**The methods discussed in this article are not aimed at physically dependent drinkers, because stopping the consumption of alcohol suddenly in those cases can be fatal. If you are physically dependent or think you might be, please seek medical assistance. The methods of accountability and the support groups we discuss below will be of great use to you on top of a safe and tailored medical programme, but we don’t recommend using them alone.
Sober October, Dry January, Dry July, there are already lots of dedicated calendar months encouraging what we call a ‘sober sprint’ and now some of our Club Soda members are declaring this month ‘Action August’. This aims to motivate members who are still struggling to stop drinking, post their progress, encourage each other to stay on track and receive support from the longer-term mindful drinkers.
Taking a short time away from alcohol is a really solid way of assessing your relationship with drinking and the effect it has on your physical, mental and emotional health. But, even though a month off is only a short time, it can still feel overwhelming to heavy drinkers or socially anxious drinkers with a busy schedule. To those people, we’d encourage cutting down in some form or another, whether it’s using our 8-week mindful drinking course to find practical ways of cutting down, or signing up for Drink Aware’s “Drink Free Days” campaign in which you can to stick to a certain number of alcohol-free days per week.
Why should I do a sober sprint on one of these scheduled months?
Taking a month off alcohol at the same time as other people means that you’ll have some company along the way. You can share your progress, slip-ups, motivation, tips and even plan something social to do together.
Is taking a month off drinking going to change anything?
It absolutely might not, and we don’t mean that you should do this if you’re not already tempted. But if you are looking to change your relationship with drinking, then cutting alcohol completely for a month is a great way to challenge your behaviour patterns and the habits you’ve formed around it. You can start to identify the social, emotional and physical triggers which will help you to make the required changes moving forward.
What changes can I expect to see or feel after one month of not drinking?
Most people report a much-improved sleep pattern, increased energy, more focus, reduced anxiety, clearer skin, brighter eyes and decreased bloating – to name just a few. By the end of the month, you may well be questioning your relationship with alcohol and how to move forward healthily.
Why should I cut down?
If you’re not keen on the month off idea but you’d still like to address how much you’re drinking, then cutting down is a great start and can be a successful long-term method of mindful drinking. Whether you decide to make these changes immediately or do so after taking a month off completely, you’ll still see positive changes in your physical and mental health. You do, however, need to identify your behaviour patterns and triggers in order to successfully stick to your chosen method of moderation.
Overall, whether you’re cutting down or taking a complete break, planning is key. Try our online sober sprint programme to try a month off with our full support, or our 8-week online mindful drinking program, join our private online Facebook community, read lots of quit-lit for inspiration, check out relevant social events near you, and look up the best drinks and venues for mindful drinkers using our guide.
Hopefully, this helps kick start you into the next phase on your path to mindful drinking. If not, here are some anonymous (and genuine) posts from our Facebook members, to help inspire and motivate you (and to reiterate that you are most definitely not alone).
“This is exactly what I need – just to be able to check-in and remain accountable. Have absolutely no intention of drinking but don’t deny it’s going to be hard at times”
“Bit scared at the thought of a month without alcohol and my ability to see it through”
“I have stopped posting in the group as I’m bored and embarrassed by my constant returns to day 1. Feel like I’m in a hamster ball. Would love some real accountability for August”
“I’ve managed 24 out of 26 days so far in July so want to see if I can do a full month”
“So after going on holiday and moderately drinking I was unsure of how I would feel back on home turf! I re-set my app and woke up this morning on day 3!!”
“Day 526 🙌 Love your life – today could be a struggle, or tomorrow or the next one…just keep taking it one day at a time”
“Having my own toolbox of skills and resources to help me overcome triggers and cravings has become like second nature”
“A cold fizzy drink, a walk, yoga, surfing FB and housework all keep me from caving…”
“I’m going to try to moderate my drinking as I’m sick of the regrets and the hangover anxiety I get after I binge”
“Has anyone else reconnected with the creative side of themselves since going AF? I’m getting so many ideas for everything and anything at the moment!! 38 days AF”