Various countries (UK, Australia, USA) have introduced Dry Months – in January, July, and October – to encourage people to go alcohol-free, in order to help assess their drinking behavior.
The 31-day Sober October challenge is an attempt to help regular drinkers realize their habit and the effects of their drinking in their life – physically, psychologically, spiritually, and relationally.
Do you think you could go alcohol-free (aka Dry) for one month? Would you even try? If not, then I have to ask: what’s stopping you?
The Drinking Habit
Humans are creatures of habit. Drinking alcohol becomes a habit when it’s associated with an activity, time of day, situation, or physical and emotional triggers.
Often, people increase their habitual alcohol consumption without being aware of it. We can easily build a tolerance to alcohol, for example: at the beginning, 1 glass of wine creates a buzz/relaxation, but with continued use, you will need 2 glasses of wine to produce this same effect.
To develop a more mindful approach to alcohol consumption, it is important to take a break from alcohol for an extended time. This will help break the drinking habit and allow you to assess your relationship with alcohol. After one month sober, you can be more mindful and aware of when, where, and how much alcohol you drink.
A Drinking Problem?
Do you have a drinking problem? How much is too much? In my Psychotherapy practice in St. Augustine, FL, most clients addressing their drinking do not consider themselves alcoholics, nor would I clinically classify them as having alcoholism. However, they feel that alcohol takes up too much time and energy in their life, and often causes an increase in anxiety, depression, and sleep difficulties.
If you have ever drunk more than you intended to, then you have an issue with alcohol. The reason being is that you broke your word to yourself. This can cause cognitive dissonance. When we are out of alignment with our values, we are at war with ourselves. This is often when self-criticism and self -loathing occur. If this becomes habitual, it will decrease your confidence and self-esteem.
Do You Control Alcohol or Does Alcohol Control You?
During the COVID-19 Pandemic sales of alcohol have drastically increased at alarming rates. This could be because of stress, job loss, relationships, lack of social interaction, etc. Perhaps you have experienced an increase in your drinking behavior during the pandemic, which has led to weight gain, being hung-over, and feelings of depression.
If you think a lot (obsess) about when, where, and how much you can drink, this also shows an issue with alcohol. If you spend a lot of time thinking of ways you can control your alcohol consumption, such as changing your beverage of choice, this also shows that you could benefit from taking a break from alcohol, and assessing if you feel better being alcohol-free.
Take the Sober October Challenge
Whether you consider yourself as having an issue with alcohol or not, take advantage of the 31-day Sober October challenge. A totally Dry Month could improve your overall health and well-being. If you feel unsure about it, try asking friends or family members to join you in the challenge – it may be just the thing to help you succeed.
Sober October is an opportunity to become mindful and in charge of your alcohol consumption. Let’s see if we can raise our awareness of the effects of alcohol on individuals, families, and the world.
Can’t Go A Month Without Drinking?
If you find that you can’t stop drinking, it’s time to get help – and the sooner the better. I am here for you and ready to help: please call me at 904-436-5576, or email me at info@IsobelMcGrath.com