This month, tens of thousands of people around the globe will be skipping cocktail hours and passing on booze in the name of charity. In lieu of smoke breaks and ‘joy rides’, tens of thousands of people will be attempting to drop their addictive habits for the 31 days of “Stoptober.”
If you are reading this article, you have likely heard of “Sober October” before. Starting out as a fundraising campaign for Macmillan Cancer Support in the United Kingdom, “Go Sober for October” has quickly become a collective trend among people worldwide. Similarly, you may have heard of “Stoptober,” an increasingly popular initiative to stop smoking for the entire month of October.
Getting sober is an outstanding endeavor. And staying sober, amidst all the temptations of an alcohol-saturated culture, is even more commendable. It takes great strength, dedication, and willpower to make a commitment to sobriety. As a preeminent young adult drug rehab facility, we know this firsthand.
At Turnbridge, the young men and women journeying towards recovery are seen as unsung heroes. They are all brave individuals have made a considerable, yet often unacknowledged, change to better their lives and the lives of the ones they love. If you believe you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, or see a need to get sober, you too have the potential to make this change. You have the power to get sober and to live sober, to be an unsung hero, and to create a healthful, positive life – substance-free.
Living sober means learning to live your life outside the blanket that drugs or alcohol so often provide. It means getting to know yourself and learning to love yourself, in an honest and true state of mind. It also means getting to know others and learning to trust others as they are. In time, living sober may mean developing a new attitude and positive outlook towards the world around you.
Whether you are quitting your habits for the month, for the year, or for life, there are certain actions you can take to ease the start. Here are some tips on how to stay sober during this autumn month - and beyond.
1. Get a friend or loved one to do it with you – When going sober, it often helps to know that you are not alone in the journey. Having a partner to take on the challenge with you, to support you through and through, can make a big difference in your longer-term success. That is why at Turnbridge, we strongly encourage our clients to build a sober network, so that if they feel like giving up, there is always someone to call and get them back on the right path.
2. Jump-start a healthy lifestyle – A drug and alcohol-free life is a great incentive to kick off a workout plan or start up healthy habits. Doing so can both enhance your energy levels as well as your overall wellbeing. Many people find that an exercise regime or a gym membership to be a great alternative to old, unhealthy vices.
3. Start up a creative activity – You may be thinking, “What will I do on Saturday nights?” There are so many exciting and engaging sober activities you can pursue without being under the influence. Use October (and future months) as an opportunity to try something new, such as cooking or photography.
4. Assess your social circle – If you are surrounded by friends who routinely binge drink or use drugs, it can be hard to quit a habit. While you do not have to lose friends while going sober, try to ask yourself who supports you in this endeavor and who does not. If you are friends with people simply for the highs, you may consider putting them on the back burner as you try to get clean.
5. Learn to ignore temptations – Try not to leave yourself open to temptations, such as party scenes or happy hours. Rather than hitting the bar, plan a movie night with some friends or get outside for some air. Book activities in advance so that you are not tempted by last minute invitations that may involve alcohol or drugs.
6. Seek professional help if you need it – If you believe you have an alcohol or drug problem, do not let it go unattended. A substance dependence or addiction can be hard to shake on your own. Know that there is always drug treatment if and when you need it.
Sober October, in all its forms and campaigns, is a time to get people thinking about their substance consumption and to encourage some lifestyle changes for the long term. And most often, the people who take part in this initiative recognize that despite the challenges, it is worth it. Many come to enjoy the lasting benefits of longer-term sobriety, such as:
1. Healthy sleeping patterns – You may have thought that a nightcap was the key to a good night’s sleep. In reality, alcohol actually reduces the length of sleep cycles as well as energy levels. It also relaxes your throat muscles, causing you to snore when you do fall asleep.
2. Hydration – Alcohol is a diuretic and can lead to severe dehydration. If you are chronically dehydrated, your kidneys may stop filtering the toxins out of your body.
3. Healthy diet – Alcohol causes erratic highs and lows in a person’s blood sugar levels, which often leads to sweet and starchy food cravings. Marijuana also has a similar effect on one’s eating habits, as smoking weed often leads to poor food choices.
4. Weight loss – Alcohol is very caloric, containing approximately seven empty calories per gram. Even more, alcohol mobilizes the fat-storing hormone insulin, which can lead to weight gain.
5. A new outlook on life – Losing the after-work refreshments long-term often stirs up a new and refreshed attitude for those in recovery. Breaking the drug habits, on the whole, allows people to think twice about their substance intake and to understand the benefits of moderation and abstinence.
For more information on how to get sober or about our sober living program in CT, call Turnbridge today at 877-581-1793.