Ever heard of or participated in Dry January? Well, October is another month to flex those self-control and self-discipline muscles in the growing trend that is “Sober October.”
What is the Sober October challenge?
The Sober October Challenge is just what the name suggests: you go sober for October.
“Sober” means different things to different people, of course. Some people swear off alcohol altogether. Other people set limits on when they will and will not drink, with their goal not being total abstinence, but rather, cutting back on their typical alcohol intake.
What are the Sober October rules?
The rules for Sober October are whatever you make them. Options range from not letting a single drop of alcohol touch your lips, to not drinking during the weekdays but enjoying one to two glasses on the weekends.
According to Sunnyside.co, this month-of-sobriety event originated as a fundraising event, so maybe you want to set parameters ahead of time around how you want to incorporate charitable giving into your individualized program (a donate-to-drink day, for example).
What are the health benefits of not drinking alcohol for a month?
Let’s talk about the fantastic health benefits you can expect during this alcohol-free (or alcohol-reduced) journey:
Your sleep and energy should improve
Say goodbye to those restless nights. Without alcohol in your system, you’ll enjoy deeper and more restful sleep. Your body will thank you for the extra Zzz’s.
And who doesn’t want more pep in their step? Alcohol can zap your energy, so abstaining will leave you feeling more vibrant and ready to take on every day.
You may notice better mental clarity and an improved mood
Get ready to sharpen your focus and boost your brainpower. A break from alcohol can help enhance your cognitive abilities and mental clarity.
Also, alcohol can sometimes mess with your mood, leading to feelings of anxiety or depression. You’ll likely experience improved emotional well-being without it.
You will consume fewer calories
Alcohol is often packed with empty calories, and it can stimulate your appetite. By skipping the booze for a month, you might notice a trimmer waistline.
Your immune system should get stronger
An alcohol-free month can boost your immune system. You’ll be better equipped to fend off illnesses and stay healthier. This has to do with reducing the toxic load, especially on the liver and other organs, when you abstain from drinking.
You might notice healthier (and even glowing) skin
Alcohol can dehydrate your skin, leaving it looking tired and dull. Expect your complexion to improve, giving you that healthy, radiant glow.
What are some unique ways to cut back on alcohol?
If you struggle with alcoholism, we encourage you to get the professional help and treatment you need. On the other hand, if you’re just needing some lighthearted ideas to keep you on the path to a successful Sober October, we have a few ideas for you.
Sober October app for staying on track
The app Sunnyside has the moniker “The #1 Sober October App.” It’s a paid app, but a 15-day free trial is available, which will get you nearly halfway through the month. Afterward, the subscription price is $8.75 per month, about the cost of an alcoholic beverage at a restaurant.
So it’s a decent tradeoff for a behavior-changing app that gives you the ability to track drinks, plan your weeks, get daily motivation, hear from real human coaches on-demand, and more.
Ear seeds to curb addiction and encourage sobriety
In addition to an app, something else to try are ear seeds. These are tiny acupressure beads that attach to your ear with an adhesive tape sticker. You can apply ear seeds on your own as long as you have the ear seeds and know where on the ear to put them (a virtual consultation can guide you on that part!).
How do ear seeds help with anything related to alcohol? We’re glad you asked.
The acupressure points on the ear are known to correlate, and send signals when pressed, to different parts of the body. Now, this all might sound far-fetched, but what we love about ear seeds is that they are an evidence-based approach to treating different conditions, including addiction, alcoholism, and overdrinking.
In one 2018 study, auricular (meaning “ear”) acupressure was found to significantly reduce alcohol consumption amount and frequency as compared to the control group not receiving the intervention.
In a 2022 systematic review, Dr. Eun Jin Lee reported that 64% of studies included in the review found auriculotherapy to be effective in treating addiction, including addiction to alcohol. Acupressure points most used for treating addiction (and which you could use for Sober October) were Shen Men, subcortex, heart, lung, and liver. These are good, commonly used points to earseed in general.
Seasonal non-alcoholic drinks you’ll love
For many of us, drinking is just a fun social thing to do with friends and family. And as we celebrate the arrival of cooler fall temperatures, the cozier, heavier types of beverages sound appealing.
But anything that is made with alcohol can be made without it, too. Think twice before you snub your nose at some of these October-themed virgin drinks:
To sum it up
At My Ear Seeds, we’re big proponents of Sober October and hope that more people participate this year than ever before.
Remember, Sober October not about deprivation; it’s about self-care and making choices that benefit your well-being. Enjoy this alcohol-free (or reduced) month, and cheers to a healthier, happier you!
Lee, E. J. (2022). Effects of auriculotherapy on addiction: A systematic review. Journal of Addictive Diseases, 40(3), 415-427. https://doi.org/10.1080/10550887.2021.2016011
Wang, M.-H., & Chen, C.-C. (2018). The Effect of a Six-Week Acupressure Program on Harmful Alcohol Use Among Aboriginal People in Southern Taiwan.