When people take part in 'Go Sober for October', many do find it incredibly challenging to give up drinking all together. A survey by YouGov found that 29% of people who took part in a similar alcohol-free month - Dry January – were unable to go without.
If you are taking part in 'Go Sober for October', but have found that you haven’t been able to stop drinking or manage your urges as you thought you would, we have put together advice and information to help you as you to try to address your relationship with alcohol.
I had one or two drinks on a night out
If you went out for dinner or met up with friends, and had a few drinks, don’t let it deter you from the good that you have done during the rest of October.
Think about all the benefits you’ve seen from giving up alcohol. This could include getting better sleep, having more energy, eating healthier or having a bit more money.
Use these benefits to stay motivated, get you back on track and finish the month alcohol-free.
Remember, that when you are trying to change a habit, lapsing back into old behaviours is something people do experience. Rather than seeing the one or two drinks as a failure, view it as a learning curve and something for you to think about as continue on.
I had a heavy drinking session
If you have drunk heavily on one or two nights, this is a serious lapse, but is something that you can still move on from. Don’t use these heavy drinking sessions as an excuse to revert back to your old behaviours.
Instead, reflect upon them. Think about why they happened and what you can do in the future to stop it from being an ongoing problem. Some questions you may want to answer include:
- Who did you drink with?
- When did you drink?
- Why did you drink?
- What triggered you to drink heavily?
Answering these questions can help you to identify any patterns in your drinking, so that you can figure out what needs to change in order for you to have a better relationship with alcohol in the future.
I can’t stop drinking
If you tried to give up alcohol for 'Go Sober for October', but have found that you haven’t been able to stop at all, your drinking may be more problematic that what you initially thought it was.
Have you experienced any of the following?
- Preoccupation with thoughts of alcohol
- Making excuses stop or pause 'Go Sober for October'
- Having ‘just one drink’ but then being unable to stop
If so, you may need a helping hand in order to address your current relationship with alcohol. This is nothing to be ashamed of – some people do need this additional guidance.
Taking the time to be within a therapeutic or rehabilitative setting will make sure that you have the professional support that you need to be able to effectively cut back or stop drinking alcohol.
What to think about after 'Go Sober for October'
Regardless of how you finish 'Go Sober for October', if you simply return to your old habits afterwards, it is likely that the month off won’t make a long-lasting difference.
During 'Go Sober for October', use it as an opportunity to reset your relationship with alcohol. During the month, spend some time addressing the following:
- How do you want to change how you drink in the long term?
- How has alcohol been affecting your life recently? Has it been affecting your health too?
- What do you think are the reasons for your drinking?
- What steps can you put in place to improve your relationship with alcohol going forward?
By really thinking about your alcohol consumption, the impact it has been having on your health and wellbeing and how you want to change going forward, this can put you in a strong position for changing your drinking habits and your perception of alcohol in the future.
Why people with a physical addiction shouldn’t take part in 'Sober for October'
If you are physically addicted to alcohol and find that you experience withdrawal symptoms when you don’t have a certain level of alcohol in your system, it is highly recommended that you don’t take part in 'Go Sober for October' and seek medical advice before taking any steps to reduce your drinking.
Withdrawal symptoms are serious and can be dangerous, so it is best to detox within a safe and medically-assisted environment, and start your recovery within a rehabilitative setting.
While the current coronavirus restrictions and social distancing measures are in place, we are offering online support to both new and current patients. We continue to offer access to inpatient services where this is required. Visit our Priory Connect online therapy service page for more information, or read our latest online therapy blog. For the latest information on how Priory are responding to coronavirus, and keeping our patients and staff safe, please visit our COVID-19 preparedness blog.