Sober October 2019: What is Sober October? Tips and tricks giving up alcohol for a month

Many of us may have heard of Dry January, but during October some will abstain from the booze for a whole month, sometimes to raise money for charity. Anyone can sign up and participate, and in 2017, £5million was raised for Macmillan Cancer Support.

What is Sober October?

Sober October is a month-long period which involves cutting out alcohol, often to raise money for charity via donations.

Macmillan has a website dedicated to going sober for October, calling for Soberheroes to go 31 days without alcohol.

For special occasions you may have planned, like a wedding or Halloween, Go Sober For October gives the chance of a “golden ticket” that lets you skip a day for a minimum £15 donation.

With many of us choosing to go to the pub after work, relax after a long week with a glass of wine or two, going without for a whole month can seem daunting.

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There are organisations to help those who are striving to go alcohol-free, one being One Year No Beer (OYNB) which is a platform which challenges people to go alcohol-free for 28, 90 or 365 days.

Ruari Fairbairns, founder of OYNB spoke to about the challenges, and benefits on giving up alcohol.

Mr Fairbairns said: “First of all, you come from a long day work, feeling stressed, anxious, etc.

“Now you think I’m going to have a glass of wine because it helps relieve anxiety.

“Now a glass of wine and things like that do as an instant hit help you.

“But the problem is, it’s facilitating the behaviour in the first place, it’s creating that anxiety.”

Instead of reaching for the alcohol, there are healthier ways to unwind after a stressful day.

Mr Fairbairns explained: “What is a nice natural way for you to release after work?


“Exercise, a huge amount of dopamine is released.

“If you’re trying to relax, meditating, yoga, going for a walk, breathing exercise, these are all the natural, healthy things that we don’t want to do, what we want to do is take a drug to get there really quickly.

“But the effects of taking a drug having an impact on our lives. So stop taking a drug. And just focus on doing it a nice, healthy, natural way.

“The other thing is, is that when you go through the process of meditating, exercising, doing some yoga, going for a walk, and you’re regularly doing that you’re not drinking alcohol is that you won’t feel like that at the end of the day.”


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For those who manage to give up the alcohol for a month, the health benefits can be staggering.

Mr Fairbairns explained: “Professor Kevin Moore conducted the largest ever study into a 28-day break from alcohol and the results were staggering.

“In a 28-day break from alcohol, participants, who were normal drinkers taking part in the Dry January campaign, found themselves an average 3kgs lighter.

“It also reduced their liver fat by 40 percent and improved cholesterol levels as well as lowering blood pressure.”

If you’re in a situation where colleagues, friends or family are drinking, here are some tips

  • Choose Alcohol-free beer or mocktails
  • Let people know what you are doing to raise awareness and prevent an awkward drink being bought for you
  • Nominate yourself as the designated driver
  • Invite friends and family to take part
  • Allow yourself a golden ticket if you have an event coming up

It’s not too late to take part in Sober October, you can sign up on Macmillan’s website here.

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