Up until the pandemic bit, Metro News regularly ran a column in which people ‘spilled’ how much they actually drank in an average week; as some of us start preparing ourselves to ‘go sober for October’ it might be useful to pause and consider just how commonplace drinking is in the UK.
In 2020 problematic drinking surged. Alcohol-specific deaths increased by 20.0% (from 5,819 in 2019 to 6,983) and deaths from alcohol related mental health disorders rose by over 10%. The amount of alcohol sold actually increased year-on-year from 2019, as people entertained themselves through lockdown by drinking at home.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that your drinking has increased and you’d like to do something about it? Sober October is an initiative that encourages you to examine your drinking habits and give up for a month to raise money and reset your lifestyle.
Preparing for Sober October
One of the most effective things you can do to make Sober October successful is to set yourself a concrete goal. Spend some time thinking about why achieving this goal is important to you and what it will bring to your life. Motivation is an individual thing. What works for you will be different than your friend or partner and if you’re doing sober October simply because of peer pressure, you’re less likely to get through it than if you find something that is a goal that means something if you achieve it. Perhaps it’s saving some money or losing some weight.
Know that changing habits can take time and feel uncomfortable at first. You might find that you are struggling with cravings; it can be helpful to find someone to talk to. Having a support system provides accountability as well. When you’re having a tough day it can be reassuring to know that you’re not alone and that someone else can talk you through it.
Perhaps if you’re taking part in Sober October you’re doing it as a fundraising effort. This will give you some external accountability and motivation. If you’re doing the challenge solo, tell your friends and family what your intention is and ask them for support. You’re more likely to achieve your goals when you have people cheering you on.
Plan your social calendar. Don’t let things just happen, take control! Instead of arranging to meet up with friends at the pub, suggest other activities. Get active and go for a walk or indoor rockclimbing or go see a movie. Not only will this help reduce the temptation to drink, you’ll bond with your friends in new ways.
For some people, the ideal of giving up drinking for a month seems like an insurmountable challenge. They might worry about cravings or how they’ll manage their feelings without having a drink to soothe them. Hypnotherapy has had proven success in helping clients break unwanted habits or addictions like excessive drinking.
“The good news,” says the National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH), “is that you are in control, you can change how you react to certain situations, and you can protect yourself in ways that are healthy and which allow you succeed and grow stronger in body and mind. You just need to know how to change it, and to believe you can.”
Hypnotherapy works rapidly and successfully with bad habits and behaviours because it works directly with the subconscious, bypassing the critical mind and getting to the root of the issue so that changes can be made.
Make your Sober October a success and visit the NCH’s hypnotherapy directory to find a qualified and insured hypnotherapist near you who can support you achieving your goals.