Last month, my partner mentioned he was going to do a Sober October with his friend. Without skipping a beat, I said, count me in. It’s been a while since I’ve taken an intentional break from something but, as Kacey Musgraves said, “It was high time to slow my roll.” A summer full of dinners, drinks, weddings, birthdays, travel, boat days, and celebrations, and I was starting to feel like my body needed a reset. Plus, I was about to embark on a big month of work and travel and wanted to feel rested. Admittedly, we started on Monday, Oct 3, but I think it still counts. And for the sake of this piece, my Sober October is specifically for alcohol.
Featured image by Riley Blanks Reed.
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While I thought this was just a random month to do it, turns out that Sober October is actually a thing. I’m currently following along with comedians and podcast co-hosts Bert Kreischer and Tom Segura’s Sober October, but one search of the #SoberOctober hashtag on Instagram yields 100k+ posts.
At just 11 days in from the time of publication, I can tell you it’s been well worth my time. Here are eight observations I’ve had in a short time.
8 Things I’ve Learned From Doing Sober October
My Sleep Has improved
This should come as no surprise as even 1-2 drinks or glasses of wine can really disrupt my sleep. Since starting Sober October, I’ve been falling asleep almost the moment I lay my head down. As anyone knows who has a hard time sleeping, this is a HUGE win.
I’m waking up earlier and feel refreshed
To wake up feeling clear and refreshed is such a luxury. I’ve noticed that I’m able to rise so much earlier, get in a workout, and dive into my day. Plus, I don’t know about you, but I tend to wake up feeling a bit anxious after a night of drinking. That is never a great feeling.
I’m Saving money
I froze my wine club shipment ($250) and I’m easily saving $200+ a week between buying bottles of wine or having drinks at dinner. Plus, I no longer have to call an Uber as I’m sober and can drive. These have all added up to HUGE savings.
My skin is clearing up
After almost two weeks, my skin looks more refreshed and radiant. I can imagine the sugar in the wine (I’m predominately a wine drinker) has something to do with it, not to mention I’m drinking a lot more water so I’m more hydrated.
Workouts are easier
While I’ve often said that two glasses of red wine the night before a run somehow makes my running effort “better,” no drinking has made it even better. I’m not as winded and I feel like I’m more productive during strength training.
I realized that most of my social activities centered around grabbing a drink
Happy hours, meeting friends at the bar of a restaurant or lounge before an event—almost every social activity has started and/or ended with grabbing a drink. I can still do all of those things, I just opt for a sparkling water.
My temptations are fleeting
I’ve been to a few dinners where I wanted to grab the wine list and have a beautiful glass of red during my meal. But for the most part, that feeling is gone after five minutes. The temptations are usually centered around a habit, i.e., sitting down to a meal with friends, celebrating with a glass of bubbles, or enjoying a drink at a show, but once I have a sparkling water or something else in hand, I truly forget about it.
Not drinking has encouraged others
Twice now while at a dinner, when I shared that I wasn’t drinking, both of my dinner guests said, “well if you’re not, then I’m not. I was only doing it because I thought you would.” I get it, I do that, too. While it wasn’t the driving factor to join my partner in his, it was a big consideration. It made me wonder how often we make a choice because we think it’ll be easier to go with the flow versus check in with what we really need.
Personally, October might be the hardest month for me to have given this a go. I have a packed calendar full of travel, dinners, celebrations, concerts, and comedy shows—all things I’d typically enjoy drinks at. But so far, it’s been a wonderful decision with a ripple of great effects.
While my Sober October wasn’t intended to be longer than the month, I’m hopeful I’ll have a new outlook on my relationship with drinking, both in frequency and quantity. The great sleep and mental clarity are enough to motivate me to continue down this path of less is more.
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