What is Go Sober?
For many people, alcohol is a big part of their daily lives. Be it a glass of wine at the end of the day in front of the TV, or a night out drinking with friends, it is easy for drinking alcohol to become part of your routine. The Go Sober for October challenge aims to pull you out of your comfort zone and see you go 31 days without alcohol, all in aid of raising money for Macmillan and helping them to support people with cancer.
Go Sober is a great way to raise money and help those who need it, but can also help you to evaluate your own drinking habits. Being forced to think about your drinking habits and become more conscious of the times that you do drink can help you to build better habits in the future. Chronic drinking has a variety of serious side effects in the long run, including some cancers, so the challenge might do more for you than you think!
Health benefits of sobriety
Not only is the Go Sober for October challenge perfect for challenging the way you think about alcohol and raising money for people with cancer, it can offer you a wide range of health benefits too!
Your mood improves
Alcohol plays a big part in contributing to poor mental states, such as anxiety and depression. Whilst it may appear to help with these conditions in the short term, the way that alcohol affects your brain means that it actually makes symptoms worse. Alcohol heightens emotions and lowers the amount of serotonin in your brain, which is why people often get upset at the end of a heavy drinking session. Even if you don’t consider yourself a very heavy drinker, you will be amazed at the mood stability you find when you go sober for a month.
You sleep better
Whilst alcohol is famous for sending you off to sleep easily, there is a reason that you will often feel exhausted upon waking after a heavy night. Alcohol causes the levels of sleep-causing chemical adenosine in your system to rise, which makes it easy for you to fall asleep, but as the alcohol wears off so too does adenosine, causing you to be sharply pulled back out of sleep. Alcohol also inhibits your ability to have good quality, REM sleep, which means that even if you get enough hours, you are still likely to wake up feeling groggy. Imagine what you could do in a month if you felt completely alert every day!
You could lose weight
Most people find that they are a few pounds lighter after a month of sobriety. Depending on how much you drink every week, you could lose up to two pounds per week by doing nothing more than quitting the booze.
All alcoholic drinks contain calories, with some types of alcohol packing in a substantial amount of calories per glass. This means that you are likely to take in far more calories than you need on a day when you are drinking, as you will still eat the same as you would if you weren’t drinking. In fact, because people tend to lose their willpower and opt for less healthy options after drinking, you might even eat more.
Your immune system will get stronger
Binge drinking has been scientifically proven to suppress your body’s immune response, making it easier for you to get sick. Binge drinking, classified as more than four drinks in a single drinking session, causes your immune cells (including white blood cells and NK cells) to decrease. This leaves your body open to all types of colds and illnesses. Staying away from alcohol for a month gives your body lots of time to build up your immunity, and just in time for cold and flu season!
You will develop a new relationship with alcohol
One of the healthiest things about going sober for October is that it forces you to evaluate your relationship with alcohol and discover just how often you unconsciously reach for booze when it is simply not necessary. So many people are utterly reliant on alcohol to enjoy their social lives, and this forces them to be more creative with how they spend their free time. Hopefully you will pick up some new, healthier habits, that you can take with you into November and the rest of the year.
What are the signs that you are dependent on alcohol?
Unfortunately, for some people, Go Sober for October isn’t enough to help them to beat their reliance on alcohol. Interestingly enough, one of the signs that you are suffering from a more serious drinking problem is taking part in this type of activity to ‘prove’ to yourself and others that you can quit drinking for a specified time. Other signs that your problem may be more serious include:
- Finding it hard to stop drinking once you have begun
- Worrying about or planning when you will get your next drink
- Planning social commitments specifically around alcohol, and avoiding ‘dry’ events
- Physical withdrawal symptoms when you have not been drinking. These might include sweating, shaking and tremors.
If you suspect that your interest in alcohol is becoming more of a dependence, or even an addiction, or if you have attempted Sober for October and found yourself unable to go through with it, you might need help.
Cassiobury Court is available to talk you through the problems that you are having and help you decide whether or not you need to enter rehab. We can be reached on 01923 369 161, if you want to find out more, or you can text HELP to 83222 to get started.
If you do enter our rehabilitation centre you will enjoy a comfortable and luxurious setting and a range of group and individual therapies designed to help you to get to the bottom of your feelings about alcohol, and prepare you for getting back to sobriety after detox.