How to maintain the benefits of sober October beyond the month

How to maintain the benefits of sober October beyond the month

If you’re participating in Sober October — also known as Ocsober — congratulations! You’ve given your body a refreshing break from alcohol, allowing you to focus better on the things that matter most. You’ve likely noticed improvements in your mood, concentration, sleeping habits and maybe even weight. Here’s how to maintain those benefits by staying sober through November and beyond.

1. Let people know you aren’t drinking

So your friends and family don’t inadvertently offer you a drink, tell them in advance that you’re taking a break from alcohol. You can explain that you’re participating in the Ocsober fundraiser — an initiative that raises money for Life Education Australia — or that you’re simply celebrating Sober October as a way to improve your health.

Alternatively, you don’t have to explain your reasoning. Don’t feel pressured to talk about your sobriety if it puts you on the spot or makes you uncomfortable.

2. Experiment with alcohol-free alternatives

Who says staying sober means drinking nothing but water? If you’re handy in the kitchen, you might enjoy mixing your own beverages to perfect your favorite flavors. Try your hand at a virgin piña colada or Moscow mule.

If you’d rather let someone else do the brewing, many brands make non-alcoholic versions of classic hard beverages. You can find cider, beer, ale and bourbon sans alcohol at many stores. Want to celebrate an occasion by popping a cork? Buy sparkling juice in a champagne-style bottle to keep the tradition going and the drinks flowing.

3. Join a support group

You don’t have to struggle with alcohol addiction to join a sobriety support group and you don’t even have to meet up with anyone in person. For example, there are Facebook groups for people doing the Sober October challenge. If you prefer meeting face to face, your friends can be your informal support team or you can join a sobriety support group with regular meetups.

The key is to find a like-minded group of people who encourage you on your quest to abstain from alcohol. When you feel like having a drink, you can get in touch with them and they’ll help steer you back on track.

4. Reward yourself for staying sober

If you aren’t buying alcohol, you’ll likely have more money left over at the end of the month than you’re used to. For example, if you usually spent £15 a day on a six-pack, you’ll save £105 per week.

Use your savings to treat yourself to something nice. Get a massage, go out to eat, visit a national park or order something online. Rewarding yourself for not drinking reinforces the behavior over time. It also helps you realise you can have a fun, fulfilling life without alcohol.

5. Practice a healthy lifestyle

Quitting drinking isn’t always easy. However, there are many ways you can help your body get used to the change and feel better in the process. Incorporate healthy habits like:

  • Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
  • Eating a balanced breakfast with a mix of protein, fat and carbs.
  • Drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Spending time outside.
  • Exercising every day, even just by walking.
  • Connecting with friends and family.

These habits are easier to perform if you do them at the same time every day. Before you know it, they’ll become second nature.

6. Disrupt your old routines

At the same time you’re building healthy habits, make an effort to change old ones, avoiding anything that triggers your desire to drink. Something that helps many people stay sober is making their usual habits impossible to perform.

For example, if you usually cracked open a beer right after work and sat on the sofa, move the sofa to a different part of the living room. Simply seeing the couch in a different spot when you come home can disrupt your usual cue to have a drink, making you pause for a moment before heading to the fridge.

During that pause, consciously decide to drink something else, like juice or a non-alcoholic beer. Keep some non-alcoholic drinks in the front of the fridge to make the choice even easier. It’s still important to relax at the end of the workday, so don’t deprive yourself of the chance to crack open a beverage and unwind. Just break the automatic ritual of drinking alcohol.

Saying sober through October and beyond

Taking a month or more off from drinking is great for your body and mind. During your restorative journey, try building new, healthy habits to reap the benefits of abstaining from alcohol. Get the support of your friends and family, or join a formal support group to help you stay sober.

At the same time, have fun. An alcohol-free lifestyle is every bit as rewarding — and delicious — as drinking. Experiment with different drinks and reward yourself with the money you’ve saved. Have a happy Halloween and beyond!

By Ava Roman

Ava Roman (she/her) is the Managing Editor of
Revivalist, a women’s lifestyle magazine that empowers women to live their most authentic life. When Ava is not writing you'll probably find her doing yoga or snuggled up with her cat and a good book.

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