Monday - Friday 9am - 6:30pm

Go sober for October (and tips for staying sober!)

If you’ve considered giving up alcohol, this is your sign to do so! You might be familiar with Dry January, but Sober October is another opportunity to join thousands of others in the UK in avoiding alcohol.

Whether you want to help fundraise or challenge yourself to be healthier, a month of sobriety can really have a positive impact. In this article, we’ll be highlighting what Sober October is all about, the benefits of taking part and offer tips for staying sober afterwards (sobriety doesn’t just have to be for a month!).

Please note: it’s important to remember that if you think you’re dependent on alcohol, going cold turkey could be dangerous. If you drink regularly and wish to stop, you should consult your GP first so that you can get the support you need to give up alcohol safely. 

What is Sober October?

Sober October is a 31-day challenge which involves giving up alcohol for the entire month. Many people will participate as a means to fundraise for the Macmillan Cancer Support charity but going alcohol-free has so many health benefits for you personally too.

Benefits of Sober October

1. You can better focus on your general health and wellbeing

There really are so many benefits of giving up alcohol and joining in with Sober October. You’ll have a clearer head and more energy, which means you can invest your time in becoming fitter and healthier. You might decide it’s time to head to the gym or be more active, or perhaps you’ll feel more motivated to learn healthy new recipes.

Moreover, avoiding alcohol will lower your risk of developing health issues such as high blood pressure, stroke, infertility and some cancers. 

2. You can raise money for charity

Anyone can join in with Sober October, but many people also choose to take part in the name of charity so they can raise money for their hard efforts. Macmillan launched their Sober October campaign in 2014 and since this time have raised over £33 million pounds. Not only will this help out a great cause, you may feel more motivated to stay on track because you’re not just going alcohol-free for you, you’re doing it for others too.

If you’re planning to raise money for charity, don’t forget to set up an online giving page in advance - you can do this after signing up to the Sober October site and creating your own profile page.

3. You’ll have improved sleep

Whilst drinking alcohol can make you feel more relaxed and sleepy (due to it being an antidepressant which slows down your brain’s activity), research indicates that drinking alcohol (especially in high amounts) is actually linked to poor quality of sleep, less hours of sleep, insomnia and it can even worsen sleep apnea (Sleep Foundation).  

4. You’ll save money

With research suggesting that the average household in the UK spends around £17.60 on alcohol each week (which amounts to £915 in a year), you could save a significant amount of money during Sober October. 

5. You’ll have more free time

Whether you head to the pub a couple of times a week or you drink in your own home to unwind, the time you spend drinking could be better spent and you won’t have to worry about those debilitating hangovers! Why not attend a new fitness class in the evening or take the family out for some fun activities instead?

6. You could lose weight

Drinking alcohol can lead to weight gain or make the process of slimming down much more difficult. It’s important to remember that alcoholic drinks can contain a high number of calories and cutting down on your alcohol consumption could help you to reach your weight loss goals.

7. You’ll feel part of a community

You won’t be the only one participating in Sober October, and there'll be plenty of online groups you can join in on to share your progress and get advice from others who are taking part.

8. You can feel proud of your achievement

Making the decision to stop drinking is the first step, but actually seeing through a whole month without drinking is a fantastic achievement, especially if you’ve raised money for charity in the process. By staying sober for this amount of time, you may feel more confident to continue your great work which will lead to a healthier lifestyle.

9. You can reflect on your drinking habits

Having a month away from alcohol will help you to think more clearly and you can use this time to think about your alcohol intake and how they impact your life. Notice how you’re feeling within yourself and consider the benefits of abstaining from alcohol.

Tips for staying sober

1. Identify your triggers and avoid them

Whether going to a pub or seeing bottles of wine in the kitchen tempts you into drinking alcohol, notice what situations trigger you and try your best to avoid them. For example, instead of joining a friend in a pub, why not arrange an activity such as going to the cinema or playing golf together instead?

2. Keep yourself busy 

Keeping yourself distracted means you’ll have less time to be thinking about alcohol. Why not challenge yourself to read more and immerse yourself in a story or learn a new skill?

3. Get active

Being active is another great way to keep yourself focused on something aside from your cravings - plus, you’ll get all the benefits that come with exercising more (weight loss, more energy and lower risk of developing some health issues such as heart disease).

Looking for support in getting active? Contact us to see how we can help. 

4. Learn new relaxation techniques

Many people turn to alcohol as a means to manage stress or cope with a mental health issue such as anxiety or depression. Whilst alcohol can make you feel more relaxed, it’s important to remember that its effects are only temporary, and do not help you to deal with the bigger issue. In fact, alcohol can increase anxiety and depression. Try to learn new ways to relax, such as deep breathing exercises, yoga or meditation so that you don’t reach for alcohol in your time of need.

