Go Sober in October for a Happier and Hangover-Free Autumn
by: The Beat Asia
September 27, 2022
As the festive season rapidly approaches, our minds turn to thoughts of office parties, celebrations with friends and family, and the opportunity to wave goodbye to what has been a difficult year for many. Taking a break from drinking this October can help reset our mental and physical relationship with alcohol, leading to better mental clarity, increased energy, and improved sleep.
What is Sober October?
We've all heard of Dry January, right? Well, it's a simple enough premise. You undertake 31 days of temperance from booze, be that going completely cold turkey or, at least, engaging in serious moderation. It's a great way to boost your willpower and, no doubt, your bank balance too. For extra motivation, this is often done for the benefit of a nominated good cause.
What Are the Benefits of Going Sober for October?
While many of us enjoy a glass or two now and then, pandemic-related pressures, such as increased anxiety and working from home, have seen many reaching for the bottle more frequently. Often, this leads to reduced quality of sleep, which further increases stress hormones and leads to more drinking. Over time, this cycle of consumption can begin to affect our home and work lives, with reduced cognitive function leading to poor decision-making and impaired memory.
A month away from drinking is also a great way to kick-start a fitness or weight-loss regime. Alcohol directly influences the brain's hunger control pathways, making you much more likely to select poor nutritional choices while under the influence, and raising the likelihood of binge eating the following day. Your liver, the organ responsible for detoxifying your blood, will also appreciate the opportunity to focus on breaking down other toxins, fats, and excess hormones.
What Can I Drink Instead?
The biggest challenge of approaching a month of no booze is the impact it can have on our social lives. It's easy enough to clear out the fridge and cocktail cabinet at home, but communal gatherings and peer pressure can get too much, and it's easy to succumb to temptation. Thankfully, most bars and restaurants have moved on from the saccharine days of fruity mocktails, and many offer a wide selection of non-alcoholic beers, ciders, wines, and spirits. Look for brands such as Lyre’s, Ceder’s, and Seedlip for great alternatives to pair with tonic.
What if I Need More Than a Month?
If you're looking to decouple from alcohol more permanently, or you feel a need for professional support with your relationship with alcohol, then there are excellent resources available both online and offline. Remember: If you feel you have an alcohol dependency, you should seek professional medical advice before quitting.
One of the most popular websites for giving up drinking is the U.K.-based One Year No Beer. They claim to have helped over 80,000 participants complete their various challenges. While it is a paid service, they offer daily motivation and multiple resources to encourage members to reach their goals.
Locally, the Hong Kong government offers several resources, and Castle Peak Hospital in Tuen Mun has provided an alcohol treatment service since 1998. Alcoholics Anonymous Hong Kong provides support services across the city, with meetings in multiple neighbourhoods and also via Zoom and Skype.
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