According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), an estimated ten percent of Americans aged 12 and older currently struggle with a substance use disorder (SUD) of some kind. If you are one of them, month-long challenges like Sober October or Dry January are the perfect reason to start your recovery journey.
In this article, we’ll cover what sobriety is and the benefits of quitting alcohol and drugs. If you are looking to get sober this October, read on.
What Does It Mean to Be Sober?
In order to participate in Sober October, naturally we have to understand what sobriety is. The definition of sobriety is not being intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
There are various reasons why a person would choose sobriety over drugs or alcohol, such as, health reasons, religious beliefs, because their job mandates it, or just out of personal choice.
One of the most common reasons for pursuing sobriety is that a person might be in recovery. Addiction can have detrimental effects on one’s life and sobriety offers a way out of these consequences.
For those without a history of addiction, the occasional drink might not be seen as a big problem. However, for someone in recovery, there really can be no occasional drink or drug use. Even the occasional indulgence can become a threat to all their hard work.
And this speaks to the real definition of sobriety: it’s about being accountable to yourself. It’s about you alone being in control of your own life and what and what you put into your body. It’s about not being a slave to your impulses. Challenges like Sober October are meant to encourage you to finally regain that control.
What Is Sober October?
Sober October is a challenge in which individuals voluntarily choose not to consume alcohol for the entire month of October. The movement has gained popularity in recent years, with many people adopting the practice as a way to give their bodies a break, raise awareness about alcohol consumption, and often to raise money for charity.
Sober October started back in 2014 as part of a fundraising campaign for Macmillan Cancer Support, a U.K.-based charity. They launched the “Go Sober for October” campaign to raise funds for people dealing with cancer. Participants are sponsored to stay off alcohol for the month, and the money raised goes to the charity.
Since then, Sober October has become a general movement around the world. Many people now see it as a general opportunity to assess their relationship with alcohol, take a break, and promote healthier habits.
People take part in Sober October for a variety of reasons, such as health benefits, as a personal challenge to achieve growth, and even as a way to save money.
What Are the Benefits of Quitting Alcohol and Drugs?
Substance abuse, whether it’s alcohol or drugs, can have profound effects on an individual’s physical, mental, and behavioral health. As you take part in Sober October, you can expect numerous benefits to your well-being.
Physical benefits of sobriety include:
- Improved Organ Health —The liver and other organs begin to heal and repair themselves after quitting.
- Healthier Appearance — Clearer skin, brighter eyes, and improved hydration are some of the physical benefits of sobriety.
- Increased Energy — Without the depressant effects of substances, many people experience increased energy and vitality.
Mental benefits of sobriety include:
- Clearer Thinking — Cognitive functions improve, leading to clearer thoughts and better decision-making.
- Stabilized Mood — Sobriety can lead to improved mental health and reduced symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.
- Improved Self-esteem — Overcoming addiction can boost confidence and self-worth.
Finally, there are numerous benefits of sobriety in terms of your day-to-day life. These include more money in your pocket, better productivity, improved relationships with your loved ones, and fewer issues with the law.
In sum, the journey to sobriety is not just about eliminating negative consequences; it’s also about gaining a multitude of physical, mental, and behavioral benefits. Many who embark on this journey – whether during Sober October or any time of year – find that they rediscover aspects of themselves and their lives that were overshadowed by substance use.
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Ten Tips for a Successful Sober October
As you go through Sober October, here are ten tips to keep in mind:
- Set Clear Intentions — Understand your reasons for participating and keep that reason front and center.
- Plan Ahead — If you know you have events where alcohol will be present, plan your strategies. Tips include having a non-alcoholic drink in hand or preparing a response for when you’re offered a drink.
- Stock Up on Alternatives — Fill your fridge with tasty, non-alcoholic beverages.
- Stay Connected — Share your Sober October commitment with friends and family. Consider finding a sober buddy to join you in the challenge.
