Did you spend the summer indulging yourself with beers, hard seltzers, and margaritas? Did those happy hours turn into happy week-long benders? Did your booze give you some belly fat you definitely didn’t need?
If so, you’re probably ready to hit the reset button on your liver, and Sober October is a great opportunity to do just that.
Sober October challenges people to—you guessed it—sober up for one full month. Whether you want to improve your wellbeing or you want to challenge your friends to something besides fantasy football, trying Sober October is worth a shot (just be warned it’s harder than it sounds).
Social media is buzzing about Sober October (no pun intended), so we’re breaking down the history, benefits, rules, and tips to get you through it.
What Is Sober October?
As the name implies, Sober October is a challenge where you don’t consume alcohol for the month of October (it’s also called “Stoptober” or “Ocsober”). It’s the same premise as Dry January, another fitness trend where people start the new year with no booze.
You can do Sober October for a bunch of different reasons. Some people use it as a weight loss strategy, some use it to reevaluate their drinking habits, and some turn it into a high stakes game where the loser(s) pay up.
Either way, you’ll be abstaining from your beloved libations until November 1st.
How Did Sober October Start?
There are conflicting stories about who actually started Sober October. In 2010, the Australian nonprofit organization Life Education created a fundraiser called “Ocsober.” They encouraged people to ditch alcohol for a month in an effort to raise money for substance abuse awareness.
However, the actual name Sober October wasn’t born until 2014 when a UK-based charity called Macmillan Cancer Support launched a campaign to raise awareness around healthy drinking habits.
The Sober October trend really picked up steam in 2018 when Joe Rogan became a participant. He challenged fellow comedians Bert Kreischer, Tom Segura, and Ari Shaffir and did regular check-ins during episodes of his podcast The Joe Rogan Experience.
Since then, millions of people worldwide—from celebrities to average Joes—have participated each year.
Sober October Rules
There’s only one official rule for Sober October: Don’t drink any alcoholic beverages for 31 days. Once the clock strikes midnight on November 1st, you’re eligible to imbibe once again.
Simple enough, isn’t it?
If you’re doing the challenge with a group of friends, you can do a more hardcore version of Sober October where you abstain from all substance use, including nicotine, weed, caffeine, or whatever you’re into.
4 Benefits of Sober October
Going alcohol-free for a month might sound lame or pointless, but giving your body a break from booze has some pretty sweet benefits.
Shed Some Pounds
Alcohol is loaded with empty calories. Cutting it out of your diet is an easy way to lose some weight without making any extreme lifestyle changes.
For context, a can of beer has about 154 calories. If you usually knock back 10 beers a week, you’ll save more than 6,000 calories over the course of the month.
Drinking in the evening might put you to sleep faster, but it decreases the quality of your sleep. That’s partially why you feel like garbage the morning after a boozy night.
Two or more drinks at night can decrease your sleep quality by nearly 40%, according to the Sleep Foundation.
Aside from health benefits, the most obvious reason to nix alcohol for a month is saving moolah. As many dudes can attest, it’s easy to run up a crazy bar tab on game day or date night. Keep the extra cash and invest in something practical, like a DUDE Wiper 1000 bidet attachment.
Boost Your Mental Health
You might feel like the king of the world midway through a cocktail, but that effect tends to wear off fast. Drinking alcohol in moderation is generally fine, but binge drinking can lead to mood swings, depression, and anxiety.
See how you feel after a month without alcohol—you might ditch it altogether.
Protect Your Immune System
Alcohol weakens your body’s immune system, increasing your risk of infections and sickness, according to Northwestern University. Flu season ramps up in the fall, so there’s no better time to go sober for a month.
3 Tips to Survive Sober October
Not drinking for a month might sound easy, but a lot of dudes cave after the first week. Here are some tips to resist peer pressure and stay the course.
Have a Friend Hold You Accountable
Willpower alone might not be enough to successfully complete Sober October. Partner up with a buddy so you can hold each other accountable. Maybe even put some money on the line so you have some skin in the game!
Try Non-Alcoholic Drinks
Ditching alcohol doesn’t mean you’re stuck drinking water when you go out. Experiment with some non-alcoholic beverages to keep things interesting, like non-alcoholic beer or mocktails. You’d be surprised how good these can taste, just beware they can be high in calories.
Start New (Healthy) Habits
If your evening routine usually starts with a drink, you’ll be tempted to imbibe as usual. Rather than fighting the urge to drink, distract yourself with a new hobby. Easier said than done, we know.
Hit the gym, teach yourself how to cook, read that book that’s been on your nightstand for the past year, or go for a walk. Any of these will keep your brain occupied.
Say Goodbye to Hangover Poops
One of the lesser-known benefits of Sober October is not having to deal with explosive hangover diarrhea. Alcohol messes with your intestines and sends your colon into overdrive, causing you to churn out loose stool the day after drinking.
October is the month to get your drinking—and pooping habits—back under control.