimes the difficulty of the challenge that is appealing and draws many people to participate in Sober October.

Sober October Origins

Sober October started in 2014 as a fundraising campaign for Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity based in the United Kingdom (UK). The foundation offers support services for people with cancer, such as in-home nursing visits, support centers, and educational resources. Other cancer organizations in the UK had promoted sober challenges during other months, like Sober September or Dry January.

One October, Macmillan Cancer Support was encouraging people to go alcohol-free for the month to help raise money for people with cancer and to support their foundation. People could sign up, take the alcohol-free pledge, and then fundraise by having friends and family donate to the charity for their efforts.

Sober October was such a hit that the challenge took off and continues to this day. In addition to challenging people to make a healthy lifestyle change, Sober October helps provide physical, emotional, and financial support to over three million people living with cancer.

Sober October Participants

All kinds of people participate in Sober October. Some people sign the pledge for themselves, and others sign up as a team with friends and family. You can even take the pledge with your co-workers and get your company involved.

To sign up for Macmillan Cancer Support’s Sober October challenge, you need to be at least 18 years of age or older. However, you don’t need to formally sign up to participate. You can take on the challenge with your own inner circle. If you still want to raise money for a cause you care about, ask friends and family members to donate to a charity of your choosing.

Sober October Rules

The rules for Sober October are fairly simple. The traditional Sober October lasts for 31 days – the entire duration of the month. To successfully complete the challenge, you must go the entire month without drinking alcohol in any form.

Are you worried you might not be able to make it the entire month? You’re not alone. In fact, Macmillan Cancer Support has created two other variations of the challenge for that very reason. Now, you can participate in Sober October for 14, 21, or the full 31 days. The goal is to go alcohol-free for however many days you pledge.

Benefits of Sober October

According to the charity’s website, there are several benefits associated with refraining from alcohol for the month. Some of these benefits include:

Woman jogging outdoors on cloudy day in autumn
  • Better sleep
  • Clearer skin
  • Increased energy
  • Weight loss

In addition to these benefits, you’ll also be hangover-free for a month, and, if you fundraise, you’ll help support people living with cancer. You might also find that you save money during the month, and even have more time on your hands to try something you’ve always wanted to do.

Tips for Sober October

October is a month that is often filled with parties to celebrate the coming of Halloween and other fall festivities. You might be invited to movie nights, costume parties, or spooky-themed dinners – events which might place you around alcohol and other people who are drinking.

These present unique challenges for going sober in October. It may take a lot of willpower, but if you believe in yourself and follow some tips, you’ll be able to meet your pledge goal.

Offer to Be a Sober Driver

Just because some of your fall gatherings might include alcohol, it doesn’t mean that you can’t attend. One way to help yourself refrain from alcohol is to offer to be the sober driver for the night. It may help give you the reinforcement you need to turn down drink offers, and you’ll be able to help friends and family get home safely.

Make Mocktails

Swap your favorite boozy beverage for one that is alcohol-free. Nearly every alcoholic drink has a mocktail counterpart. This means that you can still have fun at parties and even try a special spooky drink that friends have made to celebrate the season. You can host a mocktail party of your own, or ask friends to make you an un-spiked version when you’re a guest.

Halloween trick or treat party table with drinks

Bring Your Own Drinks

Are you worried about showing up to a movie night or dinner party and there being a limited selection of nonalcoholic drinks? If so, you can bring some with you. Grab your favorite soda or sparkling cider. If you have these options available at your social gathering, then you may just find it easier to turn down spiked drinks that are offered to you.

Make It Part of Your Costume

If you’re looking for a laugh, make Sober October a part of your costume. Not only will it be amusing to your loved ones, but it’ll help send a message to others that you won’t be drinking that night. Dress up as your Sober October pledge, or, go as a tip jar and help fundraise while you’re at the party. You can even dress up as your favorite nonalcoholic beverage, or really lean into the sober driver gig and dress up as an old-school chauffer.

Get Friends and Family Involved

Another great way to help keep yourself accountable is to get friends and family involved. If the people around you have taken a pledge tp stay sober for the month, you may just find it easier to stay sober, as well. You can lean on each other for support throughout the month, and rely on one another to help keep everyone accountable. Also, the more people you have, the cooler the group costume you can pull off.

Youth group having a Halloween party

Be Kind to Yourself

Going an entire month without alcohol when it’s a part of your usual social gatherings is no easy task. You might end up in situations where you accept a drink, and that’s okay. You can opt for the 14 or 21-day challenge instead of the full 31 if it’s more within your bandwidth. And, if you do end up drinking alcohol, go easy on yourself. You’re trying your best to do something good for your health and to help raise money for others. That’s a huge win.

During Sober October, not only will you be able to challenge yourself to reach a goal, but you can experience the positive effects of forgoing alcohol for a bit. Also, you can raise money for a charity . At the end of the month, you can feel proud of your achievement and know that you’ve helped make a difference.

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