Everyone Is Doing Sober October—Here's Why You Should Try It
										Some people are taking a break from alcohol before the holiday festivities begin.

Everyone Is Doing Sober October—Here's Why You Should Try It Some people are taking a break from alcohol before the holiday festivities begin.

Back in August of this year, I noticed I was exhausted all the time, I was feeling really bloated on a regular basis, and my overall mood took a downward shift. After doing a bit of reflection on my diet over the summer, I realized I had been drinking a lot of alcohol. In the summer months, especially in a city like New York where there’s always something to do, I tend to socially drink more than usual. But this year it quickly caught up with my body and I decided it may be time to take a break.

Because of a much-needed refresh, I decided to try going alcohol-free for the entire month of September. But about midway through my month of no drinking, I started hearing a lot of talk about “Sober October.” After a bit of research and talking with some friends, I quickly realized that Sober October had become the latest trend in the alcohol-free lifestyle, and arguably the thing giving Dry January a run for its money.

Interestingly enough, it seems that the culture around drinking is shifting all together, especially among millennials and Gen Z’ers. Alcohol sales skyrocketed at the start of the pandemic, but one recent survey shows that fewer young people above the age of 21 are drinking alcohol daily and even weekly than they were back in 2020 and 2021.

What is Sober October, and is it the new Dry January?

Dry January is when someone decides to give up alcohol consumption for the entire month, marking somewhat of a “refresh” to begin the new year. This idea has become so popular that there is even a campaign for it in the United Kingdom. While you can pledge and sign up for the campaign, most people just set a personal goal and stick to it on their own.

Sober October is the same exact concept: one month without alcohol, except the main difference is that instead of starting your new year off sober with Dry January, Sober October acts as a sort of reset before the holidays kick off. This may be appealing to those who are craving a bit of an alcohol break before indulging in holiday festivities in November and December.

The concept originally began in Australia when Life Education (a youth organization) started a campaign to raise money where people pledged to not drink for one month and called it “Ocsober.” MacMillan Cancer Support later did something very similar, calling it “Sober October.” In 2017, Joe Rogan announced on his podcast that he was doing Sober October, which gave the movement even more popularity. While you can still pledge and make money for these campaigns, similarly to Dry January, most people opt to keep it a personal goal.

Why are people going sober this October?

So the question is, why are some people choosing to do Sober October?

To learn more about the motivation behind participating in this sober month, we talked with a few people who are intending to do Sober October to find out why they made this decision. What we learned is that for a lot of people, it comes down to their personal health and emotional well-being.

What are the health benefits of Sober October?

“I basically want to be healthier,” says Laura P. “I’m trying a new routine of home-cooking and yoga and no alcohol to see if I feel more energized during the day, especially with the cold season approaching.”

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“I’ve been dealing with some health issues lately, as well as some depression, and during this difficult season, alcohol hasn’t given me any clarity whatsoever. Instead, it just pushed down the emotions and my capacity to think through everything,” says Lloyd W.

For some, it comes down to not wanting to rely on alcohol in social situations. “I like to prove to myself that I can be social and fun without drinking,” says Steven N. “And I notice when I’m not drinking I can enjoy things like Cherryade that I would never order if there was a Negroni on the menu.”

Allison E. says she gave up drinking almost entirely back in January but has slipped up a few times since then. “Sober October will be like a recommitment. I had a few weddings in August and September that I drank at and felt terrible afterward (things like heartburn, spins, hangover),” she says. “Not drinking at events is hard for me though, so it’s time to get back into practice.”

But don’t let these decisions fool you-there are plenty of people who would still opt for Dry January over Sober October. For Cher R., it makes much more sense to wait until January.

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