Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition)

Sober October: tips to help you make it through the month

- LUTHO PASIYA lutho.pasiya@inl.co.za

THIS month, tens of thousands of people around the world will be skipping cocktail hours and skipping booze in the name of charity.

Sober October began in 2014 as a fund-raising campaign for Macmillan Cancer Support, a UK-based charity that provides support to people living with cancer.

This campaign’s primary goal is raising money but the movement also emphasises the importance of checking in with yourself about your relationsh­ip with alcohol.

Like Dry January, Sober October encourages people to give up alcohol and boozing for one month.

Here are our tips for how not to give up on giving up.

Remind yourself of the benefits

Reminding yourself of these – the money you are saving, the better sleep you are having, the general boost to your overall well-being – will motivate you to keep on track and help you realise you are not giving something up, you are embracing something new.

Reach out for support

October is a great time of year to be on the wagon, people are starting to think about Christmas and plenty of others will be doing Sober October.

If your friends and family do not get it, there are lots of online resources and private Facebook groups for you to turn to. Saying no to drinks can be hard but remember why you decided to embark on Sober October, and check in with friends or online groups regularly to keep you accountabl­e and celebrate milestones.

Start up a creative activity

You may be thinking, “What will I do on Saturday nights?” There are so many exciting and engaging sober activities you can pursue without being under the influence.

Use October (and future months) as an opportunit­y to try something new, such as cooking.

Take it day by day

Giving up drinking is a marathon, not a sprint, so take it day by day. Each day wake up and tell yourself, today is a drink-free day, and then repeat. Focusing on one day at a time will help the journey feel more manageable.

Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, which can help reduce cravings for alcohol.

Even with these practices in place, Sober October may prove difficult. Every person is different, and it can be hard – or even dangerous – for some people to stop all of a sudden.

Quitting alcohol can cause withdrawal symptoms for those who drink heavily. So, if you think you may be dependent on alcohol, speak with a medical profession­al to safely decrease or stop your alcohol consumptio­n.

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