Going booze-free this October? There are endless benefits of cutting down on alcohol, from reduced cancer risk to better sleep. Keep note of these tips to help you go sober for October.
What is Go Sober for October?
Every October, Macmillan Cancer Support challenge people to give up alcohol for a month to raise money for their services for people with cancer. Macmillan’s services include physical, financial and emotional support to people living with cancer. Participants need to sign up on their website and ask friends and family for donations. It’s up to participants to set a fundraising target.
1. Think about your why
Your ‘why’ is your overarching goal that drives you to keep doing what you do. As you banish the booze from your life, think about why you’re doing this and what you want to achieve. Is it to raise money to help loved ones who need Macmillan’s services? Do you want to cut down on your drinking for health reasons? Are you looking for something that challenges you?
Your ‘why’ should be a key part of any lifestyle change you make, because it will give you perspective and direction when you have a wobble.
2. Be prepared
By preparing for the month ahead, you’re giving yourself the best possible chance of success. Do you have any upcoming plans in the diary where alcohol will be involved? Think about what your go-to drink will be. Are there certain times or days of the week when you’re more tempted to drink? If possible, remove alcohol from your environment if you know you’ll struggle to beat those urges. Avoid the alcohol aisle when you’re shopping or explore non-alcoholic drinks instead.
3. Journal your moods
Mood journaling has many benefits and I recommend doing this daily. Our relationship with alcohol can be complex and it’s usually emotional. This exercise can help you identify how drinking affects your moods and you can start tackling your triggers.
- Rate your mood everyday out of 10 (0 being the lowest and 10 being the highest)
- Note times of day when you’ve craved alcohol and any emotions associated with that (for example, to relieve stress after an argument or to relax after a long week at work)
- If possible, try and capture how much money you’ve saved from not buying alcohol
4. Do it with a friend
If you know sobriety will be hard for you, why not get a friend to do it with you? Having a solid support system helps with any lifestyle change and you can keep each other accountable. Going it alone? Ask those around you to support you through your sobriety instead of trying to tempt you with a cheeky glass of wine.
5. Reward yourself
Making lifestyle changes is never easy, but with patience, discipline and consistency, you can do it. Put a reward system in place to celebrate your milestones: everytime you say no to your favourite Prosecco, everytime you go to the supermarket without buying beer, everytime you opt for a booze-free alternative. If you can, save the money you’d have spent on booze and use it to buy yourself a treat. Even if you have one or two slip-ups, don’t be hard on yourself because you’re still making a positive commitment.