First there was Dry January, then Sober September and now Sober October. I guess it is to make up for the ‘Blackout Wednesday’ in November, and the excessive, celebratory drinking in December that seems to be the norm for many Americans. Three months devoted to sobriety to counter the nine months of imbibing isn’t so bad. At least we are adding months to the sobriety train instead of taking them away! Whether you are already partaking in Sober October or are willing to give it a day, a week or the rest of the month, I am all for jumping on this train and giving it a whirl. If you google “Sober October”, you will find a plethora of ideas for making it through the month enjoying mocktails and finding ‘alternative’ activities in which to engage. You will also find an abundance of literature on the health effects of being sober and the interesting origins of the challenge – a fundraiser for MacMillan Cancer Support in the UK. Below, I take another shot at enhancing your experience by inviting you to apply the principles of mindfulness to your sober journey.
How to be Mindfully Sober in October
Mindfulness is about bringing yourself to the present moment, staying open and curious, and being intentional – bringing your full attention to the moment, the activity, the experience.
S et an intention for yourself.
Be specific and purposeful. For example, “My intention is to be sober for the month of October. My intention is to enjoy myself in each and every activity in which I choose to abstain from alcohol.”
Notice the triggers to want to drink. Observe the reactions in your body – urges, cravings, thoughts. Observe others around you who are drinking. Observe how others react to your choice to be sober. Just notice, observe and gather information.
It wouldn’t be a mindful exercise if I didn’t remind you to breathe. Breathing can relax you, bring you back to your intention, allow you to pause and re-commit if you are struggling. Taking a long, deep breath can increase your energy level and your blood flow. We re-set with a deep breath.
Being sober doesn’t mean being boring. Engage with others, try something new and different. Take a risk. As you engage in activities sober, be mindful ~ notice how you feel in your body, what you are thinking, and how you feel emotionally. Most people are pleasantly surprised at the joy of waking up sober, being more present with their children and co-workers, and getting a lot more done!
Use this time to recover. Jump into self-care. Drink lots of water, move your body (it will be easier without the alcohol), get a massage (you are saving money by not drinking!), receive support, replenish your body with healthy food, vitamins and rest.