- Avoid Triggers — Recognize situations, places, or people that make you want to drink and try to avoid them.
- Engage in New Hobbies — Use the extra time and clarity you have during Sober October to dive into new or neglected hobbies. This can be a productive and enjoyable way to distract from any cravings. This can include hiking, going to the gym, reading, or something else that keeps your mind off drugs and alcohol.
- Journal Your Experience — Write down how you’re feeling, what challenges you’re facing, and the benefits you’re noticing. This reflection can be enlightening and motivating.
- Reward Yourself — Set milestones and reward yourself when you reach them. Whether it’s a treat, a day out, or simply some self-recognition, acknowledging your achievements can spur you on.
- Mindfulness and Meditation — Techniques like mindfulness and meditation can help manage cravings, reduce stress, and increase your awareness of your motivations and desires.
- Remember It’s Temporary — If you’re finding it tough, remind yourself that it’s just for a month. However, also recognize the opportunity to evaluate your relationship with alcohol long-term based on your Sober October experiences.
If you find something like Sober October too challenging or if you believe you might have a deeper issue with alcohol, don’t hesitate to seek professional support.
Get Sober at South Coast Behavioral Health
We understand that while Sober October is a great reason to get sober, some people need extra help.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, South Coast Behavioral Health is here to help. The first step in treating addiction is a medical detox. This means using medication to manage withdrawal symptoms.
Our medical detox program in California is staffed by caring and compassionate professionals who can also provide you with medications to manage your withdrawal symptoms. This may include things like anti-seizure medication and antidepressants.
After detoxing, treatment should involve therapy to treat the drivers of addiction.
Treatment for substance abuse takes place along an entire spectrum of care. Along that entire spectrum are various behavioral therapies, support groups, and the use of medically-assisted treatment (MAT).
These levels of treatment are, in order, as follows:
Residential Treatment in California
After successfully completing medical detox, you’ll receive inpatient treatment in Orange County California. There, you’ll receive medically-assisted treatment and dual diagnosis treatment to deal with any cravings or co-occurring mental health issues you may be battling.
We also offer residential treatment facilities in Costa Mesa, Irvine, and Huntington Beach for those who desire gender-specific treatment. There, patients get round-the-clock medical attention and monitoring while living at the institution full-time.
In addition to individual and group counseling and medication management, you’ll also have access to leisure activities and family support services.
Partial Hospitalization in California
Most clients start substance abuse treatment with South Coast in our residential treatment program. However, after completing that, many desire something that still provides structure and support, but with extra space and time to oneself. For that, we offer Partial Hospitalization in Newport Beach.
A step down from inpatient care but with more structure than conventional outpatient programs, partial hospitalization offers a good balance for those looking to ease back into normal life. Clients can receive care five to seven days a week for a number of hours each day, returning back to their homes in the evening.
This way, they can recover without putting their daily lives completely on hold, receiving intense therapeutic interventions like group and individual therapy, skill development, and medication management as necessary.
Intensive Outpatient Treatment in California
For those leaving inpatient residential treatment or partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are yet another gradual step forward on the road to recovery.
With a focus on group therapy, individual counseling, and education, clients undergoing Intensive Outpatient Treatment in Newport Beach can meet three to five days a week. Each session lasts three hours.
This level of care requires the least amount of attendance at a facility, because you’re already working towards a brighter future.
Get Started Today
Sober October is a great month – but sometimes the problem of addiction also runs a bit deeper than a month-long challenge. The good news is that while addiction is a serious disease, you don’t have to face it alone.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, we can help. If you want to know how long addiction treatment takes or have other questions, call us at 866-881-1184 or contact us here. Our highly qualified staff will be happy to help. We can give you an idea on what to expect from your addiction recovery timeline, help verify your insurance, and assist with any other questions you may have.
Reach out today to speak with a representative. We can also help you determine your treatment options and get you started on the road to recovery.