The days are getting shorter, the weather’s getting colder, and Halloween is right around the corner – Fall is officially upon us, and we’re a few days into the tenth month of the year. That means it’s time for Sober October, a campaign that that challenges people to go without alcohol for the month, much like Dry January.
This movement was started in 2010 by an Australian youth health organization called Life Education which created a fundraiser called “Ocsober.” The name “Sober October” is attributed to Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity based in the United Kingdom, that kicked off their campaign in 2014 to raise money for supporting people with cancer. In the past few years, the movement has become more recognized and mainstream, given the celebrities who have taken on the challenge and shared it with their audiences.
Benefits of Going Sober in October
While drinking alcohol may help people fall asleep faster, it can interfere with breathing and disrupt the REM phase of the sleep cycle, which negatively impacts the overall quality of one’s sleep.
Better Hydration Levels
Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that it triggers the body to remove fluids from your blood at a much faster rate than other liquids. As most of us know, dehydration can lead to nasty headaches, fatigue, and dizziness. Unless you’re drinking a glass of water after each alcoholic beverage, you are sure to feel parched after a few cocktails or glasses of wine.
Potential Weight Loss
There is no doubt that most alcoholic beverages taste great – but with the flavor can come empty calories. For example, a classic margarita is about 200 calories, while a glass of Chardonnay has 125 calories. Whatever your drink of choice, a few of them over the course of the evening can add up, and if you aren’t burning those calories somehow, they can turn into a few extra pounds of unwanted weight.
Drinking alcohol regularly can leave you feeling fuzzy and can make it challenging to remember things. It can also alter your perception of distance, as well as slow or impair your fine motor skills. Saying good-bye to alcohol for a month will leave your brain feeling sharper and likely your reactions quicker.
Infused Beverages: An Alcohol Alternative
For people who have never participated in Sober October before, they might be wondering about beverages that can replace a beer while watching football or the Major League Baseball playoffs, a glass of wine with dinner, or a nightcap before bed. A great alternative to any of these is a beverage infused with CBD, THC, or a combination of the two! A drink infused with THC will likely give you an elevated experience, minus the hangover!
There are plenty of different options on the market for you to choose from, such as:
Infused Sparkling Water
Infused Sparkling Water flavored with natural fruit juice and other functional ingredients also makes a great base for a mocktail or can stand alone with a wedge of fruit in them.
Infused Coffee Beverages
While some may think coffee is strictly a morning beverage, many people who are not highly sensitive to caffeine like to enjoy a coffee-based beverage after dinner or to replace dessert (or an Irish Coffee!).
There’s nothing like a warm cup of tea in the evening to wind down before catching some zzzzz’s.
There are a number of beverages on the market that replicate the flavors of certain cocktails like a Gin and Tonic, an Old Fashioned, or a Paloma, minus the alcohol.
Infused Fruit Juices
Many cocktails like Margaritas and Greyhounds feature fruit juices as their base. To create your own mocktail, take your favorite infused fruit juices, mix and match them, and add other ingredients like bitters, herbs, syrups or fresh fruit to enhance the flavors. (Note: Technically bitters are made from alcohol, but they’re often labeled as non-alcoholic given how little you use in a cocktail.)
Tips for a Successful Sober October
- Ask a friend to go dry with you. As we all know, making resolutions is easy, but sticking with them can be hard. If you do Sober October with a friend, you can hold each other accountable as well as have fun creating and making non-alcoholic beverages together.
- Track how you feel at the end of each day. The first few days of going sober might be tough as your body and mind recalibrate themselves. In a journal, in your planner, or on a calendar app, reflect on how you are feeling – not just physically, but emotionally. Consider your energy level, your mood, how hydrated you feel, how you are sleeping, etc.
- Replace your evening alcohol with an activity. For many people, alcohol is part of their nightly routine – a cocktail at Happy Hour, wine with dinner, a sip of scotch before bed. For Sober October, you can replace that beverage with a NA drink AND an activity! This could mean a yoga session or a trip to the gym followed by an infused sparkling water, an evening walk followed by an infused tea, or dessert and infused coffee with friends.
- Host a mocktail party on Halloween. For many, drinking is a social activity. On Halloween, consider throwing a mocktail costume party. Do a little research for recipes online, grab some infused beverages for the mocktail base, then find some fun ingredients fruit or vegetable juices, syrups, and herbs, fruit wedges or pickled vegetables for garnish. You could also have contests for the best costume and best mocktail!
- Be patient with yourself. Change is hard for most people, especially when it comes to altering one’s behavior or routine. You might be a little cranky when you first start cutting out alcohol – and that is normal! When you’re feeling a little off or irritated, try to remind yourself why you are doing this in the first place and then do something nice for yourself, like drinking an infused beverage.
- If you’re looking for some infused beverages for Sober October and beyond, check out our Powered by SōRSE page where you can find some of the best-tasting drinks on the market!