Your Guide to Sober September Success

Four friends drinking and talking in the garden

Every September, thousands of people decide to take a break from drinking alcohol. It’s part of a challenge known as Sober September that allows people to make a health and wellness goal and explore their relationship with alcohol.

For over half a decade, Sober September has been helping people go booze-free for a good cause. During the challenge, those that participate often raise money for cancer research charities or other worthy initiatives. For some, going a full month without alcohol may seem like a tough challenge. But there are some things you can do to support yourself along the way.

What Is Sober September?

Sober September, also known as Dry September, is a challenge that requires participants to give up alcohol for the duration of the month. All forms of alcohol are off limits for the entire 30 days.

For many people, the month off from booze gives them the break that they need before the holidays which can involve higher rates of alcohol consumption. In addition, it can help people better understand their relationship with alcohol, and even experience some health and wellness benefits.

Sober September Origins

Sober September started in 2016 and captured the attention of drinkers in the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US). In the U.S., it’s believed to have originated on social media as a hashtag on sites like Twitter and Instagram. Then, it quickly rose in popularity, especially for younger people, who had spent much of the summer drinking alcohol and were looking for a break.

At around the same time in the UK, a Sober September campaign was started by a charity called Cancer Research UK. They called Sober September a ‘dryathlon’ and challenged participants, or ‘dryathletes’, to give up alcohol for the month in order to help raise money to fight cancer.

Cancer Research UK funds scientists and medical professionals that not only provide care for people living with cancer but also conduct cancer-fighting research. In addition, they provide educational resources to the public. Over the years, Cancer Research UK has raised over 19.5 million dollars through people’s participation and donations during Sober September.

Sober September Participants

Are you interested in Sober September but not sure who can participate? The good thing is that just about anyone can join if they are at or above the legal drinking age.

You can sign up for Cancer Research UK’s dryathlon and help raise money for their charity. However, you don’t officially have to sign up to participate. You can take the pledge for yourself to go alcohol-free in September. And, if you want to fundraise, you can collect money for a charity of your choosing. There’s no right or wrong way to participate. If you’re abstaining from alcohol, you’re on the right track.

You can participate also get friends and family involved. You can even ask people at your workplace to join you and tackle Sober September as a team. The more people in your social circle you get involved the more support you’ll have, and the more money you can potentially raise.

Benefits of Sober September

According to research from the British Medical Journal, going a month with alcohol can have several health and wellness benefits. Some of these benefits include:

Cheerful Woman Having a Lazy Weekend in Bed
  • Better sleep
  • Clearer skin
  • Increased energy
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Reduced risk of diabetes

In addition to the above benefits, people are also able to re-evaluate their relationship with alcohol. They are able to discover ways to relax, have fun, and socialize without it. Also, taking the month off from alcohol can leave you with a sense of accomplishment when you have completed the challenge, and even more so if you have helped raise funds for charity.

Sober September Tips

September brings with it the tail end of summer. You may have enjoyed summer by staying up late, going to parties, and hanging out with friends. And in September, it can be tempting to keep these activities going. But this can present potential challenges for your Sober September. However, after a fun-filled summer, you may discover that you are more than ready and willing to take a break from alcohol.

Are you up for the challenge? Whether you’re ready to make the booze-free lifestyle change or think that it may be an interesting new challenge, there are some things you can keep in mind to help you reach your Sober September goals.

Get Loved Ones Involved

Tell your friends and loved ones that you want to participate in Sober September. Ask if they’ll join you in your sobriety and fundraising efforts. The more people you get involved the greater sense of community support you can create. And, together, you may be able to raise even more funds for a good cause. Your Sober September group can also get together to plan booze-free hangouts and activities that can add a little extra fun to the end of your summer.

Friends relaxing during a Summer picnic

Become a Designated Driver

Just because you participate in Sober September doesn’t mean that you have to give up having a social life. After all, you’re giving up alcohol, not socializing. You can still attend dinners and parties with friends and family. It will give you the opportunity to find something new about them that you enjoy. And, you can offer to be the sober driver for events. This will not only help keep you accountable, but you can feel good knowing that you helped get people home safe.

Opt For Summer-Themed Mocktails

If you love fun and fruity summer drinks, you’re not alone. And you don’t necessarily have to give them up for September. Many alcoholic beverages have mocktail versions that offer the same great taste without any booze added. You can have a refreshing drink and still maintain your Sober September. Throw an end-of-summer party with mocktails, or ask your friends what options will be available during your hangouts.

Friends clinking glasses above outdoor table

Bring Sober-Friendly Refreshments

One way to make sure that you always have something alcohol-free to drink at social gatherings is to bring it yourself. Whenever you are planning on going to a party, bring your favorite sparkling cider or a different bubbly drink you enjoy. This way you can insure that you will have an alcohol-free alternative to whatever they are serving at the event. Staying sober while others are drinking can be easier if you have a drink on hand. And bringing your own beverages allows you to enjoy more variety than sticking to water.

Keep Track of Your Progress

Keep track of your goal throughout the month. Keep a journal, mark it on a calendar, or create a countdown on your phone. Write down how you feel inside and out. Have you noticed any changes in your sleep or how you feel? Do you have any cravings? Explore what a month of sobriety feels like. If you’ve set a fundraising goal, you can keep track of that, too.

Go Easy on Yourself

You may enter Sober September under the impression that it’s not going to be a challenge. Or, you may enter thinking that it’s going to be quite difficult. Either way, it’s important to go easy on yourself. Remember that you don’t have to have a perfect month to participate. You’re already taking healthy steps by being more mindful about your drinking, and that’s a huge accomplishment.

Everyone’s Sober September experience will be different. Some people may face more challenges than others depending on their environments and social support. It can feel great to achieve your goal, and it might feel even better to help out a good cause. Find what works for you and simply do your best.

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