5 Top Tips for Making Sober October AWESOME

 With Sober October upon us, many people participating might be feeling a bit nervous. There are fortunately lots of tips and advice out there to help you get through it or ‘cope’, but perhaps some of us are left feeling that this month is going to be a long a gruelling slog, and something that we must endure. 

But what if I told you that this sober month can be something that you can really actually enjoy. That it will be different, but it doesn't necessarily mean it will be bad different.

If you believe you can’t have fun without alcohol, then that’s what you will experience. But if you remind yourself that the good times have actually nothing to do with the booze and you can create them whenever you like, then this month can be the most liberating thing you've ever done.

Here are my top tips for making Sober October AWESOME:

1.MAKE PLANS

Sober stints will work best for you if you plan ahead. It might seem a shame to take away the fun of spontaneity, but believe me there’s nothing worse than sitting at home trying to decide what to do with your weekend while with each undecided minute the clock ticks closer and closer to Sunday night.  We often spend our weekends a bit hungover, when a simple brunch and Netflix session will suffice, but in the sober days you may find you need something a bit more stimulating to fill your time. Go all out. Fill your schedule. Make a list of things you ‘keep meaning to do’ and just BOOK THEM. Go rock climbing with a friend, take a cooking class, book a train ticket and go walking in the countryside… Whatever floats your boat! (ooo maybe go on a boat?) Once you start coming up with ideas you’ll realise theres so much awesome stuff you can do!

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2. GET UP EARLY

Which leads me on to my next tip… book activities for the mornings. There is something so deeply satisfying about being up before everyone else (especially when you're not hungover and they are!). To get up with the sunrise and have accomplished things before midday on a weekend feels FANTASTIC. Plus, if you have something fun planned for the morning you feel much better the night before when you leave the pub a bit earlier than everyone else, or skip it entirely, because you have a good reason to get up in the morning. That feeling of missing out suddenly gets replaced with a feeling of they’re missing out.

3. DON’T MISS OUT

That being said, don't miss out! If you turn down events and socialising because you’re not drinking then October will be one depressing month. If your friends or work colleagues are off to the pub, join them! Carry on as normal, just do it without alcohol. The hardest part will be placing your order at the bar, but once the first drink is in everyones hand it’s soon forgotten that your beer is non-alcoholic. The only difference might be when you get a bit confused as to why suddenly around 11:30pm everyone is starting to get really annoying…

4. DO SOMETHING CRAZY

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Research has shown that one of the reasons we enjoy alcohol, isn’t as much to do with the detachment from life, or ‘getting out of your head’, as we may previously have thought. Actually, people who were given alcohol-free drinks but told they contained alcohol, still behaved as if they were drunk; doing ‘silly’ things, and behaving a bit out of character. Actually, what researchers found is that what we enjoy about alcohol is the license it gives us to be spontaneous, to be a bit wild or crazy, and act in a way that we don't usually feel we are ‘allowed’ to in our daily lives. Well, apply this to your sober month and you might just find a need fulfilled by something other than alcohol. Go a bit crazy. Do something totally new and exciting. Ever been wild-swimming? It’s exhilarating. Always fancied a bungee jump but feel way to scared? Nows the time. Want to get up on stage and perform a comedy act? Google ‘open mics near me’ and don't look back. Whatever it is, if it scares you, do it.

5. DON’T FOCUS ON THE ‘FINISH’ LINE 

In his TedX talk, ‘The exhilarating peace of free diving', Guillaume Néry talks about how it feels to dive down in the sea to 125m, and back, on just one breath. One piece of advice that stood out for me was in the final 10 meters before reaching the surface, Guillaume says ‘Never. look. up.’. Not with your eyes, not with your mind. The moment you think of the surface, you choke. 

OK so maybe 31 days off the booze isn't quite as dramatic as a 125m free dive, but the idea is the same. Focus on each present day. Don’t look forward to November in your mind because that will immediately make you believe that this sober sprint is something to be ‘over with’. It’s not. Each day is available for you to be enjoyed, and when you do, its the best feeling ever.

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Becky Kean