Read our tips on how to deal with anxiety without alcohol here.

5. Keep a diary

It can be super helpful keeping a diary where you log your progress and feelings. You’ll be able to keep track of your sobriety (noting any occasions where you did drink alcohol and why) as well as any changes in your mood or physical health. You can then look back at your diary entries and reflect on how far you’ve come to motivate you to continue.

6. Don’t be too hard on yourself

Giving up alcohol isn’t always easy, especially if you’re used to drinking regularly - so don’t be too hard on yourself if you do slip up along the way. Obviously your goal is to abstain from alcohol for at least a month, but rather than throwing in the towel after a mistake, learn from it. Ask yourself why you struggled to say no to alcohol on that occasion and get back on track. It might help to remind yourself of why you’ve stopped drinking; whether you’re looking to improve your health or giving up to spend more time with your family, don’t lose sight of your motivations and use this to propel you forward.

7. Celebrate your progress

Made it past your first week? Great! Gone 3 weeks sober? Also great! You should be very proud of yourself for remaining alcohol-free and rising to the challenge, so make sure you celebrate your progress, no matter how big or small the milestone is! Just make sure you celebrate in a healthy way (i.e. not with a drink!) to keep you on the right path.

8. Get support

You don’t have to go through this journey alone and there are many support systems in place in the UK which will help you to stay sober. Different places you can get support are:

  • Family and friends - by letting your loved ones know that you’re trying to refrain from drinking alcohol, they can do their best to help you stay on track and avoid putting you in triggering situations.
  • Your GP - your GP will be able to suggest different methods of support (such as pointing you to a local alcohol service or referring you to a counsellor).
  • A professional health advisor - you can enlist the help of a professional health advisor or coach who will be there each step of the way as you give up alcohol, helping you to become healthier in different areas of your life too. Here at LiveWell Dorset, our services are free to Dorset residents and our team is ready to help you reach your goals.

Final thoughts

Ready for the challenge? Get ready to join in with Sober October by ditching the booze and removing temptation from your home. Giving up alcohol may not be easy for you, but the rewards that await will make the task worth it!

Don’t forget that if you’re a Dorset resident, you can get support from our expert coaches and advisors. Simply register with us today or get in touch with our team who will be more than happy to help.

Bernie

It's time for me to get my health in order

View full story

How does this work?

The tailored approach LiveWell Dorset uses to come up with solutions to the things that are stopping us achieving our goals, is based upon work done by University College London developing the COM-B model of behaviour change. In this model, all behaviour is influenced by understanding a person’s capability to change, their opportunity to change and their motivation to change. By understanding which of these is the biggest barrier to change, we can tailor support accordingly. This model of behaviour change is at the centre of the support we offer, online and in person.

Your Favourites?

or register, to favourite activities that you want to try.

Welcome!

Is this the first time that you've used our services, or have you already registered with us? To allow us to best serve you, please confirm whether you're new to LiveWell Dorset, or if you've spoken to us before and may have an existing account.

Welcome back, it's good to hear from you again!

To speak to one of our dedicated team and get the help you require please request a call back. All call backs from this service are free of charge to both landlines and mobile.

Request a Call Back

Do you provide your consent to share your information with the LiveWell Dorset team – part of Public Health Dorset ?

When you register with LiveWell Dorset, we ask you some questions about you and your health (how much you smoke, how active you are, how much you drink and how much you weigh). We store that information and use it to shape our service offer to you – such as the advice we give or the extra services we connect you to. The only people who will see this information will be those involved in the delivery of the service and management of the data. If you would like to use extra services (such as slimming clubs and pharmacies) we have to share this information with them. For us to be able to put you in touch with these services, we must have your consent to share that information with the service (we’ll ask for that later, when if you sign up for extra services).

Before we can sign you up any further, we need to know:

  • You're happy for your personal information to be shared with LiveWell Dorset.
  • You understand what information may be shared and why, and that at times, our contact to you may be supported by technology partners, who have the same data protection standards and safeguards as we do
  • You acknowledge that you can withdraw your consent at any time by informing LiveWell Dorset.
  • You understand that if you do not give consent or withdraw consent then it could be difficult for us to connect you some of the services we offer.

If you require any more information to help you make your choice then please contact the LiveWell Dorset team on 0800 840 1628. All telephone conversations at LiveWell Dorset are recorded for quality and training purposes, and stored whilst you are registered as active within the service.

Yes I consent

Sorry we can't continue at the moment

Unfortunately we need your permission to store your personal information to help us to assess the best support we could provide or signpost you to. If at any stage you change your mind and are happy to provide your personal information please come back and visit us again.