It’s strange to think I’m writing the final entry into my Sober Diaries just as an estimated 60,000 people embark on their journey through Sober October. Many people have asked me what I’d do once I got here, and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t spent a large part of my time wondering the same. Would I be heading down to the pub to celebrate three months sobriety with a chain of shots and a bottle of champagne?
I’m happy to say that my answer is a very resounding no. Over the past three months, my mindset has shifted entirely; I no longer see self-care or reward as knocking back a few glasses. Instead, I want to hang out with the friends that have supported me, have a flute of Royal Flush and go to bed early. That may sound dull to some, but to me, it’s all about being kind to myself, something I was missing before with my constant hangovers, hangiexty, and beer fear.
I know that everyone’s relationship with alcohol is different, but I would encourage everyone to go sober (even if it’s just for a month) to see how you feel, how your mindset changes and what you can achieve by yourself. And, if you’re wondering where the hell to begin, Sober October is a great place to start… and hopefully these tips can help, too.
Find good replacements
Ask yourself what you like to drink alcohol-wise and no doubt there will be a non-alcoholic alternative for it. Big gin lover? Get yourself some Seedlip. Love ale? Try something from the Big Drop range. In the mood for a crisp lager? Crack open a bottle of Lucky Saint. Want a dry white wine alternative? Pour yourself a Dry Dragon.
When I stopped drinking, I calculated how much money I spent on alcohol per week and put it aside. At the end of each week, when I’d make it to Sunday without a hangover, I took some of that money and treated myself – usually to some flowers or a new book. These were small rewards that went a long way.
There are times when it’s going to be tough. There will be unavoidable moments you’ll encounter where you’ve used alcohol as your crux in the past: the work event where you don’t know anyone, a stressful day in the office, the first date. By preparing for these events ahead of time, you’re giving yourself the best possibility of success.
Now, If I’m going to a dinner party, I’ll bring non-alcoholic drinks that make me feel like I’m having something just as sophisticated and delicious as an alcoholic drink. If I have a long day at work, instead of pouring myself a glass (or two…) of wine, I’ll pour myself a bath to relax.
Shift your mindset
If you constantly think you’re missing out when your friends get the drinks in then that’s the way you will always feel. But if you shift your mindset and realise the bigger picture, that you’re doing this to help yourself reach a goal – whether that’s physical, mental or both – and how great you will feel at the end, then you will succeed. Try to focus on the long-term gain rather than the short-term fix.
Don’t restrict yourself
Cutting yourself off from doing things you love (hanging out with friends, going to parties, dancing all night in bars) is a sure-fire way of resenting your new sober life. Just a reminder: you don’t have to miss out on the things you love just because you’re not drinking! I honestly believed this before going sober, and I can’t underline enough just how far from the truth it is. If you’re with friends you love, in a place where you have fun, you will have just as good a night… if not better.
It’s worth noting, we feel, that Shani’s Sober Diaries relate to sober curiosity rather than alcohol-related difficulties. In a forthcoming podcast interview, we will be chatting with Soberista’s founder, Lucy Rocca. Soberistas is a wonderful resource for people looking to cut back on drinking for whatever reason. We recommend taking a look at their website.
Other resources for Sober October
If you’re interested in finding out more about Sober October, we recommend the following.
First of all, you can take a listen to our podcast with Sober Curious author, Ruby Warrington. You can do that by clicking below.
Ruby’s book can be purchased online by clicking here.
If you’re looking for a Sober October read, Catherine Gray‘s, The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober has had a profound effect on many people we know. It’s an unflinching and at times harrowing story, but it is told with such love, kindness and honesty… we can’t recommend it enough.
If you work in the hospitality industry and you’re looking to improve your relationship with alcohol, it’s also worth keeping an eye open for the work that Healthy Hospo is doing. We’ll be releasing our podcast with the organisation’s founder, Tim Etherington-Judge, later this month. Subscribe to our podcast via this page.
Lastly, as Shani mentioned above, Club Soba are doing wonderful things for the Sober Curious Community at large. Whether it’s sober pub crawls or the wonderful Mindful Drinking Festival, you can find out more by clicking here.