Sober October is a full month of abstaining from or reducing the intake of alcohol. It started out as a fundraiser for the UK's Macmillan Cancer Support, and became a worldwide trend that gave people the opportunity to think about their decisions around drinking.
To alleviate the ill effects of alcohol consumption, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends abstaining or drinking in moderation by restricting intake to two drinks or less in a day and one drink or less in a day for men and women respectively. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two-thirds of drinkers report drinking above these levels at least once a month.
Why Take a Sobriety Challenge?
A sobriety challenge isn't a starting point to eventually stop drinking alcohol. It's more meaningful in helping you explore your relationship with alcohol to understand if you need to make healthy changes and how to go about them.
For some, giving up alcohol for 31 days reveals the level of their dependence on the drink that they hadn't yet realized. It becomes clear when they struggle to reduce their drinking, a sign that they needed to reevaluate the role of alcohol in their lives.
It's rare for people to question their drinking routines. Once you form a habit, you keep at it. October is a chance to understand why you do what you do rather than viewing it as something you normally do. This can be useful in helping you transition to a healthier drinking pattern.
Health benefits of practicing Sober October
The amazing thing about the liver is that it can regenerate damaged cells from drinking alcohol within a few days to a few weeks after you stop drinking. Participating in Sober October can reduce the level of liver enzymes and improve liver function.
Drinking affects your sleep cycle. People who drink regularly report sleep disruptions and insomnia symptoms. With less or no alcohol, sleep quality can improve.
Alcohol messes up your blood sugar levels. It's why you crave junk food when you drink. Sober October can help you make better dietary choices. You may find that you have more energy for exercise and activities that help you maintain a healthy weight.
The initial feelings of happiness and relaxation from drinking can turn into anxiety and panic as the alcohol leaves your system. Known as 'hangxiety' it can make the morning-after difficult, and more so if you already have anxiety issues. Limiting your alcohol intake or giving it up entirely for 31 days can go a long way in keeping drinking-related anxiety at bay and allow you to focus better on the things that are important to you.
How to Win the Sobriety Challenge
A couple of things can make it easier and painless to abstain from alcohol:
- Ease into it: Start with one less drink than what you usually have or limit drinking to certain days.
- Keep 'em light: Choose drinks that have lower ABV levels or make weaker cocktails
- Let friends know: They can provide you with options such as non-alcoholic beer, non-alcoholic wine, or mocktails at parties
- Partner up: An accountability partner will give you the moral support you need to stay on track
- Try non-alcoholic drinks: Stock up with non-alcoholic versions of your favorite alcohol
We can help you swap your alcoholic drinks with their low-alcohol/alcohol-free counterparts. Check out your options in non-alcoholic wines and beers.
Regular beers have about 4-5% ABV, which may not look like much but is enough to get drunk off. Their non-alcoholic versions contain less than 0.5% ABV. They're a safe option for Sober October as they allow you to drastically cut down on your drinking.
You could drink NA beers or have them on the days you're skipping alcohol. Or you could substitute some of your weekend beer intake without having to sacrifice the flavors you've come to enjoy. Non-alcoholic beers replicate the flavors, colors and aromas of traditional beers. As they maintain the essence of the drink minus the intoxicating effects, people find them equally enjoyable.
Options in non-alcoholic beers
- Big Drop Brewing Paradiso IPA
- Big Drop Brewing Galactic Extra Dark
- Big Drop Brewing Pine Trail Pale
- Big Drop Brewing Coba Maya
Removing alcohol from fermented juice, which typically contains 13-14% ABV, without affecting the balance, mouthfeel, typicity, and quality is challenging. The two methods in use are vacuum distillation and spinning cone columns.
In vacuum distillation, the alcohol is removed at a relatively low temperature and aromatics are blended in afterwards. Something similar is followed in the second process but evaporation and condensation occur repeatedly. Both methods involve expensive equipment.
Better Rhodes has an excellent selection of non-alcoholic wines. Whether you prefer reds, whites, or rosé wines, we've got you covered.
Options in non-alcoholic wines
- Wander + Found Pinot Noir
- Wander + Found Cuvée Blanc
- Wander + Found Rosé
- Luminara Non-Alcoholic Napa Red Blend 2018
- Luminara Non-Alcoholic Chardonnay 2018
- Zeero Sangiovese
- Leitz Eins Zwei Zero Riesling
If you like to have a nightly whiskey or gin, give the non-alcoholic versions of these spirits a try during Sober October. The spiritless drinks are uncanny in resemblance and taste to spirits. Their flavor intensity makes them great for cocktails. If you're low on mixers, buy them for cheap here. For pre-made non-alcoholic gin and cocktails, have a look at Sir. James 101 Gin Tonic.
Here's to a Successful Sober October
The idea of going alcohol-free for 31 days may seem like a major task if you're attuned to your relationship with alcohol. If you aren't, the experience can be helpful in making thoughtful decisions about drinking. Plan your Sober October rules a month ahead and reach out to the people who can support you on this brief but significant journey.
Better Rhodes is a destination for the best non-alcoholic drinks. We're your partner in shaping Sober October how you'd like. Be sure to check out our non-alcoholic recipes to keep you going and understanding whether NA drinks have a place in your life.