This year could be the perfect time to participate in Sober October in Central Florida. Many people are still limiting their social activities because of the pandemic, so why not make it a time of personal growth and challenging yourself?
Alcohol use, even if you’re not concerned about your use, can have catastrophic consequences. For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2% of respondents in a Florida survey said they’d driven after drinking too much in the past 30 days. That is in line with the national average.
It’s not only alcohol that’s problematic. In 2018 in Florida, there were 4,698 reported drug overdose deaths. Almost 68% of those involved an opioid.
Sober October can provide you with the opportunity to reflect on your use of substances, and it’s also a good way to show your support for family members or friends who are in recovery or are working toward sobriety. Sober October coincides with Substance Abuse Prevention Month, which aims to raise awareness about substance use and show support for people in recovery or in treatment.
What Is Sober October?
The idea of Sober October wasn’t necessarily new in 2017, but Joe Rogan popularized the idea on his podcast. Rogan decided that he was going to help his friend and fellow comedian cut down on his alcohol use and also get healthier. Along with several other friends, the group challenged each other not just to remain substance-free during October, but to take other steps to improve their health like participating in fitness classes throughout the month.
Sober October has grown into an annual tradition of pledging sobriety for the month of October. It’s an opportunity to evaluate your relationship with alcohol (or other substances) and focus on healthy habits.
Tips and Guidelines
While we most commonly associate Sober October with abstaining from alcohol, you can do it with other substances as well. Make Sober October your own, and give yourself the chance to explore what a sober life could be like for you.
Here are some tips to help you avoid alcohol or other substances throughout the month:
- Find someone to help you stay accountable. This could be a friend or family member who doesn’t use substances or is in recovery. You could also team up with a friend to help one another stay on track.
- Write down your intentions and goals. Whenever we write something down, we’re more likely to stick to it. Along with writing down your objective to stay substance-free for the month of October, you might also want to include some of the reasons why.
- Don’t keep any alcohol or substances in your house. When they’re nearby, that’s going to make it harder to stick with your goals.
- Keep yourself busy. Breaking habits is hard, but it can help to put your mind and energy toward other things. Replace your substance use with something physically or mentally healthy, like meditation, exercise or a hobby.
- Be careful about peer pressure. If you have people around you who are drinking, it may be harder for you to stay sober. Rethink your social commitments and who you spend time with during Sober October.
Understanding the First 30 Days of Recovery
While Sober October can certainly bring challenges, for someone in their first 30 days of recovery for substance addiction, it can be much more difficult. The first few days in alcohol recovery can include a wide range of physical and mental symptoms. Some people experience difficult detox symptoms, which can even be dangerous.
Once detox has been completed, the next steps usually include addressing underlying issues that contribute to substance use, acknowledging how their drinking or substance use has affected everyone around them and thinking about what they might need to do to rebuild their life.
Sober October is a great time to think about these challenges, particularly if you have family or friends in recovery. Even if you’re only sober for the month of October, it may provide insight into what early recovery can be like.
Additional Benefits of Going Sober
It’s easy to think that unless you have an addiction to alcohol or other substances, you’re not impacted by them. Even drinking occasionally can create physical symptoms like brain fog and weight gain. Alcohol can put you at higher risk for health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer. You may not be as productive as you would be without alcohol. It can also affect your relationships.
When you take the time to explore sobriety, you may experience benefits like:
- You may have more energy to put toward school, work, or your physical health.
- People often find that even with a short period of sobriety, they lose weight.
- When you take substance use out of the equation, you may have more time to pursue hobbies and things that bring you joy.
- Sobriety can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- You aren’t wasting days with symptoms of a hangover or excessive drinking.
- When you take time for sobriety, you can evaluate your relationship with alcohol.
- It’s easier to be present and in the moment with your loved ones when you’re sober.
- You can save money.
You don’t have to commit to lifelong sobriety to participate in Sober October. But, if you or someone in your life is struggling with substance use, we can help. Contact us today to learn more about available treatment options and a program that could meet your needs.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Sobering Facts: Drunk Driving in Florida.” Accessed October 1, 2020.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Florida: Opioid-Involved Deaths and Related Harms.” April 3, 2020. Accessed October 1, 2020.
Harvard Health Publishing. “11 Ways to Curb Your Drinking.” Accessed October 1, 2020.